Research of Kevin David Mitnick history
Kevin David Mitnick was born in august 6, 1963. He is renowned American computer security consultant, author, and hacker. A review of his life at different stage develops the purpose of this project that it is possible for someone’s life to turn around and good can be derived from bad in the long run. In his initial years in high school he discovered his talent in using computers and begun hacking simple systems such as the school’s computer system, graduated to a telephone phreak where he and his friends could make free long distance call, take over telephone control centers and send planks to people and later progressed to hack into companies computer systems and steal proprietary software. He was convicted of various offenses of this nature. In fact during the time of his arrest he had become the most wanted computer criminal in the United States (Connolly, 2015). However today Mitnick today runs a security firm called Mitnick security consulting, LLC that helps to test a company’s security strengths and potential loopholes. He is also the chief hacking officer of the security awareness company KnowBe4. In addition Mitnick is an active advisory board member at Zimperium, a mobile defense firm that develops a mobile intrusion prevention system
Thesis statement: Mitnick's transformation from a teenage computer criminal to a successful businessman. This paper seeks to identify leadership trait that Mitnick developed during his early age as a hacker that later lead him to be a successful computer system’s security expert.
Fearless and inspiration- when Mitnick began hacking in the 1970’s there were basically no rules against it. The concept of computer ethics did not exist. Hacking became his priority since teenage and to him it was the challenge and prestige that came with being able to break from on system to another that he sought. All the techniques that he used to do this were self- taught thus as a leader this is an inspiring characteristic
Honesty- during his arrest and conviction, Mitnick pleaded guilty to charges made against him, that he had fraudulently obtained proprietary software from several computer software manufacturers such as Motorola, Nokia, and Fujitsu and sun microsystems among others. In addition, he also agreed to have unauthorized access to computers of some internet service providers such as Netcom and educational institutions like university of south California (Connolly, 2015). I believe the quality of honesty is well manifested here because had he not confessed or pleaded guilty of the offense there wouldn’t be evidence sufficient to incriminate him for all these activities. As network security student, I would like to give some credit to Mitnick because all the hacking he did was just to exploit security weaknesses in a system and for intellectual curiosity at the time. No cases were reported of him having converted the proprietary software for personal use to profit. Claims were reported of huge damages he had caused, but none of the organization lost their software. The only real cost that could probably have been incurred is for tracking down the hacker and securing the system. I believe it is reason that he is today the successful network security business man that he today because many of the organizations that still hire him to hack into their system to identify vulnerabilities found no dishonest records from his activities apart from intellectual curiosity that could be as a result of immaturity as opposed to malice (Freeman, 2001).
Optimism- a leader needs to be optimistic all the time. When undertaking activities within the organization, a leader needs to anticipate a positive outcome. During the early years when Mitnick was hacking into systems the outcomes that he anticipated were intellectual growth, satisfaction, and pride. To him, it was all about understanding the protocols used and how the system works not compromising the integrity of the system (Freeman, 2001).
Focus and enthusiastic- Mitnick enjoyed what he did though he committed innocent crimes out of immaturity and ignorance. He stuck to his main objective for hacking which was to fulfill his intellectual curiosity. I think he had opportunities to profit from the hacking, but he did not use it for that purpose (Huang, 2005).
Mitnick is relevant for my intended career path because a review of his life gives insights to me about how real the vulnerability of networks are and as a network security professional I need to start preparing and equipping myself with the necessary skill to flourish in such a challenging task (Huang, 2005).
As a leader I believe I have some strength such as focus, enthusiastic, confident and flexible. These qualities will help me be successful because they are desirable for any position in an organization. They will help me achieve individual and team goal for the organization and develop solutions in case any problems arise.
The greatest weakness I have identified that may get in the way of my success is not being calm in times of crisis. I, however, attribute this to lack of practical experience in the real job; I believe I am prepared to face the challenges and develop a sense of calmness even in the worst situations.
Connolly, B. (2015). Social engineering disabling targets: Mitnick. Cio (13284045), 1.
Freeman, E. H. (2001). The Legend and Legacy of Kevin Mitnick.Information Systems Security, 10(2), 5.
Huang, G. T. (2005). The Talented Mr. Mitnick. Technology Review, 108(3), 21.