After a two-year FBI manhunt in the 1990s, Mitnick was convicted of computer and wire fraud and sentenced to five years in prison.
However, after being allowed to go free in 2000, he remade himself, turning into a well-known “white hat” hacker, cybersecurity expert, and author.
He battled pancreatic cancer for 14 months before p@ssing away on Sunday.
“Kevin was an original; much of his life reads like a fiction story,” according to his obituary.
R.I.P. KEVIN MITNICK – "Kevin was an original; much of his life reads like a fiction story. The word that most of us who knew him would use – magnificent."
You were most definitely a trailblazer and inspired generations of security pros.
— Niel Harper (@noaharper) July 20, 2023
He was an only kid who grew up in the San Fernando Valley of California, where he was bright and restless, with a propensity for mischief, a rebellious attitude toward authority, and a fascination for magic.
In the 1990s, Mitnick made a name for himself by getting into business networks, notably those of Pacific Bell and the government, and stealing credit card and corporate data.
In addition to hacking into the nation’s cell networks and damaging business, governmental, and academic computer systems, he was involved in the nationwide theft of thousands of credit card information and data files.
Investigators labelled him the “most wanted” computer hacker on the planet.
He was apprehended in 1995 after a two-year worldwide FBI manhunt, and he ultimately entered a guilty plea to computer and wire fraud.
Authorities thought he had access to millions of dollars worth of company trade secrets.
Mitnick refuted utilizing his abilities to steal or exploit information for financial benefit in his 2011 autobiography, Ghost in the Wires.
“Anyone who loves to play chess knows that it’s enough to defeat your opponent. You don’t have to loot his kingdom or seize his assets to make it worthwhile,” he stated.
Kevin Mitnick denied using his skills to steel or exploit informational for financial gain.
"Anyone who loves to play chess knows that it's enough to defeat your opponent, you don't have to loot his kingdom or seize his assets to make worthwhile" – Kevin Mitnick wrote.
— Pandy M (@PandyMuthuraj) July 20, 2023
The hacker community mobilized to advocate for Kevin after his arrest, including protests outside the jail where he was being kept as part of their ‘Free Kevin’ campaign.
He went on to become a “white hat” hacker, author, and public speaker after being released from prison.
In order to test security configurations, “white hat” hackers use their knowledge to find organizations’ security gaps or vulnerabilities.
He established Mitnick Security Consulting in 2003, which offered cybersecurity advice to Fortune 500 firms and government organizations.
He was appointed “chief hacking officer” and a co-owner of KnowBe4, a company that provides phishing security awareness training, in 2011.
“Kevin will always remain ‘the world’s most famous hacker’ and was renowned for his intelligence, humour, and extraordinary skill with technology, surpassed only by his talent as the original social engineer,'” the business said in a statement on Thursday.