Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker” as Want to Read:
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  22,599 ratings  ·  1,693 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

Hardcover, First Edition, 393 pages
Published August 15th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ghost in the Wires, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ghost in the Wires

Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonHackers by Steven LevyThe Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford StollGhost in the Wires by Kevin D. MitnickElon Musk by Ashlee Vance
Silicon Valley History
248 books — 469 voters
Ready Player One by Ernest ClineSnow Crash by Neal StephensonDaemon by Daniel SuarezNeuromancer by William GibsonCryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
142 books — 412 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,599 ratings  ·  1,693 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
Dec 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: school, audiobook
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
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Andrew Smith
I’ve always wondered why hackers hack. Is it for the kick it gives them or for personal gain, or perhaps a combination of the two? For this reason I was attracted to this memoir of Kevin Mitnick, someone I’d never heard of but a man who became the most wanted hacker of his time, chased for years until his eventual capture by the FBI.

Mitnick was born in Van Nuys, California in 1963 and by the age of twelve he was already developing the art of ‘social engineering’ (or manipulation of individuals)
Jul 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Scott Foshee
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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
Apr 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People obsessed with hacking, possibly, but probably not even then
Shelves: unfinished, memoirs
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 phone "
Kara 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
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
Stephany Wilkes
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jon Thomason
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
The ONLY reason I kept listening to this audiobook was so I could write a scathing review of it. I kept reminding myself that soon it would be over, soon I could rant about how awful this book is, soon I would be able to warn others not to waste their time on this story... but this book is so bad that even my raging spite almost wasn't enough to get me through it. The first 5 hours or so (the first third of the book) were fine; nothing great, but interesting enough. After that point, though, I'd ...more
Dec 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Akib Ahmed
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, I bow down to the legend.
Second, OH MY GOD, what an awesome life he has lived!
His expertise, knack for finding out how things work and talent has made him worthy of the amount of luck he had in his adventurous days and in his new life.

I wish I had one per cent of anything he had :(

But this book made me elated, made me think about technology and security :D
Oct 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Ti Ingvaldsen
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mahmood Al-Bunni
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very simply, this is the best book I've ever read in my whole life. Nothing describes it less than amazing. I haven't finishing reading it yet, not even half the way of it, but still, when you read it, you feel that you cannot stop reading. If you decided that a certain page is the last page you'll read for today, you'll find yourself unconsciously turning over the next page. You quickly become addicted to this book!
You value, and appreciate the fact why Kevin was - and according to me, he is s
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Was about to give the book 3 stars, which according to Goodreads means "I liked it", but understood that it would have been grossly unfair to judge this type of a book on the same merits I judge fiction books on.

This biography was lava-hot recommended by the one of the co-founders of our tech company when a portion of us (me included) rebelled against introduction of policies. This introduction felt almost like a betrayal of trust (that as an employee I felt went both ways up to that point) and
Jan 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
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, d
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was so much fun waxing nostalgic over the glory days of hacking. It was just about fun and pranks back then. People would hack their friends' computers to display rude output when the friend typed commands (guilty!). Or they'd write a program to simulate a hard drive format. Kevin had the misfortune of being very good at what he did at a time when the government was cracking down on it. I remember handing out "Free Kevin Mitnick" fliers at my middle school when they had him locked up in solit ...more
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. ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
But have you ever felt that something was so good it couldn’t possibly last? (c)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
  • Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
  • We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency
  • Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers
  • Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World
  • Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime — from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door
  • Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking
  • Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
  • Permanent Record
  • Zero Day (Jeff Aiken, #1)
  • Trojan Horse
  • Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary
  • Hacking: The Art of Exploitation
  • Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat
  • Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier
  • Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture
  • Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
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

Related Articles

If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Who else has sold more than 200 million...
60 likes · 25 comments
“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.” 15 likes
“But have you ever felt that something was so good it couldn’t possibly last?” 7 likes
More quotes…