Kevin Poulsen first gained notoriety in 1982, when the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office raided him for gaining unauthorized access to a dozen computers on the ARPANET, the forerunner of the modern Internet. Seventeen years old at the time, he was not charged, and went on to work as a programmer and computer security supervisor for SRI International in Menlo Park, California, then as a network administrator at Sun Microsystems.

In 1987, Pacific Bell security agents discovered that Poulsen and his friends had been penetrating telephone company computers and buildings. After learning that Poulsen had also worked for a defense contractor where he'd held a SECRET level security clearance, the FBI began building an espionage case against the hacker.

Confronted with the prospect of being held without bail, Poulsen became a fugitive. While on the run, he obtained information on the FBI's electronic surveillance methods, and supported himself by hacking into Pacific Bell computers to cheat at radio-station phone-in contests, winning a vacation to Hawaii and a Porsche 944-S2 Cabriolet in the process.

After surviving two appearances on NBC's Unsolved Mysteries, Poulsen was finally captured on April 10th, 1991, in a Van Nuys grocery store, by a Pacific Bell security agent acting on an informant's tip. On December 4th, 1992, Poulsen became the first hacker to be indicted under U.S. espionage laws when the Justice Department charged him with stealing classified information. (18 U.S.C. 793).

Poulsen was held without bail while he vigorously fought the espionage charge. The charge was dismissed on March 18th, 1996.

Poulsen served five years, two months, on a 71 month sentence for the crimes he committed as a fugitive, and the phone hacking that began his case. He was freed June 4th, 1996, and began a three year period of supervised release, barred from owning a computer for the first year, and banned from the Internet for the next year and a half.

Since his release, Poulsen has appeared on MSNBC, and on ABC's Nightline, and he was the subject of Jon Littman's flawed book, "The Watchman - the Twisted Life and Crimes of Serial Hacker Kevin Poulsen." His case has earned mention in several computer security and infowar tracts - most of which still report that he broke into military computers and stole classified documents.

Poulsen's supervision ended June 4th, 1999. He is currently a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in half-a-dozen magazines, and he writes a weekly column for ZDTV's Cybercrime. Last May, he spoke at the Senior Information Warfare Applications Course at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and more recently delivered a talk with computer crime attorney Jennifer Granick at the DefCon hacker convention in Las Vegas.