- Series: Consumer One-Off
- Hardcover: 219 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (April 16, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0072223642
- ISBN-13: 978-0072223644
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,207,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hacker Diaries : Confessions of Teenage Hackers 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
To many who knew him, there was nothing odd about him. He was a normal kid...
On February 7, 2000, Yahoo.com was the first victim of the biggest distributed denial-of-service attack ever to hit the Internet. On May 8th, Buy.com was battling a massive denial-of-service attack. Later that afternoon, eBay.com also reported significant outages of service, as did Amazon.com. Then CNN's global online news operation started to grind to a crawl. By the following day, Datek and E-Trade entered crisis mode...all thanks to an ordinary fourteen-year-old kid.
Friends and neighbors were shocked to learn that the skinny, dark-haired, boy next door who loved playing basketball--almost as much as he loved computers--would cause millions of dollars worth of damage on the Internet and capture the attention of the online world--and the federal government. He was known online as "Mafiaboy" and, to the FBI, as the most notorious teenage hacker of all time. He did it all from his bedroom PC. And he's not alone.
Computer hacking and Web site defacement has become a national pastime for America's teenagers, and according to the stories you'll read about in The Hacker Diaries--it is only the beginning. But who exactly are these kids and what motivates a hacker to strike? Why do average teenagers get involved in hacking in the first place? This compelling and revealing book sets out to answer these questions--and some of the answers will surprise you. Through fascinating interviews with FBI agents, criminal psychologists, law-enforcement officials--as well as current and former hackers--you'll get a glimpse inside the mind of today's teenage hacker. Learn how they think, find out what it was like for them growing up, and understand the internal and external pressures that pushed them deeper and deeper into the hacker underground. Every hacker has a life and story of his or her own. One teenager's insatiable curiosity as to how the family's VCR worked was enough to trigger a career of cracking into computer systems. This is a remarkable story of technological wizardry, creativity, dedication, youthful angst, frustration and disconnection from society, boredom, anger, and jail time. Teenage hackers are not all indifferent punks. They're just like every other kid and some of them probably live in your neighborhood. They're there. All you have to do is look.
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Top customer reviews
Reminds me of the Maters of Deception book from a few years back.
The only draw back is a rather...err silly intro.
I was pretty disappointed. Most of the chapters are pretty much the same. Kid gets computer, kid explores a bit, kid's personality is oh so amazing and wow you wouldn't expect a hacker to be like that would you? Even the FBI chases were made boring. The author introduces basic tools like ping and nmap as if he's never heard of them before the book. In fact, he awkwardly explains what a URL is in the very last chapter... Not enjoyable if you are a programmer.
I did like the bit about the sandwich though!
The Hacker Diaries - Confessions of Teenage Hackers - attempts to peer into the minds of some of the most celebrated hackers of the last few years. Hacker personalities such as Joe Magee, Genocide, Anna Moore, MafiaBoy and more are detailed in this interesting book. Verton is not an alarmist who hysterically views hackers as the bane of the world. Rather, he attempts to portray hackers in a rational light, but never rationalizes their occasional criminal behavior.
Verton does a good job of giving the reader insights into what makes a teenager hack. By and large, it is for a sense of adventure, plus a variety of internal and external societal pressures.
For those readers that are looking to understand why hackers do what they do, and understand it from both a criminal and psychological perspective, or how to use the information to protect corporate networks, The Hacker Diaries is not the right book. But if you are on the other hand looking for an interesting and entertaining read on today's hacking culture, The Hacker Diaries makes for a good read.
The one thing I absolutely could not forgive was the writing style this book had. In order to draw readers in about the story, passages regularly popped up that sounded more fit for a melodramatic movie trailer, or Americas Most Wanted, as the writer strained and strained to make these teen hackers all the more sinister and mysterious. They may very well have been sinister and mysterious hackers, but it just sounded ridiculous, not to mention repetitive. I worry it gives readers a distorted picture of reality, as a result. These may have been impressive hackers, but they were not that significant on a wide scale (I elaborate on this below), yet the author writes about them like they're incredible mythic figures. I found many instances the author used language that was so much more melodramatic than the things he was actually describing that after I finished reading his description of a sequence of events I'd still be just as bored as before he started writing so darkly.
I also feel like this book has little societal significance. It tells several different stories, but after reading it, I tried to come up with discussion questions about society as a whole (I read this for a school assignment, actually, merely to come up with an informal discussion about society-- EXTREMELY open-ended) and could not do so. You simply cannot talk about society as a whole through these 8 narratives, except to say the generic-- that these hackers are socially rebellious, probably have parent problems, are quite intelligent, etc. Decent narratives, written in a way that was over-theatrical, that was hard to connect to today. The topic of privacy is fascinating, but really, the author doesn't talk much about it except to say that some hackers invaded privacy and went on to later become security folk at businesses. Interesting, maybe, but not that surprising, and not that significant-seeming (the author didn't spend much time using this to make a point about how rule-breaking can lead to innovation, nor did he ask a question about what the future might hold, he mainly used it to show off how impressive the hackers were). If this book were less about 8 hackers and more about computer history/concepts in general using these guys as /examples/ instead of the only plotline of the book, it would be a lot more impressive. I feel like the author went to a lot of trouble to interview these kids without getting a result of importance.
It would have also been better of the author seemed more knowledgeable and authoritative. As these were essentially 8 anecdotes, it would have been great if the author quoted people who actually study hacker/teen psychology who had opinions to make me feel more comfortable using it as a reference to think about the world at large. Instead, I read ideas like 'many hackers are socially outcast in one way or another' or 'hacking became more mainstream/hacking culture became less about skills and more about attitude,' without giving concrete examples. I believe the author, but I want more substantiation.
What this book does ok is paint a fairly good picture of the beginnings of hacker culture/tech history, but again this wasn't that useful, as the author told 8 different narratives that basically said the same things about this. And again, the same problem of lack-of-substantiation. If he'd said 'Hacker X got super-interested in hacking as a result of phone phreaking and VCRs' and then went on to cite an expert or historian elaborate on it, it would have felt more satisfying. Perhaps most authors don't need to make these sorts of extra citations, but as the author takes on a very melodramatic tone, I didn't trust him as an authority.
Most recent customer reviews
Nothing new really in it.
The author meets some hackers and writes about them.