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Top 10 Real-Life Hacker Stories

Updated on August 12, 2012

Top Ten Best-selling Hacker Biographies in 2012

We have compiled a list of the most intriguing real-life hacker stories for this year. Fret not if you do not consider yourself a geek or much less a hacker. These biographies and autobiographies are aimed for a larger audience, yes that's right, who is not completely fascinated with the lives of people who have managed to beat the system?

Some of these memoirs are unputdownable, so prepare yourself for some sleepless nights! These stories aren't at all about technological feats, but more about an old-fashioned confidence game mixed with a talent for deception and aimed at gaining trust from the 'victim' to access valuable information. We are talking here about social engineering and the power of deception and persuasion.

Intrigued? This is merely the beginning. Prepare for a rollercoaster ride of thrilling true stories of suspense, creativity and persistence brought to us by some of the greatest visionaries of our time.

1. Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker - by Kevin Mitnick

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker

Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world's biggest companies--and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. But for Kevin, hacking wasn't just about technological feats-it was an old fashioned confidence game that required guile and deception to trick the unwitting out of valuable information.

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. But as the FBI's net began to tighten, Kevin went on the run, engaging in an increasingly sophisticated cat and mouse game that led through false identities, a host of cities, plenty of close shaves, and an ultimate showdown with the Feds, who would stop at nothing to bring him down.

 

2. We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency - by Parmy Olson

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency
We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency

WE ARE ANONYMOUS is the first full account of how a loosely assembled group of hackers scattered across the globe formed a new kind of insurgency, seized headlines, and tortured the feds-and the ultimate betrayal that would eventually bring them down. Parmy Olson goes behind the headlines and into the world of Anonymous and LulzSec with unprecedented access, drawing upon hundreds of conversations with the hackers themselves, including exclusive interviews with all six core members of LulzSec.

In late 2010, thousands of hacktivists joined a mass digital assault on the websites of VISA, MasterCard, and PayPal to protest their treatment of WikiLeaks. Other targets were wide ranging-the websites of corporations from Sony Entertainment and Fox to the Vatican and the Church of Scientology were hacked, defaced, and embarrassed-and the message was that no one was safe. Thousands of user accounts from pornography websites were released, exposing government employees and military personnel.

 

3. Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground - by Kevin Poulsen

Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground
Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground

Former hacker Kevin Poulsen has built a reputation as one of the top investigative reporters on cybercrime . In Kingpin, he delivers a gripping narrative and an unprecedented view into the 21st century's signature form of organized crime.

The word spread through the hacking underground like some unstoppable new virus: someone had just staged a hostile takeover of an online criminal network that siphoned billions of dollars from the US economy. The FBI rushed to launch an ambitious undercover operation aimed at tracking down this new kingpin.

The culprit they sought was the most unlikely of criminals: a brilliant programmer with a hippie ethic and a supervillain’s double identity. He infiltrated thousands of computers around the country, sucking down millions of credit card numbers at will. He effortlessly hacked his fellow hackers, stealing their ill-gotten gains from under their noses.

Through the story of this criminal’s remarkable rise, and of law enforcement’s quest to track him down, Kingpin lays bare the workings of a silent crime wave still affecting millions of Americans.

 

4. The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers - by Kevin Mitnick

The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers
The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers

Kevin Mitnick, the world's most celebrated hacker, now devotes his life to helping businesses and governments combat data thieves, cybervandals, and other malicious computer intruders. In The Art of Intrusion, Mitnick offers hair-raising stories of real-life computer break-ins-and showing how the victims could have prevented them.

With riveting "you are there" descriptions of real computer break-ins, indispensable tips on countermeasures security professionals need to implement now, and Mitnick's own acerbic commentary on the crimes he describes, this book is sure to reach a wide audience-and attract the attention of both law enforcement agencies and the media.

 

5. Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake - by Frank W. Abagnale

Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

Frank W. Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, and Robert Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was twenty-one.

