GHOST IN THE WIRES by Kevin Mitnick

To a lot of people, understanding the motivation of America's most wanted hacker is always outweighed with a bucketful of doubt. Given the events that took place way before Windows 95, years before MS Office became a household name, my understanding of Kevin Mitnick's motivation is as simple as what he claims---he did it because he could and to maintain at the top of his game within the community earning the respect of his peers. He did it not really to earn but to learn more about the craft, given his childhood fascination with magic tricks and his gift of gab--talking his way out of troubles.

These days, a professional hacker is highly motivated---financially, and knowing a piece of their history is every technology consumer's first defense. In this age of the selfie and global selfishness (how ironic is that, for the I-me-myself gadget addict?) reading this book is your first defense.

This story of a phone phreaker transforming into a black hat and eventually, luckily as a white hat is very entertaining and insightful. I would consider Mr Mitnick a very lucky man for being advanced in his time in using computer and modern technology and for being skillful with social engineering. Being advanced is a singular trait of a lot of savants in technology and I can still remember the Filipino programmer who wrote the notorious "I Love You" virus and walked away from it because that time the law against coding and proliferation of a computer virus does not exist in the Philippine Constitution.  

Mitnick's insider views and exploits of the bureaucratic processes to hide his identity and land a job after another across cities before finally being caught by the FBI is highly detailed. From breaking the security codes of Nokia, to accessing the NEC servers, and using the USC servers as a storage locker, up to befriending Steve Wozniak the co-founder of Apple and meeting one of his fans the uber-geek filmmaker J.J. Abrams in the days of his captivity, watching him win, struggle, and transform with his obsession is very insightful indeed. 

An excerpt of the author's bio:
Kevin Mitnick, the world's most famous (former) hacker, is now a security consultant. He has been the subject of countless news and magazine articles and has appeared  on numerous television and radio programs offering expert commentary on information security. He has testified before the U.S. Senate and written for Harvard Business Review. Mitnick is the author, with William L. Simon, of the bestselling books The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Genre: Science & Technology, History, Autobiography
Rating: 4 iterations of Purdy Polynomial

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