Rants of a deranged squirrel.

Book Review: Cyber Crime

[The date of publication is not known.]

Cyber Crime
How to Protect Yourself from Computer Criminals
Laura E. Quarantiello
0-936653-74-4, Tiare Publications/Limelight Books

Part One:

Chapter One – ‘Terrorism On Line: Inside Comptuer Crime’: Chapter one opens with defining computer crime, and does a decent (and fair) job of defining why hackers hack. “In the end, it all comes down to one of those six reasons.”

Chapter Two – ‘Computer Criminals and their Crimes: Digital Outlaws’: Starting out with ‘phreaking’, the author gives a brief history of hackers and the phone systems. Unfortunately, a serious lack of research shines through in this chapter, where a list of “phreaker boxes” is quoted. It has been well established that a majority of these boxes never worked, and were little more than wishful thinking by hackers with little knowledge of the phone system. The rest of the chapter delves into different aspects of hacking and how hackers evolved.

Chapter Three – ‘Cyber-Sneezes: Viruses’: As with most computer security books, this is the token chapter on computer Viruses.

Chapter Four – ‘The Darkest Side to Computer Crime: Threats to Your Personal Safety and Property’: Chapter four begins by giving contrast between crime and virtual crime. One admirable feature is the clarification that not all online pedestrians will be mugged by cybercriminals. Unfortunately, a good portion of the chapter deals with ‘stalking’, pornography, and child pornography, which seems out of place in contrast with other sections.

Part Two:

Chapter Five – ‘Cyber Security: Foiling Computer Criminals and Staying Safe’: This chapter suffers the problem of trying to squeeze too much information into a small place. Writing about how to secure your systems should take books. Starting out with the idea of ‘weak links’, they abruptly end after two and move into other non-numbered categories. While a decent effort, it brings its failure upon itself by trying.

Chapter Six – ‘Cyber-Cops: Walking the Digital Beat’: Much to the dismay of law enforcement, this chapter paints a relatively accurate picture of the state of computer crime and law enforcement’s ability to deal with it. (Considering when the book was written). Toward the end of the section, contact info for CERT and the advice to call the FBI is given. The exact organizations the author found lacking.

Overview: For a 100 page, 1 hour read, this book does a better than average job of portraying computer crime. Despite the handful of errors, the author gives a fair overview of computer crime, hackers, and law enforcement.

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