What the Critics say about Underground
`A real pleasure'
"..it's a real
pleasure to find a writer who brings genuine perception to
the subject. Suelette Dreyfus is such a writer, and
`Underground', published by the Australian imprint, Mandarin,
is such a book.. quite a tale of human frailty.
It's strength comes not from the feats of hacking it portrays --
and there are plenty of them -- but in the emotional and physical
cost to the players..
Those inclined to seek the unvarnished truth will find `Underground'
an excellent read.
-- George Smith, Crypt News
For the complete review click here.
`Gripping, eminently readable'
"This is not just another book about the Internet; it's an entirely original focus on the bizarre lives and crimes of an extraordinary group of teenage hackers.. Gripping, eminently readable.. Dreyfus has uncovered one of this country's best kept secrets and in doing so has created a highly intense and enjoyable read."
-- Rolling Stone
"In this riveting, real-life yarn, Dreyfus develops a meticulously researched psychological and social profile of hackers.. [She] makes the esoteric world of the hacker accessible to the average reader."
-- Australian Bookseller & Publisher
`Dreyfus is one smart cookie'
"The reader is readily drawn
forward into the eddies of the underground by the thrust and parry of
the hackers and their pursuers. Addiction, dysfunction, obsession and
their outcome are all portrayed in a fascinating manner. Ms. Dreyfus is
one smart cookie with depth of character and rapid pacing..
Dive into the UNDERGROUND and be
swept into a thrilling elite realm."
-- Ed Burns, IBIC
"A book about computer hackers called Underground, by Suelette Dreyfus, is a thoroughly researched detailing of the
lifestyles of hackers. Including interviews with members of several notable hacking groups, Underground appears to make
the case that hardcore computer hackers are obsessive-compulsive, with an addiction to the thrill of hacking. Now two
years old, the book is a fascinating piece of investigative journalism that creates a disturbing psychological profile
of malicious hackers."
-- Jim Reavis, Network World, "A psychological profile of hackers"
`Highly original.. investigative journalism'
"[Underground] is a highly original, imaginative and accessible piece of investigative
Dreyfus is an able narrator. She has the wisdom to realise that the best
way to tell a colourful story is in the plainest language possible. The characters she
describes are peculiar enough; Mendax, who keeps his computer disks in a beehive; Electron, with his
delusions of being a reincarnation of Buddha; paranoid Parmaster and his Swiss cybersqueeze Theorem. They need little embellishment.. there is much..to admire in the doggedness with which
Dreyfus follows her subjects, re-creates their complex misadventures and links them into a
satisfactory whole. It speaks highly of Underground that some chapters stand comparison
with Cliff Stoll's terrific technodunit The Cuckoo's Egg (1989).. Underground does offer
some excellent journalism. As with Bruce Sterling's The Hacker Crackdown (1992), its most
disturbing aspect is how overwhelmingly dependent we have become on computers.. the hackers
gain entry to big databases as routinely as someone hurdling a low picket fence. At least
one bank computer spits out credit card numbers as willingly as a dog currenders a ball. Time and
time again, administrators have to turn to pen and paper because it's the only secure and
indelible means of recording information. For those sick of bullish cyberpiffle, Underground
contains any amount of counterintelligence.."
-- Gideon Haigh, Australian Literary Suppliment
"Historians often bemoan the loss of written records of day-to-day life,
a process that started in earnest when the telephone began ousting mail in mainstream
communications. Computers have led to an even greater fall in permanent
written records in the last 20 years. Which is just one reason why
Suelette Dreyfus' Underground is such a valuable work. Dreyfus is not (as
the publicity for the book might lead us to believe) blowing the whistle on
today's computer hackers, with all the Big Brother/pornscape fear-mongering that
might entail. Instead, she's documenting the recent history of computer
culture.. the things they [the hackers] occasionally discover, and the
over-reaction of those around them, are genuinely fascinating. Dreyfus
does not attempt any sleights of hand with jargon.. The true stories of
Underground are simply compelling."
