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REVIEW: "Spies Among Us", Ira Winkler

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKSPAMUS.RVW 20050531 Spies Among Us , Ira Winkler, 2005, 0-7645-8468-5, U$27.50/C$38.99/UK#16.99 %A Ira Winkler www.irawinkler.com %C 5353 Dundas
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2005
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      BKSPAMUS.RVW 20050531

      "Spies Among Us", Ira Winkler, 2005, 0-7645-8468-5,
      U$27.50/C$38.99/UK#16.99
      %A Ira Winkler www.irawinkler.com
      %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
      %D 2005
      %G 0-7645-8468-5
      %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
      %O U$27.50/C$38.99/UK#16.99 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764584685/robsladesinterne
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764584685/robsladesinte-21
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764584685/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience n+ Tech 1 Writing 3 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 326 p.
      %T "Spies Among Us"

      In the introduction, Winkler admits that the title is slightly
      misleading: most surveillance is not done by international spies, but
      by common or garden thieves, competitors, and so forth. The point
      that he is trying to make is that non-terrorists can hurt you,
      although he raises the issue with illustrations that are not
      completely clear.

      Part one deals with espionage concepts. Chapter one reviews spying
      terminology, but makes points about the process by explaining the
      jargon and distinctions. Risk analysis is introduced in chapter two,
      but the calculations used may not be clear to all readers. An attempt
      to assess the value of information is made in chapter three. Chapter
      four outlines threats (entities that might harm you) and five covers
      vulnerabilities--the way your own operations can make you subject to
      attack.

      Part two describes some case studies of spying. The content is
      interesting, although the value is rather concentrated in the short
      "vulnerabilities exploited" section at the end of each chapter. I
      must say that I've read all manner of similar stories and case studies
      in various security books, and Winkler's are more interesting than
      most.

      Part three deals with protection. Chapter twelve lists a number of
      countermeasures. These are described in a level of detail that is
      appropriate for non-specialists (in security), although the content
      related to technical safety might be a bit thin. How to plan and
      implement an overall security program is outlined in chapter thirteen,
      which includes a very interesting section on how the Department of
      Homeland Security has taught us valuable lessons about how *not* to
      execute safeguards.

      While not structured in a formal manner that would make for easier
      reference, this book nonetheless has some excellent content. Like
      Schneier's "Beyond Fear" (cf. BKBYNDFR.RVW), it is easy enough, and
      engaging enough, for those outside of the security profession to read.
      Busy managers may find the work a bit wordy and disorganized, but it
      makes useful points, and has constructive suggestions. Home users and
      amateurs will find the style most suited to them, although the
      recommended controls are aimed at businesses. Security professionals
      will not (or should not) find anything new here, but may appreciate
      the "war stories" and explanations that can be employed in security
      awareness training.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKSPAMUS.RVW 20050531


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      Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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