Four pals clean up in Vegas with a pocket-sized computer. A bored Canadian teen gains access to the wire transfers section of a major Southern bank. A couple of kids are recruited to hack into Lockheed Martin and the Defense Information System Network by a terrorist with ties to Osama bin Laden.
And these stories are true.
If you're the security officer in your organization, the tales in this book crawled out of that closet where your nightmares live. Fears about national security keeping you awake? Put the coffee on; it gets worse. And if you just enjoy a heck of a good cliff-hanger full of spies and real-life intrigue, strap yourself in for a wild read.
It would be difficult to find an author with more credibility than Mitnick to write about the art of hacking. In 1995, he was arrested for illegal computer snooping, convicted and held without bail for two years before being released in 2002. He clearly inspires unusual fear in the authorities and unusual dedication in the legions of computer security dabblers, legal and otherwise. Renowned for his use of "social engineering," the art of tricking people into revealing secure information such as passwords, Mitnick (The Art of Deception) introduces readers to a fascinating array of pseudonymous hackers. One group of friends bilks Las Vegas casinos out of more than a million dollars by mastering the patterns inherent in slot machines; another fellow, less fortunate, gets mixed up with a presumed al-Qaeda-style terrorist; and a prison convict leverages his computer skills to communicate with the outside world, unbeknownst to his keepers. Mitnick's handling of these engrossing tales is exemplary, for which credit presumably goes to his coauthor, writing pro Simon. Given the complexity (some would say obscurity) of the material, the authors avoid the pitfall of drowning readers in minutiae. Uniformly readable, the stories-some are quite exciting-will impart familiar lessons to security pros while introducing lay readers to an enthralling field of inquiry. Agent, David Fugate. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.