The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick

Overview

Kevin David Mitnick was cyberspace's most wanted hacker. Mitnick could launch missiles or cripple the world's financial markets with a single phone call - or so went the myth. The FBI, phone companies, bounty hunters, even fellow hackers pursued him over the Internet and through cellular airways. But while Mitnick's alleged crimes have been widely publicized, his story has never been told. Now Jonathan Littman takes us into the mind of a serial hacker. Drawing on over fifty hours of telephone conversations with ...

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Overview

Kevin David Mitnick was cyberspace's most wanted hacker. Mitnick could launch missiles or cripple the world's financial markets with a single phone call - or so went the myth. The FBI, phone companies, bounty hunters, even fellow hackers pursued him over the Internet and through cellular airways. But while Mitnick's alleged crimes have been widely publicized, his story has never been told. Now Jonathan Littman takes us into the mind of a serial hacker. Drawing on over fifty hours of telephone conversations with Mitnick on the run, Littman reveals Mitnick's double life; his narrow escapes; his new identities, complete with college degrees of his choosing; his hacking techniques and mastery of "social engineering"; his obsession with revenge.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although Littman is dealing with the same events that Tsutomu Shimomura and John Markoff chronicle in Takedown (reviewed above), he remains a disinterested reporter who broadens the scope of the inquiry. He offers a convincing perspective on Kevin Mitnick's alleged computer crimes, developed from interviews, research and talks with the then-fugitive suspect. In Takedown, the reader watches Shimomura watch Mitnick hack into Littman's e-mail; here we're made privy to Mitnick's many phone calls to the California freelance journalist and author of Once Upon a Time in Computerland. The personnel may be the same in both books, but Littman suggests that Shimomura is a government agent and that his computer had been penetrated before Mitnick's break-in, a hit that caused the National Security Agency to ``freak out,'' at least as related to Littman by Markoff. Among other charges made here: Shimomura's complicity in developing a program to illegally scan cellular phones; the impropriety of Markoff's presence at the Mitnick stakeout, which Shimomura claims was approved by a U.S. attorney, who denies it. And there is Littman's stunning contention that an unidentified Israeli whose online conversation with Mitnick is transcribed in Takedown may, in fact, be the hacker who launched the attack on Shimomura's computer. Another point on which the books differ involves the North Carolina search warrants. Takedown ends with Mitnick's arrest, but we learn here from Littman that the government accepted a plea bargain from Mitnick that could release him with time served, or within eight months. Other charges are pending. Photos not seen by PW. 75,000 first printing; BOMC alternate; foreign rights to Japan and Brazil. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Computer security expert Shimomura gained instant celebrity with his highly publicized capture of Kevin Mitnick, a notorious computer hacker who allegedly plundered the Internet at will, stealing files and information from computer systems throughout the world. Markoff, a new breed of cyberspace journalist, was the sole reporter present when Mitnick was arrested, invited by Shimomura to cover the bust. Markoff's account of this story first appeared on the front page of the New York Times on February 16, 1995, the day after the bust. Markoff and Shimomura were friends, and Markoff's previous book, Cyberpunk (LJ 6/1/91), devoted a third of its content to the nefarious Mitnick. Takedown is a riveting account of the investigation and capture of a skilled hacker by a brilliant cybersleuth. Littman, an investigative reporter, has also written a compelling narrative of the Mitnick case. In contrast to Takedown, Littman captures Mitnick's side of the story. He focuses on Mitnick's motives and ambitions, drawing on personal conversations and correspondence with the world-class hacker while he was still a fugitive. Littman alleges questionable motives on the part of Shimomura and Markoff as they tread the murky water of journalistic ethics surrounding book advances, movie deals, talk-show appearances, and speaking fees. He exposes a conflict of interest raised by the financial rewards Shimomura and Markoff received by cooperating with the FBI, and asserts that the ensuing publicity over Internet security and the need for tougher laws distracted us from the real issue of a constitutional right to privacy on the information superhighway. Most libraries should have both The Fugitive Game and Takedown. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/95.]-Joe Accardi, Northeastern Illlinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316528696
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/19/1997
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.93 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2002

    Über-hacking laid bare - out-thrills top fiction

    Stunning feat of research and clear writing, laying bare the wheels-within-wheels world of paranoid genius hacking. What sets this fast-paced thriller apart is Littman's own X-ray antenna for the hype and shadowy agendas of others. Comic relief - alone worth the price of the book - provided by Tartuffe-like appearances of one John Markoff, a 'natural' Uriah Heep among the reptile sub-division of reporters. Littman nails him bang to rights in a brilliant, oft hilarious portrayal of self-serving oiliness wending slug-like through the pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2002

    Very nice book

    This is a great book to read when your doin' a report or something like that. I enjoy it very much. I would give it 10 starts but 10 starts is anot an option. It tels you how Kevin got cought when hacking a person on the other end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2001

    Clears Common Misconceptions

    This book introduces you into a world only hackers once understood. Media has convinced the public hackers are pure evil and can do anything they want from stealing credit cards to launching military ICBM's. This is exactly what the government wants you to think so there is no objection to the harsh treatment hackers receive when caught. Littman shows hackers are people too and like all other people have both morals and desires. Kevin Mitnick is portrayed as someone who wouldn't take money from the floor knowing who's it was. He could have been a millionaire in a few hours if he wanted but was looking for a job and living in a cheap apartment. Littman's writing is a little awkward at first. When he writes his story many times he jumps forward to explain connections between events instead of waiting later and going back. The writing is never continuous for more than a few pages due to this and common splits in the chapters. Overall this is a worthwhile read and not necessarily tuned for technogeeks. No prior knowledge is required and none is assumed. The story does clear up some common misunderstandings in hackers and the Internet that can be useful to all people, definitely a full utilization of the first amendment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2001

    I enjoyed reading this book.

    This book is probably the best account of Kevin Mitnik and his exploits. While some people say that Littman was biased in his writing of this book, I had a hard time spotting it. I especially liked his coverage of the lengths that the Telco cops went to in order to capture Mitnik. This is a good book to read on a rainy day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2001

    Gross Misrepresentation

    This was a very interesting book, and movie, about the life and times of Kevin Mitnick. The movie details a great description of the things that Kevin Mitnick was able to do, and the people that he was able to mess with. The representation of Shimomura as some kind of hero samurai was disgusting. Never have I heard someone talk himself up so much in my entire life. It's disgusting. To be honest I know this book would have been a lot better of written by Kevin himself.

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