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

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  13,162 Ratings  ·  1,161 Reviews

If they were a hall of fame or shame for computer hackers, a Kevin Mitnick plaque would be mounted the near the entrance. While other nerds were fumbling with password possibilities, this adept break-artist was penetrating the digital secrets of Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment Corporation, Nokia, Motorola, Pacific Bell, and other mammoth enterprises. His Ghost in the W

Paperback, 393 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Back Bay Books (first published August 15th 2011)
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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
Dec 26, 2013 Day rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, school
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
Jul 16, 2013 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adrian Sanabria
Dec 10, 2012 Adrian Sanabria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 23, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 04, 2013 Jon Thomason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 06, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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 co
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
Oct 05, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
Jul 07, 2012 Stephany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 04, 2016 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People obsessed with hacking, possibly, but probably not even then
Shelves: memoirs, unfinished
The least of my complaints is that this guy, for all his alleged genius qualities, isn't a good writer. Which wouldn't bother me that much, except his "adventures" weren't that exciting.

I further felt mislead because the prologue was an incredibly interesting two-man B&E into a corporation that he was paid to infiltrate as a security consultant. Once the actual novel started, there wasn't another paragraph nearly as interesting as the prologue. More specifically, most of his hacking was pho
Oct 18, 2011 Joe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 14, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Scott Foshee
I know that many people love Ghost in the Wires, but this book really bothers me. It's very difficult to be sympathetic towards Kevin Mitnick, who continually prevails upon his readers to let him have it both ways.

I will leave whatever social sickness the brilliant Kevin Mitnick has to the mental health professionals, but suffice it to say that his writing in Ghost in the Wires is a terrific nonfiction example of an "unreliable narrator." Throughout the book, Mitnick does the same things over an
Jan 28, 2012 Courtney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
فهد الفهد
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
Ti Ingvaldsen
Dec 14, 2011 Ti Ingvaldsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 21, 2012 soapturtle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elena Johansen
DNF @ 12%. I couldn't abide Mitnick's tone of unrepentant arrogance describing his early escapades, and the style, while direct, was so full of unfamiliar, archaic jargon that I felt my eyes jumping past the endless acronyms. I'm sure there are people who love this book for revealing the "magic" behind social engineering, but I am not one of them.
Kevin Mitnick is a fascinating person. I’ve been interested in his life ever since I read his amazing book The Art of Intrusion a few years ago. And now I’ve finally gotten around to reading his autobiography. I can’t even explain to myself why it took me years to start reading it.

First, the bad stuff: there’s way too much tehnical detail about old telephone systems, sometimes it feels like he keeps doing the same thing over and over again, so the book gets a bit monotone at times. If you have a
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
Sep 10, 2016 DutchWaG rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 30, 2011 Rodney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book produced a great deal of emotion in me. Several times I wanted to fling the book across the room, however since it belonged to a library, I was content with knowing that Mr. Mitnick did not get any direct cash from my pocket for his work. This book became a challenge for me. Do I look at what is being written or should it be judged on readability? Usually, I can get over the subject matter and judge a book based upon it's writing and determine if it was worth while or not. In this case ...more
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
Feb 06, 2012 Katy Defay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
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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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“I went to prison for my hacking. Now people hire me to do the same things I went to prison for, but in a legal and beneficial way.” 6 likes
“But have you ever felt that something was so good it couldn’t possibly last?” 5 likes
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