[ISN] Book review: SPIES AMONG US

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Aug 26 04:19:51 EDT 2005


[ http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764584685/c4iorg  - WK]

By David Emberton
25, August 2005 

Spies Among Us asserts that 99% of successful security attacks are 
preventable. Author Ira Winkler tests and breaks security for a 
living, having gotten his start in undercover work with the US 
National Security Agency. He claims that today's victims are often too 
caught up with media-hyped boogie men to see who or what is really 
harming them. 

The book promises to help us protect ourselves from the world's "super 
spies", as well as the burglar next door. Typical recommendations of 
installing spyware and virus detection are given, but the advice goes 
far beyond locking down a PC -- all information is valuable, whether 
it's stored on a computer or not, and yours is there for the taking. 

Winkler doesn't propose to eliminate all security threats. Rather, he 
gives measured suggestions about assessing risk, deciding the value of 
what's likely to be stolen at any given time and then setting security 
expenditure accordingly. The ideas work on an individual and company 
level, although the focus of Spies Among Us is decidedly corporate. 

The book comes in three parts. In the first, Winkler pimps his 
experience in the world of espionage to explain how spying works. The 
second part features Winkler on safari, stealing nuclear power plans 
and other fancy items from his rich clients. The third and final 
section gets down to the details of creating and implementing a 
security program, in broad but shallow detail. 

Probably the weakest aspect of Spies Among Us is the theme of post-911 
"terror hype." The publisher had asked that this be de-emphasised for 
fear of dating the rest of the material, but apparently the author 
didn't listen. However, if you can endure the occasional rant against 
popular culture, Winkler's information and stories of true spying are 
well worth the cover price and a few quiet evenings. 

Local Price: $42.95
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 0-7645-8468-5

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