Kevin Mitnick, a hacker who was once one of the most wanted computer criminals in the United States, died on Sunday, according to a statement shared Wednesday by a cybersecurity training company he co-founded. Was and has a funeral home in Las Vegas. He was 59 years old.
His death was confirmed by spokeswoman Cathy Wattman. KnowBe4,
The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer, for which Mr. Mitnick was undergoing treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after being diagnosed more than a year ago. King David Memorial Chapel and Cemetery in Las Vegas.
Mr. Mitnick, a convicted hacker, was best known for a crime spree during the 1990s that involved the theft of thousands of data files and credit card numbers from computers across the country. He used his skills to infiltrate the country’s phone and cell networks, and destroy government, corporate, and university computer systems. investigator at the time He was named the “most wanted” computer hacker in the world.
In 1995, after a long manhunt of more than two years, Mr. Mitnick was captured by the FBI and charged with illegal use of a telephone access device and computer fraud. “He allegedly had access to corporate trade secrets worth millions of dollars. He was a huge threat,” Kent Walker, a former assistant US attorney in San Francisco, said at the time.
In 1998, while Mr. Mitnick was awaiting sentencing, a group of supporters took over the New York Times The website remained down for several hours, forcing it to be shut down.
Next year, Mr. Mitnick pleaded guilty He was sentenced to a further 46 months in prison for computer and wire fraud as part of a deal with prosecutors. He was also banned from using a computer or cellphone without permission from his probation officer for three years after his release.
According to the funeral home’s obituary, after his release from prison in 2000, Mr. Mitnick began a new career as a security consultant, author and public speaker.
Mr. Mitnick grew up in Los Angeles, the only child of divorced parents. According to his 2011 memoir, he frequently moved and lived alone and learned magic tricks “ghosts in the stars”, By the age of 12, Mr. Mitnick had learned to ride a bus with ease using $15 punch cards and blank tickets scavenged from a dumpster, and in high school, developed an understanding of the inner workings of telephone switches and circuits. Passion developed. companies.
By the age of 17, he was working in different corporate computer systems, and eventually, those activities led to his first encounters with the authorities; The start of a decades-long cat-and-mouse game with law enforcement.
In his memoir, Mr. Mitnick denied many of the allegations against him, including that he had hacked government computer systems.
Mitnick also claimed that he ignored credit card numbers obtained in his search for the code. “Anyone who likes to play chess knows that this is enough to beat your opponent. You don’t have to plunder his kingdom or confiscate his property to make it worthwhile,” he wrote in his book.
Survivors include Mr. Mitnick’s wife, Kimberly Mitnick, who is pregnant with their first child, according to the obituary.
A full obituary will be forthcoming.