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Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  753 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Using the exploits of three international hackers, Cyberpunk provides a fascinating tour of a bizarre subculture populated by outlaws who penetrate even the most sensitive computer networks and wreak havoc on the information they find -- everything from bank accounts to military secrets. In a book filled with as much adventure as any Ludlum novel, the authors show what mot ...more
Paperback, Revised Edition, 400 pages
Published November 1st 1995 by Simon Schuster (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  753 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Thomas Strömquist
I find myself drifting back to this book now and again; it tells the fascinating story on how the computer hacker was born. And it is a strange tale; the 'pioneers' in this field (at least the ones pictured in this book) were obviously not interested in school or learning very much - except when it came to computers! This does not sound so odd today, when computers are all about games, movies, music, interaction and much much more.

But imagine the dedication that needs to be put into sneaking in
Artnoose McMoose
Apr 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Having heard the basics about these stories, I decided to read up on it, officially. I mean, as official as testimony gets, and I'll get to that in a minute.

This book is a look into a particular era of hacking, an era early enough in the game that: 1. you could hack a computer through the phone line, 2. once getting the right user name you could conceivably have access to an entire computer system, 3. everyone but the most savvy still used passwords like "guest" or "system", 4. operating systems
Wil Wheaton
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hackers
Many of the subjects profiled in this book, most-notably Kevin Mitnick, contest the conclusions drawn by the authors.

That said, it's a fascinating read about some of the earliest and most (in)famous hackers. It's a great companion to The Hacker Crackdown and The Cuckoo's Egg.
Christopher M.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked Katie's book for both its style and storytelling, as well as the subjects that she put under her microscope.

Kevin Mitnick made up the first portion and, while I enjoyed the biography and tale of "the Dark-Side Hacker", it was not my favorite of the trio. If I recall correctly, even Kevin Mitnick himself found flaws in the story although, to my knowledge, it was not determined if it was valid or simply sensationalism.

Pengo and Project Equilizer made up the second part of the trilogy and w
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cyberpunk takes readers back to the early days of hacking, when it was so old-school that computers weren’t involved. Using three case in the United States and western Germany, Katie Hafner’s history introduced readers in 1991 to the general idea of hacking, and her history sheds some light on what hackers were, what they did, and what they might want. It’s a fun look at early internet history, with the net as we know it developing slowly throughout the course: ARPAnet, the internet’s predecesso ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Review in Catalan. I read it for a university course on Ethical Aspects of Computer Science in 2009.

3. Comentari del llibre
3.1 To i estil
Els autors del llibre van haver de prendre una decisió important a l'hora de redactar el llibre. El fet
d'adoptar un caire novel·lesc va permetre ajudar a la narrativa i així fer el llibre més atractiu al gran
públic, cosa que pel que sembla els ha sortit prou bé pel que fa a les ventes del llibre (havent-se fet
diverses edicions del mateix). El fet d'explicar
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a decent book considering the subject matter and time written, but it's really quite dated. Kevin Mitnick's story was far from over when this book was written, and many of the characters in the Morris story (including Morris himself) went on to make big waves in the tech scene. Mitnick's own version of his story (much more complete) is probably better told in Ghost in the Wires , which is a more complete and detailed, but obviously more partisan version. My problem with books like the ...more
It was OK, but it was very much written from an outsiders perspective. The book comprises 3 chapters/extended stories. One covers the Cliff Stoll/Markus Hess story, which was told much better in the Cuckoo's Egg by Stoll himself. Another talks about Mitnick escapades, and the man himself has written better (Ghost in the Wires). The third chapter recalls the Bob Morris/Morris Worm story. To my knowledge there isn't a book on this, but again its written very much from an outsiders perspective.

Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, tech-hacking
If you never read a book on the history of early net hacking (1990 to 2005) this is as good as any. You don't need to read more than one.
Brad Mills
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was a modern take on computer hacking… I was expecting to hear stories like the Myspace “sammy is my hero” bug, or Wikileaks, the story of Kim Dot Com, or more modern counter culture computer hacking rebels.

I figured the neon art deco cover and tacky music in the audiobook were just stylistic choices.

