Kevin Poulsen

Kevin Poulsen
Born Kevin Lee Poulsen
(1965-11-30) November 30, 1965
Pasadena, California, United States
Other names Dark Dante
Occupation Senior editor at Wired

Kevin Lee Poulsen (born November 30, 1965) is an American former black-hat hacker and a current editor at Wired.


He was born in Pasadena, California, on November 30, 1965.[1]

Black-hat hacking

On June 1, 1990, he took over of all of the telephone lines for Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM, guaranteeing that he would be the 102nd caller and win the prize of a Porsche 944 S2.[2][3][4]

When the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.[2][5]

He was arrested, and sentenced to five years in a federal penitentiary, as well as banned from using computers or the internet for 3 years after his release. He was the first American to be released from prison with a court sentence that banned him from using computers and the internet after his prison sentence; although Chris Lamprecht was sentenced first with an internet ban on May 5, 1995, Poulsen was released from prison before Lamprecht and began serving his ban sentence earliest. (Poulsen's parole officer later allowed him to use the Internet in 2004, with certain monitoring restrictions)[6]


Poulsen has reinvented himself as a journalist since his release from prison, and sought to distance himself from his criminal past. Poulsen served in a number of journalistic capacities at California-based security research firm SecurityFocus, where he began writing security and hacking news in early 2000. Despite a late arrival to a market saturated with technology media, SecurityFocus News became a well-known name in the tech news world during Poulsen's tenure with the company and was acquired by Symantec. His original investigative reporting was frequently picked up by the mainstream press. Poulsen left SecurityFocus in 2005 to freelance and pursue independent writing projects. He became a senior editor for Wired News in June 2005, which hosted his recent (as of 2006) blog, 27BStroke6,[7] which has since been renamed Threat Level.[8]

In October 2006, Poulsen released information detailing his successful search for registered sex offenders using MySpace to solicit sex from children. His work identified 744 registered people with MySpace profiles, and led to the arrest of one, Andrew Lubrano.[9]

In June 2010 Kevin Poulsen broke the initial story of the arrest of U.S. service member Chelsea Manning, and published the logs of Manning's chats with Adrian Lamo regarding WikiLeaks.[10] [11]


Kevin Poulsen and Aaron Swartz designed and developed SecureDrop, an open-source software platform for secure communication between journalists and sources. It was originally developed under the name DeadDrop.[12][13] After Swartz's death, Poulsen launched the first instance of the platform at The New Yorker on 15 May 2013.[14] Poulsen later turned over development of SecureDrop to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and joined the foundation's technical advisory board.[15][16]



See also


  1. Gissel, Richard. Digital Underworld (August 23, 2005 ed.). p. 222. ISBN 1-4116-4423-9. Kevin Lee Poulsen was born in Pasadena, California in 1965. It was claimed that when he was 17 he used his radio shack TRS-80 to attack Arpanet, the predecessor of the Internet.
  2. 1 2 "Kevin Poulsen". livinginternet. 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  3. "A Crime By Any Other Name...". FREEDOM Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  5. "Top 10 Most Famous Hackers of All Time". itsecurity. 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  6. "". Wired. 2004. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  7. "". Wired. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  8. Kravets, David (2012-01-23). "Threat Level - Privacy, Crime and Security Online". Wired. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  9. "MySpace Predator Caught by Code". Wired News. October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  10. "U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe". Wired. June 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  11. "Suspected Wikileaks Source Described Crisis of Conscience Leading to Leaks". Wired. June 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  12. Kassner, Michael (20 May 2013). "Aaron Swartz legacy lives on with New Yorker's Strongbox: How it works". TechRepublic. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  13. Paulsen, Kevin (15 May 2013). "Strongbox and Aaron Swartz". The New Yorker. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  14. Davidson, Amy (15 May 2013). "Introducing Strongbox". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  15. "Freedom of the Press Foundation Launches SecureDrop, an Open-Source Submission Platform for Whistleblowers". 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  16. "Renowned Technologists, Journalists Join Freedom of the Press Foundation Technical Advisory Board". 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  17. 1 2 "Webby Nominees". 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  18. "2010 Top Cyber Security Journalist Award Winners". SANS. 2009-07-24. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  19. "min's 2010 Best of the Web Awards". MinOnline. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  20. "Digital Hall of Fame: Kevin Poulsen, Senior Editor,". MinOnline. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  21. "Knight-Batten 2008 Winners » Projects » J-Lab". 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2012-01-27.

Further reading

External links

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