CNet has a series of interviews with former hackers who ran afoul of the law in their youth, but later turned their skills toward a profession in security consulting. Adrian Lamo discusses taking "normal every day information resources and [arranging] them in improbable ways," describing a time when he broke into Excite@Home's system and ended up answering help desk questions from their users. Kevin Mitnick, famous for gaining access to many high-profile systems, warns today's young hackers not to follow in his footsteps, saying, "A lot of pen testers today have done unethical things in their past during their learning process, especially the older ones because there was no opportunity to learn about security. Back in the '70s and '80s, it was all self-taught. So a lot of the old-school hackers really learned on other people's systems. And at the time, I couldn't even afford my own computer." Mark Abene explains how he got interested in phone phreaking, and how it led to a prison term and a career in computer security. Like Mitnick, he says that easy access to powerful modern computers removes part of the motivation for breaking into other systems.
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