Masters of Deception

  • by Michelle Slatalla, Joshua Quittner
  • Narrated by Colby Elliott
  • 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the bedroom terminals of teenagers isolated from their peers by their hyperactive intellects, to the nerve center of a nationwide long-distance phone company infiltrated by a hacker's hand, Masters of Deception offers an unprecedented tour of the murkiest reaches of the electronic frontier and a trenchant, blow-by-blow chronicle of the most notorious gang war in cyberspace.
In 1989, Paul Stira and Eli Ladopoulos, two teenage hackers from Queens, New York, made some exploratory forays into local phone company computers and discovered a domain far more mysterious and appealing than any they had ever seen. To unravel the mysteries, they contacted Phiber Optik (aka Mark Abene) - a member of an infamous gang of crack hackers called the Legion of Doom. Phiber Optik was legendary throughout cyberspace for his wealth of hard-won knowledge about the phone system. When he was satisfied that Stira and Ladopoulos weren't a couple of lamers, the three kids arranged a meeting of the minds in Ladopoulos's bedroom.
When Phiber Optik got kicked out of LOD after a tiff with its leader, Erik Bloodaxe (aka Chris Goggans), the New York kids formed a rival gang called Masters of Deception. MOD soon matched LOD's notoriety, gaining a reputation for downloading confidential credit histories (including Geraldo Rivera's, David Duke's, and a rival hacker's mom's), breaking into private computer files, and rewiring phone lines. All the while federal agents were secretly monitoring this highly illegal battle royal and closing in for the kill.
Slatalla and Quittner, who have followed this case for five years, lead us down the darkest alleys of cyberspace and up to the front lines of the raging battle over just who will control the web that already connects everyone to everybody else. They offer an unparalleled hacker’s-eye view of the inner life of hackers, a heady realm where order and chaos hold equal sway.


What the Critics Say

“Oh is this ever a good book. It’s not just that the crime in this case is nonviolent, indeed almost harmless, but that the book is so well written and the topic - computer hacking - so interesting.” (Washington Post Book World)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Filled in the gap from my knowledge of history

A great story on hacking from a time when things like the telephone exchange had become a connected network of information for computer controlled services.
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- Martin Hookem

Nasters of Deception (Old School Hacking)

Would you listen to Masters of Deception again? Why?

This is a story about the time in history when young people were discovering what technology could really do if you could get into the innards of the system. The fact that they were trespassing on telephone company property from their own bedrooms didn't bother them and seemed like witchcraft to the people on the outside of these gangs. The problem with teenagers is that they like people to know when they have done something clever but this ultimately is what led to their downfall. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age, so they could hopefully understand hackers, what and why they are about and why society doesn't understand them. A good read.

What other book might you compare Masters of Deception to, and why?

I would also recommend Ghost in the wires the story of the hunt for Kevin Mitnick, the most notorious hacker ever.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I found it compelling to do just that but you have sleep sometime.

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- Phil

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-08-2010
  • Publisher: Last Word Audio, LLC