cover image The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick

The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick

Jonathan Littman. Little Brown and Company, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-316-52858-0

Although Littman is dealing with the same events that Tsutomu Shimomura and John Markoff chronicle in Takedown (reviewed above), he remains a disinterested reporter who broadens the scope of the inquiry. He offers a convincing perspective on Kevin Mitnick's alleged computer crimes, developed from interviews, research and talks with the then-fugitive suspect. In Takedown, the reader watches Shimomura watch Mitnick hack into Littman's e-mail; here we're made privy to Mitnick's many phone calls to the California freelance journalist and author of Once Upon a Time in Computerland. The personnel may be the same in both books, but Littman suggests that Shimomura is a government agent and that his computer had been penetrated before Mitnick's break-in, a hit that caused the National Security Agency to ``freak out,'' at least as related to Littman by Markoff. Among other charges made here: Shimomura's complicity in developing a program to illegally scan cellular phones; the impropriety of Markoff's presence at the Mitnick stakeout, which Shimomura claims was approved by a U.S. attorney, who denies it. And there is Littman's stunning contention that an unidentified Israeli whose online conversation with Mitnick is transcribed in Takedown may, in fact, be the hacker who launched the attack on Shimomura's computer. Another point on which the books differ involves the North Carolina search warrants. Takedown ends with Mitnick's arrest, but we learn here from Littman that the government accepted a plea bargain from Mitnick that could release him with time served, or within eight months. Other charges are pending. Photos not seen by PW. 75,000 first printing; BOMC alternate; foreign rights to Japan and Brazil. (Jan.)