March 13, 2011
Stanford Center for Internet and Society
March 7, 2011 - Stanford Law School
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Kevin Poulsen talks about his widely praised book, Kingpin.
Professor Jonathan Zittrain describes his book as "a vivid portrait of the major players in the latest wave of computer crime. Building on the best of the police procedural tradition, Kevin Poulsen lays out in clear language the technologies and methods employed by the criminals and crime fighters alike, all the while crafting a sympathetic character study of the conflicted gray hat, Max Vision, at the heart of it all."
Former hacker Kevin Poulsen has, over the past decade, built a reputation as one of the top investigative reporters on the cybercrime beat. In Kingpin, he pours his unmatched access and expertise into book form for the first time, delivering a gripping cat-and-mouse narrative—and an unprecedented view into the twenty-first century's signature form of organized crime.
More information on the book is available at http://kingpin.cc/
About Kevin Poulsen:
Kevin Poulsen is a former computer hacker, whose best known hack involved penetrating telephone company computers in the early 1990s to win radio station phone-in contests. By taking over all the phone lines leading to Los Angeles radio stations, he was able to guarantee that he would be the proper-numbered caller to win, for example, $20,000 in cash, and a Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet.
When the FBI started pursuing Poulsen, he went underground as a fugitive. He was featured on NBC's Unsolved Mysteries, and was finally arrested in April 1991 after 18 months on the run. He pleaded guilty to computer fraud and served a little over 5 years in prison. At the time, it was the longest U.S. sentence ever given for hacking.
Following his release from prison Poulsen was briefly barred from using computers. Reformed, but still possessed of the curiosity that contributed to his hacking when he was younger, he became a journalist. His first magazine feature ran in WIRED in 1998, and covered computer programmers who were driven to survivalist tactics by fear of the looming Y2K bug.
Poulsen is the founding editor of Wired's Threat Level blog, which won the 2008 Knight-Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism, and the 2010 MIN award for best blog. In 2009 Poulsen was inducted into MIN's Digital Hall of Fame for online journalism, and in 2010 he was among those honored as a "Top Cyber Security Journalist" in a peer-voted award by the SANS Institute. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children.