Kevin Mitnick, one of the individuals included in eWEEK’s Top Hackers slideshow, appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report on Aug. 18. Mitnick, on a press tour for his book, “Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker,” appeared on the show for an interview with the host, Stephen Colbert.
Mitnick spent five years in prison after being found guilty of phone hacking and other attacks against telecommunications and technology firms. Authorities even held him in solitary confinement for a year because they’d managed to convince the judge that he could start a nuclear war by just being near a phone.
During the interview, Colbert wondered aloud whether the United States government should hire Mitnick as a “secret weapon,” especially in light of the fact that the “Chinese are crawling all over our networks.”
“Couldn’t we unleash you?” Colbert said.
If Uncle Sam ever gets around to hiring Mitnick, he wouldn’t be the first hacker to work for the federal government. Jeff Moss, the founder of the Black Hat and DEFCON security conferences, currently is a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, which advises the government on cyber security.
“They need people with the hacker skill set, hacker mind-set. It’s not like you go to a hacker university and get blessed with a badge that says you’re a hacker. It’s a self-appointed label — you think like one or you don’t,” Moss told Reuters.
The Federal government, including the FBI, the Federal Reserve and DHS, were out in Las Vegas for Black Hat and DEFCON to potentially recruit attendees.
The government is not the only one looking to hire hackers, as reports emerged Aug. 16 that Samsung had hired Android hacker Steve “Cyanogen” Kondick. Kondick’s Cyanogenmod allows Android customers to replace the carrier-controlled firmware on the smartphone with a customized version. With Cyanogenmod, Android users can upgrade the Android operating system without waiting for the carriers.
Other prominent hires include George “Geohot” Hotz, the PlayStation 3 hacker who was sued by Sony earlier this year, who joined Facebook.