Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies—and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. But for Kevin, hacking wasn’t just about technological feats—it was an old fashioned confidence game that required guile and deception to trick the unwitting out of valuable information.
Driven by a powerful urge to accomplish the impossible, Mitnick bypassed security systems and blazed into major organizations including Motorola, Sun Microsystems, and Pacific Bell. But as the FBI’s net began to tighten, Kevin went on the run, engaging in an increasingly sophisticated cat-and-mouse game that led through false identities, a host of cities, plenty of close shaves, and to an ultimate showdown with the feds, who would stop at nothing to bring him down.
Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling true story of intrigue, suspense, and unbelievable escape and a portrait of a visionary whose creativity, skills, and persistence forced the authorities to rethink the way they pursued him, inspiring ripples that brought permanent changes in the way people and companies protect their most sensitive information.
©2011 Kevin Mitnick. Foreword 2011 by Steve Wozniak (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Intriguing, insightful, and extremely educational into the mind of one who truly mastered the art of social engineering with the use of a computer and modern-day technologies. I strongly believe that one can learn a great deal about protecting themselves once they understand how another one perpetrates the crime.” (Frank W. Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can)
Typical cat lady: lazy, sings off-key, craves spicy bloody marys.
Kudos to Ray Porter for breathing life into Kevin Mitnick's detailed account of how he fooled the world and thumbed his nose at giant tech companies just for sport. His insatiable curiosity, exceptional persistance and gigantic ego are just the right combo to achieve what he did [read: break the law & disrespect other people's rights and privacy].
It's really not great writing but his audacity is fascinating and what's also shocking is how gullible people can be. He couldn't have done most of it without people's basic nature to believe that someone is telling them the truth.
Yet, the person most snowed by Mitnick is Mitnick. He's really just a self-centered, egomaniac who gives lip service to caring about others or justifying his hacking but is really convinced he's better than everyone else.
Say something about yourself!
I could not get through this book.
There is a real story here, but perhaps it should have been written by someone else. There is an arrogance in both the writing and even the tone of the narrator that was unbearable. I would have liked to hear something from other people involved for the sake of authenticity. There were several points in the story that did not seem to ring true. Each time, Mitnick chalks this up to incredible coincidence or luck.
I would def listen to Ray Porter again, just not a Mitnick book.
was pretty good in the beginning, but waaay too much minutiae to keep me interested.
constantly found myself checking how much longer i had to go.
I guess i just don't care how you "find someones phone number at will"
Can there be any better pasttime than reading? Audiobook, regular book, e-book - I have 1 of each going at all times.
Denial actually IS a river in Egypt - at least if you listen to this book. Full of ego, euphemisms (social engineering = scamming) and lack of remorse, Mitnick portrays himself as a genius who was made miserable by laws and a government who just didn't understand him. The only reason I made it all the way through the book was to see if he would finally take responsibility and realize that every bit of what happened to him was due to his hacking addiction. Alas, no. He sets himself above the law because he claims he never made any money off his hacking skills. If you trust a guy who revels in his con artistry, maybe that's true. He still earned every bit of the jail time he served.
I enjoyed the first few hours, but it went gradually downhill.
It was fascinating to see how Kevin "social engineered" his was into anything, with almost no effort.
But the writers ego, arrogance, and petulance eventually wore me down.
He tends to write as if he is a superior intellect, because could break into computer systems and steal software, but he doesn't acknowledge that he could have never created such useful software in the first place.
An I lost count of the times that he complained that something wasn't "fair". Maybe a dozen times? He would break hundreds of laws, get caught and charged with a few of them, and then complain that a prosecutor was also accusing him of something he didn't do.
I am glad he turned his life around. (If he really did.) But I found his tone annoying, and I found him unlikable.
The narration was good, though.
I realize that I am in the minority. Having an IT background myself, I thought this would be a great listen. I couldn't finish it. Like the song lyrics.."poor poor pitiful me" is the theme replayed throughout the book. If I heard the words "socially engineered" one more time, I was going to have to stop listening, which I did. Most of the first half of the book is devoted to telephone company hacking. And more of the same. Sorry, I wouldnt recommend this. "Catch me if you can" while not my favorite book, was a better listen.
There are two main problems with this book:
- it needed a thorough edit which would have trimmed the length of the book by at least a third ... citing just one example, long strings of code interrupt the flow of the story and except for highly technical readers, are an irritation. The story is lost in this emphemera.
- Mitnick is 98% unlikeable - the thing that I most dislike is his dishonesty, and I feel listeners are being taken for a ride. Clever clogs Mitnick likes to dress his manipulation, deceit, guile and lying to people under the guise of the term
Completely interesting listen, but with a unique blend of respect and contempt for the protagonist.
