[ISN] Infamous Hacker's Laptop Up For Auction

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Oct 02 2002 - 01:34:55 PDT

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    [As I send this off to the list, the current bid is at $9100.00 with a 
    little more than four days to go. - WK]
    Arik Hesseldahl
    As laptop computers go, it's old and antiquated by modern standards. 
    It's a Toshiba Satellite T1960CS. It has an Intel 486 chip. And right
    now its available for auction on eBay [1]. The bid as of mid-morning
    was $7,900.
    The laptop belongs to the infamous computer criminal Kevin Mitnick,
    and on Feb. 15, 1995, it was seized as evidence when he was arrested
    in North Carolina by the FBI. He was subsequently charged with
    stealing computer software. Companies like Motorola, Finland's Nokia,
    Novell, NEC, Sun Microsystems and Digital Equipment, now part of
    Hewlett-Packard, claimed that Mitnick had stolen the source code of
    software that had cost them millions to develop.
    Many a Web site--including the famous defacing of the New York Times'
    Web site in 1998 (see "We were long gone when he pulled the plug"
    [2])--over the years has been attacked by Mitnick's supporters
    protesting his incarceration. People will likely shell out some
    serious cash to own an artifact from the Mitnick case, in the same way
    they might pay for a gun that once belonged to Jesse James.
    During the course of the long legal battle that ensued, the data 
    contained on the laptop became central to the case. Ultimately, 
    Mitnick pleaded guilty to charges of computer fraud, wire fraud and 
    intercepting communications in 1999, in return for a reduced sentence. 
    At one point, Mitnick argued the computer contained certain encrypted 
    data that could be helpful to his defense. Government lawyers 
    maintained that if he was going to have access to any data at all, he 
    would have to decrypt all of it and turn it over to them. The point 
    went directly to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which 
    protects people from self-incrimination. The judge decided to sidestep 
    the issue, and the data remained encrypted and has since been wiped 
    from the machine's hard drive, Mitnick says. 
    The money raised from the sale will go to help pay legal bills, not 
    for his criminal defense, but to pay a lawyer who has been helping 
    Mitnick fight the Federal Communications Commission over the renewal 
    of his amateur radio license. 
    Is it legal for him to sell? His attorneys say it is, but his sentence
    forbids him from profiting from his story until 2007. That means no
    book or movie deals. He is also forbidden from using the Internet
    until next year -- friends of his are handling the mechanics of the
    eBay sale. "That laptop is mine, and I'm free to sell it," he says.
    [1] http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2057697313
    [2] http://www.forbes.com/global/1998/1116/0117082a.html
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