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on April 3, 2016
I remember the news stories, I remember the whole "Free Kevin" movement on the web, I remember reading about his release in newspapers and online magazines. It's awesome to read about these events, now, from his perspective.

I've read several of the negative comments written about this book, and I don't understand why these people read the book in the first place. They talk about not being able to sympathize, they judge Mitnick for taking advantage of people, they hate Mitnick for the way he exploited his mother and grandmother, they talk bad because they can't understand what drove Mitnick to continue to break into systems, they are irritated because of his cocky attitude. In my opinion, those reviews are more emotional than objective.

In common with the people who wrote negative reviews, I too felt bad for his mother, grandmother, friends, him, and everyone he ever used for his criminal activities. I too felt that he had plenty of opportunities to stop and get away clean. I too rolled my eyes when I read about how much smarter he was than everyone else, especially towards the end b/c it'd been ongoing throughout the book. But it's Kevin Mitnick - the social engineer hacker king - Interaction w/ people and mind-screwing most of them is expected, as is the manipulation of relationships in his favor!

My 5 stars because:
I like (auto)biographies, I am an IT professional, I enjoy narratives - this book was a perfect read for me. I could hardly put it down. It only took me a couple of weeks to read (light reading in evenings and heavier on weekends).

I was hooked from the beginning - opening word by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The book contains a few jaw-dropping moments as Mitnick explains how he infiltrated organizations and systems. It was engaging from cover to cover - reading of how he evaded capture, how he ran counter surveillance on the FBI, how he changed identities, and a whole lot more.

You'll enjoy this book if you:
- are an IT professional
- prefer reading crime-drama novels, autobiographies, or fugitive/on-the-run type novels
- can handle a subject without hating the subjects (can you appreciate genius in a person regardless of how they use their ability?)
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on August 8, 2016
I only have a couple free hours at night, and a few hours in the weekend to read. Every moment free I've had since last week, I have spent reading. Only four days, I am on page 162. This book is one of the best I read. Oddly, Catch Me If You Can is one of my favorite movies. The book is kind of on the same lines but Kevin hacked and used social engineering for people information. Frank in the movie used social engineering for conning people and stealing. Kevin never stole from people.
This book follows Kevin from the time he was around 8, learning to pick locks. I laughed and thought, "at 8 I was playing with Barbies, what a waste of my time." Kevin Mitnick writes in a way that most people can understand and explains every term. Heck he explains how he did everything he accomplished. Ghost in the Wires is a fascinating book. If I had three full free days, I'd have it finished by now. I can't put it down.
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on September 28, 2016
I had heard of Kevin Mitnick, but this is the first time reading about his exploits. I think this book should be required reading for anyone who works in help desk or other technology; heck, I worked in a hospital, and I think all of the staff should have been reading it too. In addition to the interesting technology he introduces us to, it gives a great view of social engineering and how easy it was for him to get what he wanted.
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on July 27, 2017
For a couple of 4-5 days I couldn't put this book down. 2nd time I've read it. I enjoyed it more the 2nd time for some reason!

Kevin Mitnick is easy to relate to if you are a computer person, like hacking/ hacks, fun projects, and knowing forbidden knowledge. Was interesting to learn that he lived in Denver in a area that I did around the same time! Great book, sort of like reading a thriller/mystery except it was real events.

Much better than some of the other "I was a teen age hacker" books out there. Hopefully he keeps writing. I really enjoyed learning basic security and privacy tips, just a fun read overall.
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on February 10, 2016
Having read the Littman books and multiple articles about phreaking and hacking, I had a pretty good idea of Kevin's story. But due tomorrow statute of limitations expiring, he and a ghost we are able to tell his side. What impressed me was his intelligence, almost photographic memory, and drive. Sure, he comes off as slightly pretentious, but it's well edited. I skipped over most of the technical descriptions but still thoroughly enjoyed the story. I don't even steal cable, so I was never onboard with the Free Kevin movement. Still, I'm a fan.
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Ghost in the Wires is the story of Kevin Mitnick, self proclaimed computer hacker. Mitnick takes us through most of his hacking career, and also explores some of his personal and family relationships and conflicts during his career.

