'The Art of Invisibility' by Kevin Mitnick

The successful author of The Art of Invisibility Kevin Mitnick is an American citizen who was born on “August 6, 1963, in Van Nuys, California, and grew up in Los Angeles” (Wales & Sanger, 2019). Wales and Sanger (2019), stated that Kevin Mitnick is a “computer security consultant, author, and a former hacker” (para.1). According to Carr (2015), Kevin Mitnick learned how to “secure computers,” by being proficient at hacking into any computer systems (para. 1). He utilized his skills illegally by “gaining access to computer networks and stealing information” (Carr, 2019).

According to Hesseldahl, (2015), Kevin Mitnick “concedes he hacked into computers belonging to companies like Motorola, Nokia, and Sun Microsystems for the pursuit of knowledge and adventure” (para. 4). Kevin Mitnick spent five years in prison due to his hacking “skills in breaking into innocent people and organizations computer systems” (Carr, 2015, para.2). Since Mitnick was considered an experienced hacker he was also unpredictable to society.

Authorities instantly felt Mitnick will continue to be a potential threat which resulted in never being allowed to have access to any computers.

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Kevin Mitnick became “famous for all the nefarious reasons” which include being a clever skilled hacker, but which in his case remain illegal Carr, (2015, para. 2). Additionally, Kevin Mitnick hacking method was different from hacking any other technical techniques. Instead of Mitnick “using software programs and hacking tools to crack passwords or the internet, he used social engineering” Carr, (2015, para. 4). The Art of Invisibility is a book that is written by Kevin Mitnick who is a famous hacker, and put together this book to “help protect people’s personal privacy rights” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p.

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280). According to Mitnick (2017), people “from the most technologically challenged, to professional security experts should make a committed practice of mastering this art” (p. 277). Kevin Mitnick provided steps that he outlined which will support anyone who would require a reason to be invisible online. This will encourage people get out of an unsuitable situation.

Kevin Mitnick discusses various ways to be invisible in the digital world, and one of them include web-mail which is free web-based email accounts. When viewing emails on an electronic device, such as on “your computer or mobile phone”, it does not necessarily indicate the content you wish to erase is officially gone (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 30). This only means that there is a “copy of those words and images” within an email that will be scanned and stored somewhere else for a long period (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 33). The government and other corporations are scanning people’s emails through their work network. The reason for this is that the companies’ “IT department scan emails looking for malware and questionable material” passing through their organizations’ server (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 33). According to Mitnick (2017), the best way to become invisible through emails is to “encrypt your messages, which means to lock them so only the recipients can unlock and read them” (p. 33).

Encryptions “require a key which is used as a password to lock and open the encryption message” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 34). There are different forms of encryptions such as Caesar Cipher, Symmetrical encryption, and Asymmetrical encryption. Asymmetrical encryption is actually used in emails which generates two private keys. Mitnick (2017), states that “there is a private key that stays on the device, which I never share, and a public key that I post freely on the Internet” (p. 34). Symmetrical encryption is when the “same key is used both to lock and unlock the encrypted message” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 34). According to Mitnick (2017), he mentioned the “purpose of encryption is to encode your message so that only someone with the correct key can later decode it” (p. 38). As stated in the book Mitnick (2017), implies that “even if you encrypt your e-mail messages with PGP, a small but information-rich part of your message is still readable by just anyone” (p. 40). Nevertheless, in the digital world there are more advance ways to be invisible than encrypting your messages.

The way to do this is by “Removing your true IP address” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 44). Your IP address is a connection to the internet because it is your “fingerprint” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 44). This shows “where you are specifically telling your physical address and what provider you use” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 44). Also, you will need to “obscure your hardware and software” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 44). When connected “to a website online, the site collects a “snapshot of the hardware and software you’re using” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 44). According to Mitnick (2017), the “browser software tells a website what operating system you’re using and what version of that operating system you have” (p. 44). Lastly, Kevin Mitnick (2017) implies you need to “defend your anonymity” (p. 44). The best way to do this is by having the following setup on your system such as Proxy server, Virtual machine, IP blocker, and Password manager.

This book is not just only giving an outline of ways to protect yourself from malicious people, but it gives you an insight about criminal hackers like Kevin Mitnick himself. It tells you how they are able to exploit people’s computer system because of how vulnerable they make themselves become when on the internet. Mitnick relates to its readers, his experience of tactics he used to infiltrate and manipulate people and organizations to achieve his goals. Even though, Kevin Mitnick gives his readers epitome moments, he also faces the consequences of jail time due to his mistakes he made in his past. Mitnick (2017), stated he has posed as someone else, and it “worked to his advantage that the other party didn’t question my real identity or the public key I sent” (p. 36).

