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Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the…

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Kevin Mitnick, Steve Wozniak (Foreword), William L. Simon (Contributor)

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Title:Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
Authors:Kevin Mitnick
Other authors:Steve Wozniak (Foreword), William L. Simon (Contributor)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2011), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Non-fiction, Memoir, Computer Science, Hacking

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Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick (2011)

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When reading the memoir of a person with a singular life story, you're generally coming for the content first, and everything else second. To that end, Kevin Mitnick delivers.

The book is a a fast-paced account of his escapades as a hacker, phreaker, and social engineer nonpareil. It's an entertaining read, and is written to be accessible to even the most non-technical of readers.

I'd read [b:The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick|18162|The Fugitive Game Online with Kevin Mitnick|Jonathan Littman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348907043s/18162.jpg|19619] a few years back, so I was familiar with the general story of Kevin Mitnick, but two things really stuck with my after finishing this book.

The first was Mitnick's talent as a social engineer. While he glosses over his technical escapades, it's clear he has technical chops as a hacker. These take a back seat to his ability to engineer others into doing the work for him. I'd love to have heard some of the conversations he'd had with his targets; I'm betting they'd be a pretty entertaining listen.

The second surprise for me was how hopelessly addicted to hacking he was. If you replaced every instance of computers with drugs, it'd be a very standard story of addiction, relapse, and recovery. While I can sympathize, even empathize, with a love of computers and burning curiosity, the pursuit of the target at the expense of all else revealed Mitnick's hobby for what it truly was.

If this book wasn't Kevin Mitnick writing about Kevin Mitnick, I probably would have given it one star. It read like a cheap crime novel, and the avoidance of any sort of responsibility for his actions really left a bitter taste in my mouth.

That being said, it's well worth a read; Kevin Mitnick really is in a league of his own.

( )
  liso | Sep 18, 2015 |
The story of Kevin Mitnick is certainly an interesting one. It charts the rise and fall of this hacker who hacks, basically, just for fun. He does not seek financial gain for his actions.

I read it because I wanted to know how he managed to hack in such secure systems. It is certainly interesting not only as it shows how brazen Mitnick was but also how these companies just were not prepared for security of this kind at the birth of the digital age. Most of this now you probably could not do now, although Mitnick does state there are certain tricks which will probably still work.

As fascinating a life as Mitnick led, the book is not written in a particularly engaging way in my opinion and sometimes reeks of self-importance and arrogance.

Definitely worth a read though. ( )
  rimbo90 | Mar 28, 2015 |
Great book!
The story of Mitnick is very intriguing and his ability to think "sideways" through problems was quite amazing. I'm still amazed how easy it is to be duped...and I now constantly second guess myself when I talk with people.
The book is well written and includes technical details that are explained very well for the non-techie.
This is about Mitnick and what he went through (and how he did it) so be sure that you read The Art of Deception where he walks through many of the social engineering aspects of what he has done. ( )
  gopfolk | Jan 28, 2015 |
Much better than I thought. I always saw Mitnick as a kind of Robin Hood character. Of course, this isn't 100% accurate and his motives weren't 100% pure and he did a lot more damage than he admits to. On the other hand, he clearly does make an effort to be honest and as objective as possible when telling his story. A good example of this is his treatment of Tsutomu Shimomura, the guy who helped catch him. Kevin doesn't like him, but he respects his skills and generally take the high road. (Read Shimomura's book too, Shimmy isn't nearly as nice or gentle.)

Mitnick does have a lot of anger for reports and law enforcement agents who spread the FUD (disinformation) about Mitnick painting him as violent, destructive, or a threat to national security. Mitnick became the personification of general technophobe fear, and people like John Markoff (the reporter who Mitnick loathes, and rightfully so.) made a lot of money by selling Mitnick as a villain to the masses.

In the end, this was interesting from a technology sense (how phone switching works and an introduction peek into *nix network protocols) and from a personal sense. Why would he do what he did?

I'm left wondering, how do we steer future Mitnicks in more positive directions? CLEARLY, people shouldn't be allowed to run wild in the phone system. Just as clearly, putting him in jail isn't the best answer. I want kids to read this and hopefully turn to ethical hacking. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
A little self-important. ( )
  briealeida | Feb 6, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316037702, Hardcover)

Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world's biggest companies--and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. But for Kevin, hacking wasn't just about technological feats-it was an old fashioned confidence game that required guile and deception to trick the unwitting out of valuable information.

Driven by a powerful urge to accomplish the impossible, Mitnick bypassed security systems and blazed into major organizations including Motorola, Sun Microsystems, and Pacific Bell. But as the FBI's net began to tighten, Kevin went on the run, engaging in an increasingly sophisticated cat and mouse game that led through false identities, a host of cities, plenty of close shaves, and an ultimate showdown with the Feds, who would stop at nothing to bring him down.

Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling true story of intrigue, suspense, and unbelievable escape, and a portrait of a visionary whose creativity, skills, and persistence forced the authorities to rethink the way they pursued him, inspiring ripples that brought permanent changes in the way people and companies protect their most sensitive information.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The world's most famous former computer hacker, now a security consultant, describes his life on the run from the FBI creating fake identities, finding jobs at a law firm and a hospital, and keeping tabs on his pursuers.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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