John Markoff’s journalistic stories about Kevin Mitnick’s cracking exploits led to a book called Takedown. The book was written by Markoff and elite hacker Tsutomu Shimomura after Shimomura assisted U.S. federal agents in finding Mitnick. When Kevin Mitnick’s trial for cracking-related crimes was scheduled to begin April 20, 1999, the “Free Kevin” supporters became angered on two fronts. First, they argued that Takedown exaggerated Mitnick’s alleged crimes. Second, they were mad that the book was about to become a movie produced by Miramax—furthering the negative propaganda disseminated by the media about computer hackers. The movie also called “Takedown” was released in 2000 and was directed by Joe Chappelle. For a fuller discussion of the case leading to Mitnick’s arrest, see The Hacking of America: Who’s Doing It, Why, and How (p. 13–19) by Schell and Dodge with Moutsatsos.
John Markoff is now an adjunct faculty member at Stanford University. His Web page can be found at http://communication.stanford.edu/faculty/markoff.html.
Schell, B.H., Dodge, J.L., with S.S. Moutsatsos. The Hacking of America: Who’s Doing It, Why, and How. Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2002.