I have to admit, I first read the book 'Takedown' by Tsutomu Shimomura and John Markoff, and felt that I was an expert on the subject of Kevin Mitnick.
I am somewhat ashamed that even in these days where it's common sense to not judge a book by it's cover, that's what I did with Kevin Mitnick.
However, this book has changed my mind and opinions. It's a fascinating story that leaves you desperate to turn the page and continue reading, when it's 5:27am and you know you have to be at work in 3 hours time - and you still can't but the book down.
The book is, understandably, somewhat technical - but I don't think that it would go over the head of any reader, unless they actively refuse to try and understand technical terms!
Another fun part is the little technical puzzles that prefix each chapter, you'll be playing with ROT13 and Base64 encoding before you know it.
Last but not at all least, it's a story of passion and drive - Kevin was no angel, but in the face of a whole system dedicated to depriving him of his basic human privileges and accusing him of inconceivable crimes with no base in fact or reality, he had to do what he could to survive. After all, what would you do in a system that believes you could launch a nuclear weapon by whistling down a telephone ?
I bought this on day of release in hardback, which is odd for me, I generally read everything electronically and buy Kindle ebooks these days. I remember the stories of Kevin Mitnick from back when I was at University learning Computer Science. This was just at the start of the Internet era. I remember thinking at the time, 'man, the stories make this guy seem like an international terrorist, I wonder what the truth actually is' and now I know.
The book is a very easy read, whether you're a tech head or not. There's enough detail to keep people like me happy, but it's presented so anyone can follow and understand it. It's exciting too, not just a dry story from one perspective. The author did lot of research into the other people involved in the story, getting interviews and documents to build a very complete picture of hacking, running from the authorities and finally getting caught.
I enjoyed this very much, and would recommend it to anyone.
I read Kevin Mitnick's first book about hacking and I was hooked. its a great read, as is this book and it tells you so much about social engineering and how hackers do it. I naively though that they sat at the computer guessing passwords. If you think that then read this book. Its far easier to hack and break into a company's server then you could realise and though I assume that if this guy wasn't guilty he would not have been sent to jail, he tells a really goos storey about manipulating people to get people to give you access to company secrets.
This is a tale about breaking in, and having to be on the run. There was a film of his encounters which was a flop but to be rank you need to read this to get to the real adventure. Its all here, secrets, FBI, mistrust, betrayal and finding new identities. Great.
Loved it and hope there are other similar books out there for me to delve into.
Much has been written about Kevin Mitnick and unknowingly some of it even briefly stumbled upon the truth. Those factual nuggets were, however, mired in a morass of of lies and half-truths leading to the creation of a reputation of almost mythical proportions. Here then is the warts and all factual account of what happened. Some may take umbrage at the fact its not written as a massive apology note, but many others (including myself) would rather see everything as it happened stripped of media hype and fud. Anyone who says that Kevin shows no remorse whatsoever clearly hasn't read the book, it may be directed towards some of his close family and friends, but it IS there. He doesn't show much remorse for some organisations that he may have intruded upon, but given the length of his incarceration and the way in which simple acts were blown out of all proportions (he doesn't eat babies and he can't launch missiles by whistling) anyone who takes offense would be advised to walk a mile in his shoes and then see how forgiving they felt then. I've seen some negative commentary from some others who say that the content is too out of date. To those I would suggest putting "define history" into a popular search engine. This is an autobiographical account of what happened, it deals with the what, where, why and how of Kevin Mitnick. I laughed at sections of the book, both in terms of the crazy stunts he pulled as a youngster and the sheer chutzpah he showed in carrying out most of his attacks. Other sections adequately conveyed the remorse he felt towards his immediate family and the fear he lived with whilst on the run from the authorities. Hackers aren't particularly known for being erudite, but this is remarkably well written. I hope this gets picked up as a movie or a TV series, its certainly worthy of one.
I have been waiting to read this book since reading about Kevin and watching the documentary about the Free Kevin movement: Freedom Downtime a decade ago.
Firstly I have to say it doesn't disappoint! The reader is walked through Kevin's motivation starting with his early hacks gaining free rides on Los Angeles buses and amusing himself by learning more and more about telephone systems.
Mitnick explains his obsession with hacking for curiosity and how he was motivated by a thirst for knowledge and never gained anything financially from his attacks, something which prosecutors couldn't comprehend.
Kevin shares his viewpoints well and conveys his frustration that the people prosecuting him had a gross misunderstanding of technology and thus punished him far more harshly than he deserved.
The book doesn't just give an autobiographical account of a hacker but it immerses the reader in a search for truth, Kevin brings you along on the ride while he searches for the informants, keeps tabs on the people trying to convict him and attempts to force himself to lead a 'normal' life without hacking but constantly slips back into a dangerous pattern.
