Hack Attack Book Summary - Hack Attack Book explained in key points

Hack Attack summary

Nick Davies

The Inside Story of How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch

13 mins

Brief summary

Hack Attack by Nick Davies is an investigative book documenting how journalists from the News of the World tabloid newspaper hacked the phones of thousands of individuals, causing a political and media scandal in the UK. It highlights the importance of ethics and transparency in journalism.

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    Hack Attack
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    One easy way to get information is to just steal it, for example, through phone hacking.

    As with many other historic moments in British history, the phone-hacking scandal involved the Royal Family. This story, however, isn’t about deposing monarchs or warring kingdoms.

    It centers around phone hacking, the illegal act of accessing someone else’s voicemail messages without their knowledge or consent.

    For example, phone hackers can simply exploit a loophole in telecommunications safety. Voicemail inboxes can be accessed remotely, and from any phone – all you need is the PIN.

    And people usually don’t change their PIN from the factory settings, which could be a simple code such as 0000. If you guess the PIN, you can access your target’s voicemails from anywhere.

    The most nefarious means of accessing voicemails is by blagging, i.e., obtaining other people’s personal information through lying, persuasion and cunning.

    Blaggers call phone companies and impersonate the owner of the phone, using their silver tongues to either acquire someone’s PIN or have it reverted to the easily guessed factory setting.

    Among the original and most talented phone hackers was Glenn Mulcaire. While others may have had to learn the skill, Mulcaire was practically born to be a blagger. Almost instinctively, he would use his quick thinking and guile to effortlessly extract private information from his unwitting victims.

    Mulcaire began his work as a private investigator but soon caught the eye of the editors at tabloid newspapers. One of them, News of the World (NoW), took a particular interest in his skills.

    In fact, they were so interested that, by 2001, they were paying Mulcaire £94,000 per year as a retainer!

    But it was 2005 when Mulcaire got his game-changing assignment: to hack the phones of the British Royal Family.

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    What is Hack Attack about?

    Hack Attack details the riveting story of the phone hacking scandal that rocked the British media in 2011. Focusing on the rise and fall of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, the books offers an inside look into the seedy world of tabloid journalism.

    Hack Attack Review

    Hack Attack (2014) by Nick Davies is an eye-opening exploration of the dark side of the media industry and the power of investigative journalism. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Uncovering the shocking extent of phone hacking and corruption within the media, it exposes the truth behind a major scandal that had far-reaching consequences.
    • With , the author reveals how this scandal unfolded, providing a gripping and informative account.
    • By examining the ethical implications of modern journalism and the balance between personal privacy and public interest, the book raises important questions and sparks thoughtful reflection.

    Best quote from Hack Attack

    Mulcaire was the man. He was born to bullshit.

    —Nick Davies
    example alt text

    Who should read Hack Attack?

    • Anyone frightened by the amazing power wielded by multinational corporations
    • Aspiring journalists who aren’t afraid of setting their sights on billionaires
    • Anyone interested in the media and journalism

    About the Author

    Nick Davies is an award-winning author and investigative reporter. His numerous gongs include Reporter of the Year and Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards. He is currently the special correspondent for the Guardian.

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    Hack Attack FAQs 

    What is the main message of Hack Attack?

    The main message of Hack Attack is the power and danger of investigative journalism in the digital age.

    How long does it take to read Hack Attack?

    The reading time for Hack Attack varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Hack Attack a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Hack Attack is worth reading for its gripping storytelling and revealing insights into the world of media and hacking.

    Who is the author of Hack Attack?

    The author of Hack Attack is Nick Davies.

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