Cybercrime: Vandalizing the Information Society

Cybercrime is the latest addition to the growing volume of books on computer security and hacking. Written by the head of the Network Research Group at the University of Plymouth in the UK, the book is stringently anti-hype - which is refreshing, given this topic usually results in shock horror headlines and tabloid coverage (Melissa virus, anyone?).

Cybercrime reads like a textbook for computer science students, but would suit anyone looking to get a good understanding of the issues involved in computer-related crime. It's not overly technical and doesn't require the reader to have a great deal of knowledge of the subject to understand the topics discussed. Chapters deal with the usual suspects: the hacker culture and mindset, malware, hactivisim and cyberterrorism, and the implications to society of cybercrime. In fact, the European viewpoint of the writer helps to add to the debate around some of these issues. There's an interesting section, for example, on cyberwar during the conflict in the Balkans in the late 1990s. Furnell discusses how NATO and Serbian groups used technology to operate a cyberwar "in parallel to traditional warfare approaches".

Hackers aren't the only ones to come under scrutiny - Furnell looks at how governments use similar tactics, citing the controversial ECHELON network.

There's also a section on preventative measures, but if you're after detailed information on preventing attacks you might be better off looking elsewhere. Rather than acting as a manual for securing networks, Cybercrime aims to help readers understand the threats.

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Deanne McIntosh

PC World
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