It's clear that a great deal of research has gone into this book, Kevin has been honest about his mistakes and has gone to a great deal of effort to contact those involved so that he could explain the story from an informed point of view.
There's deception, social engineering, police raids, snitches and best of all it's all true.
Ghost In The Wires is an excellent account of Kevin Mitnick's extraordinary life as a hacker. It follows his entry into a world in which technical prowess is king: authorities and organisations with lesser abilities are left either flummoxed or - as the title of the book suggests - altogether ignorant of his actions.
What struck me as most astonishing was not so much his technical knowledge of telephone systems, networks, and computer operating systems - though that is indeed impressive - was his sheer audacity and confidence to extract information from people by posing as, for instance, a member of company staff or engineer. This is termed 'social engineering' but is perhaps a fancy name for a confidence trickster with a keen technical mind.
The story is faced paced and not burdened by too much technical jargon. I have qualifications in computing and good knowledge of the VMS and Unix operating systems frequently referred to, however, the book is expertly edited by William Simon and therefore should be enjoyable by those with just a basic understanding of computers and networks.
Mitnick comes across as being a very likeable person; I found myself willing him to succeed in his adventures at times. It is incredible that he remained elusive for so long, but as becomes apparent in this book, Mitnick was afflicted by an addiction to hack and get away with it.
Very enjoyable and well work a read... after you have done so, you'll be rushing off to change your passwords!
Fantastic read for anyone with an interest in technology, hacking and social engineering! Mitnick recalls his hacking life superbly, unashamedly using real names, companies, even telephone numbers! As stated in the headline, this book should be a required read for all techies, network admins, software engineers, sysadmins and CompSci students, as you'll instantly see your previous and future work in a different light.
A note to potential readers, however, that some technical background would be beneficial to fully understand some of the techniques mentioned.
The first thing that comes to mind when writing a review for this book is WOW!
The first time I came across Kevin Mitnick and the Kevin Mitnick Story (The Myth of Kevin Mitnick) was in the film Takedown starring Skeet Ulrich. I thought the film was good and was fascinated with the story, so did some digging, some reading around on the internet, then after far too long eventually got my hands on the true story, Ghost In The Wires.
If this book was a work of fiction then it would be one of the best novels I have ever read. The fact is though, this is no work of fiction, it is the true story written by the man at the center of the story. The book has everything and you really feel immersed in the story, living every moment with Kevin. There are hints of romance, there are moments of despair, there are highs and a real sense of achievement at times, it is even educational! Thinking it through now, I can't think of anything that is missing, Kevin has even been kind enough to include encrypted messages at the beginning of each chapter which I am currently working my way through cracking.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in hacking/cracking, anyone with an interest in technology, anyone with an interest in the internet, anyone who enjoys thrillers and manhunts. In fact, I would recommend this to anyone that can read, and those that can't I would recommend learn to read so that they can read this brilliant book.
Kevin Mitnick's life as a Hacker reads like some fantastical criminal caper and a work of fiction. This leads me to wonder just how true most of this tale actually is but I am left of the opinion that even if only half of this story is true it is still a fascinating book.
There really isn't much more to say about this book that will describe it any better than the standard synopsis. An account of Kevin Mitnick's life from childhood until a few years after going to jail for his crimes, this is a true crime / autobiographical tale that is truly worth a read.
This story is well written, engaging from the start and at times hilariously funny. What I found fascinating about this was the constant state of rising tension throughout the book as well as the ups and downs of relationships and the huge variety of characters. This made made me feel that I was reading a novel rather than a true story so I was thoroughly engaged right from the start.
I really can't recommend this book highly enough. It is not so filled with technical jargon that the layman won't be able to follow what is happening however, there is enough insider knowledge and technical know how to give geeks like a me a real thrill reading this book.
As someone who grew up with the birth of the public internet (ahh CompuServe) and a fan of dialing in to friend of friends houses at night to "acquire" files, Kevin's story is very familiar to me.
However this book blows away the misinformation and media hype surrounding the story and is told in a thrilling and sometime humorous way.
From the start of the book it grabs the reader and won`t let go. Both fast paced and informative, it takes the reader from Kevin`s beginnings as a fan of magic tricks and magicians, to Ham radio and of course telephones and networks. If you've heard of Kevin Mitnick i guarantee you have not heard the truth. This book clears up the myths (He can whistle into a telephone and launch a nuclear missile from NORAD) and explains that not all hackers are in it for the money.
Buy,beg,borrow this book.......Then check your computer security.
My book of the year 5/5 Thank you Kevin and good luck in the future