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Kevin Mitnick, Hacker Who Eluded Authorities, Is Dead at 59

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Kevin Mitnick, once one of the most wanted computer criminals in the United States and a reformed hacker, died on Sunday, according to a statement shared Wednesday by a cybersecurity training firm co-founded by Kevin Mitnick and a Las Vegas funeral home. he was 59 years old.

His death was confirmed by publicist Cathy Whatman. Knowby 4.

The cause was a complication of pancreatic cancer. The newspaper said he was being treated at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after being diagnosed more than a year ago. King David Memorial Chapel and Cemetery in Las Vegas.

After serving time on charges of breaking and tampering with corporate computer networks, he was released in 2000 and started a new career as a security consultant, author, and speaker.

Mitnick is best known for his criminal stole of thousands of data files and credit card numbers from computers across the country in the 1990s. He used his skills to infiltrate national telephone and cellphone networks and destroy computer systems in governments, businesses, and universities.

Investigators at the time named him the world’s “most wanted” computer hacker.

In 1995, after more than two years of investigation, Mr. Mitnick was arrested by the FBI and charged with illegal use of telephone access devices and computer fraud. “He was said to have accessed millions of dollars’ worth of trade secrets. He was a very big threat,” Kent Walker, a former assistant federal attorney in San Francisco, said at the time.

In 1998, while Mitnick was awaiting sentencing, a group of supporters occupied the New York Times website for several hours, forcing it to shut down.

The following year, Mitnick pleaded guilty to computer fraud and wire fraud as part of an agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to 46 months in prison. He was also prohibited from using a computer or cell phone without the permission of a probation officer for three years after his release.

Mr. Mitnick grew up in Los Angeles as the only child of divorced parents. According to his 2011 memoir Ghost in the Wires, he was a loner who moved frequently and studied magic tricks.

By age 12, Mitnick figured out how to get on the bus with a $15 punch card and a blank ticket from a trash can, and by high school he was fascinated by the inner workings of telephone company switches and lines.

By the age of 17, he had compromised the computer systems of various companies, and those activities eventually led him to clash with authorities for the first time. It was the beginning of a decades-long cat-and-mouse game with law enforcement.

In his memoir, Mitnick disputed many of the accusations made against him, including hacking into government computer systems.

Mitnick also claimed that he ignored credit card numbers collected in his pursuit of crypto. “Anyone who loves chess knows that it is enough to beat his opponent. There is no need to plunder his kingdom or seize his property to make his kingdom worthwhile,” he wrote in his book.

Survivors include Mitnick’s wife, Kimberly Mitnick, who is expecting their first child, according to the obituary.

A full obituary will be published soon.

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