This is a fascinating book. The first fascination is his way with technology. The second was his way of bypassing the technology by deceit. What he did seemed like magic to people and scared the crap out of them. Scared them to the point targeting him, I felt, out of proportion to his crimes.
The book portrays a kid burdened with some kind of compulsive disorder. I felt genuine concern for him because he was clearly a vulnerable kid in many ways. Am I being manipulated to have sympathy for him? Possibly.
Sometimes it seemed like he wanted to get caught. I kept thinking, “how can the great Kevin Mitnick be so careless?”
He is constantly getting busted because he left evidence lying around. He did his hacking from phone lines that could be linked to him. He left piles of incriminating disks and printouts in his car while he engaged in unauthorized visits to phone company facilities. He showed off to people that he should not have trusted.
How did a guy with such a knack for hacking social systems as well as computer systems fail at hacking our legal system? A good lawyer could have protected him from some of the abuse that seems to have happened to him at the hands of the justice system. This was not fully explored in the book, but if Mitnick’s claims about outlandish accusations and court proceedings are true, then there are questions about the fairness of his early trials.
Finally, he had a knack for enraging his friends and fellow hackers to the point of them wanting to help the authorities bust him.
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