Kevin Mitnick

What Does Kevin Mitnick Mean?

Kevin Mitnick is a computer consultant with vast computer hacking experience, including many exploits as an infamous cyber-criminal. He is a former FBI fugitive and one of the most infamous computer hackers in history.


Techopedia Explains Kevin Mitnick

Among many cybercrimes, Mitnick was charged with hacking Digital Equipment Corporation’s hardware, Pacific Bell’s hardware and the systems of companies like Motorola, NEC and Nokia. He also helped himself to IBM’s administrator privileges, which was done “for the fun of it” when prompted by a bet. He was a savvy hacker, who committed what many considered to be very difficult hacks.

Mitnick was imprisoned for a year for computer hacking in 1989, but while on probation became an FBI fugitive three years after his release. He was again apprehended by the FBI in early 1995. After spending half of a decade in prison, including nearly a year of solitary confinement, Mitnick started a computer security consulting firm.

Mitnick used social engineering to circumvent various types of computer technology. Beginning his criminal career at a very young age, Mitnick manipulated the Los Angeles transit system when he figured out how to obtain free bus passes at the age of 12. In 1979 at age 16, Mitnick found himself performing his first cybercrime by hacking into the DEC’s computer network system. This resulted in DEC having to spend many thousands of dollars to rectify damaged systems. He was well versed at copying proprietary software from large U.S. digital electronics manufacturers, as well as hacking into private emails, stealing passwords and manipulating and changing various computer networks.

Mitnick had a penchant for obtaining false identification materials. In 2002, Mitnick’s publishers released his book titled The Art of Deception. In the book, Mitnick denies illegal use of hacking tools to obtain passwords or circumventing computer security.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.