Book review: Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier

Hacking - clever, innovative solutions to computer and telephony problems - fascinates me.

Underground” is a detailed look at the relatively early days of computer hacking, with a focus on the telephone networks. It’s a series of biographies of hackers and their exploits, and it is remarkably detailed. It’s also page-turningly well written.

The focus - or, at least, the positioning - is on exploration. On a quest for knowledge, to gain access to new networks and systems for the simple pleasure of knowing more about them.

The charges brought against them, however, were for massive sums. Unreasonably, disproportionately, massive sums. They were, in essence, show trials.

At least, that’s how the book explains them.

It was published about 10 years ago so, if you’re interested only in modern hacking, this is not for you. But if you are interested in (historic) hacking, or hacker culture, this is well worth a look.