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Ghost in the Wires summary

Kevin Mitnick

My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

4.4 (54 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick is an autobiography that details how he became the most wanted computer criminal in the US. He shares his experiences as a hacker, his jail time and how he became a security consultant.

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    Ghost in the Wires
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    Kevin Mitnick grew up with an interest in magic and manipulation.

    Born on August 6, 1963, Kevin Mitnick was an only child raised primarily by his mother, Shelly Mitnick. They lived an itinerant life in Southern California, as Shelly looked for work and entangled herself in a string of bad relationships.

    The constant movement meant Kevin didn’t get much of a chance to make friends. Plus, his mother’s boyfriends had a bad habit of being abusive to Kevin, which probably contributed to the development of his anti-authority attitude.

    Kevin managed to get decent grades in school, and he excelled in sports, but his imagination was captured by an extracurricular activity: magic.

    When Kevin was ten years old, a neighbor showed him a magic trick. It was love at first sight. Kevin loved the element of deception and became obsessed with practicing tricks and discovering ways of manipulating the audience, all of which would influence his later escapades.

    When he was 13, Kevin could often be found at the Survival Bookstore, perusing the pages of The Big Brother Game, a step-by-step guide on how to gain access to people’s property records, their driving history and even their bank account details.

    These were techniques that would continue to come in handy as Kevin got further into the world of social engineering.

    As the young Mitnick would come to learn, social engineering is the subtle art of manipulating people so that they do what you want. And the first key is to establish trust.

    Say you want to call a company and acquire some specific information. You’ll sound more trustworthy if you use the correct terminology and lingo – the words and phrases used by everyone else at the company.

    Using this technique, Mitnick was able to pick up a phone and, by saying the right things, get records and personal information on friends, teachers, and even some people he’d never met. It might sound unlikely, but it worked more often than not.

    And this was all before his seventeenth birthday!

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    What is Ghost in the Wires about?

    Ghost in the Wires (2011) is the wild story of one of the greatest hackers and social engineers of all time: Kevin Mitnick. Mitnick started by making phony phone calls in the 1970s, but quickly graduated to computers, hacking some of the largest companies in the world. Along the way, he got his hands on vast amounts of information, just to prove to himself that it could be done. This is a tale of technical brilliance and expert escape artistry so unbelievable that it must be true.

    Ghost in the Wires Review

    Ghost in the Wires (2011) is an intriguing memoir that delves into the thrilling world of hacking and cybersecurity. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With real-life experiences and anecdotes, it offers a fascinating insight into the mind of Kevin Mitnick, one of the most notorious hackers in history.
    • The book explores the cat-and-mouse game between Mitnick and the authorities, creating a suspenseful and gripping narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.
    • Through Mitnick's adventures and encounters, the book sheds light on the vulnerabilities of digital systems, making it an eye-opening read for anyone interested in cybersecurity.

    Who should read Ghost in the Wires?

    • Computer enthusiasts interested in the story of one of the world’s greatest hackers
    • Anyone interested in the arts of social engineering
    • Law enforcement or cybercrime professionals

    About the Author

    Kevin Mitnick was a prolific hacker who managed to stay one step ahead of the authorities for years. He now makes an honest living as a writer, public speaker and computer security consultant. He is also the author of the best-selling book The Art of Deception.

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    Ghost in the Wires FAQs 

    What is the main message of Ghost in the Wires?

    The main message of Ghost in the Wires is the thrilling true story of Kevin Mitnick, a hacker who finds redemption and learns the power of ethical hacking.

    How long does it take to read Ghost in the Wires?

    The reading time for Ghost in the Wires varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Ghost in the Wires a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Ghost in the Wires is a captivating read that provides insights into the world of hacking and cybersecurity. It's definitely worth reading for anyone interested in the subject.

    Who is the author of Ghost in the Wires?

    The author of Ghost in the Wires is Kevin Mitnick.

    What to read after Ghost in the Wires?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Ghost in the Wires, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Social Engineering by Christopher Hadnagy
    • Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton
    • Spam Nation by Brian Krebs
    • The Art of Influencing Anyone by Niall Cassidy
    • The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas Salzgeber
    • Quiet by Susan Cain
    • Genius by James Gleick
    • A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg