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Approaching Zero: The Extraordinary Underworld of Hackers, Phreakers, Virus Writers, And Keyboard Criminals

Paul Mungo, Bryan Glough
Random House
ISBN 0679409386
March 1993

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Abstract

Entertaining but hardly comprehensive, this study offers a somewhat European angle on the "technological counterculture." The authors draw on interviews and technical literature to examine the techniques of American and British phreakers (who tap into phone systems), profile "Captain Zap" - Pennsylvanian Ian Murphy, the first American computer hacker to be prosecuted - and describe the biggest international gathering of hackers, which took place in Amsterdam in 1989. Particularly interesting is an account of how Bulgaria, a would-be high-tech power, spawned hackers and a flood of computer viruses - approximately 200 since 1988. But Clough, an English accountant who has specialized in international computer security, and Mungo, an American freelance journalist, rarely offer in-depth portraits of their subjects, nor is their treatment sufficiently thorough to lend credence to their warning that we "may no longer be able to trust technology."

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