So. Freaking. Awesome.
Kayla. I identify with he/she/its paranoia
Her voice was so subdued that I wonder if she narrated this book out of some sort of contract necessity. She has a habit of ending every sentence by dropping her vocal tone which causes vocal fry (growling). Which would be fine ... if it weren't Every. Freaking. Sentence.
Great book, worth looking past my gripes with the narration.
I am currently a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
I believe the content of this book should be graded on a curve: how does one adequately capture the development of an organization that defines itself by its lack of organization? How does one make sense of a so-called "hacktavist" group that does not have a specific political agenda? Lastly, how does one try to capture the meaning of a cyber movement that is still in its infancy?
Despite these issues, author Parmy Olson does an adequate job of giving a coherent account Anonymous, LulzSec and related cyber groups. She focuses on a few central key figures like "Sebu", "Topiary" and "Kayla" and tries to show how these figures reflect different sides of Anonymous. For example, Sebu represents the political-minded hacktavist side, Topiary represents the "lulz" side and Kayla the hard-core hacker side. I think this strategy was effective since it gives the reader the sense that while Anonymous, LulzSec, etc are frequently talked about as a single entity within the media the motivations of the people who identify with these group vary wildly.
I have two criticisms of this audiobook. The first regards the content. I thought the author at times went off into unnecessary tangents, introducing periphery figures that didn't add much to the book, or quoted chat logs for longer than was needed. My second criticism regards the narration. I don't know who's idea it was to have the narrator use different accents for each speaker because they were annoying and even distracting at certain points (Barret Brown's Texas accent immediately comes to mind). If I had to it over again, I would have bought a paper or e-book version rather than get the audiobook.
Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction addict.
The hacker network known as anonymous has become very influential and receives much publicity in the world today. Yet people in general know very little about how Anonymous is actually organized or how many people are active in the network.
In this book, author Parmy Olson, takes us backstage and tells the story of ~5 core members of this renowned hacker network. Jake a.k.a. “Topiary”, a social outcast teenager on the Shetlands, was for some time the voice of the hacker network. Kayla, a highly skilled hacker whose identity still appears uncertain. Sabu, a mexican immigrant living in the US… among others. The their shared belief that the internet should be entirely free brought these people together and through their combined expertise they managed quite a lot of havoc in the real world. Together they brought down web pages belonging to the Church of Scientology as well as the Tunisian government. Other than high profile hacks such as these the members also did multiple hacks on social network sites which are actually kind of horrific. The book also describes how the members were identified and ultimately arrested. Still as anyone who has seen the news lately knows, anonymous did not disappear with these arrests. A strength and a weakness of their organisation is their lack of… organisation... The members do not know each other personally, they do not have a leader or a chairman steering the boat and anyone can perform a hack in the name of anonymous and thus move the agenda of the organisation.
What this book does particularly well is to give you insight into how anonymous is organized (and how it is not organized). You will learn about the types of attacks that are typically employed by the network as well as how they protect their real identities (though they were ultimately unsuccessful). The reader of this book will also learn how to protect one's identity online and how not to get fooled by social hackers. All in all, it is a very good and informative book and well worth a read if you are at all interested in anonymous or hackers in general.
At first, the book was too much like a novel for me - talking about people's inner feelings and such - which is by my preferred kind of book. It seemed to fiction-like. Even though, I think most people enjoy that. I got used to it and found that the author did a good job of conveying the IRC goings-on in an engaging way.
Now, the performance by the narrator....eh. I don't like to give negative reviews but man, she did not-so-great accents and read things in a way that seemed kind of cliché. I did consider returning the book but listened through because the book itself was good. I won't listen to this reader again though.
I loved the story about how a subject/group of individuals, such as Anonymous, started as a prank and ended up as a movement and social revolution. The author was hard to listen to at times and you have to know that instead of "hashtag", she uses "pound". Annoying oversight on her part that could've made it slightly easier to listen to. Great story.
This book must have been extremely difficult to read even for the seasoned IT professional. Nice detailed background of the phenomenon known as "Anonymous." It would really be nice if they could hack our government's student loan program and erase all that debt! Haha!
She does excellent accents overall, but especially like her Topiary.
Engaging overview of Anonymous and the related spin-off, LulzSec. The author does a good job explaining the nature of the collective, its origins, and how the media and law enforcement often misunderstood its organization (or lack thereof), its aims (various), and its members' motivations for involvement (again, various). I think it would have been a fuller and more complete book if it had taken more time to explore how online activity impacts psychology (including eschewing societal norms and mob mentality). However, even without this, the author does an excellent job explaining technical aspects of DDOS attacks, hacking, and the masking of identity on the internet, as well as biographical discussions of some major players, such that the book still stands well on its own.