Brilliantly written…will be one of the most important books of the decade.

— Birgitta Jonsdottir

Member of the Icelandic Parliament for the Movement & chairperson of the International Modern Media Institute

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What is the machine that kills secrets?

WikiLeaks brought to light a new form of whistle-blowing, using powerful cryptographic code to hide leakers’ identities while they spill the private data of government agencies and corporations. But that technology has been evolving for decades in the hands of hackers and radical activists, from the libertarian enclaves of Northern California to Berlin to the Balkans. And the secret-killing machine continues to evolve beyond WikiLeaks, as a movement of hacktivists aims to obliterate the world’s institutional secrecy.

This is the story of the code and characters–idealists, anarchists, extremists–who are transforming the next generation’s notion of what activism can be.

With unrivaled access to such major players as Julian Assange, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and WikiLeaks’s shadowy engineer known as the Architect, (never before interviewed) reporter Andy Greenberg unveils the world of politically motivated hackers–who they are and how they operate.

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

Greenberg’s vivid storytelling makes the forces that culminated in Wikileaks–the people, the politics, and especially the technology–come alive.

— Bruce Schneier

Author of Liars and Outliers and Applied Cryptography

Greenberg masterfully portrays a new reality. Radical transparency for firms and governments is not just a decision but a technological fact of life.

— Don Tapscott

Bestselling author of Wikinomics, The Naked Corporation and Macrowikinomics

Greenberg has produced an exhaustive prequel to the never-ending WikiLeaks saga, [and] he also tries to explain the highly complex technologies that have made a project like WikiLeaks possible, introducing such hidden gems of geek cuisine as “salt hashing” and “onion routing.” By and large, he succeeds, and the resulting dish is delicious and not at all too technical…He’s at his best when on the road — driving through a volcano-ridden Iceland, flying a decrepit Soviet plane with nine hackers, swimming in the Black Sea with fearless Bulgarian journalists. Even seasoned observers of WikiLeaks will find something new and interesting in this book.

— Evgeny Morozov

Author of the Net Delusion, writing in the

A must-read for those seeking to understand the decades-long struggle between openness and secrecy, anonymity and attribution–and why that might be the most important struggle of the modern era. Meticulously researched, Greenberg provides first-hand accounts of the eccentric pioneers who are coding around censorship, repression, and even traditional law. He also captures the relentless, distributed nature of the movement that’s powering it all.

— Daniel Suarez

New York Times bestselling author of Daemon and Kill Decision

Computer hackers haven’t been made into heroes like this since Stieg Larsson created Lisbeth Salander—and luckily Greenberg shares a bit of Larsson’s flair for suspense, too.



Greenberg’s fascinating and well-researched…book is at its best when tracing the evolution of the cypherpunk movement…The networked few took on Leviathan and won.

Wall Street Journal


Greenberg takes readers on a terrific and revealing — if considerably unsettling — investigation into the shadowy war rooms behind our computer screens.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


A globe trotting exploration into the heart of the contentious world of brilliant, eccentric and erratic game changers who have taken the tools at hand and turned them into powerful weapons that can — and have in some cases — altered the course of history…Greenberg went looking for a story and nailed it.

Paper Magazine


Greenberg delves eloquently into the magicians of the all-powerful technology that shatters the confidentiality of any and all state secrets while tapping into issues of personal privacy.

Publisher’s Weekly


A series of moving and deeply complex portraits… In all, Greenberg has created a seriously riveting read.

Capital New York


While lawmakers and law enforcers struggle with the philosophy and practicality of these issues, the people Greenberg profiles have made up their minds, and they are a few steps ahead. If you’re wondering who they are and why they feel so strongly, look no further than this book.

New Scientist


Gripping…For all the technical detail (which Greenberg excels at explaining), this book is still about human feats and failings, idealism, trust and betrayal.

Irish Times