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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Brian 11-22-12
    Brian 11-22-12

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Unbearable"

    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.

    Not Recommended.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel E Schawinsky Kaneohe, HI United States 11-19-12
    Daniel E Schawinsky Kaneohe, HI United States 11-19-12
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    "half n half"
    What did you like best about Ghost in the Wires? What did you like least?

    Fun story of a clearly interesting and genious character. For the technologically inclined and interested even the lengthy and repeated descriptions of all the phone hacking details might be borderline boring. They were for me. For tose not so inclined it will likely be a real chore. The book does not really get going until the second half have been condensed to half the length.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 11-14-12
    Julie 11-14-12
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    "Compulsively Hacking, Hacking Compulsively"
    What did you like best about Ghost in the Wires? What did you like least?

    A repetitious book, certainly not as much fun as reading about a Shopaholic. So if you like repetitive stories about compulsive people who are also master of manipulating people, then this is your book.


    Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favorite?

    Excellent performance by Ray Porter and he was the only I stuck with this audible book.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scooter 04-16-12
    Scooter 04-16-12
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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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHRISTOPHER CALGARY, Alberta, Canada 08-30-11
    CHRISTOPHER CALGARY, Alberta, Canada 08-30-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Unsympathetic Protagonist, Fascinating Study"

    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.

    58 of 73 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.

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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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-25-12
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-25-12 Member Since 2008

    Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.

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    "Interesting character study of a sociopath"

    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!

    47 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Edmonton, AB, Canada 09-26-13
    Greg Edmonton, AB, Canada 09-26-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Yawwn.."
    What would have made Ghost in the Wires better?

    This book has great reviews and I was excited to get my ears on it. I got about 70% through and decided I'd had enough. There are very few, if any "thrilling" moments. If you enjoy a guy talking about how he uses social engineering to trick people into giving him confidential information over the phone and then repeat that story over and over again.. this might be your cup of tea.


    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ben Coquitlam, BC, Canada 11-14-11
    ben Coquitlam, BC, Canada 11-14-11
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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.

    24 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy R. Williams 08-05-16
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    "More interesting for a "techie" ?"

    I don't know if it was the way the reader read it or if it's Mitnick himself, but I found his persistent refrain of "I wasn't THAT bad", and "I hate upsetting my mom and grandmother" a little arrogant and self serving. He never once, that I remember, said anything about addiction, but it certain sounded much like the refrain of other addicts.

    There is no doubt that he was/is very good at hacking, phone freaking and social engineering (a euphemism for conning, lying, and manipulating people) and I'm glad that he has turned his attention to preventing others from doing the same. I wonder though, if he hadn't been caught and punished, would he have continued to do what he was doing and eventually, in order to support himself, break more and more laws by more blatant identify theft and using others credit cards. (Who's to say he isn't???)

    Don't I sound moralistic? I only realized, as I started writing this, how angry it made me. It was a long time ago and I assume that things are locked down much more securely by now because of Mr. Mitnick and others.

    Last comment: this book contains hours of various numbers, names, technical terms and descriptions that, if being read, could have easily been skipped, no so while listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • g.l.ward
    Lincoln, United Kingdom
    7/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Close but no cigar"
    Would you listen to Ghost in the Wires again? Why?

    Sadly no, even though this book was well written and amazingly actually based on real life events that kept me listening to just one more chapter finished leaving me with no real closure.
    Obviously very clever Kevin Mitnicks crimes eventually come to grow a pointless and as a reader I ended up hoping for him to get caught just for some variety. A very clever man with one hell of a story to tell but I personally only want to hear it once.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ghost in the Wires?

    Without giving too much away the most memorable moment in Ghost in the wire, was the fugitive tacking the FBI, the way he went around it was genius.


    Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favourite?

    Kevin Mitnick, this is the only choice really as it is only Mitnicks side of the story that is retold.


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

    Firstly sheer disbelief, with what he had the guts to do. As most of the crimes are repetitive a ended the book in frustration.


    Any additional comments?

    Kevin Mitnick gets information from people by basically lying to them. It is called social engineering in the book, social engineering to get information out of people to use to your own advantage. I just wonder if you replaced every reference of social engineering with the word lying if Kevin Mitnick would come across as such a likable person? A good listen but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone without a technical background.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • L. H. De Laune
    UK
    10/21/14
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    "unremorseful criminal..."
    Any additional comments?

    I started off enjoying this story, - Kevin's cleverness and undoubted skills make for interesting reading. However he has made a fortune out of lying to people and taking great delight in tricking other people- who trust him. He really enjoys making people look stupid. it is very telling that some of his closest friends also betray him...He never sees this as a personal character flaw - in fact every time his behaviour is challenged he reverts to 'poor old me'. The two most salient factors that absolutely turned me OFF were when he stole the identities of dead babies, without a thought to how this would impact any families involved in those tragic events. Secondly, several time he mentions the tole his life choices have taken on his Mother & Grandmother- he calls on them every time he gets into trouble, but he never thinks to alter his behaviour, change his choices, in fact every time he gets a steady job, he 'just can't help' & 'just to see if I can' and ends up getting fired again. I couldn't wait to see him locked up, but he seems to fall on his feet right to the end. This book made my blood boil, I ended up intensely disliking the author.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • S. Bramble
    9/15/17
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    "A gripping story and a fascinating listen"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ghost in the Wires to be better than the print version?

