Computer hacking[ edit ] At age 12, Mitnick used social engineering and dumpster diving  to bypass the punch card system used in the Los Angeles bus system. After he convinced a bus driver to tell him where he could buy his own ticket punch for "a school project", he was able to ride any bus in the greater LA area using unused transfer slips he found in a dumpster next to the bus company garage. Social engineering later became his primary method of obtaining information, including usernames and passwords and modem phone numbers. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Near the end of his supervised release, Mitnick hacked into Pacific Bell voice mail computers. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Mitnick fled, becoming a fugitive for two and a half years.
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Shelves: memoirs-biographies , non-fiction Ive always wondered why hackers hack. Is it for the kick it gives them or for personal gain, or perhaps a combination of the two?
For this reason I was attracted to this memoir of Kevin Mitnick, someone Id never heard of but a man who became the most wanted hacker of his time, chased for years until his eventual capture by the FBI. In an early example of how these activities helped him, he talked a bus driver into providing him with some information and then sought out a supply of discarded but unused tickets in order to obtain free bus travel throughout the Los Angeles area.
By the time he was in high school he had become an amateur radio operator and his fascination with the communications network started to take a hold on him.
Very soon his spare time was almost totally taken up with his exploration of the telephony infrastructure. He would use his skills to obtain passwords that would give him entry into seemingly secure systems and then compare notes and achievements with fellow hackers. It seems that Mitnick just loved the challenge of breaking into company systems and enjoyed the intellectual stimulus of gaining knowledge through his pastime.
He and his cohort looked upon the capture of proprietary software as trophies and would seek out spare disk space in company systems to store their captures. He would sometimes capture huge hauls of credit card information but there is no evidence to suggest he ever did anything to exploit this. He began to target bigger companies and harder to penetrate systems.
By this time he was known to authorities and started using cloned cellular phones to hide his identity. In the end he was forced to go on the run, relocating around the country and changing his identity whenever he moved on, until he the FBI finally caught up with him in He was to spend 5 years in prison before his eventual release.
And then, in a nice turn of events, he discovered he was in demand as an expert in the field of cyber security and developed a career as a speaker on security issues and consultant to technology companies — a case of poacher turned gamekeeper.
For me the downside to this account is simply the amount of technical detail provided on precisely how he managed to access given systems. Long lists of code are recited as numerous similar events are walked through. This may be of interest to those who relish the fine technical detail but it was way over my head and proved to be a little tiresome.
Definitely recommended for anyone seeking an insight into this hidden world.
Biersdorfer Aug. Kevin Mitnick grew up as an only child of divorced parents, moving frequently in the Los Angeles area. He was something of a loner, and his early pursuits included studying magic tricks and ham radio. Image Kevin Mitnick after his arrest in It was also at the age of 17 that he had his first run-in with the authorities for his activities.
A Hacker Tells All
Simon Forward by Steve Wozniak Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. Driven by a powerful urge to accomplish the impossible, Mitnick bypassed security systems and blazed into major organizations including Motorola, Sun Microsystems, and Pacific Bell. Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling true story of intrigue, suspense, and unbelievable escape, and a portrait of a visionary whose creativity, skills, and persistence forced the authorities to rethink the way they pursued him, inspiring ripples that brought permanent changes in the way people and companies protect their most sensitive information. Available in English Reviews for Ghost in the Wires Mitnick manages to make breaking computer code sound as action-packed as robbing a bank.