This I called “social engineering which is a hacking technique that uses manipulation, deception, and influence to get a human target to comply with a request” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 41). Kevin Mitnick wanted to communicate with Neill Clift, who was a graduate student in organic chemistry. Kevin Mitnick (2017), stated that Neill Clift was “very skilled at finding security vulnerabilities in the Digital Equipment Corporation’s VMS operating system” (p. 36). Mitnick (2017) wanted to get in contact with Clift because he “wanted Clift to send him all the security holes that he’d reported to DEC” (p.36). For this to happen Mitnick had to make Clift believe he “actually worked for DEC” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 36). Mitnick (2017), posed as someone named “Dave Hutchins and sent Clift a spoofed message from him” (p. 36). Kevin Mitnick (2017), was a clever man because he went through “DEC’s e-mail system and found out Clift and the real Piper had previously e-mailed each other” (p. 36). Therefore, Mitnick (2017), called Neill Clift “pretending to be Derrell Piper from VMS engineering and wrote an email that Piper wanted to exchange e-mails with Clift about a project” (p. 44). Mitnick (2017), sent a new e-mail but this time “spoofing Piper’s real e-mail address” (p. 37). Kevin Mitnick (2017) was successful because he e-mailed Neill Clift “suggesting that he use PGP encryption” so a malicious person will not “be able to read the e-mails (p. 37). In addition, since Clift believed he was contacted by the real Derrell Piper, he actually sent Kevin Mitnick, the “public keys and encrypting communications that I as Piper could read” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 37). Mitnick (2017) stated that, the mistake Neil Clift made was “not questioning the identity of Piper of himself” (p. 37).

Kevin Mitnick provides tips about privacy while using the internet which may include other devices being connected to the internet. Trying to obtain anonymity is detrimental because some information will always be exposed. However, people who need to stay anonymous will go the extra mile they need to be anonymous. The best way to have anonymity online is to “create a separate identity, one that is completely unrelate to you” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 262). According to Mitnick (2017) to be invisible is to not trust “the VPN provider with your real information” (p. 253). The reason to use VPN is to keep your “activities and the sites you visit are all completely hidden behind tough-to-crack encryptions” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 134). Another way to be anonymous online is to “purchase a laptop that you will only use for your anonymous online activity” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 263). Along with purchasing a laptop Mitnick (2017) suggests “to purchase the new laptop with cash in person, not online, so that way the purchase cannot easily be traced to you” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 264). The goal of this is to be anonymous therefore, anything connected to your real identify cannot be visible. There are various ways to maintain anonymity, but when using image files that have metadata inside can compromise your privacy. According to Mitnick (2017), “EXIF data in a digital image contains, information such as date, and time when the picture was snapped, model number of the camera, and geolocation if activated on the device” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 147). People’s privacy can be compromised at any time when they are out in the open. As Mitnick (2017) stated, “if you ride a bus, train, or ferry to work, you’re no longer invisible among the masses” (p. 184). In today’s time, an “auto manufacturer might offer apps” in your car such as “allowing you to open the car doors, start the engine, or even inspect certain diagnostics on your car” (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 194). Mitnick (2017) mentions that “researcher showed signals from a car, the cloud, and the app can be hacked and used to track a target vehicle” (p. 194). Having a smartphone is not the best device to have if you want to be anonymity because these devices may have apps, and those apps will record everywhere you go.

Kevin Mitnick discusses how people use poor passwords which makes it easier for hackers to take hold of personal information. Mitnick has stated “choosing a hard-to-guess password won’t prevent hacking tools such as oclHashcat from possibly cracking your password” (p.14). In addition to Mitnick (2017) great advice he explained “more characters in your password, the longer it will take password-guessing programs such as John the Ripper to run through all the possible variations” (p. 18). Also, Mitnick (2017), suggest that people “need to create strong passwords and not share them” (p. 29). They also “need to turn on 2FA whenever possible” because this will help make it harder to get into your account (Mitnick & Vamosi, 2017, p. 29). Elliott, (2017) stated in his article that not only does 2FA “make your accounts more difficult to attack, but you also make your accounts less attractive targets” (para. 11). Mitnick (2017) gave examples of how poor passwords have affected people, which includes password guessing “123456,” “12345,” “password,” “DEFAULT,” “abc123,” and “123456789” (p. 14). The mitigation for this poor password is to lock the account after a limited number of retries and provide a long complex password. Mitnick discusses how poor passwords can affect people when they do not have more characters in their passwords, which can allow a malicious person to easily exploit their private information. Mitnick (2017) implies an example “if an employee walks away from their office desk”, and they did not create a password protected screen saver, this causes their system to be easily compromised for a hacker or malicious person to retrieve pertinent information because they failed to create a difficult password (p. 19).

My thoughts of The Art of Invisibility is that it educates you with reasonable knowledge about maintaining privacy when using online sites. This book typically gives many useful tips about how you can carefully maintain being anonymous. Additionally, there are other approaches to take to be invisible when using the internet or when your device is connected to any system. There will always be hackers or people who are investigating someone that can detect their location. The key reason for this is we may have left out a modest step which will lead us to not be invisible. I have always been concerned about my personal data potentially being abused by a stranger, and I am overly cautious about what sites I go on. I have experience phishing and my computer has been hacked several times even though I have security protection that I needed. However, I personally will not follow all the used steps in the book to be invisible because I am satisfied with being educated and obscured about online tracking.

I genuinely feel I can appropriately advise other individuals on how to properly make themselves less vulnerable. I believe anyone who has accurately read this book should now be cautious with being connected with the internet. Being knowledgeable about these specific details can be extremely useful and adequately protect ourselves from hackers and malicious people. Innocent people typically have to understand our personal information is always floating around on the internet. In addition, we gain the legal rights to properly manage our privacy and the usage of our information being ruthlessly exposed. The reason for this is that we never know who is watching on the other side. I believe the hidden message about this book is that it is most likely too late for most people to achieve any form of anonymity or invisibility due to their history they have developed either from their past or current habits.

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'The Art of Invisibility' by Kevin Mitnick. (2019, Nov 20). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/the-art-of-invisibility-by-kevin-mitnick-essay

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