Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

REVIEW: "Steal This Computer Book 4.0", Wallace Wang

Expand Messages
  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKSTLTCB.RVW 20060819 Steal This Computer Book 4.0 , Wallace Wang, 2006, 1-59327-105-0, U$29.95/C$38.95 %A Wallace Wang bothecat@prodigy.net %C 555 De
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2006
      BKSTLTCB.RVW 20060819

      "Steal This Computer Book 4.0", Wallace Wang, 2006, 1-59327-105-0,
      %A Wallace Wang bothecat@...
      %C 555 De Haro Street, Suite 250, San Francisco, CA 94107
      %D 2006
      %G 1-59327-105-0
      %I No Starch Press
      %O U$29.95/C$38.95 415-863-9900 fax 415-863-9950 info@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593271050/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593271050/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 361 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "Steal This Computer Book 4.0: What They Won't Tell You About the

      This book is still being promoted as a security text. The table of
      contents lists a bewildering variety of topics, most related to
      security breaking. The introduction doesn't really provide much
      information about what the book is about, either, except that it
      appears to be big on self-improvement. It seems to imply that the
      book isn't meant as a how-to manual for hacking, but more as a
      philosophical statement urging people to think for themselves. In
      response, all that I can say is that neither the promotion of the book
      nor the text itself stresses this intention, and I personally cannot
      find any utility in the volume for teaching critical thinking skills.

      Part one is supposed to be a historical look at "hackers." Chapter
      one says that curiosity is good, and the US government did very bad
      things to some of its own people. Phone phreaking stories are in
      chapter two. Chapter three provides random information about social
      engineering (aka "lying") and locks.

      Part two turns to early (PC era) computers. Chapter four tells you
      how to write an ANSI bomb (be still my beating heart), and retails
      haphazard (old) information about (old) viruses. Stories about
      trojans and misinformation about worms is in chapter five, while tales
      of software copyright are in six.

      Part three moves to the Internet. Chapter seven tells you where to
      find "hackers," and tries to confuse the distinction between whitehat
      and blackhat. Port scanning and wardriving get an overview in chapter
      eight. Nine lists a few password attacks. Minimal material on
      rootkits makes up chapter ten. Chapter eleven starts with a
      discussion of filtering and DNS (Domain Name Service) poisoning, and
      then lists some examples of censorship. Chapter twelve takes a quick
      peek at file sharing networks, without much review of the technology.

      Part four looks into "real world" hackers. Just what this might be is
      not clear, but might be intimated by the fact that chapter thirteen
      lists Internet frauds. Fourteen gets into cyberstalking and gathering
      information about individuals online. The fact that corporate news
      sources have been caught faking "news" photographs and other items is
      used, in chapter fifteen, to suggest that blogs are a better source of
      news. Various hacktivist activities are described in chapter sixteen.
      Chapter seventeen lists some online hate activities.

      I am afraid to say that I agree with Wang on part five: the future of
      online malicious activity will increasingly involve profit. Chapter
      eighteen looks at identity theft and spam. Web advertising, mostly of
      the pop-up type, is in nineteen. Chapter twenty reviews spyware.

      Part six purportedly provides information about protection. Chapter
      twenty-one suggests how to save money via the Internet (without really
      emphasizing the fact that you have to be pretty careful pursuing that
      objective). Chapter twenty-two notes a few things about forensics and
      mentions ways to get rid of some information automatically stored in
      your computer. Hardening your computer is a good idea, but the
      content of chapter twenty-three is unreliable: it is unlikely to help
      secure your computer, and may end up damaging it.

      Bottom line? This book is unfocused in conception and hasty in
      execution. Yes, it is aimed at a technically unsophisticated
      audience, but yelling "hey, watch out" is unlikely to be of help to
      anyone. (One suspects that it would be appropriate for this book to
      have a "code orange" cover.) On the one hand, it does not provide the
      esoteric information that both the author and publisher promise, so it
      isn't any threat. On the other hand, the author demonstrates no
      particular technical skill or knowledge on any topic, so it hasn't any
      other value, either. This random collection of information may
      provoke some thought in non-technical computer users, but browsing of
      the net for yourself is probably much, much more useful in that
      regard. This edition is much more technically focused than the first
      edition, but no more useful.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998, 2006 BKSTLTCB.RVW 20060819

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      There is nothing in this world constant but inconstancy. - Swift
      Dictionary of Information Security www.syngress.com/catalog/?pid=4150
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.