Get Your Free Audiobook

After 30 days, Audible is ₹199/mo. Cancel anytime.

OR

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 Joseph Menn (P)2019 PublicAffairs

Critic Reviews

"Long before there was a multi-billion dollar cyber industry, there were some ethical hackers who showed us that the Silicon Valley emperors had no clothes. They looked like misfits, but they showed us how insecure the Internet was and how to make it better. Joe Menn makes this previously untold story entertaining and relevant to today's cyber threats." (Richard A. Clarke, first White House "Cyber Czar")

"Cult of the Dead Cow reveals a story few know about the origins of white hat hacking and the heroes it celebrates. Despite the title, hacking isn't dead yet!" (Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the internet)

"Cult of the Dead Cow is an exhilarating and essential look into a part of the hacker underground that has shaped the modern world in profound ways. Readers will be amazed by this crew of eccentric, impassioned geniuses who have so often served as the Internet's conscience while lurking unknown in the shadows. The depth of Joe Menn's reporting is as astonishing as his storytelling - no one could have captured this tale better." (Ashlee Vance, author of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)

What listeners say about Cult of the Dead Cow

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 0 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 0 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sam Kopp
  • 18-12-19

Liberal Bias Rife and Unchecked

My takeaway: Cult of the dead cow is not so much a hacker group that happens to be involved in politics as it is a radical leftist group that happens to be involved in hacking.

There is no critical self reflection about the parts that the left may have wrong.

Unless you want more noise in your liberal echo chamber, save your money, save your time.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • David.
  • 20-05-20

Great read until it left the subject matter..

this was a great book about the Computer subculture from its earliest beginning..very well written and detailed.
a True must read. until chapter 13.
there the Author switches to political narratives from his obvious leftist bias..trashing this experience for me.
the writer goes on about Beto O'Rourke and his obvious infatuation with the failed once Texas Representative. and he goes on about Trumps Russian involvements and how they helped his election..Now all proven false..
a real disappointment.. the Author must be embarrassed as hell to have the Mueller report, and now General Flynn reversal / exoneration reveal there was no such Russian connection.
sad really chapters 1-12 were five stars..
it's a shame journalism is Dead.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-06-19

Loved it

Great books great narrating as well. Fills in the gaps of things that happened in hacker culture between the ghost in the wires book and the Anonymous book and much more. Really enjoyed it.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Teri Radichel
  • 20-07-20

As a fellow hacker, loved it

I learned to program when I was 12 in about this same era, but absolutely no one was around in my small town who understood what I was doing, including my parents. I wasn’t allowed to use the modem because phone calls were too expensive and had a pretty strict upbringing so probably would not have gotten into phreaking, but I wish I had discovered others with related interests earlier. Somehow I meandered into tech almost by accident despite not realizing people did programming for a living, and now am the CEO of a security company doing penetration testing and cloud security training. I have heard a lot about different aspects of this book from other sources but this really tied some things together. I even know more about some of the people I’ve been following on Twitter for years. Great read.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ahdumb
  • 25-07-19

If you ran a bbs, or ever visited one...

....Then this book is for you. Even if you didn’t, it’s a wonderful book that you will get some history lessons from....

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tyson l woodruff
  • 29-08-19

Fascinating and astonishing

It is so amazing that a group of misfits became the biggest and most in packful hacker group in the entire world.l I recommend this book to anyone who is intrested in how cyber security and hacking entangles with the rest of societie.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Adam Cloud
  • 14-10-19

Started off good. Just more propaganda

Cunning book that has a subtle difference between the retelling of a story and the insertion of propaganda. The book would tell of something that was happening, then would casually insert their assessment of what it means as if it were fact....much of which has since been disproven. The things that the book chose to share, while omitting the other things gave a clear bias, which isn't surprising considering it was written to "provide context", or rather play PR for, Beto O'rourke To try and manipulate people politically through book of intrigue is just stupid.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Calle Svensson
  • 06-09-20

An excellent exposé of hacker history

This book provides an excellent tour of some of the most important people and events in the IT security world over the past 35 years centered around the Cult of the Dead Cow. It touches both the human and technological elements of those stories and covers events from small interpersonal to large political ones. A strong recommend.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • C. Gahagan
  • 26-09-19

Skip it, biased shill for Robert Francis

Devolves into a biased shill for Robert Francis. I should have known better. Hours of my life I want back.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-07-19

Good book listen with an open mind

A little bias on the liberal side but overall an enjoyable book brought back some memories.

8 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 19-07-19

Fascinating History of Hacking

Despite being focused on CDC the author does a fantastic job at summarising the broader history of hacking, touching on important points throughout the last few decades.

Anyone who has an real interest in hacking history should give this book a listen.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • McLean
  • 24-11-20

Glory be to the cult of the dead cow

I was hoping for something more in depth than this load of rubbish. It is essentially 7 hours of glorifying the key members of CDC without really explaining anything. Don’t get me wrong I wanted to learn about CDC and that is why I got this book but I really thought there would be more substance. It felt as though the author was just trying to blow smoke up the a** of members maybe to try and gain their respect?

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Igs M
  • 28-02-21

Utterly tedious

As someone that works in this field and remembers the phracking and BBS scene, I thought I would enjoy this book. Unfortunately i found it tedious with very little interesting content, and quit halfway through as it was just too dull to persevere with.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-19

Interesting and informative. Your mind will love..

Although not an US citizen, this book sheds slot of light over the subjects that technology advancement is bringing to us humans. With the amount that is now invested in AI and machine learning, it's also time to invest in humanizing technology and protecting our privacy.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • I. Larsen
  • 23-07-20

A very interesting listen

At the start and at times I would not totally be sure which person was which but that is likely in part to how I listen at speeds of 1.5 to 2x speeds.
The story really starts to ramp up and some humour throughout the listen.
My career path is with a goal for IT security so to me this was some fundamental knowledge to gain. I recommend this to both IT and non-IT people as it is a great behind the scenes story telling of technology ie internet's growth.
A very worth while listen.

1 person found this helpful