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)
One of the most compelling books in my audible.com library, and I have more than a hundred. Although he was one of the most hotly-pursued and agressively prosecuted hackers ever, in the end Kevin Mitnick has done us all a favor: making computer networks and phone systems more secure. And he's done us another favor: writing page-turners.
Mitnick, himself, is easy to like. He's no reptile. Besides his remarkable intellegence and resoursefulness, he has a conscience and a sense of humor.
Lastly, Porter's narration is excellent. He reads the book as though he wrote it himself. Nice job, Ray.
First and foremost, Ray Porter is just the right narrator for this book. His delivery is right on.
The story itself is riveting. While I know, on one level, that for the most part, the police, FBI, and variety of corporate IT security is in place to protect us, there is another, darker side to that protection. I found myself cheering for Kevin, and hoping that he'd evade capture and prosecution. Why didn't these folks hire him?
This book is great for anyone who wants a non-technical overview of the progression of Hacking from the late 70s to early 90s told from the inside. He never gets very technical about how he accomplished some of his hacks, but he does cover the spectrum of methods he used.
I don't know how similar Ray Porter's portrayal and Kevin Mitnick actually are, but he really brought life to his reading. Well done.
This book, and the narration, was REALLY well done. I had a hard time turning this thing off. I had been following Kevin since he first made the news about the whole Netcom incident as I was a member at that time. It was interesting hearing the differences reported from the main stream news as well as the online tech community and hearing so many discrepancies between the facts. Over the years we all found out how unfair they were towards Kevin in regards to the law. Of course he was no angel and he did deserve to pay for some things, which he admits to. But seeing how he did turn all of this into such a positive for himself was probably the best part of the story in my opinion. Of course it was extremely entertaining hearing some of these exploits and how he "maneuvered" the system.
I highly recommend this book!
I enjoyed this book. My problem is really with the moral landscape of its author. Kevin Mitnick is not a sympathetic character, at all. What intrigues me about his book is his still apparent air of condescension when he refers to one of his adversaries catching him stealing or lying. After all, he's not really a thief or a liar. He's just a joy-rider on the information highway. As readers, we're invited along for the ride. What fun!
There is real irony when he mentions how law enforcement officials must have something better to do with their time than pursue him. (Uhm-- yes they do, Kevin-- but you need to be stopped). When he hacks into his ex-wife's answering machine to discover that she is seeing someone else, he comments in dismay at her apparent betrayal: "...Where's the trust...?"
I have to wonder if he actually understands himself, even now as he wrote this book-- and how skewed his perception of his actions appears to be. Mitnick justifies his actions by stating that he did no harm, and never gained monetarily. Well, at least not until the publication of his books.
Still, this is a fascinating look at the pre-Internet world of modems, call-back numbers, back-up tapes and mainframe systems on raised floors. More importantly though, it is a telling portrayal of how easily people can be used to reveal small details and secrets that allow Mitnick access to systems and places that he has no right to be. He calls it "Social Engineering"; really just taking advantage of the very human desire to be helpful.
The book is very well narrated. I could not stop listening.
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.
This is a fascinating character study of Kevin Mitnick, whom I would describe as a "low level" sociopath. He clearly has exceptional knowledge of computers, telephone company infrastructure, and what he incessantly calls "social engineering". Yet he has spent much of his life using his unusual skills in illegal pursuits.
Equally fascinating is his sense of entitlement, lack of ethics, and lack of moral substance. He has lied through his teeth on a regular basis to get what he wanted and then dropped names of the people he finagled in this book, which is really one long "BOAST" and whining session about how unfairly he has been treated.
I rate the book as highly as I did, because I have always had a deep fascination with sociopathy, a mental disorder with a wide spectrum of lethality. Kevin prides himself in having ethics, but I see very little in the way of ethics in his behaviors. He is terrifically narcissistic, and he has given us here a clear picture of the deviousness of a narcissistic sociopath. How anyone could make him into a hero is beyond me. Listen for yourself and you decide!
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.
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.
Audible Member Since 2003
Having an awareness in Information Security, I found this book to be entertaining. Certainly Kevin Mitnick, the author/protagonist is not by any means a heroic character. While he asserts he never hacked for financial gain in spite of the fact that he possessed huge amounts of credit card and other "personally identifiable information" the fact remains that he stole intellectual property, personal identities, telephone connectivity, etc. He needed to be caught and incarcerated, which in fact did occur. To him hacking was an addiction, an irresistible urge to beat the system, break through locked doors and unlock security measures designed to defeat him and people like him. Whether or not the listeners of this book believe he is rehabilitated or remorseful, the fact remains that he served time in prison and paid his debt to society.
For me, the value of this book is that it illustrates just how dependent we all are on information systems, and how vulnerable we are to the lax security at the gatekeepers of our most personal information. We need to do a lot better, and hopefully Mr. Mitnick is now helping us as opposed to hacking us.
I found the book engaging from a technical standpoint while it demonstrates just how easy it is for some to steal information, sometimes merely for the asking. As Mitnick stated, "like taking candy from a baby."
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