Who was Kevin Mitnick? Famed US hacker who died at 59; Know about his career, life, cause of death & net worth

Kevin Mitnick, a reformed hacker, died at 59 on Sunday. He was once among the FBI’s most wanted cybercriminals. Mitnick also served five years in prison for computer and wire fraud. He became a renowned white-hat hacker, cybersecurity consultant and author after his release in 2000.

Here’s everything you need to know about Kevin Mitnick, including a history of hacking career, personal life, and cause of death. 

Kevin Mitnick’s Hacking Career

Kevin Mitnick, at the age of 16, broke into the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)’s computer network and copied the company’s software. The authorities convicted him in 1988 and sent him to 12 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Before his supervised release ended, Mitnick hacked the Pacific Bell computer network. After the authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, he became a fugitive for two and a half years. According to the US Department of Justice, Mitnick gained unauthorised access to several networks as a fugitive. He also used cloned cell phones to hide his location.

The FBI arrested Mitnick in 1995 at his apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina. However, his arrest sparked a ‘Free Kevin’ movement in the hacking community. 

After his release from jail, he became a white hat hacker, writer, and public speaker. He founded Mitnick Security Consulting in 2003. The company counselled Fortune 500 companies and government agencies on cybersecurity. Later in 2011, he became the chief hacking officer and part owner of KnowBe4, a business that offered phishing safety awareness training. “Kevin will always remain ‘the world’s most famous hacker’ and was renowned for his intelligence, humour and extraordinary skill with technology, surpassed only by his talent as the original ‘social engineer,'” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Reports say Kevin Mitnick had a net worth of $20 million in 2023.

Kevin Mitnick Books

Kevin Mitnick has co-authored four books with William L Simon and Robert Vamosi. Three of them are on computer security, and one is his autobiography. z

Here’s the list of books by Kevin Mitnick. 

  • The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security (2002) 
  • The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders & Deceivers (2005)
  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker (2011)
  • The Art of Invisibility (2017)

Kevin Mitnick Cause of Death

Kevin Mitnick, once known as the world’s most wanted hacker, passed away on 16 July 2023 after a 14-month-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Kevin Mitnick’s Personal Life

Kevin was married to Bonnie Vitello from 1987 to 1990. He is survived by his wife, Kimberley Mitnick, who is reportedly pregnant with their first child.

(With inputs from agencies)

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