Kevin Mitnick – World’s Most Wanted Hacker Research Paper

Kevin Mitnick: Background Information

Kevin Mitnick is an American computer security consultant, hacker, and author. In the mid-nineties, the 6th August 1963 born was the “the World’s Most Wanted hacker.” Since, the year 2000, Kevin has been a successful public speaker, security consultant, and author. Kevin offer security consulting services to Fortune 500 companies, undertakes penetration testing services for the largest companies across the world and teaches Social Engineering classes to a number of government agencies and companies.

Having more than fifteen years of experience in exploration of computer security, Mitnick became a largely self- taught expert in putting into exposure the degree of vulnerability of the complex operating systems and the telecommunications devices. At adolescent his hobbies were in studying methods, strategies and tactics used in circumventing computer security, and to learn more on how telecommunications and computer systems work (Goodell, 2006).

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Kevin and the Global Ghost Team currently maintain a 100% successful track record on capability of penetrating the security of any system they are hired to hack into by use of a combination of social engineering and technical exploits. As a CEO and the chief “white hat” at an advanced boutique security firms, Kevin mentors executive, leaders and staff on both the practice and theory of social engineering, topics on which he is considerable the leading global authority. He further helps consumer –from retirees to students, learn on how to protect themselves and their information from harm, by use of a friendly and understandable terms and approach.

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The Leading Specialist on Social Engineering

The platform on which Kevin has explored heavily in his undertakings and provision of information security has been more on social engineering. Kevin’s approach of social engineering penetration testing is the principal standard for the security industry (Goodell, 2006). Kevin’s bestselling and groundbreaking work, “The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security,”- a book many institutions and organizations require. The book entails explanations by Kevin on the easiest ways to penetrate into high-tech systems is done through people who operate, manage, and put them into use. He demonstrates that the weakest link to security is humans. Therefore, Mitnick Security –a company he founded uses his proprietary composite of information reconnaissance, technology and social engineers he’s personally mentored to offer unparalleled social engineering on penetration testing through all the attack vectors, including web, phone, social media onsite infiltration and e-mails.

Attacks through Social engineering, currently are the most serious cyber threat that organizations face. When an organization has undergone Social Engineering Penetration Testing, it learns how vulnerable it is to bad decisions, particularly with regard to security best practices, that are usually widespread and are unaddressed on every level of an organization.  A number of the organization’s staff will easily be convinced to unwittingly to give critical information (Hafner, & Markoff, 2012). The attacks on the Social Engineering platform are the most difficult to defend and detect against.

The Mitnick Security’s revolutionary social engineering penetration testing helps identify which people are likely to be compromised and their degree of susceptibility to social engineering attacks. They are capable of recommending inoculation and training exercises such people should receive. Moreover, they are capable of putting in place a new (or rather adjust the old ones) security policies to redirect the new realities of those threats brought by social engineering today. The company recommends a repetitive social engineering penetration testing program, to ensure enforcement of new security policies and keeping of the staff in a constant state of alertness.

Arrest, Conviction, and Incarceration

The world most notorious hacker has brushed shoulders with the law on a number of occasions. Kevin has been a major thorn to a number of companies computer network from the beginning. A major “crack” he first ever did was in 1979. This happened when a friend brought him the phone number for the Ark, a computer system at the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) which the company used to develop their RSTS/E operating system software. He eventually broke into the computer system of DEC and ended up copying the DEC’s software (Goodell, 2006). As a result of this he could make free phone calls and could also listen in and eavesdrop on any person he could please.

Kevin’s first brushed shoulders with the law when he physically broke into one of the biggest U.S. Computer System for the Mainframe operations, a database which is used by many of the nation’s phone companies for the control of the phone system’s basic record keeping purposes. He stole several lists of computer passwords, which included the combinations to the locks of doors at the nine Pacific Bell central offices besides getting a number of operating manuals for the COSMOS system. Kevin was sentenced to a juvenile correction center for three months alongside being given a year’s probation.

After a few years, Kevin was busted when he was using one of the University of South California’s computers in hacking into a computer at pentagon by use of the ARPA net (Hafner, & Markoff, 2012). The Advanced Research projects Agency Network (ARPANET) developed by DARPA of the United States Department of Defense, which was the first world’s operational packet switching network, and also the predecessor of the global internet. Before Mitnick could cause any harm he was busted by the university campus enforcement.

