Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World

Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World

by Joseph Menn

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The shocking untold story of the elite secret society of hackers fighting to protect our privacy, our freedom — even democracy itself

Cult of the Dead Cow is the tale of the oldest, most respected, and most famous American hacking group of all time. Though until now it has remained mostly anonymous, its members invented the concept of hacktivism, released the top tool for testing password security, and created what was for years the best technique for controlling computers from afar, forcing giant companies to work harder to protect customers. They contributed to the development of Tor, the most important privacy tool on the net, and helped build cyberweapons that advanced US security without injuring anyone. With its origins in the earliest days of the Internet, the cDc is full of oddball characters — activists, artists, even future politicians. Many of these hackers have become top executives and advisors walking the corridors of power in Washington and Silicon Valley. The most famous is former Texas Congressman and current presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, whose time in the cDc set him up to found a tech business, launch an alternative publication in El Paso, and make long-shot bets on unconventional campaigns.

Today, the group and its followers are battling electoral misinformation, making personal data safer, and battling to keep technology a force for good instead of for surveillance and oppression. Cult of the Dead Cow shows how governments, corporations, and criminals came to hold immense power over individuals and how we can fight back against them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541762381
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 151,622
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

An investigative reporter for Reuters, Joseph Menn is the longest serving and most respected mainstream journalist on cyber security. He has won three Best in Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors & Writers and been a finalist for three Gerald Loeb Awards. His Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords who are Bringing Down the Internet exposed the Russian government's collaboration with organized criminal hackers and was named one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2010 by Hudson Booksellers. He also wrote the definitive All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster, an Investigative Reports & Editors Inc. finalist for book of the year. He previously worked for The Financial Times, Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg and has spoken at conferences including Def Con, Black Hat and RSA. He grew up near Boston and lives in San Francisco.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

The Players xi

Chapter 1 An Evening in San Francisco 1

Chapter 2 Texas T-Files 9

Chapter 3 The Cons 21

Chapter 4 Underground Boston 37

Chapter 5 Back Orifice 53

Chapter 6 One Million Dollars and a Monster Truck 71

Chapter 7 Oxblood 85

Chapter 8 Much @stake 107

Chapter 9 Tor and Citizen Lab 127

Chapter 10 Jake 139

Chapter 11 Mixter, Muench, and Phineas 161

Chapter 12 Mudge and Dildog 175

Chapter 13 The Congressman and the Trolls 189

Epilogue 209

Acknowledgments 213

Notes 215

Index 235

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Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Selvarin More than 1 year ago
Good enough, but in the beginning it's a mini 'love letter' to Beto O'Rourke (who was part of cDc, a phone 'phreaker'). Also, i must disagree with the writer blindly pushing the "Russians hacked the DNC" meme where there's evidence that points to someone with physical access to a system on-site copying the data to a USB thumb drive. (The Nation, on August 9, 2017, wrote about this: "A New Report Raises Big Questions About last Year's DNC Hack"). the author loves pushing the idea that the Russians were doing things to help Trump, even though the book itself admits the Russians had personal reasons to screw Hillary Clinton over, which is a little different. With that adidet, the book is interesting and provides a coherent history of the cDc, where the members went, how they improved global security (or bent the rules in a bad way), etc. This makes the book useful.