Monthly Archives: November 2011

Ghost In The Wires – Kevin Mitnick – Book Review

It took me a while to finally get through Kevin Mitnick’s latest book – Ghost In The Wires. Though, this was not due to it not being a page turner. Fact is it was!

It took me what felt like so long, as I had been trying to squeeze in the reading time in between everything else. Every time I turn around there is something else to learn or look at elsewhere. Still, beats being bored so can’t complain!

If you had never heard anything about Kevin or other hackers of that time you might find this video useful for a little background

The book is very interesting from a few perspectives. There is the personal component and the security/technology component.

The personal component gives you an idea of the way Kevin had to live his life, the impact on his family and a sense of a world in which trust was at times very scarce. It is hard to imagine in some ways, especially around how tough it must have been inside for so long or the fear I would imagine at facing a very long time locked away.

I enjoyed gaining an insight into the thinking behind some of the attacks or techniques he used when gaining access to a variety of systems (the list is quite astounding) or when he was trying to avoid capture. Surprised often by what, when you read it seems like simplicity, you almost think that would never work, but it did!

For anyone who is not that technical, you won’t have to worry, the details are not to heavy and the book does a decent job I think of explaining anything that is even the slightest bit technical in way anyone one familiar with using computers and the Internet should be able to understand.

From a security perspective it should be an alarm bell to many at the very least. Social Engineering, is alive and kicking. It is also something that many don’t seem to have enough awareness of, still to this day.

Matters in fact often appear to be getting worse as everyone rushes to share all of their intimate personal details all over the place, almost like trusting every stranger is now a good idea.

When you think about the kind of information and access he had, many times by simply asking for it, in others situations by doing enough research on targets and gathering enough relevant information to be extremely convincing and exploiting that element that companies pride themselves on with their staff, helpfulness.

I cant help but wonder how would many local businesses fair today. Especially as I see them rush out to splatter everything they can online in an effort to boost their page ratings. Often I am guessing without a thought about the potential risks.

The book mentions a documentary that I really need to check out called Freedom Downtime

Perhaps another day.