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Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age [Paperback]

John Biggs
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 9, 2004 1590593790 978-1590593790

Homes are becoming increasingly wired and, thanks to Wi-Fi, unwired. Hackers can strike quickly and create disastrous results! These stories and follow-ups are a fascinating insight into the modern threats we all face in the techno jungle. Written by internationally recognized author, John Biggs, this book is an ideal read for anyone who owns a computer and has ever pondered the threats of modern technology.

Black Hat takes a fair and thorough look at the hacking cases that have made the news in recent years. These stories include all the juicy details, like the people behind the hacking, as well as legislative attempts to curtail hacking, cracking, and spam.

Table of Contents

  1. Black Hats: Things That Go Ping in the Night
  2. Y.O.U. Mayhave Alredy 1!: Spam
  3. Deep Cover: Spyware
  4. Shockwave: Worms and Viruses
  5. Dear Friend: Scams
  6. Upload or Perish: Pirates
  7. Breakin: Hacking
  8. Don't Get Burned: White Hats

Editorial Reviews


"Best of all, John Biggs' suggestions for protecting my computer…have made my cyber activities more comfortable and secure." -- Slashdot,, July 20, 2004

A good primer for those who don't know about the dangers that lurk on the Internet. Be careful out there. -- Blog: Scobleizer; July 2, 2004

About the Author

John Biggs is a skilled journalist with seven years of intensive, real-world experience in IT programming and management as well as a Master's degree in business and economic reporting/management. He is an expert in open source software, theory and technical aspects. Among the publications he has written for are: Linux Journal New York Times Laptop Tech Edge PC Upgrade Surge Pittsburgh City Paper In Pittsburgh Alternative Newsweekly

