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Dear Hacker: Letters to the Editor of 2600 Hardcover – June 21, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0470620069 ISBN-10: 0470620064 Edition: 1st

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Dear Hacker: Letters to the Editor of 2600 + The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey + The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470620064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470620069
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Emmanuel Goldstein ( has been publishing 2600 Magazine, The Hacker Quarterly, since 1984. He traces his hacker roots to his high school days in the late '70s, when he first played with a distant computer over highspeed, 300-baud phone lines. It didn't take long for him to get into trouble by figuring out how to access something he wasn’t supposed to access. He continued playing with various machines in his college days at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. This resulted in an FBI raid, as he once again gained access to something he really shouldn't have. It was in the midst of all this excitement that he cofounded 2600 Magazine, an outlet for hacker stories and tutorials from all over the world. The rapid growth and success of the magazine was both shocking and scary to Goldstein, who to this day has never taken a course in computers. Since 1988, he has also hosted Off The Hook, a hacker-themed technology talk show on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City. In addition to making the hacker documentary Freedom Downtime, Goldstein hosts the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) conferences in New York City every two years, drawing thousands of hackers from all over the world.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
One of the most interesting features of 2600 is that they print a lot of letters.
Amazon Customer
An enormous number of letters to the editor of "2600" are printed and they are followed by a very intelligent response by the editor.
Charles Ashbacher
There are a lot of times he wants a book that he can just pick up, open to any page, and start reading.
Shala Kerrigan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As someone who has an interest in hacking, but no skills whatsoever, I eagerly opened this huge compilation of letters written to the editors of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, a newsletter/magazine published since, fittingly, 1984. What I found was a sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-informative, sometimes-tedious series of letters compiled by theme. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this book is the chronological organization within topics that often combine to give a brief history of the rise of computers in American society through the eyes of hackers, security experts, and ordinary citizens who just want to understand more about the technology. Of course, since 2600 is a hacker's publication, there's an underlying rebellious streak and mistrust of authority in both the letters and the editors' responses.

I couldn't read this book from cover-to-cover in a few sittings the way I might a non-anthology book since, after a while, the letters became too much of the same despite their different topics. Even the editors' comments started sounding like more of the same. Instead, this book is best read by section, in chronological order, to give a sense of how technology and the issues that accompany it have progressed over the years. The clueless and the marginally insane among the letter writers can be both entertaining and sad; however, some of the letters are incredibly articulate about matters that go beyond criminal activity and into the realm of pure technology and common sense. And I really enjoyed the sense of history created by the dated letters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Traveler on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
First, I have to hand it to Goldstein and 2600 for putting out such a solid magazine year after year after year. But this slice of history takes the cake. These letters and more so Goldstein's repartee are presented in such an engaging way, seeing the progression of 2600 and the American (and International) hacker delighted me to no end. My wife heard me belly laughing and came to investigate. Even though she has little experience with technology and hacker culture, we ended up staying up way past our respective bedtimes reading random letters aloud to one another, in stitches. This is a unique and solid tome that did not disappoint. It belongs in the humor section, or history section as much as the computer or security. Fantastic!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I started reading 2600 many years ago when part of my job involved security on a University computer system. I never did learn much that was of use in my job but I always enjoyed thumbing through this little magazine, reading obscure bits of information about embedded systems, telephone networks and so forth. One of the most entertaining parts of 2600 has always been the letters section, in which hackers, would-be hackers, gamers, script kiddies, outraged citizens, paranoid schitophrenics, unrepentant convicted felons, and, for all I know, government agents wrote in with stories of screwing around with business computer systems, hacking foreign phone networks, obscure functions found in electronic devices, and countless requests for the secret information that would turn the writer into a real 1334 h4><0r, or some variation thereof. There were also the letters bragging of having cheated a store by switching price codes (very much frowned upon by pseudonymous 2600 editor "Emmanual Goldstein") or having stolen computer services (more acceptable). All of this provided a fascinating insight into at least part of the world of hacking and hackers.

This thick volume contains a very large sample of these letters, and while there's a good deal of variety in the themes of the writers, there's also a good deal of repetition. How many indictments and defense of Kevin Mitnick do we really want to read? How many ways can Goldstein make fun of someone asking the same dumb question? Still, I find myself repeatedly returning to the book, even if just to read a few letters before putting it aside again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been browsing this marvelous collection--559 pages--all afternoon, and the afternoon has been broken up frequently with outrageous laughter and occasional gasps of disbelief. This book, organized as it is, is vastly more important and easier to read than the original 2600 Magazine letters that I have been glancing at since first helping and joining this group in 1994.

The other book, The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey now reprinted in a more expensive The Best of 2600, Collector's Edition: A Hacker Odyssey is absolutely essential and the other half of this set.

Hats off to Wiley for having the brains to see the value, and the editorial talent to select, edit, and present so perfectly. This book, thick as it is, has exactly the right amount of white space, the selection and use of fonts is just right, and the index, while not as extensive as I would have liked, is adequate.

"Look Inside the Book" has been set in motion, in the meantime, here is the table of contents that runs from the early days in the 1980's up through today, with absolutely phenomenal selections that provide priceless insights into the mindsets of BOTH bona fide hackers AND the clueless wanna-bes.

1. Question Upon Question
2. Tales from the Retail Front
3. The Challenges of Life as a Hacker
4. Technology
5. Our Biggest Fans
6. Behind the Walls
8. A Culture of Rebels
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