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Ghost in the Wires Audiobook

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling story of hair's-breadth escapes, brazen sociopathy, and ultimately redemption. What's more, it's all true. Ray Porter expertly narrates the stranger than fiction autobiography of Kevin Mitnick as he recounts how he went from gaming the LA bus system for free rides to gaining unauthorized access to the most secure corporate computer systems in the world, all the while playing cat and mouse with the FBI. —Michael

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (5591 )
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  •  
    Scooter 04-16-12
    Scooter 04-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mitnick's Self-Pity Gets Old"

    Narration great.
    Story interesting, but Mitnick's self-pity gets old. The guy was a criminal doing lots of economic damage.

    I almost gave up on the book because the simultaneous "the government is being unfair" and "excuse me while I steal Sun Microsystem's source code while hacking into Pacific Bell's phone switch to illegally eavesdrop on calls." was just a bit much.

    Also, even though I'm a technologist, the recitation of commands and phone numbers did not work well for an audiobook.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 02-23-12
    Patricia 02-23-12

    Can there be any better pasttime than reading? Audiobook, regular book, e-book - I have 1 of each going at all times.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Epitome of Denial"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ben Coquitlam, BC, Canada 11-14-11
    ben Coquitlam, BC, Canada 11-14-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "On and On and On.............."

    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.

    21 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Brittain 09-27-11 Listener Since 2009
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    "Stunning lack of self-reflection"

    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.

    29 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 01-15-12
    Stephen 01-15-12
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    "Mitnick is completely unlikeableSo"
    Any additional comments?

    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

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrés 10-02-12
    Andrés 10-02-12 Member Since 2014

    Andres

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    "Interesting, but not gripping"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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!


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Vancouver, BC, Canada 07-21-13
    Jay Vancouver, BC, Canada 07-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Self Indulgent"

    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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Forte 08-13-12
    M. Forte 08-13-12 Member Since 2016

    Aerospace engineer and web site developer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What an amazing story! Couldn't stop listening!"

    This is one of the most fascinating non-fiction stories I have "read". From a simple fascination and curiosity as to how the phone system worked, Kevin Mitcnick found himself in the middle of a real life "Catch Me If You Can." Always one step ahead of everyone else, his addiction to hacking eventually did him in. I don't know how he could sleep at night knowing that every moment could be has last free one.

    The narrator, Ray Porter, was phenomenal. He was so natural that at times I felt he was talking right to me.

    Great book!!!!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane United States 10-03-11
    Diane United States 10-03-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Remarkably well read"

    The narrator made me feel as if Kevin Mitnick was actually speaking to me. The story is honest, suspenseful, and eye-opening. There was a little too much technical jargon for my taste, but I understand that the more computer-savvy listeners would appreciate it.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Cz Pittsburgh, PA USA 11-10-15
    Michael Cz Pittsburgh, PA USA 11-10-15 Member Since 2015

    Mike Cz

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    "Absolutely Compelling"

    Very suspenseful. Not overly technical, but still detail oriented. Thrilling from the beginning to the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Donal M.
    10/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A really interesting read"

    I really enjoyed this book which was superbly read. It's truly an amazing story that can be described as thrilling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Isaac
    7/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping and tense read"
    What did you like most about Ghost in the Wires?

    The pace in the book was unrelenting - I never felt starved for more tales of Kevin's exploits, and each story was just as thrilling and unbelievable as the last!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Kevin's descriptions of the social engineering hacks he used to gain entry to the companies he phoned absolutely amazed me - the audacity he showed, and the gullibility of his victims, were quite astounding.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    There are several tense moments towards the end of the book where Kevin is forced to flee around America, only to be found again by the FBI, no matter where he takes refuge. These scenes are nail-bitingly intense, as Kevin struggles to make more false documents in time to move again, sometimes with the FBI hot on his trail as he manufactures them!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Ghost in the Wires is quite a long book, so I wasn't tempted to listen to it all at once; however, the chapters are relatively short so it was always easy to find a place to stop listening, and to find my place once I wanted to start again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Srjane
    7/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    Although I didn't understand the technical bits (and there are lots of those). I got the gist. What I found most interesting was the role that gullible humans play in Kevin's story - not least kevin himself some times. Reassuring too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dan mitchell
    6/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome"

    A real unexpected find. Well written and a fascinating read that had me hooked from the start, my techie side embraced the story from start to finish and left me wanting more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    5/31/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant"

    I've never written an audio book review before but felt compelled after listening to this one. 'Ghost in the Wires' captures perfectly a life of excitement, ups and downs expertly narrated in a very entertaining way. As a bit of a techy myself, I found the details fascinating. This is probably one of my favourite non-fiction books ever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Colin Howard
    4/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "compelling"

    more social hacking than technical, compelling story of a young boy who got the knowledge bug

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Howard
    London, UK
    4/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "MIxed reaction to this"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Started by quite enjoying this, the middle section became a bit tedious with repeated phone stories, then got back into it at the end. I have worked in IT for 20 years.The guy is, quite frankly, a bit of a d!ck. I felt no sympathy for him whatsoever. Some of the text has a few toe curling cliches and the way he treats his family, who quite honestly are complicit in harbouring him, bailing him out multiple times is dreadful. He expresses no remorse on the basis that he wasn't doing any harm, despite breaking numerous laws. He's deluded.


    Would you recommend Ghost in the Wires to your friends? Why or why not?

    Only to people in IT probably.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Ray Porter?

    I actually laughed out loud at a few points at his dead pan delivery of some of the more emotional moments regarding relationships and so forth.


    Was Ghost in the Wires worth the listening time?

    On balance, just about, particularly if you are interested in the subject area.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matt
    2/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding!"

    This story is gripping throughout and the narration is fantastic! Brilliantly detailed; you can really feel the panic as the FBI come knocking...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • .rhosts
    /home/yourmom/.rhosts
    2/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping."

    A fantastic tale of hacking, phreaking and social engineering that had me hooked from start to finish. Great performance from the reader too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ftotoe
    12/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great read"
    Where does Ghost in the Wires rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Great book based on a true story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The voice of the hacker coming through clearly. Clear, concise and factually written.


    Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    First I've heard but good.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Took me back to the years in question and some of the technology.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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