Comeback of the hacker king

    Date21 Oct 2002
    CategoryHacks/Cracks
    3138
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    If you need a working definition of ironic, you could do worse than this. Last summer, Kevin Mitnick, the one-time hacker who was on the FBI's "10 Most Wanted" list of fugitives, was himself the victim of a scam just like he used to work on people. It's a technique Mitnick, 39, calls social engineering: getting access to information, including computer data, by talking to people rather than by accessing computers. "I practised it for 15 years. I would think I would be the most aware of when it was being done," he says. . . . If you need a working definition of ironic, you could do worse than this. Last summer, Kevin Mitnick, the one-time hacker who was on the FBI's "10 Most Wanted" list of fugitives, was himself the victim of a scam just like he used to work on people. It's a technique Mitnick, 39, calls social engineering: getting access to information, including computer data, by talking to people rather than by accessing computers. "I practised it for 15 years. I would think I would be the most aware of when it was being done," he says.

    But in June he got a call on his mobile phone from a reporter from the Associated Press. The reporter knew that Mitnick had written a book about social engineering, and he was keen to talk about it.

    "How did you get this number?" asked Mitnick, suspicious. The reporter explained that he had called the book publishers who had given him the number. Mitnick agreed to an interview and talked at length. When the interview appeared, his publishers were aghast. "Why did you talk to him?" they asked. Too late, Mitnick realised his mistake: "He misrepresented the facts," he says. "And even I fell for it. Because I didn't verify the authenticity of what he was telling me."

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