Book Reviews

Book Reviews


Hacked Again by Scott N. Schober


By Stephen Northcutt
Version 1.0

We have all heard something similar, but this is the best phrasing of an old adage I have come across, "In business if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't good or true." It is from the book Hacked Again by Scott Schober and he attributes it to his father. Before the millennium I heard a speech from the CISO of Citibank and he said, "as long as the fraud is less than a million dollars a day, it isn't worth our while to investigate it." I was shocked. Scott was shocked to learn that a $14k fraudulent credit card charge wasn't worth the bank's time to investigate.

This was a painful book for me to read because it brought up memories of my time as a CEO of a small at first, later medium sized business and all the things thieves tried to do to us. Just a month ago, long after I semi-retired, I got a note on LinkedIn from a lady saying her son had received a check signed by me for several thousand dollars. Our accounting office said, "Yes, that happens every month or so, he won't be able to cash it." It was a useful book for me to read, because I had not heard of all of these scams and in addition he has some safety tips.

There is a chapter in the book dedicated to Ransomware. This malware encrypts documents or the whole hard drive and you have to pay ransom, usually with Bitcoin to get the decryption key. As of February 16, 2016, the state of the art is Ransom32 and if you are interested in such things, here is a very informative link. There is also a chapter on spam which made me smile since I am writing this from Hawaii which leads the nation in per capita consumption of spam.

The book is targeted at the small to medium sized business stakeholder that doesn't work in the field of cybersecurity. Since almost everyone I know or can reach is a cybersecurity expert, that is probably not you. However, perhaps your brother, frat buddy from college or next door neighbor falls into that category. Be a pal, buy them a copy of the book, write an inscription in the cover, and ten days later ask them what they have learned.