Kevin Mitnick: Hacking the FBI

Hacker and Security Consultant
The hacker Kevin Mitnick says he treated his fugitive status like a big video game.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Kevin Mitnick: When the government was chasing me I wanted to get a sense of how close they were and to me this was a game.  It was kind of like I was a little bit insane and I treated my fugitive status as a big video game.  Unfortunately, it had real consequences and why I did this psychologically is I loved putting myself in dangerous situations and then trying to work my way out of them.  I don’t know why I liked doing this, but I did.  So what I did is I hacked into the cellular provider in Los Angeles that serviced the FBI cell phone numbers of the agents that were chasing me, so to make a long story short I was able to get the cell phone numbers of the agents and then by hacking into the cellular provider I could monitor where they physically were, physically in Los Angeles.  I could also monitor who they were calling and who was calling them.

So based on my traffic analysis and my location data I was able to find out if the feds ever got close and one time they did.  I had an early warning system set up in 1992 when I was working as a private investigator in Los Angeles and when the warning system was tripped off I found out that the FBI was actually at my apartment and I was a mile away in Calabasas, but I just drove in from the apartment to work, so obviously they weren’t there to arrest me and I didn’t think if they were still near my apartment that it was to surveil me, so the only logical thing is that they were there to conduct a search and that means to get a search warrant.  They didn’t have a search warrant yet.

So in every criminal case when they have to get a search warrant from a judge they have to write down the precise description of the premises to be searched.  It’s the Fourth Amendment stuff and so I figured out that that was going on and so the very next day I cleaned up—well that evening I cleaned up everything from my apartment that the FBI may be interested in and then the very next day went out to Winchell’s Donuts and got a big dozen assorted donuts and I labeled the box “FBI donuts” and I put it in the refrigerator.  So when they were going to come search the only thing they would find is I had some donuts for them.

They searched the next day.  They didn’t’ find anything.  I don’t even know if they opened the refrigerator, but if they did they didn’t help themselves to a donut for some reason.  I don’t know why.

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton