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.
historical, depressing, enthralling
I might recommend this. The only problems are that it has a lot of vulgarity, obscenity, and graphic things, but it's an open window into what it's like in the under-world of the internet, so I don't think that's necessarily bad, it's just depressing.
The reading is in a very proud sounding lilt without much other emotion which tends to flatten all the accents. I'm not sure if they're bad accents or if it's the proud sound to every phrase, but something is wrong with the accents especially. They're a bit irritating.
No, this wasn't a book that I wanted to listen to all in one sitting, but most books are long enough that it would be hard to anyways. The off accents are too grating in this one, however for that to happen.
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.
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.
Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction audiobook 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.
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