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Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick, America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaw - By the Man Who Did It

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The dramatic true story of the capture of the world's most wanted cyberthief by brilliant computer expert Tsutomu Shimomura, describes Kevin Mitnick's long computer crime spree, which involved millions of dollars in credit card numbers and corporate trade secrets. Reprint. NYT.


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The dramatic true story of the capture of the world's most wanted cyberthief by brilliant computer expert Tsutomu Shimomura, describes Kevin Mitnick's long computer crime spree, which involved millions of dollars in credit card numbers and corporate trade secrets. Reprint. NYT.

30 review for Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick, America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaw - By the Man Who Did It

  1. 4 out of 5

    C M

    MY ACURA MY HOT GIRLFRIEND ME ME ME ME ME ME I ME ME MY MY MIIIINE 90% of the author patting himself on the back for being such an awesome human being, 10% interesting story about Mitnick's capture.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    I read this book because I'm a computer professional, and I was a big fan of the movie. But the book suffers from Tsutomu's lack of objectivity. The story of the *movie* is: Silicon Valley hotshot learns deep and valuable life lessons while getting taken down a peg by a greasy computer genius. The story of the *book* is: Poor Tsutomu. Even after co-opting the entire California academic computing community (without pay), the lowlife shittiness of Kevin Mitnick somehow allows him to evade capture. T I read this book because I'm a computer professional, and I was a big fan of the movie. But the book suffers from Tsutomu's lack of objectivity. The story of the *movie* is: Silicon Valley hotshot learns deep and valuable life lessons while getting taken down a peg by a greasy computer genius. The story of the *book* is: Poor Tsutomu. Even after co-opting the entire California academic computing community (without pay), the lowlife shittiness of Kevin Mitnick somehow allows him to evade capture. The FBI is too stupid to help. Another thing that the movie has over the book: Skeet Ulrich. A good, solid half of the book is made up of ultra-detailed descriptions of various security analysts carpooling in various cars on their way to various defunct California restaurants. I really don't care. Oh, and we're supposed to sympathize with him as his young, athletic good looks lure a young woman into several beds and hot tubs while she struggles with her relationship with a much older man. ...But it was cool to hear about VMS and tarballs from back in the day.

  3. 4 out of 5

    NobodySpecial

    I read the Dutch version of Takedown. Although it is an interesting story about the hunt for Kevin Mitnick, I was more interested in the technical aspects of the story then the writing. This may never become a classic or a top-10 book for me, but regarding hacking, social engineering and security related issues, this is a pretty okay book. Though I must say that I will still prefer The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nick Black

    hehehe, so very self-serving. shimomura ought have focused more on his skillful work and less on his snowboarding and big pimpin'. what a douchebag.

  5. 4 out of 5

    SallyStenger

    I decided to read this book after having read a book called Ghost in the Wires, written by Kevin Mitnick, the notorious computer hacker who was apprehended in 1995. Takedown recounts the story from the point of view of Tsutomu Shimomura (with John Markoff). He is the computer expert who was hacked by Mitnick and succeeded in tracking him down, in conjunction with the FBI. The book is a little bit like the Cuckoo's Egg. I didn't feel it was quite as good as either Ghost in the Wires or the Cuckoo I decided to read this book after having read a book called Ghost in the Wires, written by Kevin Mitnick, the notorious computer hacker who was apprehended in 1995. Takedown recounts the story from the point of view of Tsutomu Shimomura (with John Markoff). He is the computer expert who was hacked by Mitnick and succeeded in tracking him down, in conjunction with the FBI. The book is a little bit like the Cuckoo's Egg. I didn't feel it was quite as good as either Ghost in the Wires or the Cuckoo's Egg, but it was still pretty interesting. After Mitnick's having escaped apprehension for a number of years, Shimomura was able to track him down in a fairly short period of time. Shimomura was hacked on Christmas Day 1994 and less than two months later, February 14, 1995, Mitnick was apprehended. The FBI is presented as being something of a slowpoke. I think one weakness of the book is its handling of Shimomura's romantic relationship. The author tells just enough to be tantalizing and little enough so that it is confusing. I feel it was rather distracting from the main story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David

