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am 13. Januar 1999
An exciting read - if you are in any way interested in the early development of the electronic side of our world, right the place were you read this now.
Hacking - OK, sounds like a good selling story.
But this is also about traditions of e-commerce: the phone companies. And about democracy: government vs. civil libertarians meeting on the electronic frontier, both exploring.
It is the history of the settling of cyberspace (how I hated this word until I read this book!).
Yes, history. Although it is less than a decade ago, the times of adventurous exploration are "long" ago, and books _have_ to be read about this.
Example: You read this book about people making their first unsecure steps into cyberspace, and then some day you recognize one of its main actors, Jerry Barlow, in the news speaking for the EFF, now an important organization in the world of civil liberties, but just in its early founding days, when mentioned in "The Hacker Crackdown"
Shurely our children will have excerpts from this in their history books at school :)
-Ulf
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am 15. März 2000
A fascinating book that, along with 'Cyberpunk', 'Wired' and reprints of William Gibson, was required reading in the early-90's - a time when 'Virtual Reality' was *way cool*. I seem to remember that, shortly after appearing in print, it was published on-line, as a downloadable text file. Reading it nowadays, it's a fascinating, nostalgic portrait of a time long gone, and anybody who used to listen to Bomb the Bass whilst playing 'Xenon 2' on their Amiga A500Plus (after flicking through 'Judge Dredd: The Megazine') will shed a tear at an era of C64s, terminal emulators, communist-bloc computer criminals, and a time when computer crime was so low-profile that the term 'cracker' had not yet been invented.
1990 seems so far away. I'm sorry, I'm starting to cry.
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am 20. Juli 2000
With all of the media attention being paid to hackers these days, it's hard to find an unbiased source of information. The Hacker Crackdown is old, by technology sense, but the ideas in it are not. The recent problems regarding the First Amendment and free speech rights (very promenant if you are aware of the current DeCSS trial between 2600 and the MPAA) has only become more prevelant as time goes on.
Sterling provides the most (to date) unbiased glance (peer, look, peep, etc) into the hacker subculture that I have found to date. Also, while the media as a whole tends to brand hackers as malicious people, Sterling takes the time to also expose the reader to the fact that hackers are not the culprit of the malicious acts, as hackers tend to be the more innovative, smart ends of the gene pool; more concerned with what they have to offer, rather than what they have to destroy.
I highly reccomend this book to someone who is otherwise uninformed about the hacker culture, or has only had their knowledge tainted by the media. Sterling can be considered a hacker ambassador, willing to point out and highlight the better, less known sides of the computer underground.
There is accurate, unexploited and unadultered information in this book, also, which aides in the renewing of your perception of hackers. However, I have also found this book to skimp somewhat on the details of many things, one of the only downsides. I spent many times winding up researching things myself that had caught my interest in this book, many ideas, people, and events remain unexplained and unexplored.
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am 24. April 2000
In early 1990, the US national telephone system was struck by a fault that brought down large parts of the network for several hours. We now know that this was caused by a fairly prosaic programming error that was further compounded by a lack of testing before new software was installed. At the time, this was not known and many people involved in law enforcement in the US feared that the attack was the result of the activities of a group of computer hackers.
These circumstances led to an extraordinary sequence of events. The authorities launched action against many in and on the periphery of the hacking world. As is normally the case in these situations, not everyone targetted was involved in the activities against which the actions were directed.
Bruce Sterling, well known as a modern SF author became aware of this and was spurred into investigating the investigation and writing a book about the events of the Hacker Crackdown. This book is the result.
It is a very fine book. The writing is a lucid as you would expect from a professional author but the investigation too is a fine piece of work. As well as detailing the events, the author tells the story of the people involved in the operation. As a result, we get a picture of the players on both sides as well as the game.
Of course, several years on, many of the technical details of the story seem quaint but this does not detract from the fact that the book tells an interesting story very well. It also raises a number of questions about the vulnerabilities arising from the internet era and the way in which society attempts to defend itself.
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am 19. Januar 1999
An exciting read - if you are in any way interested in the early development of the electronic side of our world, right the place were you read this now.
Hacking - OK, sounds like a good selling story.
But this is also about traditions of e-commerce: the phone companies. And about democracy: government vs. civil libertarians meeting on the electronic frontier, both exploring.
It is the history of the settling of cyberspace (how I hated this word until I read this book!).
Yes, history. Although it is less than a decade ago, the times of adventurous exploration are "long" ago, and books _have_ to be read about this.
Example: You read this book about people making their first unsecure steps into cyberspace, and then some day you recognize one of its main actors, Jerry Barlow, in the news speaking for the EFF, now an important organization in the world of civil liberties, but just in its early founding days, when mentioned in "The Hacker Crackdown"
Shurely our children will have excerpts from this in their history books at school :)
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am 8. April 2000
This is one of three books I trust on hackers and hacking (Levy and Turkle are the other two trusted authors). Bruce, a very distinguished author in WIRED and science fiction circles, went to great lengths to investigate and understand what was happening between hackers exploring corporate systems, corporate security officials that were clueless and seeking scorched earth revenge, and Secret Service investigators that were equally clueless and willing to testify erroneously to judges that the hackers had caused grave damage to national security. Bruce is a true investigative journalist with a deep understanding of both technical and cultural matters, and I consider him superior to anyone in government on the facts of the matter.
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am 2. Juli 1998
Gee did I do something wrong? I once had the number 23 painted on a leather jacket, Bruce says hackers used this number and other fiction from the Illuminati series to inspire their nick names in cyber space. Bruce jealous or an absorbed researcher?
So it's true if a simple programmer who gets in trouble, and likes the sex pistols, will be criminalised by capitalist authors who will write books which are fun to read.
Nice cover Bruce, are you libel to me?
I couldn't finish this book, the section on the grateful dead computer advocate was the last straw, showing the biases in the writing.
So while I don't like the implications, it's not bad for education and as a computer security book it was cheap.
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am 11. Mai 2000
Bruce Sterling does a masterful job of switching focus and using pejorative language to describe all sides in this true-crime piece so that the reader understands exactly how each faction reacted and rationalized its position. He handled the potentially sleep-inducing material about the foundations of the telco industry with a light and simple touch.
This is not a book for those seeking a fun, fast-paced, high-impact cyberdrama. However, it is a must-read for anyone who is interested in how the community of the internet works. Sterling does justice to the weight of the topic--the implications of cybercrime and proportionately growing need for cyberliberties.
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am 8. Mai 1998
The Hacker Crackdown is a very well researched, nicely written, interesting book (however, one of my non-computer-fanatic friends has politely yawned to me). This book is best defined as a recital of cyberhistory, but the interesting way Mr. Sterling has written it in is clear and easily understood. A slight grumble I have is that the grammar (spelling and sentences) is not 100% correct -- but it is forgivable. The grammar is what has pulled this score down from a 9. So, in a nutshell, this would be called a research project well done. Mr. Sterling, mind taking some time off your sci-fi to research yet another one?
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am 9. Dezember 1999
This was the first comp book that I read and it hooked me on the cyberculture and the world of cyberspace. I read this book about a year ago, but I never wrote a review on it. It was a kewl book and it gave a lot of history on hackers and cyberculture. The reason I said that "History repeats itself is because eventually it will and it doesn't stop until it gets it right. A lot of the hackers and people in the book are looked upon as pioneers, but there are people that are pioneers in this age of hacking and phreaking. Read this book if u love comps, hackers, phreaking, or just pure knowledge etc.
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