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

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  8,073 ratings  ·  883 reviews
Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world's biggest companies, and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. For Mi ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 413 pages
Published August 15th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2011)
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Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonHackers by Steven LevyGhost in the Wires by Kevin D. MitnickThe Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford StolliWoz by Steve Wozniak
Silicon Valley
3rd out of 212 books — 237 voters
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13th out of 91 books — 298 voters


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Community Reviews

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Lee
I got to read this book as part of a buddy read group where we pick different genres and types of books to get us out of our comfort zone. I started with quite a lot of expectations for this book and i'd have to say overall, I was a little disappointed. Probably 2.5 stars. Reminded me a lot of Wolf of Wall St and Catch me if you can. Better than the first, but not up to the latter.

The subject matter was something I was looking forward to getting into, imagining a book of hacking adventure and in
...more
Paul
This unbelievably wild and crazy book describing the "adventures of the world's most wanted hacker" was captivating from start to finish.

Granted, I am a "technologically-inclined" sort of person, but this book appears to have been written to appeal to both "techies" and "non-techies" alike. Techies will appreciate the relative simplicity of the incredible hacks that Mitnick managed to pull off, while non-techies will gape in astonishment at the achievements and audacity that these hacks involve
...more
Davian
I had to read this book for school (Cybercriminology), and opted to listen to it so I could get some school work done while commuting and going about my daily life. I just wanted to smack the guy. All these tales of his exploits with periodic expressions of contrition that rang hollow for me (boo hoo, I'm so sad that I stressed out my mom and gram), and a lot of instances of the pot calling the kettle black (I don't get guys who have to brag about their sexual exploits. Next sentence...I'm soooo ...more
Adrian Sanabria
The bad: Mitnick's ego and lingering resentments sometimes get in the way and the story also gets dry and repetitive at points.

The good: Mitnick's story is legendary, and while I get the feeling he isn't always 100% honest, this is probably the closest we'll ever get to the true story without embellishments and ridiculous rumors. As Mitnick points out several times in his own story, his escapades are remarkable enough without the crazy rumors that grew around his legend over the years.

As a hacke
...more
Judy
I was forced to read this by my Hubby. Needless to say, he's a bit of a computer geek. This was the first book he read cover to cover since finishing law school so I did feel somewhat obligated to pick it up.
The book is by Kevin Mitnick about his adventures in hacking. I would definitely not call the book well written but I did find his life fascinating. He started hacking as a teenager and never stopped. He's as addicted to it as one might be to heroine. No exaggeration. Despite being arrested
...more
Rob
Executive Summary: I enjoyed this book, but it may only appeal to computer/phone geeks, or True Crime junkies.

Full Review
I ended up rereading this book with a few friends after attempting to pick something they would hopefully enjoy that they wouldn't have read otherwise. The jury is still out, but it looks like I might have done a poor job. I enjoyed the reread, but this book won't be for everyone.

I've always been fascinated by the early days of computers and the internet, especially where com
...more
Ben Babcock
For most people, computers are magic. Which is to say, they are technology sufficiently advanced to the point of mystification. I include myself in this camp, for despite my comfort with computers and my fluency in programming, a great deal of mystery still surrounds them. With the emergence of the Internet into the public sphere and the rise of the Web, computers and the phone system are now fundamentally intertwined, and vast swathes of our infrastructure are dependent on them. The dangers of ...more
Jon Thomason
This book gives a glimpse into the mind of a true obsessive. And as long as this book is (overly long for the content), I suspect it only tells about half the real story. *Never* (once) used a hacked credit card? Come on. Never took any money for stolen source code? Very doubtful. The true obsessive will try to justify and try to paint their activities in a positive light later in order to self-justify their sociopathic behavior. But, I rated this book highly, not because it's all true, or becau ...more
Kate O'Hanlon
Kevin Mitnick is an arrogant jerk. But since I'm still processing my affection for arrogant jerks that doesn't really interfere with my enjoyment of his book. Though it's hard not to roll my eyes hard and how super-fantastic everything turns out for him in the end.

The story of Mitnick's hacking, his two and a half year evasion of the police and FBI and his subsequent trial is constantly engaging and occasionally exciting, filled with tips, quirky asides, and the occasional bit of jargon pitched
...more
Terry
Kevin Mitnick is a legendary figure in Internet culture for both his odyssey of justice and rightly revered social engineering skills. Despite his hacks being marked by being utterly meticulous, that rigor did not make it into this book. The stories are fun but too much of the text fails:

*Future events are given away sometimes chapters ahead of time like when he compares his flight from Denver to his flight from the South.
*A lot of crappy figures of speech like "hit me like a ton of bricks". You
...more
David
From Professor Schmecker's Pop-up Book of Modern Irregular Conjugations Reflecting the Problems of Modern Society:

I hack, You betray, He accelerates the collapse of society.

which about sums up Ghost in the Wires.

