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Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The shocking untold story of the elite secret society of hackers fighting to protect our privacy, our freedom -- even democracy itself

Cult of the Dead Cow is the tale of the oldest, most respected, and most famous American hacking group of all time. Though until now it has remained mostly anonymous, its members invented the concept of hacktivism, released the top tool for
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by PublicAffairs
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E Vikander I have read the book and can say that there is very little in it about Beto. He is one of many CDC members mentioned.

There are many reasons to read…more
I have read the book and can say that there is very little in it about Beto. He is one of many CDC members mentioned.

There are many reasons to read this book, but if anyone buys it for this they will be greatly disappointed.(less)

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Chris
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
From exposing security issues during the early days of the Internet to quashing modern-day political misinformation, one group of hackers has been through it all: Cult of the Dead Cow. By latching onto their own branch of “hacktivism”, this group has morphed from an eclectic group of enthusiasts to a movement intent on fighting for greater online security.

Journalist Joseph Menn has pulled together perhaps the most encompassing looks at one the longest-serving hacker collectives. This in and of i
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Sebastian Gebski
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was waiting for this book, not because recent career of R. O'Rourke , but because I remember CDC from the ol' good times ;P I've used BO & BO2k and I wanted to learn more about the group.

Unfortunately, I didn't.

There's very little revealed, clearly the group has kept its integrity & 95% of meaty facts are still kept very private. Contrary to my fears, this is not a panegyric ode to RO'R (which is covered rather briefly, but very positively), but there's almost no content in it :( Autho
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Casper Wood
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Working in computer science and security, I'm always interested to hear some of the history that built up the industry I'm involved in. I was provided a copy of Cult of the Dead Cow by Joseph Menn by NetGalley and Perseus Books for review.

The book is a really great deep dive history of the hacker collected Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) which has recently come back into focus with the presidential campaign of cDc member Beto O'Rourke. The coverage of the foundation and growth of cDc is truly in dept
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Rommel
El título no es nada presuntuoso. Las acciones tomadas por algunas personas en la escena de la seguridad informática ha cambiado el mundo como lo vivimos. Tanto así que puedo vincular esta reseña a las consecuencias de nuestro entorno digital: información personal y perfiles asociados, privacidad y transmisión de los datos, preservación de la información, espionaje, algoritmos de aprendizaje y lamentablemente, armamento tecnológico. Hemos visto los escándalos como el de Cambridge Analytica, a di ...more
Rick Howard
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: csc-hacktivism
“The more powerful machines become, the sharper human ethics have to be. If the combination of mindless, profit-seeking algorithms, dedicated geopolitical adversaries, and corrupt US opportunists over the past few years have taught us anything, it is that serious applied thinking is a form of critical infrastructure. The best hackers are masters of applied thinking, and we cannot afford to ignore them. Likewise, they should not ignore us. We need more good in the world. If it can’t be lawful, th ...more
Mona
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book for everyone. 

The topic is very interesting and author is more then capable to write about it but this is incredibly dense book. I am a big non fiction fan. The facts and good research are very important to me, but here I had a feeling as if I was reading a collection of bullet points in PowerPoint presentation. The amount of information that author complied in just one page without giving a reader moment to digest was overwhelming and made reading a struggle. There was no flo
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Tadas Talaikis
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: activism, history
"Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto." Mentor's Last Words

"It was a time of moral reckoning. People realized the power that they had." MUCH @STAKE: THE BAND OF HACKERS THAT DEFINED AN ERA
Tom Lawrence
I found it engaging and interesting discussing the history of the group that I found very interesting when I was first starting my career in technology. Back in the 90's I attended a few 2600 meeting and the Cult of the Dead Cow and the "Back Orifice" tool was a frequent topic. Learning more about the background and the stories behind this group brought back some great memories about the early era of hacking.
Billy
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, in-depth analysis of the social groups of hackers who would go on to shape the field of cybersecurity and influence major tech companies. This book explores the ethical considerations of technology, as well issues of cybersecurity that frequently appear in today's news stories. Above all, it's a gripping and informative read on a field that is often portrayed as too technical for the average person to understand: Joseph Menn has done a fantastic job with the reporting in this book ...more
A.J.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
It was cool to learn about the CDC and their days on top during the NT/XP era. Through Back Orifice they were crucial toward Microsoft getting their stuff together an giving a damn about security. I appreciate their efforts.

