Can you recommend any similiar novels?
And (tiny spoiler-alert): a small easter-egg (though not intended as such) for people on HN: the founders of HN/YC show up in the book, admittedly in a very minor capacity.
Btw, I recently discovered that Cliff Stoll is one of the awesome guys who appears on the Numberphile YouTube channel, so if you watch that, know that it's him :)
Any time the subject of Cliff Stoll comes up, I always comment that someday I want to be as excited about _something_ as Cliff Stoll is about _everything_.
not this here rubbish:
(hm, really it was with Jim Carrie? Maybe there's yet another terrible version. Or maybe this was just that bad).
Here's part of it:
Giggling a little from the alcohol, the four points began the slow juggling routine I'd sent them; just a simple ball passing, in rhythm. Pass, pass, pass. Throw and catch in the same instant; the balls went round and round until all four were landing in palms at the same time, four little smacks merging into one sound. Their avatars were better at this than they were. After a moment I threw another ball in, then another, until there were eight in the circle: four in the air, four in the hand. Faster and faster they went round, until there were little streaks of light behind them, until the streaks almost formed a complete, rippling circle.
Around us the world leaned in, currents of energy creating a field of magic potential. Rhythmic motion always attracted the attention of the underlying world routines as they struggled to incorporate it into the ebbs and flows of the wind and water; a vortex here, at one of the two hearts of the world, drew a lot of processing power. And each point of the cross was a magic-using engine; those strands of energy consumed a surprising amount of resources. But the real trick was the synchronization: slight imperfections in the coding routines for distribution and rationing of magical energy made them susceptible to a timing attack. It was a matter of chance, though; each time the circle tossed and caught, quanta of energy were requested at nearly-identical times. Sooner or later the system would try to service two at once and--ah.
One of the balls vanished momentarily, lost to accounting for a brief instant before the system found it again. It left a tiny kink in the circle of light as it passed: an opening, into the collection routines. This was what my watch-spell was waiting for: a chance to insert my own instructions into the information transmission stream: instructions that said 'open', 'open'.
Part of the fun is that, on a 5000 year old spaceship set arbitrarily far in our future, long past the end of Moore's Law, all the systems are still running Unix. And one of the jobs on board is "Programmer-Archeologist", digging through generations of code to try to find useful bits from the past. But story-wise, there's some outstanding hacking ideas going.
"Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson. It goes from WW2 to modern time.
"Cyberpunk" by Katie Hafner - Read it aeons ago so working from long term memory. 3 real world stories of famous hackers and their "crimes" (Kevin Mitnick, Pengo, Robert Morris).
It talks about the Stuxnet and the story behind it, and I got the chance to learn some fairly interesting stuff in the meantime (like the complexity of building a nuclear bomb).
I found it much more useful than the American Kingpin, which just mentions that Tor and Bitcoin offer anonymity online, but doesn't get anywhere even close to explaining either of the technologies that are crucial for the storyline.
We Are Anonymous by Parmy Olson also made me feel kind of the same, but the writing wasn't quite as engaging as the Countdown to Zero Day was.
I can't believe no one recommended this. The guy literally evaded the FBI using technology.
- Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box
- Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent
- Stealing the Network: How to Own an Identity
- Stealing the Network: How to Own a Shadow
I see people's mentioned Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon" - while I loved "diamond age" and like "snowcrash" - I much prefer Singh's "the codebook" on a similar theme. Thrilling non-fiction.
On the more fiction side, I enjoyed Bruce Sterling's "The Zenith Angle" a lot.
And second the recommendations for Mitnick's books - both the autobiography "ghost in the wires" and the more free form "made up examples" in "the art of deception" (like many of the stories in the stealing the network books, "inspired" by true events...).
Other than that there's of course:
(and to a lesser extent "homeland").
And others mentioned the non-fiction book detailing operation sun devil:
"THE HACKER CRACKDOWN
Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier",
[ed: I think maybe "Rainbows End" by Vernor Vinge deserves a mention too. And maybe "speed of Dark" by Elizabeth Moon]
Yeah, the big daddy of cyberpunk ("Snowcrash") also wrote a contemporary technothriller set in organized cybercrime organizations.
His usual quirky pacing just turns into a dragging nightmare that never pays off, it's uncharacteristically full of questionable technical premises, and if it weren't for a few islands of genuinely entertaining scenes I would not have made it through.
I honestly believe it's the result of some suit pressuring him to write about topics people see on Dateline
If you're a Stephenson fan, I would absolutely give this a read.
Fortunately seveneves was again spectacular.
