01/02/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: O'Reilly. 295 page illustrated indexed softcover. Price: $39.99 (US), $41.99 (CAN), GBP30.99 or less (UK). ISBN: 978-1-449-31004-2.
check out website: http://oreilly.com/
Considering how much computer technology and software let alone hacking can dominate Science Fiction, I always think it’s important to keep an eye on what is going on in the real world on the subject. ‘Inside Cyber Warfare’ by Jeffrey Carr in now in its second updated edition so as to keep up with events. In this book, he looks at various countries, particular people and the vulnerability of some websites, especially in social networking. Those who use Twitter should beware as that one alone makes for some frosty reading. Carr also points out that 90% of Internet users have one password for everything they use on the Net which makes it somewhat easy for anyone who wants access to your accounts if they can work it out. I hope the 10% remaining are all Science Fiction fans. Please, people, multiple passwords is the safer bet and it’s a lot easier to conceal a list like that in your house than in a datafile if you can’t remember it.
Things aren’t helped very much in that cyber-crime, let alone cyber warfare is given such a low prominence for being stopped. Carr points out that this was number one on President Obama’s list to be dealt with and has now slipped to number seven. When you consider how much everyone depends on computer technology, if not on the Net directly then in the running of power stations and the like, this is a serious problem just waiting to happen. A lot of hackers do hack software and websites to show it can be done but the cyber-terrorist are already out there and there are no boundaries. Interestingly, Carr does a comparison of US Defence banning personal’s on-line activities completely to the UK applying discussion and training as more viable than driving it underground and employees not admitting to anything.
Carr and his guest writers examine both countries and the people who hack from them and it looks like there’s a serious war going on behind the scenes here. If you need the names of the various agencies involved for writing a story, this book is a positive minefield of information. Then again, it also tells the hacker this as well as they mostly see all government agencies as targets. From the looks of things, the major difference is that Russia and China seems to have more hackers working for them than many countries in the west who just seems determined to not have any out there at all or locked up. That is one policy that definitely needs being re-examined.
Something that is highlighted is how unsecure sending a DOC file attachment is. Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to be secure, send such files as TXT files. It also strips code out of the way and makes for shorter files. Carr points out that Microsoft and indeed other companies are doing their best to patch security breeches but doing what I suggest can contribute to your own Internet security awareness.
If you’ve ever wondered why the likes of Windows are forever sending security updates then be grateful that Microsoft are trying to stay ahead of the game. Although Mac and Lynux operating systems don’t appear to be hacked quite so much, I do suspect that would change if proportionately more people were using them.
If you weren’t aware of Internet security before reading this book then you will be afterwards. Fortunately, most of the time, individuals are seen as less likely to be attacked than the bigger institutions of governments and intelligence agencies. In some cases, knowing where the security breeches are in such websites can at least ensure they are blocked.
This is a remarkable book that should make you think about what else is being done on the Internet and how much most of us are bystanders to what goes on behind the scenes. Read and learn.
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