    A good book for someone seeking a real-life story regarding hacking and cyber security in a plain-spoken manner. It's weighed down with quite a few unnecessary details about what Tsutomu and his team experienced during the track down of Kevin Mitnick, but still interesting and a decent presentation of technical details for those without advanced technical knowledge.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    This book is 50% name dropping, 50% dumbed down analogies about computer technology, and 50% why Shimomura is the smartest guy in the room. Shimomura admits that Mitnick was not a technologically amazing hacker. Most of Mitnick's successes came from social engineering. And the "hunt" itself basically amounted to following bread crumbs.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Movie was better then book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Juan Jesús

    Esta novela como tal no es muy buena, el protagonista es un yo_yo para todo, yo se esto, yo hice aquello, etc. Y claro que tiene todo el merito de ubicarlo y soportar la burocracia para que le hicieran justicia. Pero lo interesante de esta obra es nos concientiza en el mundo de esas personas que dominan los codigos, los sistemas operativos, las redes y el Internet que son los hackers. Si lo que se describe en esta obra se podía hacer en los 90, en este 2020 se debe de haber multiplicado mucho ma Esta novela como tal no es muy buena, el protagonista es un yo_yo para todo, yo se esto, yo hice aquello, etc. Y claro que tiene todo el merito de ubicarlo y soportar la burocracia para que le hicieran justicia. Pero lo interesante de esta obra es nos concientiza en el mundo de esas personas que dominan los codigos, los sistemas operativos, las redes y el Internet que son los hackers. Si lo que se describe en esta obra se podía hacer en los 90, en este 2020 se debe de haber multiplicado mucho mas, aunque tambien la seguridad se ha incrementado los ataques se siguen llevando a cabo y ahora somos mas concientes. Aunque no todos los hackers son malos hay que no confiarse y cambiar nuestras costumbres en línea y si te llega un correo de alguien desconocido, mejor no lo habras. A mi me gustó, si le entiendes un poco a la tecnología se va a hacer un poco mas digerible el libro. Recomendado.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    An ok book about the hunt for Kevin Mitnick the legendary computer hacker. It follows the quest of one of the people who was hacked to get justice for the intrusion of his computer system. The book shows the FBI’s non knowledge of computer crimes and their reluctance to get involved at times. It is told strictly from Shimomura’s viewpoint and can be a bit tedious and slow moving at times.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deirdre

    I found this book both very enlightening and entertaining. It's the first book I had ever read about computer hackers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Antón Álvarez

    No es para todo el mundo, te tiene que interesar el mundo de la informática y estar dispuesto a leer largas descripciones técnicas

  13. 5 out of 5

    StrangeAeons

    Worth a curiosity read as a flipside to Mitnick's own "Ghost in the Wires". Am I in the minority in thinking that both Shimomura and Mitnick are operating on the same self-aggrandizing level?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shy Writer

    Enjoyed the cat and mouse game very much..

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe White

    Review Takedown 8/11/14 Tsutomu Shimomura 4 stars; with serious reservations If you can make it through the first half of this book, then the end does become more of a suspenseful thriller based loosely on facts. Tsutomu's arrogance and his revelations regarding personal preferences in food and recreation require a reader attention work-around. The issues with Julia and John Gilmore were a grating waste of paper. She must have brought something to the table for Tsutomu, but the reader may be shout Review Takedown 8/11/14 Tsutomu Shimomura 4 stars; with serious reservations If you can make it through the first half of this book, then the end does become more of a suspenseful thriller based loosely on facts. Tsutomu's arrogance and his revelations regarding personal preferences in food and recreation require a reader attention work-around. The issues with Julia and John Gilmore were a grating waste of paper. She must have brought something to the table for Tsutomu, but the reader may be shouting “move on” and lets skip this nonsense. I was thinking in more harsh terms. Although the book is 20 + years old, it delineates communication and privacy issues that have only recently become of paramount concern to some users of today's communications and file storage systems. Tsutomu seemed ok with the NSA having the ability to inspect communication and storage systems. I think he may have understated their desire to inspect every aspect of peoples lives. The rest of the bureaucratic landscape of the general business world, the FBI, and the legal system gets a well rewarded scornful mention. Documented security weaknesses in nearly every system that existed then, can only make the reader appreciate that security today doesn't stand a chance, and is probably no more than a reactive patch to serious issues in design which still haven't been addressed in the last 25 years.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jamshid Faryar

