Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Superhacker Hunted Down in Cyberworld Endgame

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Superhacker Hunted Down in Cyberworld Endgame

Article excerpt

Federal authorities see him as the world's most wanted computer hacker. But to his former therapist, Kevin Mitnick is just "a sad, lonely, angry, isolated" person who spent more time with computers than people.

Culminating a search that began in November 1992, federal agents arrested Mitnick early Wednesday at his apartment in Raleigh.

Mitnick, who once broke into a computer at the North American Air Defense Command as a teen-age prank, is alleged to have pilfered thousands of data files and at least 20,000 credit card numbers, worming his way into even the most advanced systems.

Mitnick, 31, was charged with computer fraud, punishable by 20 years in prison, and illegal use of a telephone access device, which carries a maximum 15-year sentence. Both crimes also are punishable by $250,000 fines. In addition, he was wanted in California in connection with violating probation on a previous conviction.

"It was an intensive, two-week-long electronic manhunt that involved several dozen law-enforcement agents around the country," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kent Walker in San Francisco said Thursday.

But others dismissed the depiction of Mitnick as the top crook of the cyberworld.

"That's what I see, a sad, lonely, angry, isolated boy," Harriet Rosetto, Mitnick's former therapist, told the Daily News of Los Angeles after learning of his arrest.

"I don't think he's that important a person. I think he's become mythical," she said. "That he's become public enemy No. 1 is kind of laughable."

One of the first indicted under the Computer Security Act of 1987, Mitnick was convicted of getting into MCI telephone computers and accessing long-distance codes. After causing $4 million in damage to Digital Equipment Corp. computers, Mitnick was convicted again and

served one year in prison.

At the 1989 sentencing, U. …

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