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Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace Paperback – December 1, 1995
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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
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Because they are young, they do cool sutff with their knowledge, and because the world doesn't have much of a sense of humor, they get into trouble.
A very interesting read about the people who would be Internet Consultants and web designers today, but didn't have the material to work with at the time. Proto-web as it were. If you ever wondered about what the online world looked like before it was the web, read this book. It's great fun.
The book begins with an introduction to all these hacker kids, and continues on through all their hacking exploits, life occurences, and various important events leading up to the cyberspace war, and computer law scandal.
The book is cliched in some ways, and attempts to answer the question of what a hacker really is, and what a hacker really does. In the end the book ends up being a bit of a cautionary tale.
None of the boys' deepest feelings or psyches are really explored, and it really seems that if they ever get below the surface to show what they're really thinking, it's very brief. In the end it seems a bit like reading a log of events.
All in all the book is informative, and there are few, if any, technical mistakes (not that there is much technical dialogue to begin with).
I urge you to buy this book, simply to be informed, and if you're up for some light reading on the subject, it's likely you'll enjoy it.
The book is written from the perspective of MOD and starts with the founding of MOD by Phiber Optik, Acid Phreak and Scorpion. They together explore the phone system. Phiber Optik was in the Legion of Doom group, but got kicked out and therefore they started the Masters of Deception hacker group. Though it started out as a joke, they grew quite fast and their hacks became quite sophisticated. Not only that, they were also getting more attention from the Secret Service, especially their pranks done to the LOD members who wanted to quit hacking and start a security company. Eventually... well... I'll leave what eventually happens to the reader.
The book is well written and very easy to read. It took me a couple of days on and off reading. The tone of the book is a bit uncomfortable and strange as the authors do take a strong position for the hackers and view them as teenagers playing pranks with a bit too much knowledge. The book is shallow on technical knowledge however, which is most likely because the authors are professional authors and not professional hackers. I think I would have enjoyed it more with a bit more technical information. That said, I did enjoy the book and I think it describes an important timeframe in hacker history. Decided to go with 4 stars. Recommended if you are interested in hacking history, otherwise better not pick it up.