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Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick, America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaws - by the Man Who Did It
     

Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick, America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaws - by the Man Who Did It

by Tsutomu Shimomura, John Markoff
 
An international computer security expert offers a suspenseful account of his pursuit and eventual capture of hacker Kevin Mitnick, describing his high-tech face-off with the world's most notorious cyberthief.

Overview

An international computer security expert offers a suspenseful account of his pursuit and eventual capture of hacker Kevin Mitnick, describing his high-tech face-off with the world's most notorious cyberthief.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite some tedious, self-indulgent subplots, this is an engaging account of the electronic battle between cybersleuth Shimomura and cyberthief Mitnick, which ended last February with the FBI's arrest of Mitnick in Raleigh, N.C. The two men are not dissimilar: they're both in their early 30s, technologically brilliant and personally arrogant. Born in Japan, Shimomura was a computer consultant at Princeton at 14 and a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos at 19, although he never finished high school or college. Mitnick, who also has little advanced formal education, has been in and out of prison for computer hacking. Shimomura seems to have made Mitnick's apprehension a personal mission after the hacker invaded his computer on Christmas Day 1994. Coauthored in the first person with New York Times reporter Markoff, the story grows in excitement as Shimomura, a computer-security analyst at the government-funded San Diego Supercomputer Center, traces Mitnick's electronic incursions and confers with Internet service providers Netcom and The Well. The book raises vexing questions. Why was Shimomura allowed to virtually commandeer the FBI's investigation? How does the Justice Department determine the varying dollar values of files Mitnick is charged with stealing when he has never attempted to profit monetarily? This is an engrossing tale of high-tech derring-do, but Markoff and Shimomura are such interested parties that readers should turn to Jonathan Littman's The Fugitive Game (reviewed below) for a more disinterested account. 100,000 first printing; $150 ad/promo; film rights to Miramax; foreign rights sold to 13 countries, among them England, Brazil, Japan and Poland. (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
Gilbert Taylor
In the cyberspace age, security defaults to specialists like Shimomura. Physically chasing electronic burglars, though, isn't his normal method, except in this fascinating case from early 1995. When software was stolen from his own computers and taunting messages were left on his voice mail, Shimomura felt challenged to go screen-to-screen against a thief who had such personal animosity for him. Despite the technical field of battle, the drama is attractively unencumbered by jargon and is humanly appealing, even to the computer-challenged. They'll follow how Shimomura, his colleagues, and FBI associates discovered clues by writing ad hoc programs to strip out the intruder's electronic footsteps from billions of bytes of noise. They were eventually able to eavesdrop on the thief's real time e-mail, which, combined with the recognition that he transmitted via a stolen cell phone frequency, pinpointed his locale in Raleigh, where he was literally cornered in his lair. Just as the Wild West spawned Wyatt Earp legends, this unusual crime drama surely begins the lore of white hats policing the technological frontier, where gold isn't in banks but in binary code.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786862108
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
01/01/1996
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.37(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.37(d)

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