Probation Ends for Convicted Computer Hacker

AP Wire Service

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Convicted computer hacker Kevin Mitnick can log on to the Internet for the first time in eight years after his probation ended Monday.

Mitnick, 39, had been under strict probation since he was released from federal prison three years ago after serving a five-year sentence. He had been barred from contact with computers until last year and was not allowed to use the Internet until this week.

The Thousand Oaks resident has said that after his probation expired he planned to work for a computer security company he was starting.

Mitnick became an icon to some hackers after leading the FBI on a three-year manhunt that ended in 1995 when investigators traced him to a Raleigh, N.C., apartment.

He is said to have cost companies millions of dollars by stealing their software and altering computer information. Victims included Motorola, Novell, Nokia and Sun Microsystems.

He pleaded guilty in 1999 to five felony counts under a negotiated plea agreement. He was given credit for four years served and released in 2000.

Later that year, federal authorities granted him permission to work as a security consultant and to write for an online magazine.