PLA Issue #18: The Kevin Mitnick Saga Continues

Written by RedBoxChiliPepper on February 2, 1995

I kind of assumed that the Kevin Mitnick story was over back in 1990 after they published the book “Cyberpunk.” It seemed that he was reformed and his computer shenanagens were forever behind him but each day it seems like the Mitnick saga gets better and better. So this is the Mitnick file. Everything I’ve ever owned on Mitnick is here so enjoy it.

I know there’s a lot more Mitnick articles floating around. A lot. I used to have all of them (more or less) but I seem to have misplaced a few so until I get my ass over to the university to use their computers, the following is all you get. If you have any to contribute, please do so.

The following memo is from Pacific Bell Security concerning Kevin Mitnck.

On May 14, 1987, Electronic Operations received a court order directing Pacific
Bell to place traps on the telephone numbers assigned to a company known as
“Santa Cruz Operations.” The court order was issued in order to identify the
telephone number being used by an individual who was illegally entering Santa
Cruz Operations’ computer and stealing information.

On May 28, 1987, a telephone number was identified five separate times making
illegal entry into Santa Cruz Operations’ computer. The originating telephone
number was 805-495-6191, which is listed to Bonnie Vitello, 1378 E. Hillcrest
Drive, Apartment 404, Thousand Oaks, California.

On June 3, 1987, a search warrant was served at 1378 E. Hillcrest Drive, Apt.
404, Thousand Oaks, California. The residents of the apartment, who were not
at home, were identified as Bonnie Vitello, a programmer for General Telephone
and Kevin Mitnick, a known computer hacker. Found inside the apartment were
three computers, numerous floppy disks and a number of General Telephone
computer manuals.

Kevin Mitnick was arrested several years ago for hacking Pacific Bell, UCLA
and Huhes Aircraft company compouters. Mitnick was a minor at the time of his
arrest. Kevin Mitnick was recently arrested for compromising the data base of
Santa Cruz Operations.

The floppy disks that were seized pursuant to the search warrant revealed
Mitnick’s involvement in compromising the Pacific Bell UNIX operation systems
and other data bases. The disks documented the following:

o Mitnick’s compromise of all southern California SCC/ESAC computers. On file
were the names, log-ins, passwords, and home telephone numbers for
northern and southern ESAC employees.

o The dial-up numbers and circuit identification documents for SCC computers
and data kits.

o The commands for testing and seizing trunk testing lines and channels.

o The commands and log-ins for COSMOS wire centers for northern and southern

o The commands for line monitoring and the seizure of dial tone.

o References to the impersonation of southern California security agents and
ESAC employees to obtain information.

o The commands for placing terminating and originating traps.

o The addresses of Pacific Bell locations and the electronic door lock access
codes for the following southern California central offices ELSG12, LSAN06,
LSAN12, LSAN15, LSAN56, AVLN11, HLWD01, HWTH01, IGWD01, LOMT11 and SNPD01.

o Inter-company electronic mail detailing new login/password proceedures and

o The work sheet of an UNIX encryption reader hacker file. If successful, this
program could break into any UNIX system at will.

“Ex-Computer Whiz Kid Held on New Fraud Counts”
by Kim Murphy (Los Angeles Times) December 16, 1988

Kevin Mitnick was 17 when he first cracked Pacific Bell’s computer system,
secretly channeling his computer through a pay phone to alter telephone bills,
penetrate other computers and steal $200,000 worth of data from a San
Francisco corporation. A juvenile court judge at the time sentenced Mitnick to
six months in a youth facility.

[After his release,] his probation officer found that her phone had been
disconnected and the phone company had no record of it. A judge’s credit record
at TRW Inc. was inexplicably altered. Police computer files on the case were
accessed from outside… Mitnick fled to Israel. Upon his return, there were
new charges filed in Santa Cruz, accusing Mitnick of stealing software under
development by Microport Systems, and federal prosecutors have a judgement
showing Mitnick was convicted on the charge. There is, however, no record of
the conviction in Santa Cruz’s computer files.

On Thursday, Mitnick, now 25, was charged in two new criminal complaints
accusing him of causing $4 million damage to a DEC computer, stealing a highly
secret computer security system and gaining access to unauthorized MCI long-
distance codes through university comoputers in Los Angeles, CA, and England.

