Cult of the Dead Cow by Joseph Menn

Cult of the Dead Cow

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 techn...

Details Cult of the Dead Cow

TitleCult of the Dead Cow
Release DateJun 4th, 2019
GenreNonfiction, History, Science, Technology, Computer Science, Computers

Reviews Cult of the Dead Cow

  • Chris
    From exposing security issues during the early days of the Internet to quashing modern-day political misinformation, one group of hackers has been through it all: Cult of the Dead Cow. By latching onto their own branch of “hacktivism”, this group has morphed from an eclectic group of enthusiasts to a movement intent on fighting for greater online security.Journalist Joseph Menn has pulled together perhaps the most encompassing looks at one th...
  • Sebastian Gebski
    I was waiting for this book, not because recent career of R. O'Rourke , but because I remember CDC from the ol' good times ;P I've used BO & BO2k and I wanted to learn more about the group.Unfortunately, I didn't.There's very little revealed, clearly the group has kept its integrity & 95% of meaty facts are still kept very private. Contrary to my fears, this is not a panegyric ode to RO'R (which is covered rather briefly, but very positively), bu...
  • Casper Wood
    Working in computer science and security, I'm always interested to hear some of the history that built up the industry I'm involved in. I was provided a copy of Cult of the Dead Cow by Joseph Menn by NetGalley and Perseus Books for review.The book is a really great deep dive history of the hacker collected Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) which has recently come back into focus with the presidential campaign of cDc member Beto O'Rourke. The coverage of...
  • Rick Howard
    “The more powerful machines become, the sharper human ethics have to be. If the combination of mindless, profit-seeking algorithms, dedicated geopolitical adversaries, and corrupt US opportunists over the past few years have taught us anything, it is that serious applied thinking is a form of critical infrastructure. The best hackers are masters of applied thinking, and we cannot afford to ignore them. Likewise, they should not ignore us. We ne...
  • Mona
    This is not a book for everyone. The topic is very interesting and author is more then capable to write about it but this is incredibly dense book. I am a big non fiction fan. The facts and good research are very important to me, but here I had a feeling as if I was reading a collection of bullet points in PowerPoint presentation. The amount of information that author complied in just one page without giving a reader moment to digest was overwhe...
  • Tadas Talaikis
    "Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto." Mentor's Last Words"It was a time of moral reckoning. People realized the power that they had." MUCH @STAKE: THE BAND OF HACKERS THAT DEFINED AN ERA
  • Billy
    A fascinating, in-depth analysis of the social groups of hackers who would go on to shape the field of cybersecurity and influence major tech companies. This book explores the ethical considerations of technology, as well issues of cybersecurity that frequently appear in today's news stories. Above all, it's a gripping and informative read on a field that is often portrayed as too technical for the average person to understand: Joseph Menn has do...
  • A.J.
    It was cool to learn about the CDC and their days on top during the NT/XP era. Through Back Orifice they were crucial toward Microsoft getting their stuff together an giving a damn about security. I appreciate their efforts. I could have done without the political bias and Trump-bashing.
  • Eric Durant
    4.5. Great historic review of computer and information security from ~1970 through today, centered around the Cult of the Dead Cow with a focus on the actors and their principles. The early parts informed and entertained, and the end covering the last decade or so was outstanding, although the center part was a digressive slog. There are incisive insights and deep reporting here on what led to Beto O'Rourke's rise, Russian government tampering in...
  • Rodney
    Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC), which originated in Lubbock, Texas during the late '80s, is one of the most influential hacker groups in the world. Long before the internet was accessible to most people, CDC, numerous other groups, and people were chatting and trading information, including completely dubious how-to files and illegal software, on computer bulletin board systems. The bulletin boards were pure anarchy and that chaos spilled out into th...
  • Eric_W
    Cult of the Dead Cow is the facetious name of an early group of hackers (white hat) that began as a computer bulletin board (BBS). Consisting originally of bored but talented teenagers who enjoyed reverse engineering phone systems and early computer software, they evolved into "hactivists" (hackers with a mission), many of whom went on the become influential and and important members of the establishment.Menn follows the individual careers of cDc...
  • Ben Rothke
    It’s 2019 and there still has not been a movie made about hackers, that is historically accurate and demonstrative of what hackers truly do. Should someone make 'Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World'into a movie, and stay true to the story, it would make a most compelling, and possibly Oscar nominated movie.Written by investigative reporter Joseph Menn, this is his follow-up to Fatal System Error: ...
  • Andrew Waite
    The subject(s) of the book are fascinating, even as someone who works in the industry cDc helped establish there were still plenty of connections and ties between the protagonists that I wasn’t wholly aware of. Despite knowing of most of the personalities discussed, and in some cases having had short discussions online in various forms. Of course, when you’re dealing with a secret group who until this point did not announce their real identit...
  • P.W.
    In the early BBS days it wasn't always easy to find like-minded individuals; and even if you could they were probably located all over the country, resulting in hideous long-distance bills unless you knew a trick or two.The Cult of the Dead Cow was mainly a group of grey hat hackers who were pushing for any security at all on computers. Computer companies mainly ignored the notion that there should be any security at all on their machines, failin...
  • Aleksandar Erkalovic
