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The Art of Deception

Controlling the Human Element of Security
Written by: Kevin Mitnick
Narrated by: Nick Sullivan
Length: 13 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: Science & Math, Technology
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The world's most infamous hacker offers an insider's view of the low-tech threats to high-tech security. Kevin Mitnick's exploits as a cyber-desperado and fugitive form one of the most exhaustive FBI manhunts in history and have spawned dozens of articles, books, films, and documentaries. Since his release from federal prison, in 1998, Mitnick has turned his life around and established himself as one of the most sought-after computer security experts worldwide. Now, in The Art of Deception, the world's most notorious hacker gives new meaning to the old adage, "It takes a thief to catch a thief."

Focusing on the human factors involved with information security, Mitnick explains why all the firewalls and encryption protocols in the world will never be enough to stop a savvy grifter intent on rifling a corporate database or an irate employee determined to crash a system. With the help of many fascinating true stories of successful attacks on business and government, he illustrates just how susceptible even the most locked-down information systems are to a slick con artist impersonating an IRS agent.

Narrating from the points of view of both the attacker and the victims, he explains why each attack was so successful and how it could have been prevented in an engaging and highly readable style reminiscent of a true-crime novel. And, perhaps most importantly, Mitnick offers advice for preventing these types of social engineering hacks through security protocols, training programs, and manuals that address the human element of security.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2003 Kevin D. Mitnick (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad but not great

Expected a wider range of scenarios rather than multiple phone/internet deceptions. Narrator is boring. Disappointed.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Nice overview of security basics

I really enjoyed reviewing the basics of security in action in the perspective of a social engineer.
There are numerous examples of social engineering exploits with the details explained and why it worked.
The last chapters details how and what fundamentals of security should be implemented in general but also how specifics should be added depending of the needs of the enterprise.
I found that despite the fact it is a book from 2002, it stays relevant in many aspects and can certainly be used and adapted to help implement the fundamentals of good security policies.
This is not a technical book but mostly on the social engineering side, an important aspect of security.

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Wow Excellent book

Excellent book, well written and well narrated.
thank you Kevin for sharing all that knowledge!!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Monotonous Reader. Re-hashed content.

If you have read or listened to Ghost in the Wires by the same author, much of the content in this book will be familiar. It is re-presented in more of a security how-to, but many of the stories are the same. Would recommend the other book over this one. Additionally, the reader will put you to sleep.

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  • Mike
  • 2012-08-06

Poor Narrator - ZZZZZzzzzzzz!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This is the first book I have ever stopped listening to before finishing. The narrator was just soooo boring - it was like he was reading a text book.

Would you be willing to try another book from Kevin Mitnick? Why or why not?

I did read his other book Ghost in the Wires and it was fantastic - in fact that's the reason I decided to buy this book.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He was very, very monotone and boring. No excitement or inflection in his voice at points where there clearly should have been.

Did The Art of Deception inspire you to do anything?

Yes - listen to a different book - any other book.

Any additional comments?

It's too bad they didn't use the same narrator from Ghost in the Wires - that narrator really had Mitnick down pat.

42 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dan
  • 2010-10-04

memory lane

This book is a fun read (listen) with story after story mostly about how people get tricked into giving up passwords or dial up modem numbers. Some of the tricks would still work, but most would not in modern enterprises. This book does not come close to fully describing a modern threat landscape. I work in InfoSec, and found this to be an excellent history lesson, with a few instances and situations where the human element of security threats still exist, such as the types of scams run to gain physical access.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ed
  • 2010-10-30

Entertaining and right up my alley

I'm not sure what the previous reviewers were looking for in this book, as an IS & Audit specialist I found this book thought provoking and entertaining. It really opened my eyes to the power of social engineering and made me see that I was not only prone to being a victim, but a perpertrator of such activity.

Recommended reading for anyone in an IS role or looking to gain insight into how the other half use their social skills to get around hardened security measures, highly engineered processes and even armed guards.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Woon
  • 2013-05-12

Only one type of deception...

Any additional comments?

You can read the entire book here: Two decades ago you could call people at work, claim to be someone else, ask for their help, and with a little piece of information trick someone else to get their secrets. Everything is about the phone and "hacking" phone lines, with no technical explanations. Oh, and there is some good advice on not downloading unusual email attachments. Once you hear the first two hours, you've heard it all. I returned it after 6 hours.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve Taylor
  • 2012-08-13

Textbook version of Ghost In The Wires

Is there anything you would change about this book?

No, it's more text book than a story and I was hoping for a bit more charm. I had previously listened to 'Ghost In The Wires' by Kevin Mitnick and enjoyed it quite a bit. I had hoped that this book would be just as enjoyable but that wasn't the case. It's not without its merits thought and some people may find the straightforward nature more helpful.

If you???ve listened to books by Kevin Mitnick before, how does this one compare?

Fine, more straightforward, if you're in security it's definitely worth reading otherwise I'd read Ghost In The Wires since they're basically the same book.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I found the narrator a bit condescending.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Farley
  • 2015-06-09

Read this OR "Ghost in the Wires"

If you are interested in Kevin Mitnick's story and want the entertaining version, read "Ghost in the Wires". This book is good, but more specific to the needs of a company trying to prevent the types of attacks Kevin did back in the day. I read this second and don't have a role in the company's security, so this book was a let down. Not because it isn't a good book, just not what I needed. Great book as a manual for security!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andy
  • 2009-08-21

solid, if a bit dated

Mitnik did a solid job of laying out how scoundrels can work their way into your IT systems for malevolent purposes. Amazingly, most of the techniques involve cracking the "people" rather than cracking the "code."

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Eagle1
  • 2016-10-11

Needs updatibg

Material is aged and needs updating. Overall concept is good, gets the point across, but the age of the stories takes away from the overall value.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 2012-05-22

More than a bit dated.

What would have made The Art of Deception better?

This material is dated and the narrator doesn't pronounce many of the terms correctly. DEC is simply stated as deck. You don't spell out the characters. There were other words that were not pronounced correctly.

What do you think your next listen will be?

On Stranger Tides

Any additional comments?

Save your credit or money for Kevin Mittnick's other book, Ghost in the Wires. A much better book and highly recommended.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexandra Benson
  • 2019-09-04

Audiobook isn’t the best format for this book

Narration was boring, and there are parts where it seems like a printed version of the book would be more engaging/make more sense. Overall I found the book to be dry and repetitive, with a few gems but not enough to encourage me to finish. I hear Ghost in the Wires is better.