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
I was blown away by how exciting the author made this story. It's a fascinating look into the underground hacker culture and a wake up call to anyone who hasn't paid much attention to computer security in the past. You'll learn about the basic methods hackers use, including technical hacks and social engineering.
The story was very approachable, Parmy Olson does a good job explaining everything tech related in a fair amount of detail without making the embarrassing mistakes that many journalists make when reporting on technology. (I'm hardly all-knowing in this area, but I'm a programmer and pretty tech savvy, so I probably would have caught any obvious flaws)
The narrator does a wonderful job adding life to the dialogue and uses different voices for each character when reading chat logs and interview quotes. I almost felt like I was listening to a Stieg Larsson book. If you're at all interested in hackers or how a couple kids from different sides of the planet can take down the websites of massive corporations, get this book!
Parmy Olson provides an incredibly close up and detailed view into these very specific hacker groups. She illuminates the personalities, strategies, tactics and targets involved. Solid narration too.
The narration of this book is just atrocious.
Faking accents in a nonfiction book is unnecessary and the correct pronunciation of words like "Linux" and other terms relating to technology and the internet should be a requirement for narrating books like this.
Especially when you have a book where most of the audience knows the correct wording of phrases and pronunciation of these terms.
So all in all: compelling content let down by irritating narration.
Just finished listening to this audio book. I found it a well written, fast paced and exciting read. While I haven't been involved in this specific area in my career, this book helped me connect the dots about much that has happened in the news over the past few years.
Those of you here in this group that are deeply entrenched in this space may be well informed. If you are new to this area, this book is an excellent and gripping primer on what is relevant about hacking and the many breaches published over the past few years.
I very much recommend this as an excellent listen!
If you are no hacker, but would like to feel a bit of the excitement and speed of how this whole world works, I suggest listening to it at 3X speed...
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.
Parmy Olson does an excellent job of wading into the shady world of anon and lulzsec - there are plenty of flaws, however, it is definitely worth the time and far better than I anticipated.
The narrator, Abby Craden, on the other hand, is awful. She finishes every sentence with an affected, snide lilt and she mispronounces words on a regular basis. The worst distraction, however, are the array of dreadful accents she employs to differentiate the characters. It just about ruins the story.
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!
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