Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker, Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, and Steve Wozniak

Hacking is a profession that is becoming more and more important in the modern era. No longer is it unacceptable to be called a “hacker,” because, as we know now, there are good and bad hackers. Kevin Mitnick was probably one of the first, if not the first, hacker in the modern sense. Growing up during the technological revolution, Kevin cut his teeth on “phone phreaking,” where the caller would jump around the system to make phone calls free of charge to whomever he or she wanted. Mitnick discovered that he could make people do what he wanted by what he called “social engineering.” For example, he could get a piece of information and call a phone company, sound like he knew what he was talking about and get whatever he wanted out of them. This is a topic that Mitnick frequently references; master this and it doesn’t matter how technologically savvy you are.

This is the basis of his story: social engineering is a theme that continues to haunt Mitnick as he becomes more and more notorious for being a criminal, preying on those less fortunate (read: more ignorant) than himself. What is interesting is that through this entire sage, Mitnick doesn’t steal people’s credit cards or identities; he is just interested in seeing if he can do it.

Eventually, the local police get involved. Then the state police. Then the FBI! What ensues is a chase that is reminiscent of “Catch Me if You Can.” Mitnick uses all of his ingenuity and social engineering to wiggle his way out of trouble.

You can probably guess how this ends. I won’t ruin it, but this book isn’t as satisfying as I thought it might be. It’s less technical than you might think, but it still doesn’t read as interesting as it might sound. 3/5

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