Former FBI Most Wanted criminal, Kevin Mitnick shocked guests at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s annual benefit at The Breakers Palm Beach when he demonstrated just how easily personal information can be acquired through little effort from a hacker, eliciting gasps from the crowd. Through his demonstrations, Mitnick explained the most vulnerable area of a security system is the human element.
Unlike a traditional dinner/dance benefit, the annual “Smarty Party” features a well-known guest speaker for an informative and entertaining evening. This year, the notorious hacker shared how he invaded nearly 40 major corporations just for the challenge, and how he has moved on from the FBI’s Most Wanted to a most-wanted cyber security speaker and top selling author.
“Kevin Mitnick was a fascinating and perfect fit for our mission to ‘open every mind to science,” said Kate Arrizza, newly promoted CEO of the Science Center while current president, Lew Crampton, does double duty for the community as a newly elected Town Council member. “His presentation resembled a technology magic show, including the latest techniques that educated, informed and likely terrified those in attendance, while keeping them on the edge of their seats.”
At the event, Crampton introduced Arrizza, congratulating her on her new position as CEO. “I am honored and humbled in my new role,” Arrizza said. She continued her speech, giving a call to the heart to raise funds for the Florida Forever Backyard at the Science Center, which will feature a Physics Forest, human sundial, dinosaurs and an Environmental Amphitheater, providing space for unique programs and seating for 300.
Guests took home a copy of Mitnick’s best-selling book, Ghost in the Wire: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker along with a raised awareness of security.
Event chairwomen were Mary Freitas, Elizabeth Gordon and Caroline Cummings Rafferty. Honorary chairs were Kathleen and Lew Crampton, Frances and Jeffrey Fisher, Helene and Matthew Lorentzen, and Heidi and John Niblack.
Other guests included Christine and Robert Stiller; Lynn and David Nicholson; Jeff Greene; LeeAnne LaBanz; Julie and Peter Cummings; Christina and Benjamin Macfarland; Suzanne and David Frisbie; Christopher Goldberg and Juliana Gendelman; Harvey Oyer; Lesley, Rick and Bennett Stone; Lucinda and Eric Stonestrom; Cathy and Dale Hedrick; Caroline and Tom Forrest; Barb and Dave Nuti; Nick Manifold and Kelly Klein; Sara and James McCann; Maggie Zeidman; Pandora and Robert Crippen; Deborah and Dan Cane; Sarah and Robb Allan; and Kate and Evan Arrizza.
Major sponsors of “The Science of Invisibility: An Evening with Kevin Mitnick” include Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. John Niblack, the Stiles Nicholson Foundation, Palm Beach Illustrated, PNC Bank, Mr. and Mrs. Robb Allan,Mr. and Mrs. Lew Crampton, Mr. and Mrs. Llwyd Ecclestone, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Freitas, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Gordon, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Haft, Mr. Amin Khoury, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Lorentzen, Mr. and Mrs. James McCann, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Rafferty.
The mission of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is to “open every mind to science” and the indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center,” an interactive Everglades exhibit and the 18-hole Conservation Course – an outdoor putting course with science-focused education stations. Astronaut, the blockbuster exhibit on display until April, immerses visitors in life on board the International Space Station. For more information, call 561-832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org. Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SFScienceCenter.