Minds Inspired Students Learn About Ethical Hacking from Kevin Mitnick

Minds Inspired hosted students from the Cayman International School, Cayman Prep and High School, Clifton Hunter High School, John Grey High School, St. Ignatius High School and the University College of the Cayman Islands for a small, invitation-only event, with special guest speaker Kevin Mitnick, once an FBI most-wanted hacker turned most-sought after computer security consultant. This opportunity was made available to Minds Inspired scholars and the students by the 2016 Cayman Alternative Investment Summit. 

Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Enterprises, was excited about the partnership and the opportunity this event afforded students with an interest in IT: “Minds Inspired and Dart are committed to education in the Cayman Islands and to supporting academic excellence in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in particular. Through this session we expanded our enrichment opportunities to students outside of the Minds Inspired Programme, and hopefully have inspired young, bright minds to continue the pursuit of their interests in computer science,” said Mr. VanDevelde.

At a time when computer science was in its infancy and hacking was encouraged, Kevin was able to convince the university to allow him to attend even though he didn’t qualify through the normal routes or have the proper prerequisites. Kevin’s hacking escalated. As a self-proclaimed “trophy hunter”, Kevin hacked for the challenge and not financial gain. He landed himself on the FBI’s most wanted list after hacking into 40 major corporations – they feared that he could become a threat to national security and override security measures to launch nuclear weapons. Following his high-profile case Kevin spent four-and-a-half years pre-trial and eight months in solitary confinement in federal prison and was released in 2000.

 

 

Daniel Nicholson-Gardner, 2013 Minds Inspired High School Scholar and student at the Cayman International School enjoyed listening to Kevin Mitnick’s talk and hearing how he transformed his life as a black hat, whose purpose was to breach or bypass internet security into a white hat, or ethical hacker: “It was a great experience hearing Mr. Mitnick’s stories in his days as a black hat hacker,” said Mr. Nicholson-Gardner. “However, it was even cooler seeing how he applied those skills to develop a profitable business that helps people and organisations through ethical hacking.”

 

The Minds Inspired Educational Programme includes two scholarships, a mathematics challenge and a work experience programme. Two important components of the Minds Inspired Educational Programme are its work experience programme and the enrichment opportunities for scholars which in the past have included trips to London, CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, Dart Neuroscience, the University of California Berkley Campus, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum, all in San Diego, California. The enrichment opportunities began as an additional benefit to high school scholars and have grown to include university scholars and work experience students through sessions with Dart leadership, public figures and most recently, this session with CAIS speaker Kevin Mitnick.

 

Kevin Mitnick is now a trusted security consultant to the Fortune 500 and governments worldwide. Kevin and The Global Ghost Team™ now maintain a 100 percent successful track record of being able to penetrate the security of any system they are paid to hack into using a combination of technical exploits and social engineering. As CEO and chief “white hat” hacker at one of the most advanced boutique security firms in the world, Kevin taught an important lesson in using your powers for good versus evil and how bright young minds could turn their interest in computers and IT in exciting careers.

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