Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker
Ghost in the Wires – Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies-and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. But for Kevin, hacking wasn’t just about technological feats-it was an old fashioned confidence game that required guile and deception to trick the unwitting out of valuable information.
Driven by a powerful urge to accomplish the impossible, Mitnick bypassed security systems and blazed into major organizations including Motorola, Sun Microsystems, and Pacific Bell. But as the FBI’s net began to tighten, Kevin went on the run, engaging in an increasingly sophisticated cat-and-mouse game that led through false identities, a host of cities, plenty of close shaves, and to an ultimate showdown with the feds, who would stop at nothing to bring him down.
Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling true story of intrigue, suspense, and unbelievable escape and a portrait of a visionary whose creativity, skills, and persistence forced the authorities to rethink the way they pursued him, inspiring ripples that brought permanent changes in the way people and companies protect their most sensitive information.
Book Review by K
Nail-biter from Cover to Cover
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?)