Kevin Mitnick

  • Aired:  08/18/11
  •  | Views: 59,787

Once the world's most wanted hacker, Kevin Mitnick talks about his start as a phone prankster and his years as a government fugitive. (5:55)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT WAS ONCE

THE WORLD'S MOST WANTED

HACKER.

HE'LL NEVER GET MY PASSWORD

IT'S--

(LAUGHTER)

PLEASE WELCOME KEVIN MITNICK.

(APPLAUSE)

>> THANKS FOR COMING ON.

GREAT TO MEET YOU.

>> GREAT TO MEET YOU TOO.

>> YOU SIR WERE ONCE

CONSIDERED THE WORLD'S MOST

FAMOUS HACKER.

THE MOST WANTED MAN IN

COMPUTER CRIME.

CORRECT?

>> YES.

>> OKAY.

YOU ARE A CONSULTANT NOW BUT

AT ONE TIME YOU WERE, LET'S

SEE, YOU BYPASSED THE

SECURITY SYSTEMS OF MOTOROLA,

SUN MICROSYSTEMS AND PACIFIC

BELL.

>> YES, I DID.

>> YOU SERVED JAIL TIME FOR

THIS.

HOW MUCH.

>> FIVE YEARS.

>> FIVE YEARS.

>> AND A YEAR IN SOLITARY

CONFINEMENT.

>> WHY A YEAR IN SOLITARY

CONFINEMENT.

YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE A

DANGEROUS GUY.

>> I'M VERY DANGEROUS.

>> THE PROSECUTOR HAS TOLD A

JUDGE DURING A BAIL HEARING

THAT I COULD PICK UP THE

TELEPHONE AND CONNECT TO

NORAAD AND WHISTLE THE

LAUNCH CODES AND LAUNCH A

NUCLEAR WEAPON.

AND BECAUSE OF THIS, THE

JUDGE ACTUALLY HAD TO

SPECIAL ORDER THAT I WOULD

HAVE TO BE HELD IN PRISON

WITHOUT ACCESS TO A

TELEPHONE.

SO THE ONLY PLACE THEY COULD

PUT ME WAS IN SOLITARY

CONFINEMENT.

SO I WAS THERE ABOUT A YEAR.

>> Stephen: AND COULD YOU DO

THAT, BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE

BAD ASS.

>> I HAVE BEEN PRACTICING.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE GOT A

BOOK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE.

IT'S CALLED GHOST IN THE

WIRES.

MY ADVENTURE'S AS THE

WORLD'S MOST WANTED HACKER.

HOW OLD YOU WERE WHEN YOU

STARTED HACKING.

>> I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL.

>> Stephen: DID YOU GET INTO

HACKING FOR THE GIRLS.

>> NO.

I SHOULD HAVE.

WHY DID YOU START.

>> I WAS FASCINATED WITH THE

TELEPHONE SYSTEM.

I STARTED IN A HOBBY CALLED

PHONE FREAKING AND I LOVED

DOING MAGIC TRICKS AND

PULLING PRANKS.

I WAS A PRANKSTER BY HEART.

AND AS THE PHONE COMPANY

BECAME MORE COMPUTERIZED, I

WANTED TO GET ACCESS TO

PHONE COMPANY SYSTEMS TO

PULL BANKS.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE ONES WAS

TO CHANGE THE CLASS OF

SERVICE OF A FRIEND'S PHONE

TO A PAY PHONE SO WHENEVER

HE OR HIS PARENTS TRIED TO

MAKE A CALL IT WOULD SAY

PLEASE DEPOSIT 25 CENTS.

(APPLAUSE)

SO WHAT DID YOU ACTUALLY DO

THAT GOT YOU ARRESTED?

>> WELL, I HACKED INTO A LOT

OF SYSTEMS.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT IT YOU

SEEM HESITANT TO REVEAL THE

CONTENTS OF YOUR BOOK.

>> NO, IT'S ALL THERE.

BUT I HACKED INTO A LOT OF

SYSTEMS.

AND I ACTUALLY WAS A

FUGITIVE FROM THE GOVERNMENT

FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.

>> Stephen: FOR THREE YEARS.

>> FOR THREE YEARS AND

PLAYING THIS CAT AND POST

GAME WITH THE FBI BECAUSE I

MUST HAVE BEEN A LITTLE BIT

CRAZY.

>> Stephen: WERE YOU

ACTUALLY TAUNTING THEM.

