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All hail the jerk that gets caught!

Written by Gordon Fecyk, 11/19/2006

[Listen to MP3 Audio] OLD FARTS IN THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY recognize Kevin Mitnick. He's the 'genius hacker' that let himself get caught in the early 1990s. The resulting media circus included a Free Mitnick campaign. His supporters did him well though; he now runs his very own computer security firm.

The problem? He spouts off the same, tired old advice that computer security experts have for the past eighteen years. No longer the poster child of 'digital free expression,' Mitnick is now the poster child of the IT industrial complex.

Wired Magazine lavished him with free ink:

Mitnick has reinvented himself as a computer security consultant and writer. He travels the world teaching organizations how to secure their information in a world of corporate spies and younger versions of himself. He took a break from his jet-setting to share some practical security tips.


HOW DO I MAKE FUN OF MITNICK without boring my readers? I mean, you all know his 'practical security advice' doesn't work, right?

I suppose there's no choice but to nitpick his free ink. But why waste precious time doing so when Wired's readership does it for me?

The most famous hacker ever has tips that can be found on the back of a cereal box.

-- Anonymous Wired reader

Ah yes, the "Buy a Mac" tactic. Advice that will only work as long as most people don't follow it. Every person who buys a Mac because it's "safer" makes it a little more profitable to start writing Mac malware. And then all those people who bought "safe" Macs are going to be on the web bitching about how they have all this spyware on their system that they never secured because Macs are safe."
Guess you're not smarter than Mitnick after all...
I'm sorry but... this is truly disappointing. Any one with common sense would've come up with a list similar to this one. This article reads like something Kevin knocked up in 5 minutes and offers nothing that we haven't all heard 100 times before.
I agree. The most famous hacker ever has tips that can be found on the back of a cereal box.
When you're a jet setting former prison wife you don't to time to waste on peons. Pony up the appearance fee and you can meet the man who helped build the macafee/symantec [sic] empire.
It wouldn't have been so bad if his vanilla security tips were well written - several million out of 10 for getting big kev to talk, but another several negative bazillion points for not riding his ass for being so lazy and writing this crapulent muck.

You can read the 'genius hacker' advice on Wired, but to read any of the criticism, you have to ignore it!

Memo to Wired web masters: Thanks for the comedy material!

These quotes came from Wired's comment system. If you haven't followed Mitnick's sage advice and left Javascript enabled, you can read them for yourself. Otherwise, you get this:

You are reading this message instead of message board comments either because you have javascript turned off, are running software that prevents you from viewing 3rd party javascript files, or because you do not have a supported browser. Supported browsers currently include Firefox and Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher on a PC, and Safari on a Mac.

How ironic! You can read the 'genius hacker' cereal box advice without risking your computer, but to read any of the criticism, you have to ignore it!

And no, I won't bore you with my top ten security tips. I'm just a nobody that practices safe computing. But all hail the jerk that gets caught!

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