Thursday 24 March 2016

Future Crimes

Finished March 17
Future Crimes by Mark Goodman

This book covers a lot of issues around internet security and privacy, and I liked the apt quotes drawn from entertainers, writers, politicians, scientists, and other sources.
The author uses examples to illustrate many of the concepts given here, and that really shows the effect on real people of some of these vulnerabilities.
The book is divided into three sections.
The first section sets the stage by introducing the vulnerabilities, with aforementioned examples. The concepts here include cybercrime as it first appeared, malware, and security vulnerabilities. Goodman shows how the global connectivity we now enjoy is also a weakness. He discusses how Moore's law, which is about exponential growth in technological change also applies to criminal technology. He looks at many of the "free" sites and programs we use, such as social media and discusses the realities of "terms and conditions" we accept and how we and our information are really products to the companies that run them, rather than customers. He looks at how all the data we have out there about ourselves is used and how the data, while seemingly benign by individual piece, adds up to big vulnerabilities for us. He also refutes the notion that not creating online profiles is a protection. He takes a close look at apps and the information they gather about us from contacts to GPS location. He reveals the industry of "friends" in social media and just how many don't exist will likely surprise you. He talks about the manipulation of data and how this can plant false information about you from location to actions.
The second section of the book takes a closer look at the criminal world that exists in the online world, something he refers to as Crime, Inc. He reveals the cutting edge nature of the technologies involved and how criminals are often in the group of early adopters of new technology. He discusses the various criminal roles that exist in the hierarchy of organized crime in this world. He talks about the nature of funding and how money gets moved around. He discusses hacking, both software and hardware and how the growth in Internet of Things, technologically-tied home access and controls, medical technology devices, robots and drones all open us up to being left vulnerable in ways we never dreamed of. He includes a section on biotech and its vulnerabilities to our safety.
The third section is more hopeful. Entitled Surviving Progress, it looks at ways to mitigate the vulnerabilities discussed in the earlier sections, things the industry should be doing, things we can do as individuals, and suggestions for how we can come together to tackle these issues in a way where more heads mean more protection.
I found this book fascinating, the first couple sections stomach-churning at times, but the last section giving some positive thoughts about how we can overcome the vulnerabilities.

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