Another incident happened during 1988 when Kevin and his friend, Lenny DiCicco, were fighting a battle of a pitched electronic against the scientists at Digital Equipment’s Palo Alto research laboratory (Littman, 2010). Kevin became obsessed with getting a copy of the Digital’s VMS microcomputer operating system, and he was trying this through accessing entry into the company’s corporate computer network, called Easynet. Computers at Digital Palo Alto laboratory were easy to break through, therefore, every night DiCicco and Mitnick persistently launched their modem attacks from a small Calabasas –a California Company in which DiCicco had a computer support job. Even though Reid discovered the attacks just immediately, he had not known where the attacks were coming from, nor did the FBI or the local police, because Kevin was manipulating the network switches of the telephone calls to disguise the source of the modem calls. This was Kevin’s biggest crime, he hit the headlines by even hacking into the company’s data base and manipulating the address the modem presented. This act dumbfounded the FBI and resulted to addition of a new charge to wrap the sheet, “Evading the FBI.” It turned out that Kevin became his own enemy, being cursed with a big ego and a sense of humor Kevin decided to prank DiCicco by repeatedly phoning his boss making claims that, “DiCicco was having a problem with the Internal Revenue Service.” The continuous harassment made DiCicco to confess and consequently Kevin was busted too. He found himself in court facing severe charges of count computer fraud and on one count he was accused of being in possession of illegal long-distance access codes. But in a controversial and unlikely turn of events, Kevin was sentenced to six months in a counselling program and a one year in prison for his computer addiction (Long, & Mitnick, 2011).

Mitnick’s Warrant of Arrest

On finishing his rehabilitation in 1990 he secured a job through a friend to his father at Tel Tec Detective Agency. After sometime at the job, it was discovered that someone was illegally putting into use a commercial database system on behalf of the agency, and this made Kevin to once again be the subject of the FBI investigation (Long & Mitnick, 2008).The Bureau searched his apartment in September, as well as the workplace and home of another member of the initial phone phreak gang. In a period of two months later a federal judge issued a warrant of arrest on Kevin for violating the terms stated in his 1989 probation. These were rounded up in two charges: firstly illegal access to a phone company computer, and secondly is the act of associating with a member of that gang he was originally arrested with in 1981. A group of his friends claimed that Kevin had been set up by the detective firm, whether it was true or not, he had vanished by the time the FBI came to arrest him (Hadnagy, 2011).

In 1992 he reappeared by using hacked law enforcement requester codes to get licenses photos of a police informer from Los Angeles D.M.V. There rose suspicion which made the FBI to be called in. The detectives made a trace of the fax numbers and realized that it was belonging to a local copy shop. Then they staked out this particular copy shop which involved the detectives in a foot-chase against Mitnick but he ended up escaping. Soon after Mitnick got arrested again.

The Irony of Mitnick’s Hacking

Mitnick was never malicious in his hacking. He never performed his hacking for any personal gain or even to cause any damage to the systems he broke into. In his pursuit of hacking he was purely seeking to satisfy his intellectual curiosity in contrary to a number of inaccurate reports. Mitnick never destroyed any organization’s or institution’s data or even benefited from such exploits.

Unluckily enough, the government could not understand who was merely motivated by a personal quest for a good challenge and knowledge (Goodell, 2006). Due to the fact that computer crime seemed relatively a new challenge to the government way back in the mid -1990’s, there were huge efforts to get funding for the new crime-fighting programs. In order for the programs to have been successful, there was inevitable need for the public support. The combination for the drive for funding and the sensationalist media reports which would depict Kevin as the most wanted hacker across the globe, was everything that the government needed in order to make Kevin Be their prime target.

The Mitnick Security Consulting

The Mitnick Security Consulting is a computer security company founded by Kevin Mitnick. The company gives world leaders in technology, industry and governments technical and human based security controls which have the capability of controlling a sophisticated attack on the organization’s information system (Grand, Russell& Syngress Media Inc, 2014). The services of the company relies on the Mitnick Security’s 100% success track record of ensuring penetration of systems by use of technical exploits with a combination of social engineering to expose vulnerabilities. The company’s unique positioning in the industry make them able to provide the most comprehensive and advanced analysis, recommendations and available support services on computer security.

Mitnick Security Consulting deploys a team of the most advanced security experts with an aim of maximizing the results. The company undertakes its service provision depending on the clients’ requirements. That is, they tea or deploy a manner specific to each engagement, which includes augmenting their security specialists and a heavily trusted situational-specific blend of resources (Shimomura & Markoff, 2009). After which they employ a composite of methodologies and proprietary technology, and then test multiple attack vectors besides simulating sophisticated hackers in analyzing the company’s attack surface.

Can you hire Kevin Mitnick?

Absolutely yes, I would want to hire him. The enormous experience and self-initiated exploration on the computer and telecommunications systems risks and threat vulnerabilities is a great build up for offering computer security services. Based on the fact the Kevin’s Mitnick Security Consulting Company operates so hugely in offering security services to companies, institutions, organizations and even government agencies, my company would wish to be in that endless list of groups seeking his team’s and his personal systems security services.

Moreover, having been convinced that his pursuit to hack into other system was never malicious but a self-inflicted call on wanting to explore is a major boost in his reputation, trust and reliability to offer computer and telecommunications systems security services.

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