A United States magistrate took the unusual step of ordering Mitnick held
without bail, ruling that when armed with a keyboard he posed a danger to the
community. “This thing is so massive, we’re just running around trying to
figure out what he did,” said the prosecutor, an assistant United States
attorney. “This person, we believe, is very, very dangerous, and he needs to
be detained and kept away from a computer.”

Los Angeles Police Department and FBI investigators say they are only now
beginning to put together a picture of Mitnick and his alleged high-tech
escapades. “He’s several levels above what you would characterize as a computer
hacker,” said detective James K. Black, head of the Los Angeles police dept’s
computer crime unit. “He started our with a real driving curiousity for
computers that went beyond personal compouters…He grew with the technology.”

Mitnick is to be arraigned on two counts of computer fraud. The case is
believed to be the first in the nation under a federal law that makes it a
crime to gain access to an interstate computer network for criminal purposes.
Federal prosecutors also obtained a court order restricting Mitnick’s phone
calls from jail, fearing he might gain access to a computer over phone lines.

“Dark Side Hacker…” From The Los Angeles Times…
Dammit, what’s the date on this article???

When computer hacker Kevin Mitnick arrived at a Calabases parking garage for
a meeting with his friend Lenny DiCicco four weeks ago, DiCicco reached up and
casually scratched his head, a pre-arranged signal to federal agents hiding

Quickly, with the sound of screeching tires and shouted commands, a half
dozen men closed in and handcuffed Mitnick. “Len, why did you do this to me?”,
Mitnick asked as he was being led away, DiCicco recalled later.

“Because you’re a menace to society,” DiCicco replied.

Law enforcement authorities couldn’t agree more. Mitnick, 25, an overweight,
bespectacled San Fernando Vally computer junkie known as a “dark side” hacker
for his willingness to use the computer as a weapon, has been accused of
causing $4 million in damage to computer giant Digital Equipment Corp in

Described by one investigator as a sophisticated criminal whose computer was
an “umbilical cord to his soul,” he also is charged by a federal grand jury
with illegally copying Digital software valued at $1 million.

But those are just the latest in a decade-long series of accusations against
Mitnick, whose high school computer hobby turned into a lasting obsession.

He roved Los Angeles, allegedly using computers at schools and businesses to
break into Defense Department computer systems, sabotage business computers
and electronically harass anyone-including a probation officer and FBI agents
who got in his way. He also learned how to disrupt telephone company
operations and disconnected the phones of Hollywood celebrities such as
Kristy McNichol, authorities said.

So determined was Mitnick, according to friends, that when he suspected his
home phone was being monitored, he carried his hand-held keyboard to a pay
phone in front of a 7-Eleven store, where he hooked it up and continued to
break into computers around the country.

“He’s an electronic terrorist,” said DiCicco. “He can ruin someone’s life
just using his fingers.”

Over the last month, three federal court judges have refused at seperate
hearings to set bail for Mitnick, contending there would be no way to protect
society from him if he were freed from his cell at the Metropolitan Detention
Center in Los Angeles, where he is awaiting a February 21 trial date.

Although there is a subculture of “whiz kids” around the country who break
into computers for fun, and they occasionally are caught by local authorities,
they traditionally wind up with no more than a slap on the wrist or a short
term in jail or juvenile detention facilities, according to Jay Bloom Becker
of the National Center for Computer Data, an information firm in Los Angeles.

But Mitnick is being treated as anything but a prankster. Prosecutors say he
is the first person to be charged under a tough federal interstate computer
crime law. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of three counts.

Mitnick’s lack of conscience, authorities say, makes him even more dangerous
than hackers such as Robert Morris Jr.

Mitnick’s motive for a decade of hacking?

Not money, apparently. An unemployed computer programmer, he drove a used
car and was living with his wife in his mother’s modest Panorama City
apartment at the time of his arrest.

“He’s gotten nothing out of it except jail,” said DiCicco.

Mitnick’s family and attorney however, accuse federal prosecutors of
blowinng the case out of proportion, either out of fear or misunderstanding of
the technology. Mitnick’s wife, Bonnie, a clerk who met her future husband
when he sent a message to her computer asking for a date, said prosecutors are
portraying her husband as a technological magician who “could turn dogs into

His mother, Shelly Jaffee, a Panorama City waitress, said her son never even
owned a computer and is not smart enough to pull off such sopisticated crimes.
She acknowledged that he once won a $300 prize at a fair for cracking a
display computer’s security code, but she attributed that more to luck than
anything else.

