Kevin Mitnick, formerly the world’s ‘most-wanted’ hacker, has passed away

Kevin Mitnick, who was once one of the world’s most wanted computer hackers, has passed away at 59 on July 16th. According to his obituary, Mitnick battled pancreatic cancer for more than a year and was undergoing treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “[M]uch of his life reads like a fiction story,” his obituary reads, and that’s perhaps the perfect way to describe his tale. The first time Mitnick infiltrated a computer system was way back in 1979, but it wasn’t until 1988 that he was convicted and sentenced to 12 months in prison for copying a company’s software.He broke into Pacific Bell’s voicemail computers when he was under supervised release and then continued to hack into cell networks, as well as company and government websites, as a fugitive in the 90s. Mitnick was also involved in the theft of thousands of files and credit card numbers, but his obituary says he “never took one dime from any of his ‘victims.'” He was eventually caught in 1995 and charged with illegal use of a telephone access device and computer fraud. Apparently, authorities believed he had access to corporate trade secrets worth millions of dollars at the time.Mitnick spent five years in prison, which he described as a “vacation” by the time he was freed. From there, he changed the course of his career and chose to become a White Hat hacker and cybersecurity consultant. In 2011, he became part owner and chief hacking officer of KnowBe4, which provides security awareness training and a simulated phishing platform to clients. Before all these happened, Mitnick figured out how to game LA’s public transportation system at 12 years old by memorizing bus schedules and punch cards and then obtaining his own punch tool systems so he could ride buses all day. Mitnick is survived by his wife, Kimberley Mitnick, and their unborn child.This article originally appeared on Engadget at