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CYBERPUNK: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, Revised Paperback – November 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0684818627 ISBN-10: 0684818620 Edition: Updated

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Updated edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684818620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684818627
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A classic look into cracker subculture, Cyberpunk tells the stories of notorious hackers Kevin Mitnick, Robert T. Morris, and the Chaos Computer Club. Like Where Wizards Stay Up Late, the book Hafner co-wrote on the origins of the Internet, Cyberpunk is informative, well-written, and entertaining. The story of Morris, who became infamous for unleashing a crippling worm that brought the Internet to a grinding standstill, is still as relevant and ominous today as it was at the time. The space devoted to Mitnick is a must-read companion to either Takedown or The Fugitive Game. Many of the stories surrounding the Dark Side Hacker, such as the story of his Norad break-in, are called into question in Cyberpunk, making this book a good launching pad for many different accounts of the Mitnick legend. The portrait of the two members of the Chaos Computer Club is a memorable look into the minds of the younger generation of computer hackers. Before you check out any book of this genre, read Cyberpunk.

From Publishers Weekly

The spirit of cyberpunk only flickers in these three more-or-less able pieces of journalism about headline hacker cases that shook the computer industry. The authors' straightforward style serves the topic well, and portraits of the hackers' personalities are tantalizingly good. But the programming jargon invoked suggests little of the "outlaw" mentality that converts programming talent into hacking. The only case that really earns the title is "Pengo and the Project Equalizer," the story of a West Berlin punk turned hacker, which contains enough exotic characters to cast a miniseries. Hafner is a computer reporter for the New York Times ; Markoff is a former Business Week reporter.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Katie Hafner was born in Rochester, New York, and has lived in more cities, towns and hamlets than she cares to count. She started writing about technology in 1983, the year the Apple Lisa was introduced. For nearly a decade, she wrote about technology for the The New York Times's Circuits section. She currently writes on healthcare topics for the paper's Science section. She has also written for Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Esquire, Wired, The New Republic, the Huffington Post and O Magazine. Her sixth book, Mother Daughter Me, a memoir, was published by Random House in July 2013.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Adam Luoranen on February 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
To me, what makes this book different from most other "hacker documentary" books is the detached style in which it's written. The authors are both journalists, and it shows: The book lacks the warmth of a normal story told from a normal storywriter. Instead, it's a cold, sterile collection of facts, like a 300-page newspaper article.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means the writing is kind of dry. But that doesn't make it boring. Indeed, most of the book is quite fascinating. In fact, after a while I began to appreciate the objective air that this style lent to the book: Most authors of this kind of book either try to be sympathetic to the crackers, representing them as harmless kids who only try to explore, or an evil menace which must be destroyed for our own safety. Markoff and Hafner, however, write with the unbiased, unopinionated journalism that befits people of their background.
Of course, when writing a book, you don't need to express opinions to make the text biased; You just need to present only one side of the facts. However, I do not feel that this is the case with this book. The book does not try to represent one side as good and the other bad. It just tells you something about both. There's both good and bad there.
So what's with all the people who say that the book is "biased"? I'm really not sure. I notice, however, that all of the people who say that are pointing specifically to Kevin Mitnick's case, and recommending Littman's "The Fugitive Game" (which is more sympathetic to Mitnick and his case) as a "better" book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Carlberg on November 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book last summer and enjoyed it immensely. It's very well-written.
However, having just finished Jonathan Littman's "The Fugitive Game" I have to recommend reading both books to get the full story. Markoff's conflicts-of-interest and questionable journalistic practices aren't apparent from reading just "Cyberpunk." What appears to be a non-fiction account is, in reality, more complicated than that.... You really owe it to yourself to read both sides of the story.
So read this book and enjoy it for what it is -- and then read Littman for another perspective.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Although Markoff is an exceptional writer and the book is both easy to read and entertaining, the content is presented as factual when the truth is that these guys definitely wrote the book with only part of the whole story at their disposal. One of the main "cyberpunks" depicted in the book is Kevin Mitnick, who claims that he has never even met John Markoff. How can the book fairly and accurately speak to the topic of hacking during the early days of the Internet revolution when they never did any investigations with real "hackers"? The story is told only from a law enforcement point-of-view. I am sure that the Rodney King story is told differently by King than the LAPD. Same goes for this case.
Like many works today that seem to be written for financial reasons, it seems very one-sided and sensational.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel Rasa on July 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
First off, John Markoff does NOT tell an unbiased story, especially regarding the Mitnick case. Kevin Mitnick, preferring to keep a low profile, has not promoted his own story, and as a result he has had his name slandered by mediawhores like Markoff. Markoff traveled extensively with Tsutomu Shimomura, the security expert who eventually (and with much government aid) apprehended Mitnick. It is quite clear whose side he is on as he repeatedly demonizes Mitnick as a fat, malicious, juvenile person with no self-control and no respect for anyone else. This typecasting is quite understandable though, once you know that Markoff has a share in the Miramax movie Takedown that details Mitnick's capture. Nobody wants to see such unfair treatment happen to a real, sympathetic person. (Takedown, incidentally, is more slanderous than Cyberpunk and from which the real Kevin Mitnick, whom it is based on, is not getting a dime).
But apart from my distaste for Markoff, this book still failed to be a interesting read. I enjoy reading about the early history of hacking, etc, so I bought it with high hopes. The only reason I didn't put it down was because it was my only reading material on a six hour bus trip. The Internet revolution was fascinating and the people involved in it were interesting, dynamic people. But to hear Markoff tell it, everyone was petty, whining, insecure, and one-dimensional, with no other motivation than to cause trouble for others. He hasn't got a gift for writing novels with well-rounded and interesting characters that the reader can actually sympathize with and care about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the type of book that you will want to read and read again...it is a real page turner and it tells 3 stories of famous hacker cases...I really enjoyed this book...I recommend this to anyone that enjoys computers and the adventures that go with them...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
After reading so many badly researched, badly written, self-effacing and / or bloated books on the subject of hacking and computer security, at long last here is a book that is well researched and written. It's a real page turner, and IMHO it is absolutely THE book to read on this subject.
Ironically co-author John Markoff has also co-written the absolutely WORST book on the subject, Takedown, with Tetsuo Simomura.
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