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9/4/2009
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Hosting Kevin Mitnick

It's not easy being Kevin Mitnick: The reformed black hat hacker may sue AT&T after it kicked him off its wireless network, and his Web hosting provider dropped him after his Website suffered a nasty hack last month. Seems he has become too big a target for some network and hosting providers.

It's not easy being Kevin Mitnick: The reformed black hat hacker may sue AT&T after it kicked him off its wireless network, and his Web hosting provider dropped him after his Website suffered a nasty hack last month. Seems he has become too big a target for some network and hosting providers.The hack of Mitnick's Website was more notable for the feat and its fallout on the hosting provider than it was for what it dug up -- not much, since Mitnick says he purposely has a site for only public-facing information. "The Website I have is basically for generating speaking engagements and consulting work. There's nothing there of interest," he told me in an interview. "All that's on the Web server is anything you can get on the 'Net, anyway."

Even so, the notorious ex-hacker still had to kick up security a notch for his bare-bones, nonsensitive Website, mainly to avoid further nasty hacking headaches -- and because his previous hosting provider got burnt by the hack. The provider was a relatively small shop, run by a friend. "[The attackers] erased all of the databases of his other customers on the same server. It blew away their databases and took three days to recover," Mitnick said. "That was the last straw...He told me, 'You need to find a Web hosting service somewhere else.' It was just too much work."

Mitnick's Website is now hosted on a dedicated server at FireHost, a Web hosting firm focused on security. FireHost touts its Web application firewalls, database security, IDS/IPS, and secure VPN access for its customers. "I decided to give them a try. It'll be a challenge for the hackers out there," Mitnick said. "And it will be a good honeypot and testbed for [FireHost]."

FireHost's CEO Chris Drake says his firm has already seen more hacking attempt activity since Mitnick's site joined, but he's not worried. Nor is Mitnick, who says he keeps his internal network "significantly" separate from his Website: "If the site gets attacked, [no one gets] anything they can't get already," Mitnick said. "Of course I don't like it -- it's a pain in the ass. But it's not like they're getting confidential data."

-- Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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