Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace

Overview

From the bedroom terminals of teenagers isolated from their peers by their hyperactive intellects to the nerve center of a nationwide long-distance phone company infiltrated by a hacker's hand, Masters of Deception offers an unprecedented tour of the murkiest reaches of the electronic frontier and a trenchant blow-by-blow chronicle of the most notorious gang war in cyberspace. In 1989, Paul Stira and Eli Ladopoulos, two teenage hackers from Queens, New York, made some exploratory forays into local phone company ...
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Overview

From the bedroom terminals of teenagers isolated from their peers by their hyperactive intellects to the nerve center of a nationwide long-distance phone company infiltrated by a hacker's hand, Masters of Deception offers an unprecedented tour of the murkiest reaches of the electronic frontier and a trenchant blow-by-blow chronicle of the most notorious gang war in cyberspace. In 1989, Paul Stira and Eli Ladopoulos, two teenage hackers from Queens, New York, made some exploratory forays into local phone company computers and discovered a domain far more mysterious and appealing than any they had ever seen. To unravel the mysteries, they contacted Phiber Optik (aka Mark Abene) - a member of an infamous gang of crack hackers called the Legion of Doom. Phiber Optik was legendary throughout cyberspace for his wealth of hard-won knowledge about the phone system. When he was satisfied that Stira and Ladopoulos weren't a couple of lamers, the three kids arranged a meeting of the minds in Ladopoulos's bedroom. When Phiber Optik got kicked out of LOD after a tiff with its leader, Erik Bloodaxe (aka Chris Goggans), the New York kids formed a rival gang called Masters of Deception. MOD soon matched LOD's notoriety, gaining a reputation for downloading confidential credit histories (including Geraldo Rivera's, David Duke's, and a rival hacker's mom's), breaking into private computer files, and rewiring phone lines. As MOD's fame grew, so did its membership. The rivalry between LOD and MOD was friendly enough until a tussle became an all-out gang war. LOD started a security company catering to the very corporations whose computers MOD had infiltrated. MOD retaliated by infiltrating LOD's own security system. All the while federal agents were secretly monitoring this highly illegal battle royal and closing in for the kill. Slatalla and Quittner, who have followed this case for five years, lead us down the darkest alleys of cyberspace and up to the front lines of the raging b
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Editorial Reviews

Mary Carroll
Gurus and "phreaks" tool along the info highway for goals noble and not so noble in "Newsday" reporters Slatalla and Quittner's story of the teenage East Coast hackers (originally Masters of Disaster, MOD), whose on-line escapades ultimately landed them in jail. The adventures of Mark, Paul, Eli, Allen, John, and Julio--aka Phiber Optik, Scorpion, Acid Phreak, Wing, Corrupt, and Outlaw--were initially local. All but Allen lived in the boroughs of New York City, and they roamed the complex computer networks that controlled New York Telephone, NYNEX, and AT & T; later, they would explore other corporate and government systems. The New York crew had problems with a group called the Legion of Doom (LOD): first, a Texas hacker convinced LOD to throw out Phiber Optik (Mark); later, African American John (aka Corrupt) heard the Texas boys using racist names to refer to him and Julio (Outlaw). MOD and LOD harassed each other; eventually, the middle- and upper-class Texans set up their own security firm and reported MOD's harassment to the FBI. But the patterns LOD betrayed were no surprise: New York Telephone and the Secret Service had known about MOD for years. Finally, in 1992, with Wing as a witness for the prosecution, a federal grand jury voted an 11-count indictment; over the next 12 months, five MOD hackers pleaded guilty to reduced charges, and all spent time in federal penitentaries. Slatalla and Quittner capture the excitement of the hackers' search for knowledge, their sense of mission, their genuine if rather convoluted sense of ethics; the authors also address larger issues, including on-line privacy and the appropriate role of government in cyberspace. A lively who/how/whydunit about real-life computer crime and punishment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788162657
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Pages: 225

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2004

    Excellect book! Cannot put it down!

    Easily one of the best books I have ever read. The story is gripping and told by an excellent story teller. Even if you are not into computers, the story will engulf you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2004

    'Easy to Understand' Hacking

    Michelle Slatalla and Joshua Quittner¿s Masters of Deception: The Gang that Ruled Cyberspace is about hackers, more specifically hackers that enjoy entering into the telephone companies computers and looking around or as they call it, ¿research.¿ I recently borrowed this from our library for an assignment, and am planning on purchasing it and reading many times more. The book follows the path of the MOD boys as the deal with pranks and ¿pliks¿ along with some very weird Secret Service raids. Quittner and Slatalla make this possibly boring read come to life by explaining all of the hacker underground in laymen terms.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003

    Masters of Borification

    Have you ever hacked into a telephone company or any computer for that matter? Well if you are really into computer hacking and computer language then the book Masters of Deception by Michelle Slatalla and Joshua Quittner is a book for you. Masters of Deception is about two young boys in Brooklyn, New York in the 1980s that hack into the phone company computer. The MOD (Masters of Deception) is a gang of computer hackers, who just happen to go into a hacking war with LOD (Legion of Doom) another hacking gang. If you are not into computer hacking I would suggest not wasting your time reading this book. Overall I did not like the book. I thought it was absolutely boring and would not suggest reading it unless you know about and are really interested in computer programming. I would not waste my time reading Masters of Deception because it has hardly any story plot. For the first sixty pages or so all it talks about is Paul, one of the kids in MOD, calling random numbers trying to get a hold of another computer so he can hack into it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2003

    Great Book

    I read the book about 3 times, I still have it. The edges are worn and it's very faded, but I'll never forget it. Maybe instead of making movies like 'Hackers' MGM should focus and make a movie about this, with the condolences of the LOD and MOD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002

    this is not a work of fiction

    just in case your 14 and you weren't around, this is NOT fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2001

    A must read thriller

    The Masters of Deception could have been another boring computer book luckily The authors turn the story into a drama that I couldn't put down. I thought that a lot of computer knowledge was going to be needed to read the book but Ms. Slatalla and Mr. Quittner simplify the language in a way few others could. They must have a true talent to take the complicated subject of computers and simplify it so everyone can understand it. The style of the writing is very suspenseful. The authors always leave you wanting to read more. Each chapter switches between the hacking that the teenagers are doing and the government's pursuit of those same hackers. The writing also gives you something to think about. How could teenage kids get such private information? This book was emotionally engaging and just plain interesting. The Masters of Deception is a must read book even if you don't know how to turn on a computer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2001

    Excellent!

    I had to read this book for a class project and it was an excellent book. I recommend this book to all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2000

    MOD

    I'm only 14 and this is the first crime-related book I've read. I found it to be an extremely intriguing story. It went through and explained a few points that were slightly technical. I do feel that its not for someone who knows nothing of computers- you'd be lost. The character's were well built, the plot was magnificent, and the ending- I'd say disturbing, but a nice way to conclude a book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2000

    Great book of hackers

    this book was a real good one. if you are into computers you will really want to read this. excelnt book. i dont like to read but i had to for school and i couldn't put the book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2000

    Cyber Wars

    For those who are hacker wannabies, to people that just read a lot, this book will not a be a dissapointment. Full of humor, action, and excitement you are bound to love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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