    -


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    -


    Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favourite?

    -


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

    -


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very interesting audio book and extremely well read. It shows that Kevin Mitnick is not just someone who can bluff his way on the telephone and ‘socially engineer’ people into handing over confidential information. He has an extremely deep understanding of how telephone networks and computer systems operate and is a talented hacker.

    However, he conducted his hacking before the days when computers were popular in the home, so the general public (including the judges that were listening to his defence) were largely ignorant of exactly what computer hackers could do. Understandably they thought he could start World War 3 and responded with an appropriate punishment.

    What I don’t understand is why Mitnick did not get himself a job doing the thing he loved – computer security. He would not have had to live life on the run, under an assumed identity and living in fear of being caught by the FBI. It also would have paid considerably more.
    I highly recommend this audio book to anyone who is interested in computers and technology. It is fascinating, not too technically in depth and easy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ryan Jarrett
    8/22/17
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    "Amazing story - loved every minute"

    A story of a gifted technologist, skilled social engineer and ethical groundbreaker. Mitnicks rise, fall and rebirth as ethical hacker is compelling, even to those that aren't of a technical persuasion. The twists and turns in the tale are worthy of comparison to those penned by top screenwriters; the fact this actually happened makes the book even more thrilling. Highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve S
    UK SE
    7/17/17
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    Performance
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    "Not just for the techies!"

    This is a book that grips you from the outset and you don't need to be technically minded to enjoy it.

    It is incredible the lengths this guy used to go to just for the sake of beating the system, apparently without financial gain. He paid dearly for it though and was betrayed by most people. That is a sad indictment of human nature.

    I recommend this book without hesitation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ian Hemmings
    Derbyshire
    6/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An OK book but you'll be glad when its finished"
    Would you try another book written by Kevin Mitnick and William L. Simon or narrated by Ray Porter?

    No is the simple answer. If this is an indication of what Kevin Mitnick writes, and indeed thinks about himself then I will spend my money elsewhere.


    Has Ghost in the Wires put you off other books in this genre?

    No, but it has put me off reading anymore Kevin Mitnick books.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I guess Ray Porter narrated the book as he had been instructed but it became tiresome to listen to the arrogant "in your face" style of narration for hour after hour.


    Any additional comments?

    The biggest issue I have with this book is that it allows the author, Kevin Mitnick, to portray himself as some kind of "legend" and hacker extraordinaire whereas in fact the book actually shows he was just a petty conman - no different to the con men who ring up people everyday in an attempt to get control of your computer or to get your bank details.
    In the book he happily describes how he would ring up workers, lie to them to get access to a particular system or to get information. He called it "social engineering". It isn't, he "conned" them into giving them information that, when the truth came out, could get them into serious trouble or even sacked. Mr Mitnick showed no contrition for doing this.
    He happily described how he worked out how to assign his mobile phone to someone elses bill, so they would have to pick up the bill for all his calls - again, no contrition for this behavior, no thought of the many many thousands of $$$ he cost them.
    He put his mother, grandmother and other family members through years and years of hell and again, no mention in the book of his regret about this.
    I would have thought much more of the book and author had he apologized to these people for the actions described in this book. He makes great store of never using his "skills" to profit but the book clearly shows he did a lot of damage to ordinary people and cost them a lot of money.
    If you are to read this book, don't think for one moment that it is about hacking. It isn't.
    It is a self gratifying story of a man who happily carried identity theft (including that of dead children), who happily conned and compromised good decent people trying to do their jobs, who happily stole mobile air time (paid for by other users who's numbers he stole) and who happily put his family through hell.
    Oh and spoiler alert - the last chapter details how having done all this, his life worked out really well.......
    In summary. I felt a bit conned too. The title of the book does not reflect what you will listen to. You have been warned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr D.
    6/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Interesting subject matter BUT"
    Would you try another book written by Kevin Mitnick and William L. Simon or narrated by Ray Porter?

    Nothing against the latter two, however I wouldn't have much to do with any Kevin Mitnick productions in the future. Although the guy clearly knows his stuff and got into some interesting and entertaining situations at no point does he show any humility. The book is one long brag about how great he is but never does he seem to stop and consider the impact of his actions on the people who have to clear up his mess. Whether this be the techs at the companies he got into or his poor parents and grandmother. How many sleepless nights did he cause for these poor people?!


    Has Ghost in the Wires put you off other books in this genre?

    No, hacking and technology books are very interesting, this one was too, it was just the author's personality that irked slightly.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    That'd be a spoiler so I'll miss this part.


    Do you think Ghost in the Wires needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. I think the story is rounded off, if there were a follow up I'd swerve it I think.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marc
    5/13/17
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    "Absolutely enthralling adventure. A definite must."

    An absolutely enthralling journey into the world of hacking, social engineering and phone freaking. A definite must read for anyone who uses technology on a daily basis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • LD's
    5/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Extremely well narrated"

    Great story, insightful about the power (and danger) of social engineering. Impressive to see how much (and little) cybersecurity has progressed, based on Kevin's story and experiences.

    Totally worth listening

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ryan Law
    5/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing!"

    Near the end of this book I thought "damn... this guys life is crazy".
    Then I realised I was only a quarter of the way in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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