Claims to fame: High-profile hackers and what happened next

Claims to fame: High-profile hackers and what happened next

Summary: Some of the most high-profile computing criminals and alleged hackers - and it seems many turn to journalism after.

TOPICS: Security

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  • Kevin Mitnick, described by the U.S. Department of Justice as "the most wanted computer criminal in United States history", was known as a self-styled 'poster boy' for hacking.

    Famous for allegedly accessing high-profile computer systems of companies including Nokia, Fujitsu and Motorola, Mitnick became a player in a highly publicized dance and chase by authorities before being arrested in 1995.

    Mitnick was convicted for breaking into the Digital Equipment Corporation's computer network and stealing software. Before that particular stunt, he was known for exploiting bus punch card systems in LA and phone phreaking.

    He pleaded guilty to several charges as part of a plea bargain and served a 5-year sentence -- 8 months reportedly in solitary confinement -- before being released on parole. Today, Mitnick runs a computer security consultancy and is a public speaker and author.

  • Loyd Blankenship, also known as 'The Mentor', was a member of several hacker elite groups in the 1980s. The most famous was called the 'Legion of Doom' -- a group who stipulated they fought against rivals the 'Masters Of Deception' for online supremacy.

    However, Blankenship is more famously known for writing the 'Hacker Manifesto' -- The Conscience of a Hacker -- which was written after his arrest in 1986. The book in question is still used by hackers today, and by some is considered a cornerstone of hacker philosophy -- namely that curiosity is the main crime of hackers, rather than simply conniving to break the law.

  • Kevin Poulsen, aka Dark Dante, was first noticed after hacking into the phone lines of LA-based radio station KIIS-FM, in order to make sure he was the 102nd caller -- and landing himself the prize of a Porsche as a result.

    However, his antics didn't stop there. He also reactivated old Yellow Pages escort numbers for a friend who ran a virtual agency, hacked into a federal investigation database for wiretap information, and was dubbed "the Hannibal Lecter of computer crime."

    He even appeared on television show Unsolved Mysteries -- and strangely enough, all of the phone lines mysteriously crashed.

    Ultimately, Poulsen was snagged in a supermarket and served five years in prison. After his release, Poulson reinvented himself as a journalist -- and is known for a Wired article on identifying 774 sex offenders with MySpace profiles.  


Topic: Security

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  • It ain't worth it. No way. No how.

    The hackers that do crime have this teflon belief where they have convinced themselves that they are smarter than everyone else. Delusions of grandeur, etc. Everyone makes a mistake. Count on it.
  • A dream

    That guy's a profiler's dream; he ego, narcissism and depravity and lack of conscience show well in his photo. It's the kind of face you'd just love to fill with a jack-boot.
  • Wastes of skin

    Amen; and with egoes to match on top of their narcisism. I'm a profiler of sorts and that photo of that guy shows a total lack of respect for anyone else, an overblown ego, no consience and if not already true could be guilty of heinous crimes and an inability to see where anything he does is wrong. That's typical of these types of people.
  • Charlie, you missed one of your ZDNet guest writers.

    By which I mean Robert Schifreen. At least we know what HE's doing now - he has been writing about it all through May 2012 for ZDNet UK!
  • Mitnick

    They always say Mitnick works as a security consultant, but I've heard no one uses his services more than once. Why hire a guy who will install a back door into your computer when there are thousands who won't? I wouldn't hire him to clean out my pool.
  • Claims to fame: High-profile hackers and what happened next

    these people (hackers not crackers) were kids with more brain processing power than most of us. some of them opted to skirt the law and got caught, others became lucky and still are running wild in their chosen criminal profession. but we should not forget that most of them became the pillar of advancement in computing. kids are kids, they need guidance from home and from society to channel their creative energy for the benefit of us all. mitnick is a security consultant because he knows more about the psyche of a criminal mind, remember the old adage, "you need a thief to catch another thief." anybody can watch "catch me if you can", and see how the government used the talent of a young criminal to secure our checking system. and don't forget the woz. there are millions of them like him out there, working their butt off to understand how computers and networks work, and then use those gained knowledge when they join the job market later.
  • These guys should get laid

    If only these guys had managed to find a woman and something better to do in life besides sitting at a computer all day.. sigh..