Hackers gotta hack!
The most memorable was really the opening scene. I was horrified but laughing inside at how easily the hackers took down a 'cyber security' firm's website, defaced the site, abused the CEO's twitter account and published its emails.
If nothing else, I have learned why there are warnings to change your password frequently, use different passwords on different accounts, and to use phrases with upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols. It was quite eye opening that the groups published lists of user names and passwords.
The book was engaging and felt like a quick listen up until the last hour or so. I enjoyed the walk through cyber history and how the culture evolved and morphed over time.
A synopsis of the stories would be a valuable listen for any company who wants to really get the point across to their employees that cyber security is important.
Absolutely. This is a look into Anonymous as deep as I've ever experienced back in its heyday when things were actually getting done of consequence. Whether you agree with Anonymous or not, the story is fascinating and engrossing as you get a fully fleshed out narrative of how things happened inside the collective.
Topiary. I love his personality and relate to him most of all as I am not a terribly skilled hacker, but do support the Anonymous ideals.
Abby did a fantastic job of relaying the story and capturing the emotions likely behind the words in an IRC chat room.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
Obviously when dealing with shadowy organizations (or anti-organizations) there are some limits to knowledge. The act of looking intently may change the situation, or acquiring deep insights of murky situations may take so long that the situation changes during the process, only becoming clear in retrospect. However, this book is about as accurate and as informative as is possible for a book about Anonymous. This is the primary reason to read it. It’s a good introduction; a reasonably balanced, reasonable acute reporting.
The important takeaways from this book seem to be: 1) that as a cyber-army Anonymous is shockingly low tech and 2) the corollary that as a society we are shockingly vulnerable to low tech attacks.
Anonymous is mostly a large group of board rowdy teenagers with nothing better to do, who meet up on sexually explicit and gore oriented bulletin boards, like 4chan or B, and from time to tie sally forth to experience a bit of mayhem. Sure they are a few elite security exports who may (or may not) be leading them (the whole question of leadership is controversial). But even the elite hackers within Anonymous are rather underwhelming, compared to other cyber-war or cybercrime groups, like author of the Conficker Worm, which was a team of world class professionals.
If you’re a believer in Anonymous as a cause this is probably reassuring (these are pretty ordinary people), if you’re not a believer this is the doubling unsettling. It reveals the extent to which IT professionals at your work, at companies you buy from, in the government, and behind the medical, financial, personal and computer services you must use in modern life, are not really trying to deal with computer security. It seems that they are not striving to fix the problems, but merely striving to put on a good show in the hopes of deflecting blame for the problem. That is, their goal is not security, but rather security theater. And the police are so out classed (with a few exceptions) that it’s like hiring a bunch of 12 year old girls as bouncers at a Megadeath concert (if you’re lucky they might avoid becoming victims themselves).
As a society we don’t seem to yet ready to do anything about this situation. Sure Anonymous terrorizes some innocent people, but they are mostly terrorizing each other, and they do some good. The problems seem tolerable. But history suggest that this unstable. Over time either someone will figure how to use Anonymous (or similar organizations) as their personal armies. This is roughly the way nearly all of history’s most evil megalomaniacs rose to power. Or Anonymous will gradually become more and more evil, corrupted from within by its own power.
The situation today is troubling, but far from dire. The scary bit is the trajectory; and it’s very dire.
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.
Abby Craden does a pretty good job narrating, apart from the painfully obvious mispronunciations of a couple words. But it doesn't detract from the story and her voice suits the book well, often conveying senses of foreboding, dread, and hope as the author clearly intended in her story. The accents are a bit hokey, but it's a small issue.
How the World of Anonymous was Uncovered
I hope that the author updates her book with the recent developments into the LulzSec and Anonymous stories.
Good performance and detailed account without being too techy.
In the end, all criminals eventually slip up. The lulz was on them.
Tariopy, the spokesman. No one is completely good or completely bad. The book included a good profile of him.
It's a great look inside the real world of Anonymous & lulzsec, it will really educate the uniformed.
I have not listened to anything else Abby Craden has done but I would have no problem listening to her read another book. My only issue with her is that she mispronounces some very simple words, the main one that stood out for me was Linux, she pronounces it (line-ex) when it is pronounced (Lin-ex). That and the other mispronunciations of some very simple every day computing words drove me a little nuts But other than that she was a joy to listen to.
This book is very thoughtful and well researched. It is really quite facinating. I felt like I got to know the Anons, their world(s) and a variety of dangers that I never even knew existed. I thought the characterization of the key "players" in LOLs raids were particularly strong and allowed me to connect with the people behind the screen names. In the end, I even felt sympathy for the characters and the "crimes" they had committed.
While the middle section of the book seemed to drag I throughly enjoyed most of the book. I was left feeling very sympathetic for some of the people who were naively sucked into commiting felonies that at the time they thought were harmless pranks. It was stricking and un-nereving to see how easy these people can disrupt internet commerce or hack into private information.