Book Review: Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick

By | June 20, 2012

When I first learned that a book depicting the adventures of one of the most wanted hackers in the world, Kevin Mitnick, I knew I had to read that book. I got it as soon as it was released yet didn’t get around to reading it until last week on my mini summer break. The book exceeded my expectations.

When you hear the word “Hacker” you immediately think of some bespectacled geek with acne and probably overweight, hunched over his keyboard with the light off with only a lava light in the background illuminating the desk and some Techno music blaring. The hacker would get to push a few buttons and voila, he would have cracked into some highly secured website. The same hacker would also appear in movies, he would approach a workstation or an access pad and when asked for a keyboard, he would simply do his clickety clack thing and moments later he has access to the system.

Fascinated as I am by the people who clickety clack their ways into the protected computer system, I wanted to see exactly how did Mr. Mitnick learn his magical ways. As I read one chapter after another, the exact workings of the world’s most wanted hacker is not some magic clickety clack. Its using the art of “Social Engineering”. In other words, most of the hacks he had done was based on getting confidential access to information systems by actually talking to the people responsible for the access and convincing them he needed a rightful access!

His adventures are amazing! At some point in his life he actually goes on the run and forges another identity (identities) while trying to avoid the FBI by actually hacking on their following of him.You literally cannot put the book down and you don’t need to have a bachelors degree in a computer related field to understand or follow his hacks! I bet you yourself might have divulged some information or another using one of his conning techniques at some point in your life. Now I absolutely understand why its vital for people who work in places with “computer systems” to be very careful with their access and information. A mere name mentioned in public can bring the system down with social engineering. Wow!

A must read for everyone, especially system admins, secretaries, and customer service operators. I promise you, you will not want to put this book down until the very end.

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