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)
I find myself almost scared to write this review for fear that Kevin Mitnick will hack into my life and -- using some contorted interpretation of ethics -- make my life a living hell.
I do not care for his brand of nerdy selfishness, which sets its own rules at the emotional expense of others. While true that Mitnick may not have stolen material possessions from the people whose privacy he intruded on, I must say that I really feel bad for his victims, and the turmoil that resulted (I especially feel bad for his family, "Ann" at the SSA, et al, and the others he manipulated over and over again).
The story is one of a kid who becomes a hacker back in the pre-Internet days of dial-up telephones, old-school modems, and mainframe computer systems, although his primary means of law-breaking was through manipulation of people's trust (his social engineering practices). At first I found his story entertaining because it had sentimental quality, and a childlike innocence that, perhaps, could've been forgiven. But as the story wore on I found myself hoping he would get busted.
He did, eventually get busted, but Mitnick seems to lack a sense of self-reflection necessary to make his plight sympathetic; in fact, just the opposite is the case here: He is arrogant, self-righteous and condescending. He seems to seek sympathy and understanding for being treated unfairly while failing to realize that trust has to be earned. During the course of this memoir he did not earn my trust. The book consists of far too much whining, not enough contrition.
Would I recommend it? In a way, yes, because it is a solid warning to others not to venture down the road of the hacker and, much more importantly, a cautionary tale about the fact that our actions really and truly can hurt others even if we do not gain wealth from those actions.
The narrator, by the way, is outstanding. His reading of this biography made it a worthwhile purchase.
The point of view of the author was so self righteous and arrogant that I couldn't finish the story. The guy was such a victim of his circumstances, but couldn't be more smug.
I know I'm in the minority but I couldn't get through this one. I knew a little bit about Mitnick and thought I'd find him to be interesting, funny, engaging etc. I found him to be none of those things. To me, he's so unlikeable that I was quickly rooting against him. I wanted him to get caught.
I think I could have stayed with it if he were unlikeable in an interesting way but there's nothing about him that I find interesting. He's very intelligent, possibly with sociopathic tendencies. Selfish. Manipulative. Immature. But not interesting.
Great book. Amazing character. You also learn a lot about social engineering which might save you a fortune. The book was a lot better and entertaining than I expected. Also thought book might be dated but it was far from it. Good reader.
I just follow the signs!
Kevin Mitnick has just become one of my heroes. This is an amazing journey into the life of one of best hackers in the world. Definitely recommend for everyone.
It's an interesting story with some genuinely fascinating details, but it is hurt by the total denial Mitnick is in. He complains bitterly about any little thing which the authorities do which he thinks is "unfair", but gleefully describes every hack and illegal activity which he engages in. It's clear that many of the stories he tells are probably reprocessed through his view of it which I doubt is entirely accurate. If a sympathetic main character is important to you, skip this one.
Avid reader through college now with no time to read. Audiobooks saved my life!
I am a technology oriented person so this seemed perfect. Except that it wasn't. Bad narration and a slow story. I didn't finish it and don't plan to.
Getting a ghost writer. Delivery is static and boring, characters have no character, the writer is so impressed with his own brilliant ingenuity, that there is no room for any one else to be impressed.
Tell a good story, engage the reader and basically create characters you care about
More animation, better story line, and more detail about hacking. Explain more about why it is so cool, not how cool you are
Think about telling the story that will make the reader care. Engage the reader and give characters more detail
Tell us about yourself!
Watch your security.
OK with material.
No. Too mind numbing.
A real eye opener. People can see whatever we are doing. Internet, cameras, etc. A little creepy and eye opening. I was amazed/fascinated/frightened at the minds that get and use the electronic mediums to their advantage. A new World!
The story is slow and takes effort to stay with it. Gets better toward the end with a little more action. Just Okay.
"Interesting at first..."
It began well but towards the end it all became a bit repetitive. Lost interest in the character and didn't really care what happened to him.
Could do with a ruthless edit.
Social engineering sections were interesting.
This felt like a hacker's version of 'catch me if you can' (the Leonardo DiCaprio film) and I found myself listening at any opportunity I could, to find out what would happen next. A very interesting story and told well, though at times I found the narrator's voice a bit grate-y.
On top of this it provided a real insight into how you might take steps to protecting yourself and your personal information from other hackers like him, particularly as more and more is done online.
I'd thoroughly recommend this book!
"A really enjoyable listen"
I haven't read the book.
But the audio book is one of the best I have heard. Ray Porter's performance is great.
But I would say that reading out the text displayed on a terminal was a little tedious at times.
No, but Ray's performance is great.
The best I have heard so far.
"High hopes, battled thru a few hours and abandoned"
this must be a fascinating story but I think the whole thing needs a another approach for a casual listener. One of the few books I abandoned half way thru.
"Incredible and thought provoking"
I'd heard a review of this and it sparked an interest in the book. I was certainly not disappointed. This was one of those books I couldn't stop listening too as I found it riveting! It really makes you think about how secure or not our computer systems are. His candid storytelling made the incredible believable and yet you managed to have some empathy - well written and worth getting.
"Fascinating insight into a hacker's world"
I bought my first PC when Windows 95 came out and the following year I got on to the Internet with my 28K modem. Looking back I think that was arcane. When I bought my first PC Kevin Mitnick had been hacking for years and finally been caught. Listening to his exploits was thrilling, a bit like "Catch me if you can". The narration was very good and made it a joy to listen to. It probably the book I've listened to the quickest as I was addicted to what was going on. I find his knowledge amazing and his examples of social engineering scary. I would recommend this for anyone who likes computers, but i don't think you need to be too much of a nerd to enjoy it.
"I... WAS... STOKED!"
A truly great insight into a criminal mind, deception tactics, and social engineering. The narration was superb, in what I wouldn't have thought was an easy text to convey. I found myself warming to the guy, hoping he wouldn't get caught, I didn't want it to end.
"An amazing surprise read"
I thought this book was amazing, It was a surprise off the cuff choice whilst browsing though Audibe and I am extremely glad I chose it.
I recommend it whole heartedly.
Kevin Mitnick is an arrogant jerk. But since I'm still processing my affection for arrogant jerks that doesn't really interfere with my enjoyment of his book. Though it's hard not to roll my eyes hard and how super-fantastic everything turns out for him in the end.
The story of Mitnick's hacking, his two and a half year evasion of the police and FBI and his subsequent trial is constantly engaging and occasionally exciting, filled with tips, quirky asides, and the occasional bit of jargon pitched just above my competence.
The audiobook's narrator Ray Porter does a good job, but is sometimes a little too glib.
"Very Gripping but...."
It is a very gripping story and the narration is equally good. Love the way the technical details are laid out and how the story unfolds under your nose. Its like you are a part of it.
However, if you are not into geeky side of things you won't get past the second chapter.
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