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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 (6149 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Erik Palo Alto, CA, United States 09-30-11
    Erik Palo Alto, CA, United States 09-30-11 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "To much ego, to little story"

    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.

    41 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Brittain 09-27-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    31 of 41 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.

    22 of 29 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
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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 2016
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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
  •  
    Derek 11-23-16
    Derek 11-23-16 Member Since 2016
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    "very informative and enertaining"


    I thought it was great. It was so interesting. It was also captivating too. I couldnt stop reading it.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • TechieEnchilada
    7/13/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing story for the IT nerd"

    If this was simply an adventure story set in the world of IT & Telephony it would have been good, but as its real the story has so much more depth. The fastest book I've listened to, I've shunned friends, TV and listened almost non stop between work and family commitments.

    The narration fits the story as though Leven is talking to me.
    Wow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Tramore Ireland
    6/3/16
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Fantastic storey."

    i couldn't turn it off I was a roller coaster ride from beginning to end.
    you could learn a lot from Kevin.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Charly Webster
    London
    5/25/16
    Overall
    Performance
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    "I enjoyed it, very informational"

    You could tell that this was written by somebody with a passion for the topic. The level of detail that the book goes into when explaining the exploits for me was a only slight negative. I didn't feel the need to know what all of the numbers were for the different dial up modems or exchange, this information would be good starting but it continued all the way through.

    It was interesting to find out about his life and adventures, I just wish that more content after his final release as it felt like the ending was rushed.

    Overall amazing book, I would highly recommend it to all readers/listeners and I will be looking into some of his others (The art of deception).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Captain Haddock
    England UK
    3/28/16
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    Performance
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    "A must for all nerds"
    What made the experience of listening to Ghost in the Wires the most enjoyable?

    I am a Technology Consultant, so the finer points of the book made a lot of sense to me, and this realism made me want to actually get stuck into the book. He discusses his activities, makes no beans about it being illegal, and no excuses for what he did.


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

    When the FBI are about to arrest him (I can tell you this without spoiling the book, as it is common knowledge he got arrested), keeps you on a knife edge.


    What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Ray reads the book well, I've heard a number of audiobooks he has narrated, and he is without doubt one of Audibles best ones. Good inflection, emotion and fluency.


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

    It made me laugh, got me interested in the detail.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David Stokes
    Ireland
    1/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "an amazing book"

    I'm so glad I read/listened to this book.. for years I assumed the move Track Down was written about Kevin with him supporting it. this book shows me it wasn't and provides a much better and amazing story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hendon
    12/8/15
    Overall
    "amazing book, gripping funny n seriously"

    Enjoyed it from start to finish, listened to it 2or3 times now, looking forward to more similar books now

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • john
    12/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting insight into the passive hacking world"

    shows the establishments struggled to understand the skills that were available. they should have embraced Kevin Mitniks skills not chased him

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Johan
    11/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting"

    As experienced myself it is very easy to get what is needed due to people trusting too easily. Was unable to leave this book alone and thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Donal M.
    10/6/15
    Overall
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    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

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