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

Kevin Mitnick, Author, William L. Simon, With, Steve Wozniak, Foreword by
Kevin Mitnick with William L. Simon. Little, Brown, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-03770-9
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-13447-7
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It's the piquant human element that really animates this rollicking memoir of high-tech skullduggery. Mitnick (The Art of Deception) recounts his epic illegal computer hacks of Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment Corporation, and any number of cellphone makers; his exploits triggered a manhunt that made headlines. He insists he did it not for money but for the transgressive thrill of looking at big, secret computer programs—otherwise he apparently lived a threadbare existence on the lam—and the claim rings true; there's something obsessive and pure about his need to hack and brag about it to others, habits which eventually brought about his downfall. Mitnick's hacking narratives are lucid to neophytes and catnip to people who love code, but the book's heart is his "social engineering"—his preternatural ability to schmooze and manipulate. By learning their procedures and mimicking their lingo, he gets cops, technicians, DMV functionaries, and other mandarins—his control over telephone companies is almost godlike—to divulge their secrets and do his bidding. The considerable charm of this nonstop caper saga lies in seeing the giant, faceless bureaucracies that rule and regulate us unmasked as assemblages of hapless people dancing to a plucky con man's tune. Photos. (Aug. 15)
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