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Business Observer Monday, Jun. 18, 2012 10 years ago

Famous hacker gets new gig

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KnowBe4 hires Kevin Mitnick, once convicted of computer fraud.

CLEARWATER — Internet security firm KnowBe4 has hired renowned computer hacker Kevin Mitnick, whose new career as a technology security expert comes after he served five years in prison for computer fraud.

Clearwater-based KnowBe4's computer security niche is in protecting clients against phishing scams, which use hyperlinks in emails to lure people into malicious websites. The firm named Mitnick its chief hacking officer, where he will use his “expertise to help organizations identify, correct, and prevent network security vulnerabilities,” according to a release. Mitnick pleaded guilty in 1999 to federal charges of wire and computer fraud in several well-publicized computer hacking cases, which led to his incarceration.

Over the last few years, however, Mitnick has made a career of protecting people and businesses against the crimes he used to commit. He co-authored two books on the subject, and has worked as a consultant and speaker on the issue. One of his main themes is a company's employees can cripple computer security, even if it's not intentional.

“The biggest risks to information security are the people. Studies have shown that most security incidents start from within, and are usually accidental,” Mitnick says in the release. “All it takes is one person making a bad decision to compromise the entire business.”

Technology entrepreneur Stu Sjouwerman founded KnowBe4 in 2010. Click here to read more about the firm.

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