We Are Anonymous is a thrilling, exclusive expose of the hacker collectives Anonymous and LulzSec.
In late 2010, thousands of hacktivists joined a mass digital assault by Anonymous on the websites of VISA, MasterCard, and PayPal to protest their treatment of WikiLeaks. Splinter groups then infiltrated the networks of totalitarian governments in Libya and Tunisia, and an elite team of six people calling themselves LulzSec attacked the FBI, CIA, and Sony. They were flippant and taunting, grabbed headlines, and amassed more than a quarter of a million Twitter followers. The computer security world - and world at large - realized quickly that Anonymous and its splinter groups are something to treat with dead seriousness.
Through the stories of three key members, We Are Anonymous offers a gripping, adrenaline-fueled narrative in the style of The Accidental Billionaires, drawing upon hundreds of conversations with the members themselves, including exclusive interviews. By coming to know them - their childhoods, families, and personal demons - we come to know the human side of their virtual exploits, and why they're so passionate about disrupting the Internet's frontiers.
©2012 Parmy Olson (P)2012 Hacette Audio
Anyone who didn't try to use ridiculous accents. The character who is supposed to be Scottish got a Liverpool accent. The guy from the Lower East side of Manhattan (of Puerto Rican heritage) got a strange mix of Eastern European and Latin accents. It was painful to listen to.
I was interested in reading about Anonymous because it's a subject that we need to understand in the modern, internet dependent world. What I realized early on is that the majority of these "cyber hacks" (I won't glorify them by calling them "terrorists") are a bunch of anti-socials with physical defects that force them to spend the majority of their time in their rooms with their computers because they can't "make it" out in society. Anonymous and movements like theirs are literally culminated in online chat rooms. I was sort of hoping to find that they were a group of geniuses who had honorable goals, and used their technical knowledge to change the world. But alas, they are no more than ultra geeks with nothing better to do, and are looking for some kicks in between playing online video games.
Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy
If it were fiction, nobody would believe it. What an amazing story, flawlessly told, about a period that will be prominently featured when the history of the internet is finally written.
I had to continually remind myself that the author wasn't a participant in this story, because it's told with such compelling vividness it's hard to imagine the facts being gathered any other way.
If you took any interest in the devastation wrought by LulzSec and Anonymous, you will find this book very difficult to put down.
My only criticism deals with the (otherwise exceptionally good) narrator's insistence on attempting the accents of the players in this story. That sort of thing always bugs me. But not enough to keep me from giving the work five stars and emphatically recommending it.
Can't drive and read.
I enjoyed how I was able to connect to the views of those represented in the book.
over 9000 words!
A lively and informative book brought to life by Ms.Abby Craden! Olson gives a thorough history, and actual look inside, of these hacktivist groups. All the while doing so, she paints very real characters. Characters with real flaws who, at times, are mischievous, creepy, or all out megalomaniac! A very entertaining listen. My ONLY qualm with the book was her focus on the original Anon/LulzSec members, versus giving a broader viewpoint of other group members and those countries and law-enforcement involved. A must-read for those interested in pop-culture, current events, and information security!
Very eye opening read into the lives of the script kiddies and the tech idols who lead the hoard. The complete loss of a since of right and wrong due the the vail of anonymity provided by the web was disturbing.
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.
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