Abagnale lived a sumptuous life on the lam-until the law caught up with him. Now recognized as the nation's leading authority on financial foul play, Abagnale is a charming rogue whose hilarious, stranger-than-fiction international escapades, and ingenious escapes-including one from an airplane-make Catch Me If You Can an irresistible tale of deceit.

 

6. The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage - by Cliff Stoll

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage

Before the Internet became widely known as a global tool for terrorists, one perceptive U.S. citizen recognized its ominous potential.

Cliff Stoll was an astronomer turned systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley Lab when a 75-cent accounting error alerted him to the presence of an unauthorized user on his system. The hacker's code name was "Hunter" -- a mysterious invader who managed to break into U.S. computer systems and steal sensitive military and security information. Stoll began a one-man hunt of his own: spying on the spy. It was a dangerous game of deception, broken codes, satellites, and missile bases -- a one-man sting operation that finally gained the attention of the CIA...and ultimately trapped an international spy ring fueled by cash, cocaine, and the KGB.

 

7. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition - by Stephen Levy

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution

This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy's classic book traces the exploits of the computer revolution's original hackers -- those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early '80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers.

 

8. Worm: The First Digital World War - by Mark Bowden

Worm: The First Digital World War
Worm: The First Digital World War

From the author of Black Hawk Down comes the story of the battle between those determined to exploit the internet and those committed to protect it—the ongoing war taking place literally beneath our fingertips.

The Conficker worm infected its first computer in November 2008 and within a month had infiltrated 1.5 million computers in 195 countries. Banks, telecommunications companies, and critical government networks (including the British Parliament and the French and German military) were infected. No one had ever seen anything like it. By January 2009 the worm lay hidden in at least eight million computers and the botnet of linked computers that it had created was big enough that an attack might crash the world. This is the gripping tale of the group of hackers, researches, millionaire Internet entrepreneurs, and computer security experts who united to defend the Internet from the Conficker worm: the story of the first digital world war.

 

9. Hacker's Tales: Stories from the Electronic Front Line - by Dr K

Hacker's Tales: Stories from the Electronic Front Line
Hacker's Tales: Stories from the Electronic Front Line

Information and stories about hackers are fascinating to everyone who uses a computer. Computer use continues to escalate, and an estimated 100 million people are now regularly using the Internet at home or work - a growth of 300% in the last two years.

Dr. K originally did a degree in Psycholinguistics, but soon got sidetracked into researching Computer Science and ended up working as a computer specialist for the "world's most famous secret society". He lives in London, England, where he writes and lectures on computers, hacking, and system security.

 

10. CYBERPUNK: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier - by Katie Hafner and John Markoff

CYBERPUNK: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, Revised
CYBERPUNK: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, Revised

A classic look into cracker subculture, Cyberpunk tells the stories of notorious hackers Kevin Mitnick, Robert T. Morris, and the Chaos Computer Club. Like Where Wizards Stay Up Late, the book Hafner co-wrote on the origins of the Internet, Cyberpunk is informative, well-written, and entertaining. The story of Morris, who became infamous for unleashing a crippling worm that brought the Internet to a grinding standstill, is still as relevant and ominous today as it was at the time.

The space devoted to Mitnick is a must-read companion to either Takedown or The Fugitive Game. Many of the stories surrounding the Dark Side Hacker, such as the story of his Norad break-in, are called into question in Cyberpunk, making this book a good launching pad for many different accounts of the Mitnick legend. The portrait of the two members of the Chaos Computer Club is a memorable look into the minds of the younger generation of computer hackers.

 

Are you intrigued by the power of deception or persuasion? Do you think you would be capable of doing something similar to these - Let us know what you think of

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    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      These sound quite fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      This is an interesting subject, I'll have to delve into it.

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 5 years ago

      A great list of books. Worth putting some of them on my list of books to read.

    • Writer783 profile image

      Writer783 5 years ago

      Some Interesting sounding titles there. Thanks for sharing.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      I'll be passing on the list of books to my husband, who is now working to prevent hacking. Might be some interesting reading.