How The FBI Caught the World's Most Wanted Hacker

How The FBI Caught the World's Most Wanted Hacker - Kelvin Mitnick

Kelvin Mitnick was once known as the world most wanted  Social engineering and computer hacker. One doesn't require a title like that nor an accompanying prison sentence for simple exploits. He brought down some of the biggest companies and government organization in the world but in the end, his life of crime caught up to him and was sent to prison for 5 years.


Kelvin Mitnick love for bypassing code began at the early age of 12, his main tools were reported to be Social Engineering and dumpster-diving which help him bypassed punch card systems used in the Los Angeles bus systems.he was said to have convinced the bus driver to tell him where he could buy his ticket punch for a so-called school project.

What drew me into hacking was my love for magic.So has a young boy i used to ride my bicycle over to the magic store after school to watch the sales people to perform these tricks over and over again and then when i ended up in high school i met this kid who could work magic with a a telephone and he did all these tricks, he was able to get my mum's unlisted telephone number : he said 
Following this he was able to ride any bus in the Greater LA area using under transfer slip he found in a dumpster next to the bus company garage. Social Engineering later became his primary method of obtaining information which includes Usernames, passwords and modern phone numbers. Kelvin  Mitnick's first unauthorised access to a computer network in 1979 at the age of 16 gave him access to the Digital Equipment Corporation computer system . he was reported to have broken into the DEC computer network and later cloned their software.

This was one of the few and early crimes he was charged and convicted of in the year 1988, following his conviction he was sentenced to 12 months in prison which was followed by 3 years of released supervision by authorities near the end of his supervised released Kelvin Mitnick was recorded to have hacked into the Pacific Bell voice mail computer and was now reply playing with fire. This was enough for officials to release an arrest warrant which had Kelvin Mitnick fleeing from Authorities and becoming a fugitive for about two and half years.
But despite Mitnick's desire to keep a low profile and his ethos of hacking systems for the pursuit of knowledge and adventure and not for personal profit he was labelled as the bad guy. In a book published in 1995 Cyberpunk Outlaws and Hackers on the Frontier, Authors Hafner's and Markoff labelled Mitnick as a Darkside hacker. Afterwards, USA TODAY published a picture of Kelvin Mitnick's face superimposed over an image of Darth Vader this was when he became the FBI's most wanted. 


Many People believe the FBI was most scared because the agency has a poor understanding of the way computer work, they felt vulnerable and decided to take out the threat.


Kelvin Mitnick was holed up in Denver Colorado at the time he liked it because it felt remote in the mountains but law enforcement was breathing down his neck the whole time.

I just started creating resumes and looking Newspapers I'd tailor my background to match 90% of what they looking for; he said. I'd give my own references, It wasn't hard.I created my own past.

Kelvin Mitnick was conscious not to make any good friends or date because his pictures were all over the news . he had favourite bars and restaurants but he was never overly friendly with other patrons so they wouldn't identify him. Mitnick was known by the FBI for being overweight he started hitting the gym every day in order to change his looks and body type.

I even have to put rocks in my shoes in order to change my gait. he said it the number one way you can be recognised . i just took it day bu day looking  over your shoulder was no way to live i treated it like i was'nt even on the run and when i treated it like that i didnt have that stress. He said  cops will drive by and i'd be like hi . once i got on the front page of New Yorks Times i ecame a very high Priority , They used a bad photo that made me look evil nd griacing so that great . Ilooked totally different 
After he grows tried of Denver Mitnick became Brian  Merril and moved to Seattle where he worked at a tech firm from here Kelvin made a powerful enemy (Tsutomu Shimomura) that Ultimately led to his capture.


Tsutomu Shimomura vs kelvin Mitnick
Tsutomu Shimomura was a respected security expert and a character almost as complex as Kelvin Mitnick. A 30-year-old science geek Shimomura was also a Japanese citizen, a ski-bum, along-haired computational physicist and a hacker himself but unlike Kelvin Mitnick every time Shimomura explorations uncovered security holes he reported them to security authorities, not to hackers. In December 1994 when someone broke into Tsutomu  Shimomura elaborate computer system in his San Diego home Using a never before seen sophisticated hacking method and them stole some fancy cellular phone tools Shimomura took it has a personal challenge. When the trail led to Kelvin Mitnick, Shimomura became a cyber sleuth on a mission to catch Kelin.

From the 1970's up until his last arrest in 1995 Kelvin Mitnick skillfully eluded and bypassed corporate security safeguards, penetrating some of the most well-guarded systems including  Sun Microsystem. Digital Equipment Corporation, Motorola, Netcom and Nokia. He even has to go on record and deny hacking into the Department of Defense's  North American Aerospace, Defense Command and Wiretapping the Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ). 

A 1994 New York times profile breathlessly described him as having hacked into the computer at the North American Aerospace it wasn't true but became part of his legend. 

The FBI with the co-operation and technical support of Shimomura finally tacked hin down in Realign, California. He was found with cloned cellular phones more than 100 cloned cellular phone codes and multiple pieces of false identification.

In 1999 as part of a deal, he pled guilty to four counts of wire fraud, two counts of computer fraud and one count of illegally intercepting communications. He spent 5 years in federal prison ending in 2000, he was even enforced to spend eight months in solitary confinement because the guards were he could control the computers systems around the jail.

Mitnick was released on 21st of January 2000, during his supervised released which ended on January 21st 2003 he was initially forbidden to use any communications technology other than a landline telephone. Mitnick fought this Decision in court eventually winning a ruling in his favour, allowing him to access the internet. Under the plea-deal Mitnick was also prohibited from profiting from films or book based on his criminal activity for seven years.

In December 2002 an FCC judge ruled that Mitnick was mentally stable and well enough to possess a federally issued amateur radio license. 

Kelvin Mitnick now runs a successful security company called His team tests for weaknesses in companies security by trying to hack them, ironically using all of the skills he learned has a Black Hat Hacker. Clearly extremely intelligent and skilled at his job Mitnick has written Three Book has largely defined what we know today about Social Engineering.
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