Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier” as Want to Read:
Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  522 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Suelette Dreyfus and her co-author, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, tell the extraordinary true story of the computer underground, and the bizarre lives and crimes of an elite ring of international hackers who took on the establishment. Spanning three continents and a decade of high level infiltration, they created chaos amongst some of the world's biggest and most power ...more
Hardcover, 475 pages
Published June 6th 1997 by Mandarin (first published 1997)
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 Underground, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Underground

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  522 ratings  ·  49 reviews

Sort order
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found this one to be a very entertaining read.

Firstly, being one with a strong IT background I expected to quickly feel "at home". Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, I was very much hoping to "relive" my personal experiences with the "early" (inter)net - to be confirmed in my own perceptions if you will.

Then was time when you could still snoop around the net openly without second guesses and immediate fear of persecution - ultimately with a wish to simply learn as the driving force
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
2/5 - It was ok. I’m fascinated by stories like this, but the way that the stories were presented in the book resulted in a combination of perseverance and dread. The stories are overall entertaining and intriguing if you’re interested in history like this. Unfortunately, Dreyfus includes a lot of unnecessary information. I assume that Dreyfus included the additions to facilitate a better understanding of the characters. Unfortunately, on some of the characters the additional information does no ...more
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I love these glimpses into the minds of hackers and how everything worked before the Internet. Sharing, openness and then changes coming with new laws brought on by few "black sheep".

Some of these stories are unbelievable. Some are sad. Some are funny. I enjoyed all of them. Well done
Brian Palmer
Apr 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
Writing a book on hacking, computer security, and so forth is hard. When this was written, back in 1997, it was surely even harder, as the general audience this book is aimed at was presumably less familiar with the technical details of "cyberspace." Dreyfus manages to make it work and capture a snapshot of the feel behind some of the (primarily Australian) hackers she features in the book.

I read this from a PDF that's freely available on the book's website; it was presented in a fixed-width, ty
In den ersten Kapiteln tauchen in sehr kurzer Folge sehr viele neue Figuren auf, die kaum eingeführt werden. Das verwirrt etwas, und man verliert schnell den Überblick. Spätere Kapitel drehen sich meist nur noch um wenige Personen. Einige wenige Stellen in der Dokumentation sind recht langatmig, vieles ist aber wirklich spannend zu lesen, selbst wenn man schon eine Reihe anderes Material zum Thema "Anfangstage des Hackens" gelesen hat. Das Buch liest sich flüssig, die Übersetzung ist gelungen.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved every single page of that book! Will definitely read it again a few times🖤🖤
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Прочитано на русском
Vladimir Ivanov
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
You might be interested to read this book, when you learn, that Mendax, one of the teenage hackers, is Julian Assange.
Patrick DiJusto
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Pretty interesting book about the hacker subculture of the late 80s and early 90s -- in Australia. Yes, the smallest continent, a land that for a time had a _single_ T3 cable serving the entire nation, had a thriving hacker community. Who knew?

The stories are pretty much the same as every hacker story everywhere: a bunch of nerdy aspie teenage guys stay up late at night making their way through the local telephone company computers. From there they access universities, and from there they visit
Nov 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suelette Dreyfus has compiled an intriguingly honest account of Melbourne's underground hacking community. Julian Assange, editor in chief of the notorious whistle blower site WikiLeaks, assists in the telling of this eye-opening, detailed development of Australian hacking, his role in The International Subversives, and ultimately it's influence on international hacking. Lovers are crossed, families are betrayed or betray and the secret service have more than their fair share of the spotlight to ...more
Eric Phetteplace
Jan 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: prose
A chronicle of the early days of hacking in the 1990s, primarily focused on Australian hackers but with some British and American characters in there too. I guess I expected a little too much from this book as I was mainly interested in the technical side of things, which it does go into a little at parts but not enough for me. On the whole, though, it's just not well-written. Almost every narrative jumps around awkwardly as Dreyfus tries to fill in extraneous details she forgot to mention at th ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, kindle
The Kindle edition had wonky formatting, so be warned. Reading this made me pay closer attention to the Lulz Security attacks going on this year. I think it also made me more sympathetic? More pro-LulzSec? More interested in learning about the curiosities and drives that make up young hackers? Something. In any case, Suelette weaves a good story. Worth a read, even if you're not in the computer industry - there's very little technical jargon that's not explained, so no matter what, you'll be abl ...more
Vasil Kolev
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech, history
This is just too short. There are a few cases in it, but there isn't really a whole picture (and I'm pretty sure there was enough material to paint it). The people described in the book are exemplary of the field, but that's really not enough.

The book is also a nice description of Julian Assange (aka Mendax), who also helped with it (so, the usual grain of salt applies).

