Kevin Mitnick was once the world’s most wanted hacker. He broke into 40 major companies for the challenge of it, and he eventually got caught in a spectacular cat-and-mouse game. He did five years in prison, including a year in solitary confinement because the judge in his case was told that he might be able to launch nuclear weapons from a payphone.
But after he was released in 2000, he stayed out of trouble. He built a consulting business as a security expert, and he helps break into companies’ networks so they can figure out where their vulnerabilities are and patch them. He claims that Mitnick Security Consulting has a 100-percent success record in penetrating the security of any system he has been invited to attack.
Mitnick has written four books on his life and security topics, most recently The Art of Invisibility, which was published last year in an attempt to teach people how to be safe in the age of big data and Big Brother. He is also the chief technology officer of Olyseum, a sports social network that uses blockchain technology and matches fans with sports celebrities.
I talked to the “world’s most famous hacker” about his thoughts on Russian hackers influencing the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, the security issues around blockchain, his new book, his work at Olyseum, and other topics in the news. I’ve interview Mitnick a few times over the years, mostly when his new books come out.
Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.
VentureBeat: What are you up to?