Cult of the Dead Cow

How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World

Paperback, 251 pages

English language

Published Jan. 14, 2019

Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (3 reviews)

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, and musicians--some of whom went on to advise presidents, cabinet members, and CEOs, who now walk …

3 editions

Review of 'Cult of the Dead Cow' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I learned a lot from this book. The history of the cDc engenders a great deal of respect for the early members as they skirt the line with legality while maintaining pretty fierce ethical and moral standards.

My single biggest struggle with the book is the way it is organized. Menn wants to keep the stories of individuals coherent, so he focuses on one or two member stories at a time, saving one big reveal for the last chapter. This makes a lot of sense to me, but it obscures the timeline, making it difficult to keep the events in chronological order, which in turn makes it difficult to connect various events and people to each other.

With that complaint out of the way, I can safely say I loved this book. I’m frustrated with my younger self because I was ankle deep in technology through the 80s and 90s …

avatar for capitanGiaco

rated it

4 stars


  • SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
  • Hacktivism
  • Hackers
  • Computer security
  • Cult of the Dead Cow