The autobiography of Kevin Mitnick, who at one time was the most wanted hacker on the planet, was a refreshing nonfiction read from all the science fiction I’ve been reading lately. Mitnick tells some of the most interesting and eye opening stories that I’ve read in a while from an entertaining retrospective first person account.
Kevin Mitnick eventually ended up serving 5 years in prison for his hacking crimes. Many anti-hacking laws were written as a direct result of his activities. Companies had to redesign their security to avoid the social engineering attacks that Mitnick made famous.
Interestingly, hacking for Mitnick was never about wealth or power; instead it was simply a challenge and came to be an addiction to him. Personally, I feel that since he never actually did anything damaging to or with the information he obtained he should have not been punished as severely.
I’d like to think that I could do a lot of the things that Mitnick did if I was really interested but I don’t think it’s a fair comparison by any regard comparing the state of the world today to the state of the world 20+ years ago. Since 9/11/2001 with the Patriot act I think the government has a lot more snooping power than ever before. Any way that I would know how to manipulate technology to do things not originally designed is marginally hacking at best. I wouldn’t know anything other than how to use already established technology created by other people.
After being released from prison back in 2000, Mitnick was initally limited in his use of technology by court order. Eventually with a bit more freedom he was able to become a security consultant being payed by companies to attempt to infiltrate their systems by any means that he can. That has to be an awesome job and he gets to continue to do what he loves, hacking. I follow Kevin Mitnick on twitter. In this age of ubiquitous communication it’s awesome that I can have a contact with an author after reading one of the their books.
This was probably one of the most confusing review I’ve ever written. For some reason I really can’t focus today but I didn’t want to put off writing this any more.