A big shout-out, props, and whatever else the cool kids are saying nowadays when they want to show respect to William L. Simon, Mitnick's “co-author”. Mitnick shows no evidence of ever having read a book for the sheer joy of it, nor even writing a letter or a note on a refrigerator witho
...more
David Sven
The autobiography of Kevin Mitnick, the world's most wanted hacker. He relates how he became a hacker, his run in with the law, the cat and mouse cyber games while he was on the run from the FBI and the circumstances around his eventual capture and subsequent release.

I'm not that much into biographies but I gave this a go as a group read. It had some interesting elements but overall the subject matter didn't interest me. I think it would appeal to people like software engineers and other hackers
...more
Michael
Year ago before Tech TV morphed into G4 (and we were treated to endless repeats of Cops and Cheaters), I happened to tune in one afternoon to see an interview with notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick. At the time, Mitnick promoted his book The Art of Deception and discussion in general terms how he wasn't necessarily a hacker so much as a social engineer. Mitnick went on to say that part of his sentence was a gag order that prevented his specifically discussing his crimes and life as a hacker for the ...more
Fahad
شبح في الأسلاك: مغامراتي كأهم هاكر مطلوب عالمياً

أعرف أن ترجمتي للعنوان غير جذابة، ولكن الكتاب ممتع ومثير، وشخصية كيفن ميتنك وما مر به من أحداث، تجذب القارئ لمتابعة القصة التي تبدو كأحد أفلام هوليود، وقد تحولت بالفعل إلى فيلم فيما بعد وإن كان غير مرضٍ لميتنك لأن الفيلم قام بشيطنته، وكان سيسبب له الكثير من المشاكل لولا تدخله، لحذف بعض المشاهد التي كانت ستخلده في الذاكرة كأحد أسوأ الشخصيات على الإطلاق.

الهاكر هو قاطع الطريق الالكتروني، نسخة العصر الحديث الذي يمكنه الوصول إلى معلوماتك أو أموالك، سر
...more
Michael
Well, I try to think of myself as a smart guy. I try. But there are plenty of areas where I am not. Computer stuff especially. Thus, I am very impressed by this story. The guy that wrote it is a computer hacker and a sophisticated one. I guess at one point he was on the cover of Newsweek magazine with his face super-imposed over Darth Vader's head, and was maybe the most wanted guy in the country. He is a huge nerd, very arrogant until he gets caught, which he does a lot. Then he breaks down and ...more
LeeAnne
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
by Kevin D. Mitnick




Kevin Mitnick is not really a hacker. He’s more of a nerdy scam artist with a massive ego. Many other reviewers have described this book better than I can. They believe Kevin Mitnick is a sociopath and I agree. He is extremely proud of his “social-engineering” skills (his ability to lie to people convincingly).

All of his scams are fairly similar.
1. Mitnick calls an administrative office of a corporation, pret
...more
Stephany
Read this, if for no other reason to understand, in a fun way, those sweet, early, open, pre-commercialized days of the Internet in the 1980s and 1990s. Don't knock it: nostalgia is a great motivator.

Full disclosure: I found 2600 magazine in high school (among the zines at a local indie record store, fortunately) and had several Free Kevin stickers. The downright illegal means used by law enforcement to pursue Mitnick, and the legal system's irrationality and unjust punishment of him, provided o
...more
Ti Ingvaldsen
Ghost In The Wires follow the adventures of Kevin Mitnick, a man who is considered to be one of the most famous computer criminals of all time. The book follows Mitnick as he starts his social-engineering career. Readers are able to explore the mind of a hacker who had the ability to obtain Social Security Numbers of Americans by doing simple steps that would take less than a day to complete. At times it even seems as if Kevin is dealing with an addiction, unable to stop his love for hacking, co ...more
Jonny99
What if Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons television show obsessed over phone companies instead of superheros? Well, for starters he would sound exactly like Kevin Mitnick. Like his animated doppelganger, Mitnick sees those who don't spend 15 hours at a clip harassing the phone company as the ones with the problem. From an early age Mitnick sees himself as specially endowed for greatness. His delusions of grandeur would have comforted him in a life as a destitute thorn in the side of California p ...more
Katy Defay
This is a fascinating character study of Kevin Mitnick, whom I would describe as a "low level" sociopath. He clearly has exceptional knowledge of computers, telephone company infrastructure, and what he incessantly calls "social engineering". Yet he has spent much of his life using his unusual skills in illegal pursuits.

