Mitnick In The News
Famous and notorious hacker: ‘I’ve always done it for the challenge. Even though it was illegal ’
Oct 15, 2018 - DR, by Signe Mai Vilsboll & Christian Ingemann Bentsen
It started as simple tricks with McDonalds, but then Kevin Mitnicks became more dangerous. Today he is an IT security consultant.
He has been on the blacklist of the US federal police, the famous and infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick, and his hacking history counts hundreds of attacks on technical systems.
WHAT IS AN HACKER?
An attacker is a person who is able to find and exploit weaknesses in network or digital systems security.
There are several types of hackers. Most often, white hat hackers, who are on the right side of the law, distinguish themselves from black hat hackers who illegally sneak into public authorities, businesses and private digital systems.
White hat hackers work more places like some security experts who test IT systems security and defend against attacks by black hat hackers by finding, for example, security holes that can be closed.
But hacking was not a known phenomenon when Kevin Mitnick, 16, began the career that led him into the machinery space at companies and also got him imprisoned for five years.
It was an easier innocent hobby, familiar to or interested in.
"I've always hacked for the challenge. To me is hacking like solving a complicated jigsaw puzzle, it now tells 55-year-old Kevin Mitnick, who for many years lived a normal life a day while growing his interest in hacking at night.
Kevin Mitnick is still proud of a particular hack, dating back to some of his first years as hackers in the late 1970s.
He clearly remembers how he, as a youngster, got behind the radio system at the local McDonald's so he could accept customer orders as they drove through McDrive.
"My radio signal was stronger than the power of McDonald's system," remembers Kevin Mitnick.
From a radio in his car parked on the other side of the road, he told people that he tricked people to believe they were number 100 and wanted to get the food for free while the staff could not listen in their head -sets.
- I also said that, based on the weight of the car, I would recommend people to order salad instead of a burger. Try to imagine how much fun I had with it as young, says Kevin Mitnick.
There were mostly talk of strangers in the beginning, but eventually Kevin Mitnicks became more and they became more advanced.
- I chopped everything. US security services, telecommunications and communications systems for companies that develop speakers for mobile phones. Just to find out how the systems worked.
The stubborn hacker constantly kept a watchful eye on technological development so he was at the forefront of the digital systems he wanted to explore. All the tricks in the book have been largely used, says Kevin Mitnick.
Among other things, he has access to employee's private passwords by calling and publishing himself as the company's IT technician. And he has also taught himself to go more technically to attack by establishing fake wireless networks from a strong connection with names similar to other networks that have got people's computers to connect automatically.
"It's one of my favorite attacks. Wireless networks are not safe at all, says Kevin Mitnicks.
On the wrong side of the law
In 1982, Kevin Mitnick smoked the first time behind bars for his data burglary.
However, it was only half a year behind bars, and it was only in 1992 that the US authorities again turned their eyes on Kevin Mitnick. Here he was called for by the FBI and for several years the federal police tried to trace him.
- I never thought of it as a hunt. I was flexible and created new identities. I worked for a law firm, then a hospital, and I could both secure my passport, driving license, health insurance and all that I needed to live a normal life, says Kevin Mitnicks, arrested in 1995.
The verdict fell and at that time the infamous hacker had to resign five years behind bars to form a security threat with its many hacks. The release in 2000 was due to fear of multiple attacks even with the demand that Kevin Mitnicks held hands off everything that could give him internet access. For the whole three years ahead.
"All I've done, I've done for the challenge. To solve the puzzle. Even though it was illegal, Kevin Mitnick says, after his imprisonment, he has been called white hat (legal hacker, red.) With permanent job as security consultant.
The hard road
Today, where hacking became a known phenomenon throughout the world, Kevin Mitnick stands as one of the first examples of the threat that triggers into a society that is increasingly digitized.
And if you ask Kevin Mitnick, there's only one sure way to avoid hackers who oppose the established systems at:
"It's not about having a technology that can defend, but about good human resources that can. Companies and institutions need to have people employed who understand how the attacking hackers think and know the latest technology, Kevin Mitnick believes.
In Denmark, the Defense Intelligence Service tries to make more young people interested in IT security so that they can be employed to combat the rising threat of so-called black hat hackers (illegal hackers, editors) in cyberspace. Among other things, by supporting and training the cyberland team that is now bleeding at 16 other nations at the hacking EM in London.
For those who want a future as professional hackers, Kevin Mitnick has a advice. They should like to.
"I chose the hard road to work I have now, and I would not recommend anyone to follow my footsteps. There are better ways to be successful hacker on today, he ends.
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