Customer Reviews for

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Case study of a kid who pushed the limits

Better than Grisham because it's true. For some of us Silicon Valley natives, Kevin Mitnick has been as captivating as Howard Hughes was for a previous generation. He was an iconoclastic rebel, whose victims were monolithic corporations like the phone company, attacked ...
Better than Grisham because it's true. For some of us Silicon Valley natives, Kevin Mitnick has been as captivating as Howard Hughes was for a previous generation. He was an iconoclastic rebel, whose victims were monolithic corporations like the phone company, attacked via their guileless front office people. Because the law didn't understand his crimes, the damages were inflated and his criminal sentence was wildly out of proportion to the actual harm done. However his arrest did stop what was an escalating trajectory of criminal behavior. So although what he was punished for was out of synch with the actual damages, had he gone unchecked the harm could eventually have matched the government's claims.
But what I find interesting is the author's voice: the lack of remorse, the gleeful retelling of malicious tricks upon others. Read this side by side with Catch Me If You Can and you get a fantastic case study of antisocial personalities who manipulate others for the game, whose narcissism leads them to believe that others are stupid for having faith in them. Fascinating.

posted by TeresaHeinrich on August 14, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

It should say 'people hacker' not 'computer hacker'

It is what it is: story after story after story of Kevin hacking or manipulating someone to get at whatever his arbitrary goal happened to be that day. Maybe I just don't have a great deal of respect for hackers in general but after the 200 pages of 'Ghost in the Wire...
It is what it is: story after story after story of Kevin hacking or manipulating someone to get at whatever his arbitrary goal happened to be that day. Maybe I just don't have a great deal of respect for hackers in general but after the 200 pages of 'Ghost in the Wires' I was already ready to move on only to find I was just half way through.

I expected it to be more computer-centric but in fact, a majority of his hacking seems to be schmoozing someone at the telephone company or DMV to give him information.

The book was well enough written but it left a sour opinion of Kevin for me. Taking advantage of people. Stealing. Lying. There's nothing to be proud of here.

The only great thing is at the end of it all, Kevin uses his skills to help companies become more secure.

posted by 9354415 on October 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    Nice to finally hear Kevin's side

    Details, details. If you ever followed Mitnick, you'll appreciate all of the details in this book. I work in cybersecurity but I feel even non-IT people could get into this book. It has quite the "Catch Me If You Can" vibe going. I also recommend The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Just Gotta Wonder...

    1.) How much further could he have gotten if he had minimised the usage of the exploits he engineered (eg. not felt compelled to share the exploits so widely and not used them so frequently).
    2.) Gotta wonder how he'd manage in this "post 9/11" era where freedoms and privacy are on a level that makes Stalin's Soviet Union look liberal.

    I fully understand Mitnik's drive - the joy of conquering the unconquerable, simply to show it can be done. Not for gain or for any malevolence...just to do it. I started on "trash 80s" (TRS-80) and BASIC...C64s. Running packet sniffers and Sun Telecom network traffic analysers - simply to learn. The joy isn't always the obvious; getting behind the locked door. It's the learning. The accumulation of knowledge of systems which are becoming so intricately intwined on such a global level. It's almost religious - like getting closer to God ("God" in this case being some master server of all the world's knowledge). As such, thata desire to learn everything is ccomparable to drug addiction - you always search for better information...chase the high. And qyou can never get enough.
    Good read tho. GLAD KEVIN IS FREE!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    This book is exciting and enlightening! This is not just a book

    This book is exciting and enlightening! This is not just a book for nerds, but for anyone with an appetite for real-world adventure. Kevin explains unfamiliar terms and walks a fine line between too technical for the average reader, and too verbose for the knowledgeable reader; and he walks it well. Love this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Entertaining Read

    The book is an entertaining read following Kevin from his initial childhood influences to his days of "hacking out of curiosity". It then follows him while he tries to hide from the law while using his skills to track those who are tracking him.

    It is filled with wonderful examples of "social engineering", using people's predisposition to trust/help others to get information, which is worth the read in itself. It was a surprising element as I was thinking his hacking skills would have been related more to technical skills. The skill to get strangers to easily give the information he lacked added a great human element to the book.

    The book has chronological flow and really only started to slow down around the 3/4 point where it felt more like a wrap up then a continuation of the "story telling" feel of the fist 3/4.

    Overall a very good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Ghost in the Wires is an interesting memoir about the lif

    Ghost in the Wires is an interesting memoir about the life of Kevin Mitnick, an internationally renowned hacker and social engineer who pushes the limits of the law. Beginning with simple sociological manipulation, Mitnick began forging bus punch cards and experimenting with radio mechanics in his early years. He then progressed his knowledge of manipulation and technology to the point of becoming an expert in the field of exploitation. This memoir follows Mitnick throughout his many escapades with the law and how he usually always found a way out; with the effect he has on his friends and loved ones detailed as well, as a critical element in his life.
    I would highly recommend Ghost in the Wires for individuals who take a particular interest in the career fields pertaining to Information Technology for obvious reasons. I would also love to recommend this book for average readers as well. Mitnick isn't too verbose with his technical explanations and it is fairly easy for one who might not be the most savvy with advanced technological concepts and terminology to follow along. The narrative also allows for readers to become engrossed into the non-fictitious adrenaline filled encounters with the police; which also has the negative effect of becoming repetitive throughout the book. However, this memoir is superb in both aspects of recollection and reflection and is a wonderful read.

    - Jack M.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    The worlds most wanted hacker

    Great book! It really is spectacular, but needs a better ending.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This was a great read.

    This was a great read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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