=== The Good Stuff ===

* Mitnick writes very well, and the book moves quickly. I ended up reading it in a single evening, and was actually sad when it came to the end.

* While the book describes some of the technical details of his exploits, anyone with even an inkling of how computers work will have no trouble understanding 95% of what happens in the book. Most of his more interesting exploits seem to be of the "social engineering" variety, namely talking people into doing him "favors" which compromise their own security.

* Mitnick is reasonable, for the most part, about his exploits. He admits to his exploits, and at least claims remorse for the trouble his hacking caused for his family.

* The book includes his attempts to flee law enforcement, including fleeing to different states and attempting to set up new identities for himself. It was quite interesting to hear the things that he found easy versus the things that caused him difficulties in his attempts to establish his new credentials.

=== The Not-So-Good Stuff ===

* By definition, Mitnick is the only source for much of the material in this book. It is therefore difficult to judge just how accurate a picture of his exploits he presents, and I got the feeling he carefully screened which parts of his biography he included. I am an engineer, and much of his discussion at least passed the "sniff" test for being at least plausible.

* The end of the book becomes somewhat self-serving. Mitnick claims to not understand why large companies would put very high values on some of the intellectual property he "just borrowed". I thought he was just being naive, until you realize that he now makes an excellent income because those companies are willing to pay him money to protect those very same assets. Clearly he has some understanding of their value.

=== Summary ===

I enjoyed the book, and enjoyed reading it. While some of the exploits seemed to stretch what I was wiling to believe, it almost doesn't matter. The book was an enjoyable and fun read whether it was fiction or not.

One thing that did stick out was that some of Mitnick's greatest successes were not done at a computer, but rather with a telephone talking some lowly employee into bypassing carefully developed security procedures.

Finally, I can't help but wonder with the billions we have spent on "security" since 2001, how many of Mitnick's exploits would still work today. I have the awful feeling that I don't really want to know.
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on September 2, 2017
It's a gripping story, though sometimes the author goes on a little too long or in a little too much detail about some of his activities. I found it surprising that, as smart as Mitnick is, he kept trusting people who, as hackers who used manipulative techniques to get the info they wanted, were untrustworthy. Mitnick himself calls his technique "social engineering," but it's really just conning people into feeding his obsession.
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on May 11, 2017
Similar to The Godfather where you almost root for the criminal, one may find themselves in a similar situation reading this biography. Mitnik's ballsy use 'social engineering' to personally hack info which wasn't electronically available is the most remarkable feat. I sense a near obsessive-compulsive nature in Mitnik's continued hacking at his rivals & the corporate world even as they were closing in, he just couldn't seem to cease, desist and fade away.
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on November 3, 2017
I didn't want to like this book. After all, it's about a guy who hacks into just about everything and thinks he didn't damage anyone or anything--which is not the case. But with that said, I couldn't put it down. The book reads like a spy thriller. You can tell by through the book that Mitnik wanted to provide more in-depth info on how he did stuff but as he mentions at the end had to resists at the recommendation of his cowriter. It would have been awesome. It gives insight into the rise of information technology, provides an understanding of social hacking and even gives a birds eye view of the hacking culture a couple of decades ago.
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on February 19, 2017
After reading through 5 chapters, I couldn't stop and finished it during the weekend. It felt like I am watching a fast paced movie where Kevin is breaking in one after another, and he is completely unstoppable due to his social engineering, telecommunication, and computer skills. The whole police department, secret services, and FBI could not catch him for years. The FBI tried to wiretap him, while he hacked all the main network providers and started monitoring FBI activities and cloned FBI agent's pagers.

The best part of the whole journey was that Kevin never did it to harm anyone and accessed information just out of curiosity. His genuine drive to learn about computer ended up well.

A great learning on how simple social engineering techniques can put big companies like Sun, Novel, Nokia, etc. at risk.
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