By all acounts, Mitnick was a bright but indistinguished boy in school, said Jaffee, who was divorced when Kevin was 3. “He was just a normal, typical kid. He was not a whiz kid,” she said.
In fact, Mitnick disliked school, where he was unpopular, friends said.

Aloof and a loner, his appearance didn’t help. He acquired the much-satirized
look of the computer fanatic: shirt tail hanging out, horn-rimmed glasses and
pens in his breast pocket.

“There was always something slightly out of place,” said one educator who
knew Mitnick as a student in a computer class.

His interest in computers blossomed at Monroe High School in Sepulveda,
where he took a programming course taught by John Christin 1979. But Mitnick
was not interested in writing simple programs, he wanted to learn how to
manipulate the fundamental codes that made the computer work, Christ said.

Soon, he was using the classroom computers, furnished by Digital Equipment
Corp., the world’s largest maker of networked computers with $11 billion in
annual sales, to gain access to files in the Los Angeles Unified School
District’s main computers in downtown Los Angeles, Christ said. The two
systems were linked and Mitnick was able to discover codes that, when typed
into the classroom system, would allow entry into the main computers.

He didn’t try to alter grades, but caused enough trouble that administrators
asked Christ to watch him closely. When Mitnick was caught breaking in again,
Christ said, he showed no remorse.

“He has no conscience as far as I can tell,” the instructor said.

DiCicco said Mitnick was already a schoolyard legend for misusing the
computer terminal when they met. DiCicco, who became a disciple, said
watching Mitnick find ways into computer systems “was thrilling. I was
learning a lot from him.”

He may not have been on the football team, but within the subculture of
computer hackers, Mitnick was a colorful figure, using the name “Condor,” for
a Robert Redford movie character who outwits the government. The final digits
of his unlisted home phone number were 007.

Mitnick had such a special feeling for the computer that when an
investigator for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office accused him
of harming a computer he entered, he got tears in his eyes. “The computer to
him was more of an animate thing,” said the investigator, Robert Ewen, “There
was an umbilical cord from it to his soul. That’s why when he got behind a
computer he became a giant.”

Although some teen-agers consider hacking glamorous, it atually can be a
grinding process. A hacker may spend hours, even days, on a home terminal,
connected by phone to another system the hacker wants to enter. The target
system is usually protected by security designed to keep out unauthorized
intruders, so the hacker often has to deduce or discover by tedious trial and
error the secret passwords given to people authorized to use the system.

What made Mitnick “the best,” said Steven Rhoades, a fellow hacker and
friend, was his ability to talk people into giving him privilleged
information. He would call an official with a company he wanted to penetrate
and say he was in the maintenance department and needed a computer password.
He was so convincing, they gave him the neccessary names or numbers, Rhoades

Rhoades said he and Mitnick broke into a North American Air Defense Command
computer in Colorado Springs, CO in 1979. The 1983 movie “Wargames” is based
upon a similar incident, in which a young hacker nearly starts World War III
when he sends a message to a defense computer that is mistaken for a Soviet
missile attack.

But Rhoades said they did not interfere with any defense operations. “We
just got in, looked around and got out,” he said.

At the time he was getting interested in computers, Mitnick also developed a
fascination for the telephone system, becoming what is known as a “phone
phreak.” In 1981, when he was just 17, Mitnick and three others were arrested
for stealing manuals while pretending to be on a guided tour of Pacific Bell’s
computer center in Los Angeles, which controlled service and repair operations
and other functions for Southern California’s phone system.

He was prosecuted as a juvenile and placed on probation. He violated it a
short time later, however, by using USC computers. He was sent to a youth
detention facility for six months, records show.

Pacific Bell officials refuse to talk about Mitnick. But he eventually
learned so much that he could create phone numbers, tap into telephone calls,
and disconnect service without leaving a trace, according to DiCicco and
Rhoades. He did this, according to DiCicco, by impersonating phone company
officials, or by playing certian tones over the phone to the Pacific Bell
computer, which then carried out pre-programmed orders.

Ewen said Mitnick “had the ability to do anything the telephone company
could do. Our belief was, he could have taken the system down.”

One thing he did repeatedly, according to authorities, was disconnect phone
service to entertainers he admired, especially McNichol, then a star of the
television show “Family.”

