Computer “hacker” Kevin Mitnick gave a presentation, “Art of Deception: Are YOU in Danger of Being Conned?” on Friday, April 12, 2013 on the Rose State campus. Mr. Mitnick appeared as part of the Rose State Live! annual cultural series. Prior to a public presentation he spent over an hour visiting privately with students in Rose State’s nationally recognized cyber security program.
Mitnick was formerly known as the “most wanted hacker” in the country, and was pursued relentlessly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Beginning at age 12, he manufactured his own computer punch cards so he could ride buses for free in Los Angeles. This led to a long and varied career as a computer hacker, in which he broke into countless secure systems, reading emails, stealing passwords, altering computer networks, even “cloning” cell phones to make free (and untraceable) phone calls. After a well-publicized national manhunt, Mitnick was captured, tried and sentenced to four years in federal prison. He is now a computer security consultant.
Mitnick’s fascinating presentation addressed three ways secrets are compromised: via people, processes, and technology. One overlooked method is through the development of social connections. Mitnick noted that people have the illusion that being a target can’t happen to them. Coupled with the common notion that security rules are a waste of time and people’s trusting nature, hackers can often combine their technical skills with social techniques to acquire confidential information.
Kevin Mitnick during his visit with cyber security students.
After the presentation, Kevin Mitnick signed copies of his book Ghost in the Wires.