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High-Tech Crimes Revealed: Cyberwar Stories from the Digital Front Paperback – September 6, 2004

ISBN-13: 078-5342218732 ISBN-10: 0321218736 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (September 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321218736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321218735
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,436,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Stories about hacking, stolen credit card numbers, computer viruses, and identity theft are all around us, but what do they really mean to us? The goal of this book, quite simply, is to help educate people on the issues with high-tech crimes.

High-Tech Crimes Revealed: Cyberwar Stories from the Digital Front demystifies the risks and realities of high-tech crimes. Demystifying these crimes and raising the awareness of users of technology will make people smarter and safer, and that will make all of us safer in the long run.

Steven Branigan shares the inside details of real cases he worked on in his various roles in law-enforcement, information technology, and security. The result is a comprehensive, accessible look at how digital crimes are discovered, what techniques the criminals use and why, and (in some cases) how they can be brought to justice.

Inside, you'll find extensive information on

  • Actual hacker investigations, including the harm caused and how the criminals were tracked and caught
  • The ins and outs of identity theft, a rapidly growing crime with potential for serious damage
  • Using the criminology and psychology of hackers to detect and deter attacks
  • The risks associated with various technologies
  • Do's and don'ts for high-tech criminal investigations

This easily understandable book will take you beyond hearing about high-tech crimes to actually understanding how and why they happen—and what can be done to protect yourself.

"Most books on this topic impart knowledge in the form of techniques and methods. This book differs in that it imparts Steven Branigan's experience in the field, and real case studies in which problems are framed and effective solutions are crafted. In this respect this book imparts not only knowledge, but Steve's experience and wisdom as well."

—Mike Tarrani, Independent Consultant

"Steven Branigan provides a gripping account of what's involved in investigating computer crime. I strongly recommend this book to any security practitioner or anyone with an interest in computer security."

—Michael Nickle, Lead Consultant, VeriSign

"Being on the inside of several high-tech busts has given Steven Branigan the ability to make this book intriguing enough to keep high-tech types interested, while also doing a superb job of demystifying these real-life cases in a way that anyone can read and enjoy."

—David Kensiski, Director of Operations, InfiniRoute Networks

"The modern high-tech industry brought new things to our lives. Buying a book, selling a car, or robbing a bank has never been so easy. Why is that? You've got to read this book to find out!"

—Denis Scherbakov, Systems Administrator, MCSA: Security, MCSA, MCP, Security+Atlant Telecom, ISP

"Steven Branigan has been deeply involved with many real incidents of high-tech crimes—some of them I know of are too sensitive to disclose by name. Yet, High-Tech Crimes Revealed gives outsiders an opportunity to find out what actually takes place in this often-misunderstood field. By combining his powerful knowledge of computers and technology with the legal and behavioral considerations that are overlooked by those less experienced, Branigan demonstrates just how much private industry and government need to cooperate in order to find the facts and identify criminals. While his topic is deadly-serious, he conveys his riveting stories with humor and distills observations into clearly understood rules that we all should know as we go about our lives."

—Ed Stroz, Former Supervisory Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Computer Crime Squad in New York and President of Stroz Friedberg LLC

"Steven brings us behind the scenes of some very exciting hacker investigations and interviews, and tells the stories like few others. This book is an exciting read because he describes the people and their actions, showing us how these new-age crimes can affect all of us."

—Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

"Finally, real-life credible stories that deliver first-hand accounts of tactical and strategic high-tech operations. This book is a rare look into what goes on behind the scenes. Take a front row seat with the author as he brings you into a world few have seen."

—Bob Weaver, Retired Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Investigative Division, U.S. Secret Service, Washington, D.C.

"Steve's intellect and real-world experience in criminal investigations, forensic analysis, and security principles is evident on every page. Sprinkle in some sound advice and a bit of humor and you have a book that is interesting, informative, and most of all, useful. I highly recommend it."

—Fred Staples, Retired Director of Computer and Network Security Consulting for Telcordia Technologies

"This book details story after story of computer crimes and identity theft. The best way to prevent yourself from being a victim is to take these narratives to heart."

—Ben Rothke, Senior Security Consultant, ThruPoint Inc.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

About the Author

High-Tech Crimes Revealed: Cyberwar Stories from the Digital Front About the Author

STEVEN BRANIGAN, President of CyanLine LLC, has over 15 years of experience in computer science and forensics. He is internationally recognized as an expert in computer security, and has testified before Congress, qualified as an expert witness for the government and has lectured on network security issues to N.A.T.O., the US Department of Justice and the US Secret Service.