Clearly a very bright guy, he makes his case very convincingly that hacking is, for him, a matter of personal challenge and problem solving, and not to exploit in any major way the systems he hacks. However he demonstrates an astonishing lack of understanding regarding how he has put people out and caused trouble. There is very little remorse for the incidental casualties of his game. While I can sympathize with the complaints of the police not playing by the rules, it is a curious argument coming from someone who spent his life breaking them.
The story about Kevin Mitnick is definitely interesting. And it's absolutely amazing (and scary!) to know how easy it is for someone with the right social skills (not even computer skills) to obtain confidential personal information from others. However, as interesting as it may be, I didn't find the story as gripping as other audiobooks. I guess I just didn't connect with the character. And the fact the author keeps reminding you every 15 minutes how brilliant and awesome he is, makes it hard to do so.
The other part I find disturbing with the book is that, even though the author was illegally accessing information and hacking into numerous systems, he doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with it. He points out that he never profitted from his hacking (apart from probably racking up thousands of dollars in phone bills using other people's numbers), but that still does not make it right. He turned his hacking around into a consulting business, and his story into a speaking career, and you have to give him credit for that. But he didn't give me the impression he realized what he did was wrong. He just found a way to get (legally) paid for it!
He breaks the law “for fun”… and then he complains about the injustice of his consequences. He's a bright guy, but clearly doesn't understand the definition of irony.
The guy is a whiny little kid. Egotistical and VERY self-indulgent, I got through this book quickly only because I wanted to move on to something less stupid.
This story is gripping throughout and the narration is fantastic! Brilliantly detailed; you can really feel the panic as the FBI come knocking...
A fantastic tale of hacking, phreaking and social engineering that had me hooked from start to finish. Great performance from the reader too.
"A great read"
Great book based on a true story.
The voice of the hacker coming through clearly. Clear, concise and factually written.
First I've heard but good.
Took me back to the years in question and some of the technology.
Highly recommended read.
Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Very quite awesomely good and then
"Gripping in parts"
Getting chased by helicopter
Lies told by government to gain convictions
I agree with some that it drags at bits, however after the first hour or two it's a very addictive book. I would say that anyone would enjoy this book. It's like a thriller/ crime novel with a bit of hacking for dummies thrown in.
One of the best true-story / biography type books I have listened to. It's was eye opening to hear of the exploits that were - and still are - possible and made me realize just how vulnerable organizations and individuals are to some of the simplest techniques.
Learning about the power, and risk, of social engineering. Kevin's own story is slightly delusional because he does not appreciate the pain and financial loss incurred by corporations and individuals alike - he must have made a very, very big impact and he's kidding himself if he does not recognise that. But of all the people to exploit their skills it is true he was not as sinister as many others must have been.
Ray Porter handled the narration well and was enjoyable. Some sections were clearly computer print out type paragraphs or tables and the narrator handled them well - some I wish were summarized without reading every character but then those situations were few and far between - no problem.
He attempted various accents to add colour to the book which were generally successful - the english accent was especially amusing! Good stuff.
The curious geek, his gran, and federal law enforcement at its best and worst.
"A life worth knowing"
It might be less interesting for someone without IT knowledge, but an instructive story nevertheless. I think I never understood why they are saying that the weakest spot in security is the human. Learning about social engineering is learning about yourself. A must listen.
"Great real life story for all"
Fascinating twist and turn story
True story so author Kevin
No - easy book to listen to in small chunks
A fair bit of technical info so techies will love it - however, as a non-technie, this did not spoil the listen
"Awesome book, well read."
This is an incredible story. I'd not heard of Kevin Mitnick before and just went for it on a Twitter recommendation. I work in a sysadmin type role so it was an eye-opener that our recent NSA privacy problems have been pre-dated by a whole team of independent kids who hacked as a hobby. It'll certainly make me more cautious when using the phone as well as email/internet.
Ray's reading was fantastic. I felt like I was listening to the author tell the story.
"BUY THIS NOW!"
It was captivating from the start, even if you're only a little bit interested in technology or hacking in general. It's like a James Bond adventure in cyberspace and telephony systems and all based on the exploits of one remarkable nerdy guy!
The sheer mastery he possessed of both technology and social engineering is fascinating to listen to, the way he outclasses the FBI and is ahead of them at almost every turn even leaving them doughnuts in his fridge when he knew they were about to raid him!
This was the first audio book I've listened to and it's certainly one of the best performances. It didn't even enter my head that this wasn't Kevin Mitnick himself reading this aloud.
It's more of an adventure story rather than high drama so it's more action than emotion, however he comes across as a really nice guy and not the mastermind criminal he was made out to be at the time all this was happening.
I've recommended this audio book to absolutely all my friends and family and those who have listened to it have not been disappointed!
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