Book Review: "Cyber Spying", Ted Fair/Michael Nordfelt/Sandra Ring


"Cyber Spying", Ted Fair/Michael Nordfelt/Sandra Ring, 2005,

1-931836-41-8, U$39.95/C$57.95 %A Ted Fair %A Michael Nordfelt %A Sandra Ring %C 800 Hingham Street, Rockland, MA 02370 %D 2005 %G 1-931836-41-8 %I Syngress Media, Inc. %O U$39.95/C$57.95 781-681-5151 fax: 781-681-3585
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Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation) %P 439 p. %T "Cyber Spying"

Chapter one seems to be a search for grounds to justify spying on your family. The reasons seem to boil down to a) everybody likes to snoop, b) you should spy on your spouse (because everybody likes sex), and c) it's always OK to spy on your kids (you're just looking out for them, after all). (Somehow it is easy to believe that the authors all met at the CIA.) We are supposed to learn about the basics of spying, in chapter two, but instead get vague advice on planning, plus hypothetical stories.

A kind of terse review of the parts of computers is in chapter three: chapter four provides slightly more usable information about network operations. Chapter five starts out with an extremely simplistic set of instructions for navigating around your computer (if I am going to get spied on, maybe I *do* want it to be these guys), moves into a list of recommended utilities, and also discusses some issues that don't seem to fit the level of the other material at all. (If you don't know how to run Windows Explorer, how are you going to know the difference between an Ethernet hub and an Ethernet switch?) Areas to obtain data from a computer are listed in chapter six. Oddly, there is much "low hanging fruit" that is not mentioned, while a number of the items suggested can be defeated quite easily. Web browsing, in chapter seven, repeats a great deal of material from five and six. Email, in chapter eight, also reiterates a lot of earlier content. Instant messaging and clients are discussed in chapter nine. Chapter ten reviews other spying techniques and more advanced computer technologies. Some elementary means to make spying more difficult are mentioned in chapter twelve.

Once again, the lack of a stated audience makes it very difficult to assess whether this book does its job. It certainly isn't for professionals: neither security nor law enforcement people will get much out of this work. For people who want to spy on their spouses or significant others, well, I have no sympathy if they waste their money that way. If parents are planning to spy on children, I would suggest that there are other, better, means of protecting your kids online, and if you really need to know the content that is provided in this text, then your kids are probably going to be able to get around you anyway.

For the tin-foil hat crowd, you may be comforted to find that CIA staff can't do any better than this. (On the other hand, maybe it's a conspiracy to make us all *think* that the CIA is that dumb ...)

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKCBRSPY.RVW 20050614

====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer) Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. - Immanuel Kant

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