Ridgeway said Mitnick once bragged to her that he had tampered with the
credit records of FBI agents who investigated him.

“He had a very vindictive streak,” she said. “A whole bunch of people were
harassed. They call me all the time.”

Even friends were not safe. Rhoades said he once picked up his phone at
home and heard a recorded message telling him to “please deposit 25 cents.”
DiCicco said he once found that all his company’s calls were being forwarded
to his home phone, a prank he was sure Mitnick was behind.

Mitnick met his wife two years ago in a class at Computer Learning Center in
Los Angeles, where he was helping to write a security program to protect the
school’s computer system against hackers. A message suddenly appeared on her
computer screen asking for a date. Auburn-haired and petite, she looked over
at him, then typed, “Sure.”

Chivalrous, he walked her to class and even carried her books.

Mitnick’s attorney, Alan Rubin, said everything he can learn about his
client shows him to be a decent, hard-working man. “We have a picture of him
that is so out of line with what the government is saying,” he said, shaking
his head.

In 1987, Mitnick broke into the systems of computer firms in Santa Cruz,
authorities said. He was so confident, he continued to enter The Santa Cruz
Operation computers after officials there detected him and electronically sent
him his own password, “hacker,” so they could keep close watch on what he was

The company agreed not to sue him if he would tell them how he had broken
through the security, and Computer Services Manager Steph Marr said he flew
down to Los Angeles to meet Mitnick. Marr said he complimented Mitnick’s
abilities with a respectful greeting.

“Well met, well played,” Marr said. But Mitnick shrugged off the praise,
the executive said.

“He sort of came across as I was not fully qualified to ask him these

Associates said Mitnick believed he was too clever to be caught. He had
penetrated the DEC network in Massachusetts so effectively, DiCicco said, that
he could read the personal electronic mail of security people working on the
case of the mysterious hacker and discover just how close they were getting to

But caught he was, again and again, often by authorities tracing the long
distance calls needed for an outsider to tie in to acomputer. After each
brush with authorities, however, the lure to return to hacking was too great
to resist, according to his friends. His mastery of the computer, after all,
was his “source of self esteem,” said Rhoades.

Friends say Mitnick thought of using his unusual abilities to make a living.
He and DiCicco were planning to start a business that would advise companies
how to keep out hackers.

But strains developed in their relationship, according to DiCicco, when he
tired of the “dark side” hacking. He said he tried to get away from Mitnick,
but his friend would search him out.

Mitnick began visiting DiCicco at night at Voluntary Plan Administrators
(VPA), a Calabasas firm where DiCicco worked, to use the company’s computers.
DiCicco said that when he grew sick of Mitnick’s demands and finally turned
him down, Mitnick called his boss, impersonated an IRS agent and said DiCicco was be investigated.

It was one malicious prank too many. Confronted by his boss, DiCicco
“spilled the beans,” he said.

The FBI was called in and watched Mitnick’s every move the day before his
arrest, once recording him after he signed on the computer system at VPA.
Mitnick dialed into Digital and into a computer system in Leeds, England,
according to DiCicco and law enforcement officials. DiCicco said Mitnick
talked British professors into giving him passwords and was already halfway
into the system when he quit after six hours of hacking.

He had no second thoughts about turning in his former mentor. “He always
thought he had his thumb on me,” DiCicco said.

Friends said Mitnick did it all simply for the challenge, what one computer
expert called finding “a worthy opponent.”

The lack of a profit motive in Mitnick’s hacking makes the move to hold him
without bail repugnant to some defense attorneys. “It’s crazy,” said Leslie
Abramson, president of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice in Los

“It speaks of the vast power of prosecutors.”

But prosecutors say Mitnick is a new kind of criminal, one who can do as
much harm with a computer terminal as a bank robber with a gun. They say
there is evidence he broke into the super-secret National Security Agency
computers and that other federal charges could be filed soon.

In addition, county authorities are reviewing evidence against both Mitnick
and DiCicco of a possible theft of computer software at Pierce College.

“There is a tendency to look on these things as pranks,” said Deputy Dist.
Atty. Stephen Plafker.

“Mitnick has got enough of a history now that we can look on him as being
really dangerous.”

