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 winning $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.
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.