I could have done without the political bias and Trump-bashing.
Rodney
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC), which originated in Lubbock, Texas during the late '80s, is one of the most influential hacker groups in the world. Long before the internet was accessible to most people, CDC, numerous other groups, and people were chatting and trading information, including completely dubious how-to files and illegal software, on computer bulletin board systems. The bulletin boards were pure anarchy and that chaos spilled out into the real world. It was good times.

Meen's book tells
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Ben Rothke
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s 2019 and there still has not been a movie made about hackers, that is historically accurate and demonstrative of what hackers truly do. Should someone make 'Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World'into a movie, and stay true to the story, it would make a most compelling, and possibly Oscar nominated movie.

Written by investigative reporter Joseph Menn, this is his follow-up to Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Do
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P.W.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
In the early BBS days it wasn't always easy to find like-minded individuals; and even if you could they were probably located all over the country, resulting in hideous long-distance bills unless you knew a trick or two.

The Cult of the Dead Cow was mainly a group of grey hat hackers who were pushing for any security at all on computers. Computer companies mainly ignored the notion that there should be any security at all on their machines, failing to face realities that still exist today.

If you'
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Andrew Waite
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The subject(s) of the book are fascinating, even as someone who works in the industry cDc helped establish there were still plenty of connections and ties between the protagonists that I wasn’t wholly aware of. Despite knowing of most of the personalities discussed, and in some cases having had short discussions online in various forms.

Of course, when you’re dealing with a secret group who until this point did not announce their real identities, or association with the group should not be surpr
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E Vikander
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Technology is deciding the fate of the world, and we are everywhere in its chains,” begins Menn’s story of the infamous Cult of the Dead Cow. Menn traces the evolution of this group, weaving a story about the strength of ideas and their profound impact on the cyber technology that we use today. It is immensely gratifying to learn of the many successes CDC’s members achieved. These are people who exemplify the value of critical thinking, the value of ideas, and the value of friendship in the cyb ...more
Ed
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Easily, one of the best book titles ever. I received my signed copy from the author at this year's Palo Alto Networks user conference. Together with Kim Zetter, Joseph Menn is a standout jounralist for tech. I expect to read what he writes next.

This book didn't just stop with CDC. It hronicals all other altuistic/hacker bulletin boards of the era, and details the contributions of key industry leaders. The cool part is how they grew from kids stealing phone numbers to leaders of the cybersecurity
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Tim Jarrett
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
An engaging read. I know some of the principals of this book so was aware of some of the broad brushstrokes of the story. But it’s still fascinating to realize how closely woven together some of the threads in the history of computer security are: Trojans and Back Orifice and Veracode, SQL Slammer and @stake veterans, hacktivists and cDc media hackers and the 2016 election. Recommended, not as the most in depth history of the period, but as an entertaining roadmap to how it all fits together.
Sean Lynn
Cult of the Dead Cow by Joseph Menn is about the eponymous hacker group that formed in the early 90s, whose members became incredibly influential on and offline. Online hacktavists, wikileaks members, cyber security experts, business and political advisers, and even a US presidential contender have had membership to this somewhat secretive organization. Cult of the Dead Cow is a very interesting look at the history and evolution of one of the first hacker collectives.
Yestin
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had no idea what to expect from this book, but it exceeded my expectations. The first quarter or so I found hard to relate to. However, things did get better and it was interesting to hear how many well known people in the InfoSec industry today have their roots in grouls like the CdC.
Ailith Twinning
Jul 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
The short version - this is the story of how money, reactionary nationalism, and the neoliberal 'human rights' legal structure turned apolitical trolls into tools of corporatism and white supremacist empire. And the author takes any official government statement as Gospel.

In one phrase, a critique from the Left: this is Liberal doggerel.
Jason Copenhaver
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's good to see some hacker culture being documented.
Budd Margolis
Unless your passionate about this subject best left to those who are! Well written!
John
Jun 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobooked
Just laughably bad and boring. This may be the most boring book I’ve finished. Please read this book so I’m not the only one who wastes his life on this overlong below average Time article.
Matt Heavner
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
good history. A bit of "coat-tails" on Beto, but no major fault for that.
Thorn MotherIssues
Full disclosure: friend of a character
Travis McPeak
rated it it was amazing
Jul 12, 2019
Amoena
rated it liked it
Jun 23, 2019
Mike Killewald
rated it it was amazing
Jul 11, 2019
Idiom
rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2019
K
rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2019
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Joseph Menn’s fourth book, "Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World," will be published in June 2019 by PublicAffairs. It tells the story of the oldest, most respected and most famous American hacking group of all time. Its members invented the concept of hacktivism, released both the top tool for cracking passwords and the reigning technique for control ...more