Kevin Poulsen, Dark Dante
Before segueing into journalism, he had a notorious career in the 1980s as a cracker whose handle was Dark Dante. He worked for SRI International by day, and hacked at night. During this time, Poulsen taught himself lock picking, and engaged in a brash spree of high-tech stunts that would ultimately make him one of America’s best-known cyber-criminals. Among other things, Poulsen reactivated old Yellow Page escort telephone numbers for an acquaintance that then ran a virtual escort agency.
His best-appreciated hack was a takeover of all of the telephone lines for Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM, guaranteeing that he would be the 102nd caller, and netting him a Porsche 944 S2.
When the FBI started pursuing Poulsen, he went underground as a fugitive. When he was featured on NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries, the show’s 1-800 telephone lines mysteriously crashed.