Ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick is a hero to the small town of River Rouge, Michigan, after using his tech skills to help officials nab the culprit behind a harrowing series of bomb threats.
The trouble began a few months ago, when staff members at River Rouge High School began receiving threatening phone calls at home from an anonymous caller, police Detective Lt. John Keck says. Then, on April 2nd , a caller phoned in a bomb threat to the high school during school hours - students were evacuated and the town's three patrol cars diverted to the school to conduct a thorough search. No bomb was found. Another call came in on April 5th, with similar results.
It wasn't the crime of the century, but taking place barely two weeks ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Columbine massacre, the hoaxes unnerved some residents of the Detroit suburb, which boasts a population in the high four digits. "I don't put anything past these kids now days, I really don't," says Keck.
But when the detective served a search warrant on SBC Ameritech for the source of the calls, the phone company came up dry.
Mitnick says he was happy to help. "It's a big deal over there in that little community, because apparently he was really wreaking havoc," says Mitnick, a security consultant and author of the book the Art of Deception...
...Mitnick's role in helping solve the mystery made the local paper, and "everybody in town now knows who Kevin Mitnick is, and they realize that he helped out tremendously," says Keck.
But Mitnick says part of the credit belongs to the man who ended his hacking spree in 1995. "Basically, I gave them the same techniques that [Tsutomu] Shimomura used to track me," he says.
And does the ex-hacker have any mixed feelings about helping bust River Rouge's trouble-making teen? "He wasn't really hacking," says Mitnick. "He was really just being a jerk."
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News source: The Register