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Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, Revised Paperback – 1 Aug 1985

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster; Updated edition (1 Aug. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684818620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684818627
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"PC Magazine" Riveting...an important chronicle of what is happening on the edge of the information age.

"Los Angeles Times Book Review"

An engrossing, valuable work.



"PC Magazine"

Riveting...an important chronicle of what is happening on the edge of the information age.



Cliff Stoll

"Author of "The Cuckoo's Egg"

An astonishing story [whose] trail leads across modems...as well as police blotters in America and Germany. This is the computing underground, our high-tech counterculture.



"Los Angeles Times Book Review"An engrossing, valuable work.

"PC Magazine"Riveting...an important chronicle of what is happening on the edge of the information age.

Cliff Stoll"Author of "The Cuckoo's Egg"An astonishing story [whose] trail leads across modems...as well as police blotters in America and Germany. This is the computing underground, our high-tech counterculture.

"Los Angeles Times Book Review" An engrossing, valuable work.

Cliff Stoll "Author of "The Cuckoo's Egg" An astonishing story [whose] trail leads across modems...as well as police blotters in America and Germany. This is the computing underground, our high-tech counterculture.

About the Author

Katie Hafner is a contributing editor at "Newsweek, " where she covers technology. She has also written for "Business Week, The New Republic, The New York Times, " and "Wired." She is currently working on a history of the Internet.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was given this book back in the 90s and thought it was superb. Reads like fiction but is factual. I've found myself re-reading chapters of it time and again over the years.
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Format: Hardcover
Very good book. Enjoyable & Interesting.
What every hacker or computer buff should read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sterile collection of facts 18 Feb. 2001
By Adam Luoranen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To me, what makes this book different from most other "hacker documentary" books is the detached style in which it's written. The authors are both journalists, and it shows: The book lacks the warmth of a normal story told from a normal storywriter. Instead, it's a cold, sterile collection of facts, like a 300-page newspaper article.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means the writing is kind of dry. But that doesn't make it boring. Indeed, most of the book is quite fascinating. In fact, after a while I began to appreciate the objective air that this style lent to the book: Most authors of this kind of book either try to be sympathetic to the crackers, representing them as harmless kids who only try to explore, or an evil menace which must be destroyed for our own safety. Markoff and Hafner, however, write with the unbiased, unopinionated journalism that befits people of their background.
Of course, when writing a book, you don't need to express opinions to make the text biased; You just need to present only one side of the facts. However, I do not feel that this is the case with this book. The book does not try to represent one side as good and the other bad. It just tells you something about both. There's both good and bad there.
So what's with all the people who say that the book is "biased"? I'm really not sure. I notice, however, that all of the people who say that are pointing specifically to Kevin Mitnick's case, and recommending Littman's "The Fugitive Game" (which is more sympathetic to Mitnick and his case) as a "better" book. The only reason I can figure for this is that the FREE KEVIN people are upset because the book does not agree with their ideals that Kevin is innocent and should be praised for being a "hacker". Sounds to me like those reviewers, and not the authors, are the ones with the personal bias.
SCREW KEVIN. He overstepped the line and went too far when he should have known better. Yes, his case has been mismanaged, but... But, I digress. Anyway. This book is not the be-all, end-all for learning about the hack/phreak culture (it's only three case studies, after all), but it's a good place to start if you've never familiarized yourself with that culture before. And even if you have, you'll probably find some tidbits here you didn't know. Score one for investigative journalism.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining, But Only Half The Story 27 Nov. 1998
By Robert Carlberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book last summer and enjoyed it immensely. It's very well-written.
However, having just finished Jonathan Littman's "The Fugitive Game" I have to recommend reading both books to get the full story. Markoff's conflicts-of-interest and questionable journalistic practices aren't apparent from reading just "Cyberpunk." What appears to be a non-fiction account is, in reality, more complicated than that.... You really owe it to yourself to read both sides of the story.
So read this book and enjoy it for what it is -- and then read Littman for another perspective.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars On the Outside Looking In. 13 Jan. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although Markoff is an exceptional writer and the book is both easy to read and entertaining, the content is presented as factual when the truth is that these guys definitely wrote the book with only part of the whole story at their disposal. One of the main "cyberpunks" depicted in the book is Kevin Mitnick, who claims that he has never even met John Markoff. How can the book fairly and accurately speak to the topic of hacking during the early days of the Internet revolution when they never did any investigations with real "hackers"? The story is told only from a law enforcement point-of-view. I am sure that the Rodney King story is told differently by King than the LAPD. Same goes for this case.
Like many works today that seem to be written for financial reasons, it seems very one-sided and sensational.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three interesting digital security stories in one book 16 May 2010
By Richard Bejtlich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Cyberpunk is a unique exploration of three distinct digital security stories. Authors Katie Hafner and John Markoff describe the histories of Kevin Mitnick and friends, Hans Heinrich Hübner and the Hannover hackers, and Robert T Morris and family. This approach is interesting because all three tales are told independently, yet key events occur within a few years of each other and some overlap. The authors write in the third person, with the exception of the epilogue which revisits certain individuals in the Mitnick story.

I really enjoyed Cyberpunk because it examined three very unique sets of characters. Kevin Mitnick's story centers on obsession, manipulation, a quest for knowledge, and betrayal at various levels. Hans Hübner's story involves espionage, but told from the perspective of the spies rather than the defenders. Robert Morris' story describes the ultimate hack gone bad, incorporating elements familiar to most security pros of the current decade. Readers could find elements of all three personalities in the modern world, although criminal and state-sponsored activity is by far the most prevalent.

I'd like to conclude by citing some of my favorite excerpts. First, when describing Digital's Palo Alto security, the authors write:

"[I]n recognition of the open-mindedness back at corporate headquarters, the computer scientists in Palo Alto took great care to operate their precious gateway responsibly. To give the best possible oversight both for maintenance and security, *Ph.D's in computer science* took turns poring over daily log files... So it was *only a matter of hours* after the intrusions into the Palo Alto computers began that the gateway watchers there noticed something amiss." (emphasis added) p 118

Second, when expressing frustration with Digital's inability to counter the intruders, the authors quote "one irate Digital employee":

"We seem to be totally defenseless against these people. We have repeatedly rebuilt system after system and finally *management has told the system support group to ignore the problem...* I want to make sure someone at network security knows that we are being ***** (censored) in broad daylight. These people freely walk into our systems and are taking restricted, confidential, and proprietary information." (emphasis added) p 120

Third, nothing changes:

"Digital might be reluctant to press charges... [F]ew of the computer crimes detected were ever reported to the police and still fewer were made public through criminal charges... [C]ompanies worried about having their vulnerabilities publicized." p 125

Though nearly 20 years old, Cyberpunk still shares many traits with the modern digital security world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, well written, easy to flowing, best I've read 16 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the type of book that you will want to read and read again...it is a real page turner and it tells 3 stories of famous hacker cases...I really enjoyed this book...I recommend this to anyone that enjoys computers and the adventures that go with them...
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