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Publisher's Summary

Using the exploits of three international hackers, Cyberpunk provides a fascinating tour of a bizarre subculture populated by outlaws who penetrate even the most sensitive computer networks and wreak havoc on the information they find - everything from bank accounts to military secrets. In a book filled with as much adventure as any Ludlum novel, the author shows what motivates these young hackers to access systems, how they learn to break in, and how little can be done to stop them.

©1991 Katie Hafner (P)2015 Katie Hafner

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Read the copyright date...

For those criticizing the book for telling the same "old" stories, perhaps next time look at the copyright date of the book in the description which clearly says 1991.

As for the book I got this after reading Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick since I knew this wasn't written by Mitnick, and boy do they have a different version of events. I hate to be super cliched, but I think the truth of the story is somewhere in between. If you're interested in the story of Kevin Mitnick I highly suggest you read both books. The interesting part of this book is that it goes much more into the early hacking history of Mitnick than he did in Ghost in the Wires - which actually gives you a much more full picture of him. Also the time capsule look at events, since the original story is from 1991, makes it an interesting look at what people thought at the time. This book does, at the end, have a nice recap of what happened after this book was originally written which is a huge deal since without it, the story is very incomplete. Anyways for the Mitnick parts of the book it's completely worth getting along with Ghost in Wires, they are both very entertaining and goodreads.

However this book covers other subjects too and frankly I just wasn't very much into them. The hackers from Europe, I ended up skipping through that entire part because I just couldn't make myself care - not sure why it didn't click, but I just didn't care.

The final subject in the book is a bit of an interesting subject but there just wasn't a lot to the story and it seemingly mainly covered the trial. It didn't drag or anything, it was just OK.

So in closing get this if you want to read more on Mitnick and balance out his extremely one-sided story of everyone being against him, turning on him, etc etc etc.

The reader does a fine professional job.

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cyberpunk

pretty entertaining and informative book about cyber hacking. overall I liked the performance of the book its layout was a little bit screwy but I get used to that

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fascinating look at the first hackers

very interesting to learn about the first hackers and phone phreakers in the 1980s in the United States and Germany.

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Journalistic Storytelling At Its Best

I have a much better understanding of Kevin Mitnick and early phreeking culture. The writings weave a wonderful story while retaining a factual journalistic feel.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Worth a credit, but it's 3 hours too long =\

I thought this book was a modern take on computer hacking… I was expecting to hear stories like the Myspace “sammy is my hero” bug, or Wikileaks, the story of Kim Dot Com, or more modern counter culture computer hacking rebels.

I figured the neon art deco cover and tacky music in the audiobook were just stylistic choices.

However, I quickly found out that this was a story of hackers from the 1980s. It’s actually a pretty interesting snapshot of a bygone era of hacking, computers and society in general. It’s worth a listen in 2016+ if only to see how the system worked back in the 80s and 90s.

I would not recommend this for a general audience, you have to be interested in early technology. The book drags on in places, and it’s very journalistic in that it covers an absurd amount of information. I feel like it could have been shaved down by half (200 pages) and I would have gotten the same information out of it.

I would never have gotten through this if I was reading it … listening, I was able to put the speed on 1.25X and hack away at it on drives and walks for about a month.

The first part is focused on a group of US phone hackers called “phreaks” who seemed to have more power than hackers today have. They could use the phone system to not just make free long distance calls or free calls from phone boots, but change credit reports, wire money, make fake identities, issue police warrants, etc. This first section had lots of intrigue and betrayal. This section focused on “Kevin Mitnick”

The second section was all about some young European computer hackers who started stealing software from university and government computers and selling it to the KGB. It went into detail about the friendship and betrayal between the 3-4 main kids in that hacker group, following one of them specifically “Pengo” through to his trial.

The third part was all about the brilliant son of a prestigious NSA computer engineer who wrote the first virus in the late 1980s that crippled the internet. An entertaining tale of his upbringing, his time in university and the events that unfolded as he inadvertently took down the internet, including his trial.

At the end there’s an updated epilogue that takes place 5 years after the book was written (1995) and updates us on the 3 subjects of the book. I’d love to hear where they all are now, 20 years later.

Overall it’s an interesting cultural and historical look at the snapshot of where we were in the 1980s and 1990s, for that I’d say it’s worth a listen … but it’s definitely too long for my liking.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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same old stories

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

this book is for the old school hackers. but old the old school hacker already know this old stories.

Any additional comments?

i'm tired of reading about hackers from the 80's is so lame already . lol how many times they going to tell kevin Mitnick same old stories "come on". if you want to listen to a great hacker book that is modern is "We are Anonymous" by Parmy Olson now thats a great book.

9 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Howard
  • Howard
  • 08-18-16

As much a legal thriller as a hacker thriller

I was a bit disappointed in my expectations of this audiobook. Having finished Ghost In The Wire, which was gripping and read like a Jason Bourne novel, I was hungry for more. What I got here though was a much more pedestrian retelling of three famous cases, much of which was focussed on the trials and legal aspects of the cases rather than the technical or cultural.

The audiobook reading has mistakes in, which I find unforgivable in a professional production. Not only does the reader mispronounce many words, but a couple of times he says the wrong word or stumbles over a word, and they don't even rerecord it!

For what it is, however, it's a competent and interesting book, if a little dull in places.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Matt
  • Matt
  • 03-21-17

a great guide of hacking history

Provides complex insight into a number of key figures and events throughout computer history, specific to hacking. Highly recommended for anyone interested in learning where hacking began, and what motivated those at the forefront