In the more than five years since Kevin Mitnick was arrested and sent to prison, the Internet has grown by a factor of 16 and CPU speed has increased by a factor of eight. Even new computer languages and operating systems have risen to prominence and become cheaper; the OS source code that Mitnick stole from Sun Microsystems, a copy allegedly worth $80 million at the time, now retails for $100. But breaking into computers has not grown significantly more difficult, the recently paroled hacker told questioners at a May e-business conference in New York City sponsored by Business Week.
Mitnick, who began breaking into telephone systems and computers in the late 1970s, was captured by the FBI in 1995 after a two-year chase that yielded front-page headlines and a six-figure advance for the journalists who made him an icon of modern techno-legend. But for now, he may be a different kind of legend: the only completely unplugged nerd in the country.
This article was originally published with the title Unplugged but Unbowed.