It's been on my reading list for a while but the mixed reviews always lead to it being left for another day
Reamde, is a fast paced techno thriller. It's arguably one of his lesser novels but still a ton of fun IMHO.
The premise of the book is that of an online game that is essentially similar to world of warcraft with the difference that the entire point of the game is the in game economy.
This part of the book is pretty well developed and ties in nicely with his other novels that also deal with money, gold, crypto currencies, etc. The crisis in the game is when a group of enterprising chinese hackers deploy a virus that encrypts people's laptops via a bit of ransomware distributed via email. To unlock their computers people are to pay some of the in game gold in a particular area. All goes sideways through a set of rather unlikely coincidences.
There are a lot of other elements being dragged into this including a fair bit of gun wielding by terrorists, russian mafia, and the protagonist and his somewhat libertarian family. This is is not the most innovative plot and it is ultimately a relatively one dimensional plot that is in places a bit cringeworthy.
I still enjoyed this book and have read it multiple times. It's got plenty of side plots, detailed musings, and so on that are typical for Neal Stephenson. If you enjoy that kind of thing, this book is fine but it's no Anathem or Snow Crash.
Boy, that's putting it mildly. :)
- Stealing the Network, a collection of short stories. One of those stories was written by Fyodor of nmap and is available online: http://insecure.org/stc/ -- this sort of works like a tutorial for nmap and networking security. :-D
- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
- Neuromancer by William Gibson
Wil Wheaton's narration is great too. I listened to the audiobook and think about it a lot.
It's a techno whodunit — hacking and cracking neural dust/lace, remotely renting and operating physical bodies and committing crimes while “occupying” them, and bio/techno ethics all play a role.
In Scalzi's future, locked-in patients receive so much government funding to improve their lives that they gain more abilities and advantages than those who aren't “locked in”, which makes for an interesting inversion.
Offtopic. I would blindly recommend all books in the combination Wheaton narrating Scalzi. But esp. "The Collapsing Empire" (I can't wait for the next part to be released in October).
On a similar note, its been a while since I've read them, but I rather enjoyed James Strickland's books, Looking Glass and Irreconcilable Differences. Part of that might be because there's a part where he explains IPV4 addressing, and the example he uses happens to be the Class-B where I grew up. It was a little like seeing your house in the background of a movie.
I also sort of enjoyed Rick Dakan's "Geek Mafia", but that appears to have fallen off the planet; only the sequels are on Amazon right now...
"Snow Crash" by Neil Stephenson
Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground
by Kevin Poulsen ISBN-978-0307588692
The story of how credit card hacker Max Butler was caught by the FBI.
There was originally supposed to be a third novel in this series, but Stross cancelled it after Edward Snowden.
"Halting State" wasn't intended to be predictive when I started writing it in 2006. Trouble is, about the only parts that haven't happened yet are Scottish Independence and the use of actual quantum computers for cracking public key encryption (and there's a big fat question mark over the latter—what else are the NSA up to?).
I'm throwing in the towel. I probably will write another near-future Scottish police procedural by and by, but it won't be a sequel to the first two except in the loosest sense. The science fictional universe of "Halting State" and "Rule 34" is teetering on the edge of turning into reality. Meanwhile, the financial crisis of 2007 forced me back to the drawing board for "Rule 34"; the Snowden revelations have systematically trashed all my ideas for the third book.
I seem to recall that it received a bit of hysterical "oh that could never happen" reaction when it was released but I can't seem to find a source for that recollection. It may have mostly been a reaction that was generated by the somewhat emotive backlash that tends to appear whenever Stallman makes a statement about "freedom" though, and the story certainly is allegorical, so anyone who disagreed with him may have posted about it online and skewed the discussion in that direction. I can't recall much about the specific reaction at the time (it was more than 10 years ago now) though so much of the above is really just poorly-informed speculation on my part.
It is, unfortunately, disappointingly prescient and it's something that I think everyone working in the tech industry should read, regardless of whether they think they agree with RMS's views on software freedom and intellectual property.
Edit: I just re-read it and my initial estimate of "<20 minutes" was way off. I had forgotten just how short the story actually was, so perhaps my recollection about the reaction to the allegory isn't entirely accurate either. Nonetheless, I'm leaving this comment here as witness to the fallibility of my memory.
It's a hacker-themed fairtale for computer illiterate, basically. I had a non-techy friend borrow the book and they too couldn't finish it, because it was just way over acceptable believability limits even for them.
Almost all the tech (Self driving cars, distributed systems, daemons that can self replicate (viruses), collaborative systems, a Darknet all exist in some form or the other today! Is it fantasy? Duh!