-- David Nichols, The Big Issue
`Best hacker book'
"This is the best hacker book I've read--it goes into sufficient depth
regarding a few cases to explain the motivations and backgrounds of the
hackers involved, which most hacker books gloss over or ignore. It also
displays a level of research and technical understanding not matched
by other hacker books. Highly recommended."
-- Jim Lippard
`Suelete Dreyfus hat hier Abhilfe geschaffen'
"Down under: von Australien ist selten die Rede, wenn es darum geht, wie Hacker
sich Zugang zu verbotenen Rechnersystemen verschaffen. Suelette Dreyfus hat
hier Abhilfe geschaffen. Und es geht nicht um einen beliebigen Hack, sondern um
die US-Raumfahrsbeh^vrde NASA.
Wie es australischen Hackern gegangen ist, wen sie angegriffen haben und was
trotz alledem aus ihnen geworden ist, beschreibt die Autorin auf fast 500
Suelette Dreyfus mit Julian Assange; Underground; Tales of Hacking,
Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier;
Kew, Australien (Mandarin/Reed) 1997; 475 Seiten; DM (Paperback)"
-- iX, Germany
"So mysterious are computer hackers, so deeply anonymous and sinister,
that they almost seem more legend than reality. So it comes as some
sort of relief to have them flushed out into the open by Suelette
Dreyfus in UNDERGROUND (Mandarin, $19.95), the first Australian book
to document the activities and psychopathology of hackers.. Dreyfus
has researched her subject comprehensively and transformed archival
data and interviews into a hard-to-put-down narrative.. The book opens
suspensefully with a gripping account of the invasion of the WANK worm
into the computer networks of NASA. This politically misguided but
extremely disruptive piece of international hacking finally was traced
to.. Dreyfus then examines leading hackers, offering an open-minded
account of their lives, attitudes, techniques, accomplishments and
downfalls. She captures the spirit of their backroom world and the
obsessive nature of their mindsets with a degree of sympathy, but
never seeking to excuse them of wrong-doing.. Underground is a
landmark book in its disclosures about this dark underbelly of the
information technology revolution. It raises questions about society
and family values, education, corporate security, police procedures
and the ability of the legal system to deal with this new form of
crime. And it is a riveting read."
-- Samela Harris, The Adelaide Advertiser
"Esta novela, basada en hechos reales, cuenta las andanzas de un grupo de hackers australianos y sus aventuras en las
redes. Al igual que otras novelas sobre hackers, Underground acerca al lector al «lado oscuro» de la Red describiendo
varias historias de forma entretenida y explicando, de forma sencilla y elegante, los métodos utilizados y el entorno
de cada aventura. Narra varios casos diferentes, situados en el tiempo a partir de 1989, sobre hackers que se
introdujeron en la red de la NASA (e introdujeron el «gusano WANK»), la conexión australiana con hackers americanos,
los BBS dedicados al lado oculto de la Red, utilizados por hackers y phreakers («piratas telefónicos») y muchas
pequeñas historias de casos que tuvieron algo de publicidad en los medios de comunicación. Entre las más llamativas se
encuentra el caso del «asalto» a la red de Citybank en Australia, donde los intrusos intentaron hacerse con más de
medio millón de dólares. El libro no se dedica sólo a las aventuras divertidas: también indaga en las personalidades de
los hackers, su comportamiento habitualmente antisocial, sus problemas familiares y a veces con las drogas, así como la
(inevitable) captura por parte de las autoridades, posterior juicio y estancia en prisión de la mayoría de ellos. La
descripción de las detenciones, registros y procesos legales es especialmente interesante. El libro tiene como fuentes
a varios grupos de hackers australianos y todas las sentencias de los casos de asaltos informáticos de esa época."