However, I quickly found out that this was a story of hackers from the 1980s. It’s actually a pretty interesting snapshot of a bygone era of hacking, computers and society in gen
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. A real slice of history at the dawn of the Internet age. I highly - and I mean highly - recommend this to anyone interested in hacking. However, cyber-historians will take great delight in these tales form the early years. The book is essentially three stories: Kevin Mitnick, The Chaos Computer Club in Germany, and the Morris Worm. Don't worry, you don't need a Computer Science degree to enjoy it, either. (Full disclosure, I listened - and therefore reviewed - the audio version found ...more
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Wow. Wow! How far have we come in 15 short years? Can I tell you how much I loved this book? I wish it were 10 times as long as it were, with 10 times as many hacker profiles. I kept on reading snippets to Cliff (husband, and a developer, and a computer engineering major in college, who obviously had his own phone line back in 1992 when he was in middle school so he could have his own BBS in Funster Munster etc. etc. etc.)

Sentences like, I paraphrase, "the 56K modem was so fast it could download
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is an old, but very detailed account of three different groups/individuals that were talented and (eventually) visible computer hackers. I picked it up at a library book sale. Lucky me!

If you are only interested in current technology, Denial-of-Service attacks, zero-day exploits, etc., then you may not enjoy this book. On the other hand, if you are old enough to have experienced the technology of the day, or have an abiding interest in technology, history and the evolution of the same, then
Joe White
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-shelf, systems
Published in 1991 with epilogue in 1995, this is a classic look into the early hacking world in my opinion. It also presents the other side of "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Clifford Stoll, which I first read about 15 years ago, and keep as a piece of early networking memorabilia.

The writing style reads like very good prose with emphasis on detail to the point that it sometimes becomes difficult to keep names, dates, and actions straight in each segment. If you're not interested in the early period of ne
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This book collects three journalist-driven stories about some of the early hackers: Kevin Mitnick, Pengo, and Robert T. Morris. The writing reads a little dated and a little narratively forced in some areas, but each of these stories is really compelling to read and covers a wide swath of hacker activity, from one of the great social engineers (Kevin Mitnick) to the creator of the first major worm/virus (rtp). A must-read if you want to better understand the hacker mindset and where it comes fro ...more
May 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Insight into three computer criminals and their psychological backgrounds: Kevin Mintick, Pengo and a third. The details were terrific and I got a lot of precise chronology of these earlier crimes sorted out from the mix-ups in the perspective fothcoming Take-Down & The Cuckoo's Nest. Also I had a chance to see a different view of CLifford Stoll from his stance in Silicon Snake-Oil. ...more
Troy Stephen Sanders
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was awesome and, along with 2600, was my introduction to Kevin Mitnick (I read this a long while back) and other like minded individuals. At the time it was the best read ever for me and for anyone else that owned a computer and a modem. I am more than sure anyone reading this now will feel the same, even if only for the purpose of nostalgia.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tresuiri by: Claire
Educational in accounting for historical aspects of 80s and early 90s hacking and phreaking. Insight into how hackers come to be, thier view of themselves, and of the world around them. An interesting non-flattering view of Mr. Mitnick's exploits.
Simon Magnus
Jun 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anybody interested in espionage (what hooked me) or to computer technology from 1970-90
Recommended to Simon by: A shelf find
An interesting book. I thought it was pretty amazing, and likely would have given it a four, if I hadn't done my own research afterwards and found out that half of the stuff about Mitnick was lies. Great fiction, though dissapointing journalism ethics.
Robert Linnemann
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is non-fiction about hackers in the US. It is a good read. It shows that the author has no idea about computers, but it is sourced and annotated very well bearing that in mind. I recommend it to any programmer geek who wants to read about hackers.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Interesting insight to the world of computer hacking, not too technical so can be accessed by anyone.
I read this back in high school. It has 3 stories about the early days of hacking.

It felt pretty biased, especially the stuff about Mitnick, but still a good read.
Sara Marcus
Aug 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
I loved this book, it made me think. It was like Cuckoo's Egg times 3. Very intriguing to see it from the other side.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Stories from the early days...
Ryan Marthaller
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very interesting stories. Not bogged down by too much detail
May 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: bluebox users
A look into some classic hacking schemes done by the most notorious hackers (i.e. Kevin Mitnick). Maybe a little outdated now but still interesting.
Jan 20, 2017 added it
I read this when it came out. It was rad! It really initiated my interest in the internet and got me into Library school.
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cyberpunk
I read this book back in high school. What a buzz it used to have then.
Samer Miqdadi
rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2020
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Katie Hafner was on staff at The New York Times for ten years, where she remains a frequent contributor, writing on healthcare and technology. She has also worked at Newsweek and BusinessWeek, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Esquire,Wired, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, and O The Oprah Magazine. She is the author of five previous works of nonfiction covering a diverse rang ...more

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