Click Here To Kill Everybody Book Review
Even the author Bruce Schneier admits the title is clickbait. Is all our technology so interconnected that someone could click here to kill everybody?
Schneier opens his book with three scenarios of how technology could kill.
- Hackers could remotely disable car brakes, take over steering and even turn off the engine.
- Hackers could remotely shut down an electric power station in winter.
- 3D bio printers could be hacked to create and print a killer virus causing a worldwide pandemic.
Two of those scenarios have already happened in the last three years.
Luckily, most hackers are more concerned with making money than killing people. But as Schneier skillfully documents state sponsored cyberwar is on the rise. And it affects business. In 2017, the Maersk shipping line was hit with the NotPetya ransomware which was designed to disrupt Ukrainian businesses. It cost Maersk by conservative estimates over $350 million and days of chaos at the ports. Maersk was just collateral damage for the hackers.
Click Here To Kill Everybody is divided into two parts. In the first part, Schneier describes the current state of computer insecurity—technically, politically and economically—as well as the tech trends that created this situation. This part should required reading for all business owners. The days you could rely on antivirus and patching to protect your business are over and you need to plan your tech differently than even 5 years ago.
The second part of the Click Here To Kill Everybody concerns the policy changes needed to secure what Schneier calls Internet+. Schneier laments that the current government of the United States is not prepared to fix the state sponsored cyberwar, surveillance capitalism and market failures that make computing so unsafe. Our hope lies in the European Union whose politicians are better informed and more privacy sensitive. The EU is a large enough market to force the manufacturers to make their tech more secure. Such a policy would mean, for example, we would fewer and less frequent updates and new features to our devices.
I’ve been following Bruce Schneier since 1999 for his computer security coverage and big picture policy thinking on technology. Schneier is great at explaining technology in a way that the average person can understand.
I highly recommend this book for its clear analysis of the current insecurity of technology and recommendations of how to fix this. You can order it from Chapters Indigo.