    I consumed cDc texts while I was a teenager and I very much enjoyed first 2/3 of the book. It does not go much into the details sometimes but it does give very nice overview of the group. I liked it.Last 1/3 is very political and the kind you would very much love if you were over-privileged white American who reads Huffington Post. In that case you would really love this book!*Spoiler alert* In my case, when you are not American, you get kind of ...
  • E Vikander
    “Technology is deciding the fate of the world, and we are everywhere in its chains,” begins Menn’s story of the infamous Cult of the Dead Cow. Menn traces the evolution of this group, weaving a story about the strength of ideas and their profound impact on the cyber technology that we use today. It is immensely gratifying to learn of the many successes CDC’s members achieved. These are people who exemplify the value of critical thinking, ...
  • Manny
    This was a great book written about a great time in my life. I was part of the culture but not a member of CDC. I grew up following many of these people. It was great to read about how these players had a lot to do changing the industry I enjoy today. Mudge's accomplishments and his insight has threaded the needle regarding companies securing their software and hardware. Beto O'Rourke, Presidential Contender In 2019, was also a member of CDC and ...
  • Scott Martin
    (Audiobook) (3.5 stars) While most of the headlines for this book came from the ties that Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke to this early hacker organization, this book is really a solid insight into a group of hackers who went from an early group to people who were/are among the leaders in cyber security consulting. Some went into legitimate jobs , and some went into darker places, but given the rise of cyber and its security concerns, this...
  • Denis
    I didn't know anything about the Cult of the Dead Cow before I started reading this book. I was expecting to hear about some unknown hackers and their stories in the 80s and that's about it. I was wrong, and I love this book.I've learned about the origins of DEFCON, Microsoft insecure system and how they responded to security incidents, old hacker groups, Tor, Politics and more. I didn't know any of those because I was born in the '90s, of course...
  • Paul
    Ironically not very honest about the group's activities, with its own agenda. Showing how a group started by a bunch of teenagers who were basically asshats, transformed into idealistic 20 somethings who want to change the world, 30 somethings who want to get paid and then eventually just joinef the government and big corporations to oppress the next bunch of asshats. The cycle of life: complete. Throw in a bunch of character assassinations and a...
  • Hugh Rawlinson
    Very entertaining, and interesting to see how lots of tech/security events I previously thought were disparate, were related. I always enjoy reading about tech history, how tech and security intersect with politics and ethics. It's important reading for those who work in tech.At the same time - it is a very dense book. I found myself lost at several points, not helped by switching between real names and hacker handles. I'm probably outing myself ...
  • Ed
    Easily, one of the best book titles ever. I received my signed copy from the author at this year's Palo Alto Networks user conference. Together with Kim Zetter, Joseph Menn is a standout jounralist for tech. I expect to read what he writes next.This book didn't just stop with CDC. It hronicals all other altuistic/hacker bulletin boards of the era, and details the contributions of key industry leaders. The cool part is how they grew from kids stea...
  • Sean Lynn
    Cult of the Dead Cow by Joseph Menn is about the eponymous hacker group that formed in the early 90s, whose members became incredibly influential on and offline. Online hacktavists, wikileaks members, cyber security experts, business and political advisers, and even a US presidential contender have had membership to this somewhat secretive organization. Cult of the Dead Cow is a very interesting look at the history and evolution of one of the fir...
  • Tim Jarrett
    An engaging read. I know some of the principals of this book so was aware of some of the broad brushstrokes of the story. But it’s still fascinating to realize how closely woven together some of the threads in the history of computer security are: Trojans and Back Orifice and Veracode, SQL Slammer and @stake veterans, hacktivists and cDc media hackers and the 2016 election. Recommended, not as the most in depth history of the period, but as an ...
  • Jari Pirhonen
    Good history of well-known hacking group which luckily goes all the way to the present time by telling how the hackers' life and careers have been evolved. Many mentioned nicks and tools were familiar already from the early days of my security career, so it was interesting to read what was happening behind the scenes. The book is not only about the cDc, but many other hacker groups, hacking tools and events are linked to the story.
  • Juarez Poletto Jr.
    The problem with high expectation :D.I was hoping to get the same thrill as "Ghost in the Wires", or at least some of the interesting stories just like "We Are Anonymous", but this book is neither.It covers the last 30 years of one of the most notorious hacking groups of history but it's all over the board, without any major character or someone for you to root for. I wish Michael Lewis had pick this story to tell.
  • Tom Kranz
    Inaccurate, poor pacing, and confused timelines and explanations. Mixed up the l0pht and CDC, glossed over some pretty major events and characters.This isn't an accurate history, it's a story, and not a particular good one.Overall this felt like a weak cash-in/tie-in of Beto O'Rourke's political ambitions.You're much better off reading Bruce Sterling's "The Hacker Crackdown", which is more accurate, has better pacing and explanations, and is an i...
  • Brian
    Tough book to write, as it is both a history and tries to go right up to current times. I enjoyed the history of the group moreso than the current stuff. The Beto O'Rourke insertion seemed off, as the author didn't really discuss much of how Beto got in or what he did with them. It was a good read and certainly adds to the reasons to be terrified for the 2020 election.
  • David Hixson
    As a history of computer activism this was pretty good. The cDc was not the focus, so much as the through-line onto which the rest of the information was placed, but it worked out pretty well.Nothing revolutionary, and at times it felt Homeric in terms of the listing of names and events, but it worked for the story the author wanted to share.