Kevin Mitnick

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The word hacker in today’s society has many meaning, but the definition that I will be talking about in this paper is best described by as, "One who uses programming skills to gain illegal access to a computer network or file."[1] According to there are three different types of hackers, white hat hackers, grey hat hackers and black hat hackers. A white hat hackers is, “. . .a person who is ethically opposed to the abuse of computer systems. Realizing that the Internet now represents human voices from all around the world makes the defense of its integrity an important pastime for many.”[2] A grey hat hacker is, “. . .a skilled hacker who sometimes acts legally and in good will and sometimes not. They are a hybrid between white and black hat hackers. They hack for no personal gain and do not have malicious intentions, but occasionally may or may not commit crimes in their actions.”[3] And lastly a black hat hacker is, “a malicious or criminal person whose correct label is "cracker". . .Usually a Black Hat refers to a person that maintains knowledge of the vulnerabilities and exploits they find as secret for private advantage, not revealing them either to the general public or manufacturer for correction.”[4]

One of the world’s most notorious black hat hackers goes by the alias Condor, named after the Robert Redford movie, “Three Day’s of the Condor”[7]. This is none other than the notorious, Kevin Mitnick. He has been a major thorn in the side of many companies computer networks since the beginning. His first major “crack” was in 1979, “. . .when a friend gave him the phone number for the Ark, the computer system at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) used for developing their RSTS/E operating system software. He broke into DEC's computer network and copied DEC's software. . .”[5] This in turn gave him not only the ability to make free phone calls but also listen in and eavesdrop on anyone he pleased.[6]

Kevin’s first run-in with the law was actually caused by an angry girlfriend of one of Mitnick’s associates. After physically breaking into the one of the U.S biggest Computer System for Mainframe Operations, “. . .a database used by many of the nation's phone companies for controlling the phone system's basic record keeping functions.”[8] He stole lists of computer passwords, including the combinations to the door locks at nine Pacific Bell central offices and a series of operating manuals for the COSMOS system.

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