Equally fascinating is his sense of entitlement, lack of ethics, and lack of moral substance. He has lied through his teeth on a regular basis to get what he wanted and then drop
...more
soapturtle
meh. read this for isbc2012, DNF. If this were irc, my message would say, "laura has left #ghostinthewires: disgusted".

Overall disappointed. Story isn't well written imo, and Mitnick appears to come across as a kid just trying to see what he could accomplish. However, the degree of social engineering he used made me feel slimey just reading about it. And while he says he had no ill intent, really? Are you SURE? Obviously one would want to tell their own story in the best light possible. Especial
...more
Bookworm Smith
This books makes computer hacking sound super cool & full of action packed adventure (both in the virtual world and the real world). It is a mix between a crime novel and a computer hacker how to guide - great for a geek wannabe like myself.


This is a biography, which means it's laid out from Mitnick's point of view and chronicles his life, obviously paying special attention to the computer hacking parts...which you will find out made up about 110% of his life anyway. It starts out with Kevin
...more
Courtney
I'm still a few pages from the end of this, but I've been writing this review in my head for a couple of days now. I bought this book because I saw Kevin Mitnick talking about it on the Colbert Report. It sounded really fascinating! Average guy gets around "The Man" (first as a "phone phreaker," then adding computer hacking to the mix) for years before they finally hunt him down and throw him in jail. It should be understood that at no time were his criminal activities used to harm others, compr ...more
Joe
Let's start with the good: This book is well written, entertaining, and nicely paced. It's a brisk read, and you won't put it down. Very interesting look into the computer world of the 80's and 90's. Clearly the writer is incredibly smart and has led an exciting life. 3 stars for that.

All of these good aspects put the worst part of the book in sharp relief: Mitnick is a sociopath. I'd sooner read the sympathetic diaries of John Wayne Gacy than revisit Mr. Mitnick. On top of which he spends most
...more
Nathan Moore
Kevin Mitnick's "Ghost in the Wires" is an interesting, briskly paced, yet blood-boiling book. I'm amazed at how effective even the most crafted of memoirs is in revealing the author's values and world views.

Mitnick is obviously brilliant, creative, and resourceful. Even though I would place myself in the semi-technical category, I eagerly concede that his hacking feats were incredible. I am less impressed with his so called "social-engineering" skills and give him about the same respect I usual
...more
Stephen
There are two main problems with this book:

it needed a thorough edit which would have trimmed the length of the book by at least a third ... citing just one example, long strings of code interrupt the flow of the story and except for highly technical readers, are an irritation. The story is lost in this emphemera.
Mitnick is 98% unlikeable - the thing that I most dislike is his dishonesty, and I feel listeners are being taken for a ride. Clever clogs Mitnick likes to dress his manipulation, de
...more
DutchWaG
A few days ago I started reading this book, after reading some comments and reviews about it some time ago. I had high hopes about this book, especially since I read Takedown by Shimomura and Markoff a few years ago a couple of times. I have to say that after two almost sleepless nights, some good laughs, and the suspens filled 400 pages, I can only say: A top-notch book for the average geek!
I have been working with computers since I was able to read, thanks to my fantastic dad. I grew up as a t
...more
Lori Tatar
Mitnick tells the most amazing autobiography in 'Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker'. It's a little dark, often comical and had me wondering throughout, how'd he do that? With detailed descriptions of social engineering and phishing scams, which he used to gain the information that allowed him to hack into computer and phone systems, this book is a textbook and a must-read for anyone wanting to prevent the same type of infiltration of their databases. It is also ...more
Bob
I dont usually write a review but this book is amazing. It is not really about someone stealing or disrupting businesses. He did what he did because it was a hobby. It shows you what the combination of social skills and technical knowledge can achieve. If you have ever wanted to see the inside of hacking it is a must read.
Bashar
Kevin Mitnick is not only once the most famous hacker and intruder into highest security systems, but he's someone who has a great sense of humor, which makes his story into the dark side of hacking that had brought him to the attention of the FBI, and create paranoia around him far beyond his imaginations and desire.

He has unique memory gift that he demonstrates in his book, by giving some accurate account of events, with numbers and dates.

If you have loved Catch Me If You Can, this is the hack
...more
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Kevin Mitnick, the world's most famous (former) computer hacker, has been the subject of countless news and magazine articles, the idol of thousands of would-be hackers, and a one-time "most wanted" criminal of cyberspace, on the run from the bewildered Feds. Now a security consultant, he has spoken to audiences at conventions around the world, been on dozens of major national TV and radio shows, ...more
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