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REVIEW: "Catch Me If You Can", Frank W. Abagnale

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKCMIYCN.RVW 20041008 Catch Me If You Can , Frank W. Abagnale, 1980, 0-7679-0538-5 %A Frank W. Abagnale %C 201 E. 50th St., 31st Floor, New York, NY
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2004
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      BKCMIYCN.RVW 20041008

      "Catch Me If You Can", Frank W. Abagnale, 1980, 0-7679-0538-5
      %A Frank W. Abagnale
      %C 201 E. 50th St., 31st Floor, New York, NY 10022
      %D 1980
      %G 0-7679-0538-5
      %I Random House/Broadway Books
      %O 212-751-2600, 800-733-3000
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0767905385/robsladesinterne
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0767905385/robsladesinte-21
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0767905385/robsladesin03-20
      %P 293 p.
      %T "Catch Me If You Can"

      Frank Abagnale was a con man, specializing in passing fraudulent
      cheques. Subsequently, he became a consultant on the topic of
      avoiding cheque swindles. "Catch Me If You Can" is his autobiography,
      which was recently made into a movie.

      The first comparison to make is between the movie and the book. Both
      are equally amusing and engaging. The book is quite readable, and
      presents Abagnale as a likeable rogue. (Well, what else would you
      expect from a con man?)

      Interestingly, both the book and the movie, separately, each have
      details that the other lacks. The book notes the need for constant
      study of a field or situation in order to continue to perpetrate a
      ruse, and to continue to improve on the delivery. The movie
      demonstrates more examples of social engineering than does the book,
      such as making the target party complicit by offering them a seemingly
      unrelated benefit, or using a well-timed compliment to interrupt the
      process of a security check (since people seldom "re-enter" such a
      procedure at exactly the same point).

      The other obvious comparison to make is with the more recently self-
      proclaimed chief charlatan, Kevin Mitnick, and his "The Art of
      Deception" (cf. BKARTDCP.RVW). Both perpetrated crimes with the help
      of technology, Mitnick with computers, and Abagnale with cheque forms.
      Both used social engineering. Both have written books.

      One difference is that Abagnale's text is more interesting than
      Mitnick's. "The Art of Deception" has been described as "nineteen
      chapters of GOTCHA!," and gets tedious very quickly. Abagnale is coy
      on some points, but is more open and entertaining. Mitnick basically
      says that people can be fooled: Abagnale examines some of the methods
      how, and reasons why, and presents at least a few points that can be
      used to detect and avoid trickery.

      I would not say that "Catch Me If You Can" is a "must read" for
      security people, but it is short, amusing, and raises some useful
      questions in regard to fraud detection adn prevention.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004 BKCMIYCN.RVW 20041008


      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      Yes, but every time I try to see things your way, I get a headache.
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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