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Apress (June 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590593790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590593790
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,951,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I live in Brooklyn, NY and write about technology, security, gadget, gear, wristwatches, and the Internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, I switched gears and became a full-time journalist. My work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Surge, Gizmodo, Men's Health, InSync, Linux Journal, Popular Science, and Sync.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This is easily one of the best books available today to teach the average person what goes on in the darkest corners of the Internet. Author John Biggs takes the reader on a mind-expanding journey into these areas where questionable characters are more the rule than the exception. Along the way you will learn about port scanning, viruses, spam, spyware, worms, scams, pirates, and hacking. This is one of the very few books that teach the reader what can happen and how to be prepared without becoming a book that teaches malcontents how to become a hacker. This makes it one of the very few books that I could recommend to high schools, youth groups, and adult groups who want to understand the dangers of the Internet.
"Black Hat" is a book that is long overdue for publication. Most books on this subject are too technical for the average reader; this one is the exception. Everyone who surfs the net, for whatever reason, should read a book like this just so they know what can happen. If you are a non-technical user then "Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age" is the best book available today for this purpose. This book should be considered as a gift for friends and family you love that surf the net and need to be safe.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I recently received a copy of Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age by John Biggs from Apress. While the information technology professional might not learn anything new from this book, it will serve as a readable resource to help typical computer users to understand the threat to their well-being when they surf the internet.
The chapter selection is as follows: Black Hats: Things That Go Ping In The Night; Y.O.U MAYHAVE ALREDY 1!: SPAM; Deep Cover: Spyware; Shockwave: Worms and Viruses; Dear Friend: Scams; Upload Or Perish: Pirates; Break In: Hacking; Don't Get Burned: White Hats; Glossary; Selected Reading; Index
Biggs has written a relatively short (158 pages) book that deals with most of the major security risks an average user will face on a regular basis on the internet. For example, the chapter on spam starts off with a real-life scenario involving Alan Ralsky, a well-known spammer. You're then taken back to the early days of the 'net when the first generally recognized piece of spam made its appearance in UseNet. The growth of unsolicted mail is tracked to current day levels, as well as the reasons why spammers do what they do. He even takes a typical piece of spam mail and dissects the headers to show the reader how all is not as it seems in terms of where it came from and how it got to you. The current solutions, along with the pros and cons of each are discussed, in addition to where spam seems to be headed in the future. All this is done in a narrative fashion that stays at a level that is understandable to the average "Joe Computer User".
The chapter on scams is also very valuable for helping people avoid getting fleeced.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any computer user. June 20, 2004
By A Customer
This is security for the rest of us. How do worms work? What can we do to keep our information safe? How can we keep hackers, spam, and spyware off the family computer? This book as answers.
It's fun: there are little stories for each chapter and a lot of helpful info.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview July 7, 2004
This is a very readable journey into the smarmy underside of the Internet. In straightforward, nontechnical prose, it explains the basic ideas behind spam and viruses and worms. Plus ostensibly benign spyware. And outright scams, that are a particularly pernicious subset of spam. Space is given to explaining about the Nigerian 419 and of phishers.
Then there is the explanation of downloading of copyrighted material (usually music). This differs from the others in that here millions actively participate. Whereas the others are pushed out to millions, most of whom decline.
The book is ideal for a person still new to the Internet, and worried about snares. It eshews a sensationalistic or preachy tone.
The only unfortunate thing is that it is pessimistic about defeating spam. The reasons give reflect the current consensus in the antispam field. But a few others, like myself, believe, based on our own works, that spam can indeed be crushed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Black Hat is an excellent, enjoyable read that tells the computer layman just about everything he needs to know about the dangers of online computing. If you've ever used a computer, you'll already be familiar with some of the topics discussed here - spam, viruses, online scams, etc. John Biggs takes you much further into these dire subjects, however, and I can almost guarantee that you will learn something you didn't already know - which is especially good, in that it can translate into better computer security for you. This isn't just a "what they are, what you can do" kind of book, though, as Biggs also takes you some way into the hacker community and lets you take a gander at the kind of mindset that drives all these script kiddies and outright criminals making our online experiences much less enjoyable than they could and should be. Hackers weren't always the spawn of Satan, and you will find a measure of respect in these pages for the hacker purist community, but that reflects the feelings of many computer experts. Your original hacker did it for the challenge, and I daresay software designers learned a great deal from these intellectually-oriented hackers - and what they learned has been incorporated into tighter, more secure software than we would have seen otherwise. There is a difference between these guys and the unscrupulous minds working their scripting magic to bring down networks or steal your personal data. The book ends on a positive note, as Biggs talks about the White Hats out there working silently to offset the dangers posed by today's Black Hats.

The book opens with an illuminating look at spam and some of the Spam Kings making money off what they consider to be a legal business method.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Really not worth it
If you know nothing about computers or have no common sense read this book. If not, do not it's a waste a time. Read more
Published on January 9, 2010 by Michael J. Pece
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable intro for the neophyte
While reading this breezy introduction to the unlikely but inevitable cloak and dagger cyber world of hackers and spammers, encryption and "things that go ping in the night," I had... Read more
Published on June 18, 2005 by Dennis Littrell
3.0 out of 5 stars Book on Security for Novice User
This is a review on a book called Black Hat, Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age.

This is a book on computer security. Read more
Published on January 10, 2005 by Steven Pierce
4.0 out of 5 stars Short introduction to all things malicious
This is a short, but well written, book on the wide variety of nasty things that can harm you when you are on the web; adware, viruses, spam, scams and spyware. Read more
Published on November 6, 2004 by Jack D. Herrington
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Internet Blackguards and Self-Protection
When I set up my first e-mail account, I received an e-mail about every three days. That same account now gets over 150 pieces of spam an hour! Read more
Published on October 18, 2004 by Donald Mitchell
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally good, but uneven
When I first heard the title of Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age, I thought I would be getting an in-depth discussion on how hackers attempt to take... Read more
Published on August 17, 2004 by R. Lodato
2.0 out of 5 stars A book to skip...
The narrative of this book has a condescending voice. I would not recommend it even for a person who had no familiarity with the subject matter handled. Read more
Published on August 8, 2004 by B. Kujala
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