Is it a fun read for someone who works building these exact systems fora living? Definitely!
Either way - a fun read and a good book to re-visit. One of the few that I read every few years or so...
But it was still a fantastic novel, I loved reading it, and will probably re-read it again and again.
I don't think it address it enough; it made it more plausible by admitting that it can't be completely autonomous, but I'm not entirely sold. Having said that, I still love the series, much like I love any fantasy novel :P
Don't let this guy stop you from reading these awesome books! I recently re-read it, and the first few chapters are pretty tough because it lays out all the tech premises. Stick with it. The plot will keep you engaged, and the storytelling is supurb
Zero day, Trojan Horse and Rogue Code are all excellent novels. Some common themes include computer virus epidemics, cyber armies, cyber warfare, dangers of an overnetworked but undersecured society
That's the story of how Kevin Mitnick got caught. Very controversial so I can't say it's good. I still enjoyed it back then.
Note that the question is about novels, and I think it is how you should read the book. I seriously doubt its credibility when it comes to facts.
It's fact based, which is nice, however Tsutomo talks significantly more about food than Kevin in this book. Unendingly boring and light on details.
If I could get that week of my life back I would.
Kevin Paulson at least had some actual skills.
Being "talented" and "winning" looks like a railroad track, interesting life is worth more imho
Also he literally lied to a ton of people to gain access to systems. So not very honest
However, he is honest to his readers, which is the best honesty we could ask for from a book.
The novel is about a European power outage due to a cyberattack. For realism the book is written on the basis of interviews with intelligence and computer security officials.
Basically a novel about a couple of college students who find some lost bitcoin in the near future, and the drama that ensues.
I thought the book was super interesting.
Edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh
Publication date 1983
Table of Contents:
Introduction -- crime up to date Isaac Asimov
DARL I LUV U Joe Gores
An end of spinach Stan Dryer
Computers don't argue Gordon R. Dickson
Goldbrick Edward Wellen
Computer cops Edward D. Hoch
Sam Hall Poul Anderson
Spanner in the works J.T. McIntosh
While-you-wait Edward Wellen
Getting across Robert Silverberg
All the troubles of the world Isaac Asimov
Soda Pop Solider by Nick Cole
Ctrl-Alt-Revolt by Nick Cole
Glasshouse by Charles Stross
Second the Vernor Vinge recommendations, and the Neal Stephenson and William Gibson Sprawl Trilogy recommendations.
Gibson's The Peripheral, as well as Pattern Recognition, Zero History, and Spook Country all apply, as well. Same for his Idoru, Virtual Light, and All Tomorrow's Parties.
Finally, Gibson and Sterling's The Difference Engine - the first and, so far, best steampunk novel - also qualifies, given the storyline.
Unfortunately, I cannot find a link to this work; although I did find uncountable similar books and movies on the topic.
Perhaps this will suffice as a teaser? "Catching Kevin" at Wired: https://www.wired.com/1996/02/catching/
Title: Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier
Author(s): Suelette Dreyfuss
Publisher: Mandarin Australia
ISBN: 9781863305952, 1863305955
>> This book provides a great overview of a number of computer intrusion incidents and links them throught not only the technical nature of the activity but the persons behind them. UNDERGROUND provides an excellent overview of intrustion activities focusing on the UK, Australia, and the United States. It covers the late 80's to the early nineties with stories on incidents such as the WANK Worm outbreak and 8lgm's activities. The stand out attribute of this book is that it examines what happened to the intruders after their activity rather than focusing on the activity itself. It also examines the interrelationships between intruders worldwide giving some insight into how the culture allows for several key persons to be involved in or have siginficant knowledge of many different activities. A must have to include in your library along with other staples such as Cuckoo's Egg, Masters of Deception, Fugitive Game, and Hacker Crackdown. However, like the other books noted, there are apt to be a few points that persons will take exception too with regard to accuracy.
Interestingly, the book was released for free online in 2001, at the suggestion of Julian Assange, and the author credits this online release for expanding both the quantity and range of different people that would end up reading the book. 
The book can be read online (in HTML) at  or various ebook formats can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg at .
Afterwards gamedec series changes style and pace, still okay but no longer detective work.
The book is not very technical, and he never digs deeper into the details than what is necessary.
There are some great books on this thread! I've read a bunch of them and going to come back for more.
Not a novel though.
I guess tricking early IFF and radionavigation systems could be considered cyber crime - today, at least, he’d get the DMCA thrown at him for his trouble. :)
a good book from Goodman