Feds pull plug on most wanted computer hacker – February 17, 1995
Electronic Hunt nets Mitnick, 31 – From Corpus Cristi Caller Times

RALEIGH, N.C. – Federal authorities see him as the world’s most wanted
computer hacker. But to his former therapist, Kevin Mitnick is just “a sad,
lonely, angry, isolated boy” who spent more time with computers that people.

Culminating a search that began in November 1992, federal agents arrested
Mitnick early Wednesday at his Raleigh apartment. Mitnick, who once broke into
a top secret military defense system as a teen-age prank, allegedly pilfered
thousands of data files and at least 20,000 credit card number, worming his way
into ever the most sophisticated systems.

A detention hearing was scheduled for this morning before a federal
magistrate. Mitnick, 31, was charged with computer fraud, punishable by 20 years
in prison, and illegal use of a telephone access device, which carries a
maximum 15-year sentence. Both crimes also are punishable by $250,000 fines.
In addition, he was wanted in California for allegedly violating probation on
a previous hacing conviction.

“It was an intensive, two-week-long electronic manhunt that involved several
dozen law enforcement agents around the country,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kent
Walker in San Fransisco said Thursday.

But others pooh-poohed the depiction of Mitnick as the cyberthief to beat
all cyberthieves. “That’s what I see, a sad, lonely, angry, isolated boy,”
Harriet Rosetto, Mitnick’s former therapist, told the Daily News of Los
Angeles after learning of his arrest. “I don’t think he’s that important a
person. I think he’s become mythical,” said said. “That he’s become public
enemy No. 1 is kind of laughable.

“I think that had he found a way to be accepted in the mainstream, he would
have joined the mainstream,” Rosetto said. “He already had this reputation as
this Svengali character. Nobody wanted to go near him.”

One of the first indicted under the Computer Security Act of 1987, Mitnick
was convicted of getting into MCI telephone computers and accessing long-
distance codes, and of causing $4 million damage to Digital Equipment Corp.

The $4 million actually represented computer down-time, not damage, said
attorney Alan Rubin who defended Mitnick. But it was Mitnick’s third conviction
and he served one year in prison. At the 1989 sentencing, U.S. District Judge
Mariana Pfaelzer ruled that Mitnick’s hacing was an addiction, like drugs,
alcohol or the junk food he lived on. She agreed that he was dangerous when
armed with a computer and phone line, and ordered him to get therapy and go
to prison.

In therapy, Mitnick lost 100 of his nearly 300 pounds and worked on his
self-esteem, Rosetto said. Tom Perrine, who used to develop software to
protect classified information for the federal government, said authorities
are behind when it comes to computer hacking investigations.

And in the end, it took someone with the skills of Tsutomu Shimomura, a 30
year old computer security soecialist at the San Diego Supercomputer Center,
to help the federal agents track Mitnick. Shimomura’s own computer at his
California beach house, which was linked to the system at the center, was hit
by the hacker on Christmas Day, said center spokeswoman Stephanie Sides.

Incensed, Shimomura canceled a ski vacation and assembled a team of computer
experts to hunt down the intruder. They traced Mitnick to Netcom, a nationwide
Internet access provider, and with the help of federally subpoenated phone
records determined that he was placing calls from a cellular phone near
Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Early Monday morning, Shimomura drove around Raleigh with a telephone
company technician. They used a cellular frequency direction-finding antenna
hooked to a laptop to narrow the search to an apartment complex. The FBI
arrested Mitnick after a 24-hour stakeout.


03/28/05 – BT from Australia: yes this is kevins private work email ( ) that will go directly to kevin

03/01/05 – Xer0 from 1337: Do you knok if Kevin Mitnick have an email??? xD

11/25/04 – Ingrid from Vienna: 3 books were issued of Kevin Mitnick, the super hacker, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison in 1995 and went free again in 2000, is is allowed since 2003 to use Internet again, one film is made of his story, Hackers 2, ther you can get more inofrmation of his illegal acts increcible actions

07/12/04 – ben from colorado: Yeh, try getting a slashdot interview with him, because he’s on supervised release… and yes. HAX0Rz @t T3H PL@z0rz!!111

06/20/04 – crackkills from 1337: OMG HAX0Rz @T PL@!!!#

04/06/04 – Tr8 from NJ: ne one know how to get in contact with him?

02/19/04 – mike from indiana: man, that guy is pretty badass, i wish i could do that stuff

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