The world's most notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick claims that false accusations of breaking into top secret US installations were used to demonise him by law enforcement agencies in their fight to bring him to justice.
In an interview with vnunet.com, he described himself as a hacker not a cracker, a prankster and explorer who was motivated by a desire to see how things worked rather than malicious intent or a thirst for profit.
Mitnick admitted to hacking into the servers of Digital Equipment, Sun, Motorola, Novell and Nokia but denied that he caused any damage. In his days as a hacker, he also hacked into George Lucus' personal computer to look at a new film script.
But he denied committing some of the notorious hacks that legend has laid at his door. According the authorities, Mitnick hacked the Pentagon, the Federal Reserve and North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) - a hack which formed the basis for the plot of the film Wargames.
None of these are true he claims, but the effect of the stories led to him being held without bail for four and a half years, including eight months in solitary confinement, he said.
"The Pentagon was the oddest one," said Mitnick. "Why would I go in there? It's heavily defended and I was primarily interested in mobile communications software.
"As for the Wargames rumour, I spoke to the scriptwriter a few years later and he'd never heard of me. However, when my trial came up these claims were used to portray me as someone who could start World War Three if I got to a computer."
He was arrested in February 1995 and as part of the conditions of his release earlier this year, he is still barred from using the internet.
He had to get permission from his parole officer to use a laptop to write his new book, The Art of Deception.
Mitnick has set up a consultancy called Defensive Thinking, which will teach security awareness to companies, warning companies of the weakest link in any security system - people.
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