It's interesting that some stuff still hasn't changed since then...
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well, lets see.

There are definite Assange undertones to this book. But it is also a tale told from the perspective of the hacking community in the 1980s.

The flavor, of the atmosphere and the taste of the character's naiveté definitely struck a chord when I read this in the late 90s. Although it's supposed to be a mostly true story, you can tell it contains some embellishments for the sake of the story, and the subject's privacy.

All in all a well rounded book.
Chris Malia
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have never gotten through a book faster than this. You might think a book about hacking would be boring, but the chapters are all well told. And the book today is more pertinent than ever, as hactivism has pushed its way into public discourse. Assange writes the forward, and is now public enemy number 1. You don't need to be a tech person to understand the book--a huge plus. Best part of all, it's free.
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
a re-read from many moons ago, and enjoyed it rather more first time round. it's much better at giving insight into the personalities involved and their motivation, than it is at providing a quality reading experience. but the former is sufficiently interesting that the book doesn't suffer too much for it.
Interesting nostalgic read. I remember the time and some of the people mentioned. Oh, the days of the Commodore 64 and the even more wonderful Amiga.

After a rather slow and laborious beginning, delving into the not too interesting details of the attack on NASA, I became more engaged with the lives of the hackers and Ken Day and his colleagues' under-resourced campaign to bring them to justice.
An account of hackers and their underground world. Tells the story of Par, a hacker that was on the run from the US secret service, and of Julian Assange's hacking days in Australia, among other stories. A must read for piecing together a history of computer hacking. Assange helped with the book and wrote the preface.
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction, cs, geek
I'm a geek by trade, and the reason I stumbled into my line of work is that I've always been highly fascinated by communications networks. Underground deals with some of the early history of hacking, which might be an acquired taste, but for those of us interested in the field it's an interesting and engaging read.
Simon Bailey
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I lived through this time and was involved in this community. Some of these names are familiar to me so it holds a special nostalgia. I'm taken back to the days of 2400 baud modems and Bakelite handsets placed into foam seats.

An excellent tale very close to home for me.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A nice, compelling story about a couple of hackers in the late eighties and the early nineties. I also read "Inside WikiLeaks", in which someone calls Julian by the name Mendax.

Could it be that Mendax in the Underground book is Julian Assange himself? Or this just an easter egg?
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was fascinating. Well written, compelling, a fantastic history of the early 1990s hacking culture and such an interesting insight into the opposing forces that are shaping the online world today. Tops.
Although the topic is interesting, the book is too big for its content, delves into lots of personal details, and is not perfectly written. Best chapters were 1, 4, and 5, and if a summary happens to be provided for the rest, those three chapters would make a good read.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Das Buch war wirklich interessant, besonders wenn man bedenkt das vieles was im Buch beschrieben ist, zu einer Zeit passiert ist, wo Internet und Computer in den Kinderschuhen gesteckt hat. Zu sehen, was damals schon alles möglich war oder vollbracht wurde, ist wirklich erstaunlich.
Win Kang
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Engaging read, if you've ever wondered how hackers came to be and how technology has progressed over time. Admittedly, as technology progresses, so do the various kinds of personalities who engage in hacking.
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Every wannabe geek should have this and read this book. one hacker mentioned in this book is Assange itself and say what.. the book reveals that the author security guru clifford Stoll (author of "cukoos egg") got hacked... which makes us laugh along with the h hackers... one hell of a read..
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really well written and researched book. I could hardly stop reading this. It made me wish I was a little bit more computer-literate, which would probably allow me to understand more of the finer points of the story.
Still a great read though.
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Published nine years before WikiLeaks came online and all the more thought-provoking as a consequence.
Fascinating for techies, I think those of a less geeky nature would enjoy it more than they might anticipate.
Available as a legitimate free e-book from Project Gutenberg.
Nov 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Somewhat chauvinistic and sometimes repetative but had some great moments and was a fun read.
It had a nice balance between technology and story, much better than in some other hacker memoirs I've read.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A book about the 90's hacking world, partially written/contributed-to by Julian Assange.
« 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 »
  • The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey
  • Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace
  • The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier
  • Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier
  • This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information
  • Cryptanalysis: A Study of Ciphers and Their Solution
  • Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet
  • Handbook of Applied Cryptography
  • Computers and Intractability: A Guide to the Theory of NP-Completeness
  • Masterminds of Programming: Conversations with the Creators of Major Programming Languages
  • Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet
  • Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software
  • The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick
  • The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet
  • UNIX Network Programming, Volume 1: The Sockets Networking API
  • Perceptrons - Expanded Edition: An Introduction to Computational Geometry (Expanded)
  • Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
  • Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life: A Philosophical Inquiry

Goodreads is hiring!

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