In addition to being a founding member of the NY Electronic Crimes task force with Bob Weaver, Branigan worked as a Senior Manager with Bill Cheswick in Bell Labs Computing and Network Research, and together they subsequently founded Lumeta Corporation. In his "spare" time, he is pursuing his MBA at Columbia University.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 7 customer reviews
High-Tech Crimes Revealed is a great book for management.
Eric Kent
Branigan's writing is humorous and lightly satirical, and makes for an enjoyable read.
Thomas Duff
In this book, case histories covering the range of computer "incidents" are covered.
Charles Ashbacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
I recently finished the book High-Tech Crimes Revealed - Cyberwar Stories From The Digital Front by Steve Branigan (Addison-Wesley). It's a pretty good book, but with a few shortcomings...

Chapter list: An Attack on the Telephone Network; An Attack on an ISP; If He Had Just Paid the Rent; Inside a Hacker Sting Operation...; Identity Theft; Let's Ask the Hackers; Why Do Hackers Hack?; Setting the Stage; High-Tech Crime; What Not to Do; How to Run a High-Tech Case; What Have We Learned; Appendix; Bibliography; Index

There are two types of writing in this book. Up through Inside A Hacker Sting Operation, the focus is on real-life cases that the author was part of. You learn details about how cyber-crime is conducted, uncovered, and prosecuted. The benefit here is that you see the warts and failings of the process instead of the glorified versions as told by security experts. After that chapter, there is less emphasis on stories and more focus on subjects, such as why these things occur and how to conduct an investigation. There are still references to real-life events, but that's less of an emphasis. Branigan's writing is humorous and lightly satirical, and makes for an enjoyable read.

The shortcoming was something I couldn't quite put my finger on until I read the preface. Steve started this book in 1999 and thought he'd be done in early 2002. September 11th threw him off, and he didn't get started again until nearly a year later. So in effect, you have a book on cyber-crime published in 2004 that was largely written between 1999 and 2001. While there are references to events in the recent past, many of the significant stories and examples are vintage 2002 or earlier. In my opinion, it's the only significant flaw in what is otherwise an interesting read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Kent on February 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
High-Tech Crimes Revealed is a great book for management.

The stories are real, written in non-technical language.

Makes for very interesting reading.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bejtlich on September 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Prior to 'High-Tech Crimes Revealed' (HTCR) I read and reviewed 'Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent' (HTOAC). While HTOAC is fictional and written almost exclusively from the point of view of the 'hacker,' HTCR is mostly true and written from the law enforcement perspective. On the strength of the cases described in the first half of the book, I recommend HTCR as an introduction to the mindset needed to pursue and prosecute cyber criminals.

Author Steve Branigan brings a unique perspective to his book. In 1986-7 Branigan was a patrolman in the Seaside Heights Police Department, but three years later he investigated telecom incidents for Bell Communications Research. Later work at Lucent and Bell Labs prepared him for co-founding Lumeta in 2000. His experience with telecom security differentiates the book from those who spend more time on Internet-centric crimes.

I found the first half of the book more helpful than the second half, particularly when legal and criminal concepts are introduced in the context of security investigations. Ch 1 offers insight into drafting search warrants when pursuing a rogue insider. Ch 2 explains subpoenas and executing search warrants. Ch 3 discusses options at trial, like plea bargains. Ch 4 outlines an undercover sting and the role of confidential informants. Ch 5 talks about identity theft and ch 6 describes the author's role in interviewing two 'hackers.'

The first half of the book uses true stories to make its points, but the second shifts more to opinions with short stories added for interest. I skimmed these later chapters as they seemed more appropriate for those without security and forensic experience.

A few excerpts from the book are quote worthy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Few things really change in human society. As computers become more ubiquitous, the criminal elements of society find ways to use them for profit. There is also the teen vandal/joyrider element as well. Young people, traditionally males, have always embarked on "adventures" for thrills and to prove that they can do it. The difference when they use computers is that the consequences are orders of magnitude greater. Formerly, when a young person threw a rock through a window to be obnoxious, the damage was restricted to the window. Now, if a young hacker writes a particularly virulent computer virus, it can lead to worldwide costs in the billions.

The legal systems of the world are struggling to keep up with the technological advancement. The definitions of some fundamental principles of law have had to be substantially modified so that certain actions can be considered a crime. Consider the definition of trespassing. Before computers were ubiquitous, it was the act of physically moving to locations declared off-limits. Now, it also includes the virtual entry into a computer system.

In this book, case histories covering the range of computer "incidents" are covered. Some of them are the computer equivalent of a joyride, where a hacker penetrates a system just to prove that they can do it. Few alterations to the system were done, in many cases they left nothing more than the digital equivalent of a pile of mud in the hall to announce their presence. Other case histories deal with some of the more serious crimes, where money and credit card numbers, the digital equivalent of money, were stolen. I personally would have liked to read more detailed descriptions of these crimes.
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