In his 2011 book, Kevin Mitnick called himself “the world’s most famous hacker.” It may seem like a stretch but Mitnick’s feats in the 1990s certainly put him in a lot of headlines at a time when newspapers didn’t really cover hackers and cybersecurity that often.
But before he went on the run for more than two years to avoid getting arrested and became the most wanted and most famous hacker of his time, Mitnick was a young, curious geek who learned how to hack by playing with radios—and playing pranks.
When he was 16, in one of his first-ever hacks, Mitnick figured out a way to take over the drive-up windows a local McDonald’s. Sitting in his car from across the street, Mitnick pretended to be a McDonald’s employee, taking customers’ orders.
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