-- Cripto, Spain
`Skall du läsa Underground'
"Underground är skriven på en lättfattlig och snabbt flytande engelska
med glimten i ögat. Boken är helt enkelt det bästa som skrivits om
hacking sedan Clifford Stoll publicerade Cuckoo's Egg. Oavsett om du
är intresserad av den sociala bakgrunden hos de bästa hackarna, tuffa
hack eller av vilka som kan hota ditt företags säkerhet skall du läsa
Underground. Även den som bara är intresserad av en schysst deckare
kommer att uppskatta boken. Läs den."
-- Mikael Pawlo, Internet World
For the complete review click here.
`Couldn't put it down'
"I couldn't put `Underground' down during a long flight last week..
[the Author's] frank and unabashed account of an eclectic mix of home-grown
hackers and their overseas counterparts makes compelling reading for those
of us who want more than just salacious and hyped snippets..
Underground is..backed up by..detailed technical research..
She puts flesh on the bones of many of these..teenage rebels, who..have made
a counter-culture protest against the telcos, Big Brother, the Feds, the
military and other authoritarian figures..
The dark side of their lives is revealed in all its..ruthlessness..
surrounded in many instances by surprisingly mundane.. brick veneer homes.."
-- Trudie MacIntosh, The Australian
`Reads like a thriller'
"SUELETTE DREYFUS's Underground is an absorbing book about young
Australian hackers who wreak havoc in the world of high technology. It
reads like a thriller, but the story is based on fact and begins when
NASA officials arrive one Monday morning to discover something is not
quite right. You have to feel a little sorry for the scientists, who
watch helplessly as years of research delete, delete, delete before
their eyes. Reed, $16.95."
-- The Age
"Lees hier alles over het nieuwe en meeslepende boek van Suelette Dreyfus over de computer-onderwereld en de misdaden
van een elitaire hackers-bende die de gevestigde orde omver wist te stoten. (Engels)"
-- Digiface, Netherlands
`Keeps the reader glued to the page'
"[the Author].. keeps the
reader glued to the page as [the hackers].. hack and phreak their way around
phone systems, X.25 networks, and the Internet, breaking into
systems of all kinds and sparring with administrators, security
experts, and law enforcement.. [the Author] has clearly done her research
well. She does an excellent job of conveying mood and atmosphere.. What is most
impressive, however, is the personal detail she has managed to
garner about her subjects: more than anything else, it is this is
which gives Underground its appeal."
-- Danny Yee, Danny Yee's review of books
`Joy knew no bounds'
"I'm grateful to Ms Dreyfus for introducing me to a number of first-rate subversives.
And my joy knew no bounds when I discovered that some of the best of the electronic
anarchists were Australian. At a time when the country's going down the gurgler, it
was good to feel a rush of national pride."
-- Phillip Adams, `Late Night Live', Radio National
`Aventure book for the brain'
"Underground is an adventure book for the brain .. Cowboys .. roamed
unpatrolled electronic frontiers. Some made it into the systems of powerful
organisations, [where] the hackers would leave their mark - akin to flashing
a virtual brown-eye - [and] .. cause chaos to the powers that be.
Underground takes us inside these gods of a new technology.. It's an action
-- Sarah Mcdonald, `Creatures of the Spotlight', Triple J Radio
`A tale of madness'
"A tale of madness, paranoia and brilliance among Australian computer hackers - and how they nearly brought NASA undone."
-- The Weekend Australian Magazine
UNDERGROUND by Suellete Dreyfus is a superior true-crime account of the activities
of a loosely organized network of Australian hackers..this title is not yet available from Amazon.com, but it can be ordered on-line via the book's Web site
at http://underground.org/book.. Excellent reporting..
-- Editor, IBIC
If you would like to give some feedback on Underground, please mail the
author, suzieq, using this address: suburbia.com.au, or the researcher,
julian, by mailing feedback at the domain name underground-book.com. This is an anti-spam format.