On January 15, 1990, the AT&T long-distance phone network crashed. Although it was eventually ruled an accident, the event was a wake-up call to telephone companies and law enforcement agencies everywhere, exposing the fragility of the systems that we all heavily depend on. The feds decided that the time had come to crack down on the handful of computer hackers they had been monitoring for several years in connection with the phone companies. The term "hacker" is about to become a household word, and not in the sense of "great programming."
Set against this backdrop, two rival gangs--The Legion of Doom and The Masters of Deception--are about to go to war. What sounds like a clash of comic-book supervillains is actually a feud between factions of teenagers, fueled by misunderstandings and adolescent testosterone. The events leading up to the conflict and its climax are riveting and fun. The book features great depictions of some of the earliest celebrities of hackerdom, including Acid Phreak and Phiber Optik, as well as tales of their exploits and rivalries. Slatalla and Quittner do a great job of portraying the principals as both the powerful cyberspace masters they want to be and the scared, emotional young men they really are.
There is also a nostalgic attraction at work in Masters of Deception. Anyone who remembers their first Commie 64 or TRS-80 will long for those golden days and be thankful that they were elsewhere when the Secret Service came calling.
From Publishers Weekly
This riveting account of electronic gang warfare and computer crimes by two rival bands of hackers raises disturbing questions about computer security. One group of brainy teens based in New York City and calling themselves Masters of Deception (MOD) downloaded confidential credit histories (including those of Geraldo Rivera and Julia Roberts), broke into AT&T's computer system and stole credit-card numbers. Their arch rivals, the Texas-based Legion of Doom (LOD), launched a security service firm to assist corporations whose computers MOD has penetrated. MOD had one African American member, and it was the racial epithet electronically hurled at him by LOD hackers that triggered the feud, according to New York Newsday reporters Slatalla and Quittner, husband-and-wife coauthors of mystery fiction. The Secret Service, using unprecedented authorized datataps (wiretaps on a computer), helped bust MOD in 1992; four hackers got jail sentences ranging from six months to a year. First serial to Wired; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.