    This story is from the early days of the internet, reaching even farther back to the early days of personal computers... which made it interesting rather than out of date. Kevin Mitnick, the outlaw and villain in the story, is today a security consultant and author. The authors' accounts (in "layman's terms") of Tsutomu Shimomura's work and background (in neural network and parallel computing), sort of a curriculum vitae introducing the narrator, were interesting, and the chase (both on the inte This story is from the early days of the internet, reaching even farther back to the early days of personal computers... which made it interesting rather than out of date. Kevin Mitnick, the outlaw and villain in the story, is today a security consultant and author. The authors' accounts (in "layman's terms") of Tsutomu Shimomura's work and background (in neural network and parallel computing), sort of a curriculum vitae introducing the narrator, were interesting, and the chase (both on the internet and physically) were suspenseful and fast moving.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nak

    This book was a fun read. Autobiographical point of view of the pursuer vs. the pursued. I read this quite a few years ago, what sticks out in my memory is Kevin Mitnick's condition when he was finally caught by the police (in sweats and he had to make a barf, cause it was really an intense point in his life.) and Mitnick's egging on of his pursuer ("Your kung fu is no good!") As a computer nerd I really had fun on the adventure this book took me on! It's accessible with a minimal of technical te This book was a fun read. Autobiographical point of view of the pursuer vs. the pursued. I read this quite a few years ago, what sticks out in my memory is Kevin Mitnick's condition when he was finally caught by the police (in sweats and he had to make a barf, cause it was really an intense point in his life.) and Mitnick's egging on of his pursuer ("Your kung fu is no good!") As a computer nerd I really had fun on the adventure this book took me on! It's accessible with a minimal of technical terms.

  18. 4 out of 5

    L-ssar

    Bastante interesante el cómo (supuestamente) se consiguió capturar a Kevin Mitnick contado desde el punto de vista de su cazador. Algo que no me gusta es que el autor siempre señala errores de otros colaboradores y agentes y él parece que nunca se equivoca. Habrá que leer la otra parte de la historia para hacerme una idea mejor (porque a Mitnick lo deja como script kiddie de segunda xD) No cometáis el mismo error que yo: ni se os ocurra leer la traducción al castellano ¡JÓRRIBOL!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Atul Jadhav

    As a techie I bought this book and read it 5 times.This book is amazing. What I liked best of this book is the sequence of events which have been nicely scripted. Shimomura tracked down Kevin not because he was responsible for breaking into Computers, but because of curiosity how Kevin managed to do this while evading everyone on the earth. Great book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Man, what a crappy book. For one, I was rooting for Mitnick. And Shimomura comes across as such a self-aggrandizing douchebag. I hated him throghout the book. Stoll's "Cuckoo's Egg" is much better, even though he too comes across as rather pleased with himself and you don't get to hear the other side.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David

    Shimomura has a huge ego. It's plastered all over this book. You will never again see the term "ankle-biter" this many times in print (unless somebody publishes something called "Ankle-Bite!: An Ankle-Biter's Tale of Ankle-Biting"). If anyone reads this book, please count the number of times "ankle-biter" is used and give us the tally. Inquiring minds want to know!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eight

    I considered it as a good book when i read it almost 10 years ago. If you read it now you would probably see that the most interesting part is to read the various types of hack that mitnick did. The traditional method of password phising, dialtone playing to hack telephone system and how the internet was 10 ten years ago. Jargon and terms which some are becoming a nostalgic by today standards

  23. 5 out of 5

    Muramura

    Shimomura is just another egoistic duch. He thinks too great of himself as he went to Princeton, CALTECH, but that's because of his dad, not because of his own skill set and this book is a clean signature for it. Period.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Detlev

    A big fan of Kevin Mitnick, I wanted to read all I could, even the hyperbole. This book and film contained so many errors among the few facts they mustered that were true, most of this account has been utterly refuted by the FBI and Kevin himself.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I just saw an excerpt from Kevin Mitnick's new book and remembered reading Takedown many years ago. Very enjoyable. Some may not like the author's style, but if you are a geek, it will interest you at least some what.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom Nolan

    paperback

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andy Chu

    Good writing about an intrinsically interesting story. It wasn't too watered down for a non-technical audience.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric Deering

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dave

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