>> NOT TAUNTING THEM BUT I

WAS WATCHING THEM THROUGH

THE CELLULAR PHONE SYSTEM AS

I WAS ABLE TO WORK OUT THEIR

TELEPHONE NUMBERS AND I

HACKED INTO THE CELL PHONE

SYSTEM SO I COULD KEEP TRACK

OF WHERE THEY WERE.

SO IF THEY GOT CLOSE TO ME,

I WOULD GO FARTHER AWAY.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: THAT'S A GOOD

PLAN.

>> IT'S A REALLY GOOD PLAN.

HOW DID YOU FINALLY GET

CAUGHT.

>> THEY ACTUALLY WENT OUT

WITH RADIO DIRECTION FINDING

GEAR AND TRACKED MY CELLULAR

PHONE SIGNALS TO AN

APARTMENT IN RALEIGH, NORTH

CAROLINA ON VALENTINE'S DAY

1995.

SO I DEFINITELY WASN'T

HACKING FOR THE GIRLS.

I WAS ALONE AND BEHIND MY

COMPUTER.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU

THINK, IF YOU DID WHAT YOU

DID TODAY, I'M SURE YOU

WOULDN'T BE PUT IN SOLITARY.

>> CUAN TAN MO BAY.

>> Stephen: YOU THINK?

>> PROBABLY.

NOW IN THIS POST 9/11 WORLD

I THINK HACKING IS ALMOST

CONSIDERED A FORM OF

TERRORISM.

>> Stephen: BUT COULDN'T WE

USE YOU, AREN'T

YOU-- BECAUSE THE CHINESE

HACK OUR SYSTEMS, RIGHT.

>> ALL THE TIME.

>> Stephen: SHOULDN'T WE

UNLEASH YOU ON OUR ENEMIES.

>> I THINK THAT IS A GREAT

IDEA.

COY BE THE SECRET WEAPON OF

THE UNITED STATES UNTIL

AFTER ALL THOSE HACKERS THAT

ARE BREAKING INTO RSA

AND-- .

>> Stephen: IF PU WERE OUR

SECRET WEAPON SOME OTHER

HACK CORE CALL YOU UP AND

WHISTLE INTO HIS PHONE AND

ACTIVATE YOU.

>> WELL, I WILL TURN OFF MY

CELL PHONE.

>> Stephen: DOW MISS THE

GAME.

>> I ACTUALLY HACK ALL THE

TIME.

I.

>> Stephen: SHH.

>> HOW DO YOU HACK?

>> YOU KNOW, JUST THE OTHER

DAY I HACKED INTO A

COMPANY'S SYSTEM AND GOT

ACCESS TO EVERYTHING.

BUT THE ONLY DIFFERENCE WAS

THEY ACTUALLY GAVE ME

PERMISSION AHEAD OF TIME.

THEY ACTUALLY GAVE ME A GET

OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD SO I

COULD HACK INTO THEIR SYSTEM

TO FIND ALL THEIR

VULNERABILITIES SO THEY

COULD FIX THEM BEFORE THE

REAL BAD GUYS GET IN.

>> Stephen: IS THERE A HOLY

GRAIL OF HACKING LIKE

SOMETHING THAT THE GREATEST

HACKER WOULD WANT TO TRY TO

GET INTO BUT NO ONE HAS EVER

BEEN ABLE TO DO.

>> I THINK BACK IN MY DAY

WAS HACKING INTO THE

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY.

AND WHEN I WAS A JUVENILE,

WHEN I WAS 16, 16.5 I

ACTUALLY WAS ABLE TO GET

INTO A TELEPHONE SWITCH IN

MARYLAND AND I WAS ABLE TO

INTERCEPT AN ONGOING

CONVERSATION FROM THE NSA'S

FACILITY IN FORT MEAD.

I JUST POPPED ON THE

CONVERSATION, I HEARD A MAN

AND WOMAN TALKING.

AND I GO OOH THIS IS COOL,

COY REALLY DO T AND

DISCONNECTED AND NEVER DID

IT AGAIN.

JUST THE TO CLIMB MOUNT

EVEREST.

>> Stephen: IS THERE ANY

CHANCE THAT YOU'RE JUST

TELLING ME THAT SO YOU DON'T

DO HARDER JAIL TIME?

>> POSSIBLY

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: THANK YOU SO

MUCH.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

THE BOOK IS WE'LL BE RIGHT

BACK.