News Tagged "Publishers Weekly"
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A Hacker’s Mind (Book Review)
“Hacking is something that the rich and powerful do, something that reinforces existing power structures,” contends security technologist Schneier (Click Here to Kill Everybody) in this excellent survey of exploitation. Taking a broad understanding of hacking as an “activity allowed by the system that subverts the… system,” Schneier draws on his background analyzing weaknesses in cybersecurity to examine how those with power take advantage of financial, legal, political, and cognitive systems. He decries how venture capitalists “hack” market dynamics by subverting the pressures of supply and demand, noting that venture capital has kept Uber afloat despite the company having not yet turned a profit. Legal loopholes constitute another form of hacking, Schneier suggests, discussing how the inability of tribal courts to try non-Native individuals means that many sexual assaults of Native American women go unprosecuted because they were committed by non–Native American men. Schneier outlines strategies used by corporations to capitalize on neural processes and “hack… our attention circuits,” pointing out how Facebook’s algorithms boost content that outrages users because doing so increases engagement. Elegantly probing the mechanics of exploitation, Schneier makes a persuasive case that “we need society’s rules and laws to be as patchable as your computer.” With lessons that extend far beyond the tech world, this has much to offer. …
Publishers Weekly Review of Click Here to Kill Everybody
Schneier (Data and Goliath), a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, provides a clear perspective on the threat posed by the evolution of the internet into what is commonly referred to as the “internet of things.” As “everything is becoming a computer… on the Internet,” with even pedestrian items such as light bulbs or refrigerators collecting, using, and communicating data, the convenience and efficiency of such “smart” technology comes at the cost of increased vulnerability to the schemes of crafty hackers. Horror stories, such as a vehicle’s controls being taken over remotely, are not new, but Schneier’s vast experience enables him to tie together many strands and put them in context. For example, after discussing the inherent security issues with software (there are “undiscovered vulnerabilities in every piece”), Schneier goes on to observe that such flaws are only part of the problem; he convincingly demonstrates that a major, if not the main, reason, for an insecure internet is that its “most powerful architects—governments and corporations—have manipulated the network to make it serve their own interests.” Schneier concedes that his book has “a gaping hole” in not explaining how his nuanced recommendations for increasing security and resilience could become policy, but it is a useful introduction to the dimensions of the challenge…
Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World (Review)
Security technologist Schneier (Schneier on Security) eloquently limns the challenges of maintaining privacy in the Internet age, and offers some thoughtful proposals to preserve individual freedom without compromising national security. Even readers well versed in the issues are likely to be shocked by some instances of technological intrusions, such as when a school district near Philadelphia lent high school students laptops installed with highly invasive spyware. Schneier plausibly makes the case that the powerful algorithms of companies such as Facebook could be used to actually manipulate American elections. The book also notes the psychological aspects of the loss of control of one’s data. For example, for most of human history “interactions and conversations have been ephemeral,” and the indefinite preservation of online interactions has social and emotional repercussions for which society is unprepared. Schneier may be accused by some of minimizing the threat from terrorism, however, as when he dismisses terrorists as no more of a danger than organized crime, an analogy that weakens the overall strength of his case…
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.