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Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker Paperback – April 24, 2012


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Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker + The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers + The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316037723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316037723
  • ASIN: 0316037729
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (571 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Considering the fact that Windows 95 hadn't even been released when federal agents finally caught up with the computer hacker Kevin Mitnick, one might assume his new memoir would be full of stale old tech-and-­techniques that no one in 2011 could possibly care about. But as Mitnick makes clear here, don't jump to conclusions.... Ghost in the Wires reads like a contemporary über-geeky thriller....For those interested in computer history, "Ghost in the Wires" is a nostalgia trip to the quaint old days before hacking (and hackers) turned so malicious and financially motivated."—J.D. Biersdorfer, New York Times Book Review

"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

"Reads like those of Frank Abagnale Jr. and Steven Jay Russell. But Mitnick's has a high-tech twist."—Booklist

"It's the piquant human element that really animates this rollicking memoir of high-tech skullduggery....Mitnick's hacking narratives are lucid to neophytes and catnip to people who love code, but the book's heart is his 'social engineering' - his preternatural ability to schmooze and manipulate.....[a] nonstop caper."—Publishers Weekly, Publisher's Weekly

About the Author

Kevin Mitnick, the world's most famous (former) hacker, is now a security consultant. He has been the subject of countless news and magazine articles and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, offering expert commentary on information security, and he has testified before the United States Senate and written for Harvard Business Review. Mitnick is the author, with William L. Simon, of the bestselling books The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

More About the Author

Donna Beech is a New York Times bestselling collaborative writer, who specializes in making complex ideas accessible and engaging. www.donnabeech.com

Customer Reviews

This has been the life story of Kevin Mitnick.
Eugene Wolfgang VonSnowden
I am just about finished with this book, and the entire time I've been reading it, it's been hard to put down.
Stefohnee
This book is a great read that tells Kevin's story without getting into too much technical detail.
Bill Gardner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Aaron J. Maynard on August 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If I wouldn't have started to halucinate at 2am from being so tired after reading for 8 hours, I would have read this entire book through in one sitting. The book isn't overly technical yet is a huge eye opener for anyone who isn't intimately familiar with the details of Kevin Mitnick as the most wanted hacker of the 90's. If you have a moderate interest in computing, you'll encounter many jaw dropping moments in reaction to the clever, often brazen and sometimes paranoid escapades captured in the book. Towards the 3/4 mark in the book, the story gets a bit drawn out, but was completely well worth the read.
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87 of 98 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When it comes to true crime, I'm pretty squeamish. Nothing violent, please. Clever and devious are what I'm looking for. Frank Abagnale's Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake is one of the best, and it's hard not to compare any subsequent caper story with it.

Ghost in the Wires doesn't reach the level of audacity of Catch Me if You Can - impersonating technicians over the phone doesn't rise to the sheer nerve of a teenager impersonating an airline pilot or a doctor, as Abagnale did, and getting away with it. But Ghost in the Wires goes well beyond the adolescent bragfest of phone hacks that it could have been.

I think this is largely due to the co-writer, William L. Simon. Kevin Mitnick describes in his acknowledgments, how he and Simon argued over how detailed and technical the book should be, and apparently Simon prevailed. There's enough detail to explain how the scams were possible, but not so specific as to send the non-programmer into a hexadecimal stupor.

Another big plus is that many of the hacks depended as much on what Mitnick calls "social engineering" as on specialist knowledge. Unlike the stereotypical computer nerd, Mitnick was as comfortable and proficient at schmoozing people as he was writing code - he could talk his way into places that were restricted and convince people he was entitled to classified information. These were scams anyone can understand.

Mitnick also succeeds at not crossing the line from confident to insufferable, which is another pitfall of true crime tell-alls. Perhaps we can once again thank William Simon for this achievement.

I expected to skim this 400-page book but ended up reading every word.
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131 of 162 people found the following review helpful By D. Scott VINE VOICE on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I know that many people love Ghost in the Wires, but this book really bothers me. It's very difficult to be sympathetic towards Kevin Mitnick, who continually prevails upon his readers to let him have it both ways.

I will leave whatever social sickness the brilliant Kevin Mitnick has to the mental health professionals, but suffice it to say that his writing in Ghost in the Wires is a terrific nonfiction example of an "unreliable narrator." Throughout the book, Mitnick does the same things over and over again and is surprised when he repeatedly gets caught. He hurts his mother, grandmother, wife, and friends over and over again with his illegal hacking activities, says he regrets doing it each time, but then turns around and does it to them again. Mitnick is upset when he is blamed for things he "didn't do" and when he is "double crossed," but he freely admits to dozens of other computer break ins and instances where he compromises the trust of others using "social engineering" techniques, ridicules them for trusting him, and then betrays that trust. Mitnick says he never took money from hacking, but now of course he's making money from writing this and other books as well as from promoting his computer security company based on his (illegally obtained) skills. Mitnick is all over the place.

In one scene Mitnick is severely critical of prosecutors who use "dirty tactics" to put him behind bars, but then he continues to use his own dirty tactics while behind those bars.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful By AirDisa on August 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fascination with hacking goes back pretty far for me (I'm an old bat). I loved my experiences reading about Kevin Mitnick, even when he made the papers while on the go. The papers were full of hyperbole even then. I knew to reserve my excitement and hold out for Kevin's own words. My patience is rewarded with this book.

I can't help but enjoy reading about someone who has the adept social engineering of a film noir gumshoe, or the undercover detective, who applied it growing up and getting into trouble. Like Kevin, I knew The Three Days of the Condor. I learned it was a favorite of his, and I clung to this fact which fell through the sieve of newspaper myth. Free Kevin!

Now read Kevin's story, where you'll find enough detail to keep any heart racing. Whether or not you have enough awareness for some of the bits, or rely on the plain language, the story can strike sheer terror in the hearts of those who don't know much of anything about bits and bytes. For those who do, this book contains updated method nomenclature and references to security protocol that it's valuable from that perspective.

Kevin possesses the kind of curiosity to dig and uncover gems of hidden info for esoteric purposes in order to unlock a power only a successful hacker knows about. Social engineering is akin to the confidence game, but different all the same when it involves computer networks. The best hackers are never caught, never known about. Kevin has a different distinction: The first and the grandest adventure story, ever.

You don't need to be a hacker or security professional to appreciate and learn from it. Today, security is serious business and hackers typically have bad or misguided intent.
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