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Stealing the Network: How to Own an Identity [Illustrated] [Paperback]

by Ryan Russell, Riley Eller, Jay Beale, Chris Hurley, Tom Parker, Bri Hatch, Timothy Mullen
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 2005 1597490067 978-1597490061 1
The first two books in this series "Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box” and "Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent” have become classics in the Hacker and Infosec communities because of their chillingly realistic depictions of criminal hacking techniques.

In this third installment, the all-star cast of authors tackle one of the fastest growing crimes in the world: Identity Theft. Now, the criminal hackers readers have grown to both love and hate try to cover their tracks and vanish into thin air. "Stealing the Network: How to Own an Identity" is the 3rd book in the "Stealing" series, and continues in the tradition created by its predecessors by delivering real-world network attack methodologies and hacking techniques within a context of unique and original fictional accounts created by some of the world's leading security professionals and computer technologists. The seminal works in TechnoFiction, this "STN" collection yet again breaks new ground by casting light upon the mechanics and methods used by those lurking on the darker side of the Internet, engaging in the fastest growing crime in the world: Identity theft.

Cast upon a backdrop of "Evasion," surviving characters from "How to Own a Continent" find themselves on the run, fleeing from both authority and adversary, now using their technical prowess in a way they never expected--to survive.

* The first two books in the series were best-sellers and have established a cult following within the Hacker and Infosec communities
* Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the world, and financial loss from identity theft is expected to reach $2 trillion by the end of 2005
* All of the authors on the book are world renowned, highly visible information security experts who present at all of the top security conferences including Black Hat, DefCon, and RSA and write for the most popular magazines and Web sites including Information Security Magazine, and All of these outlets will be used to promote the book

Frequently Bought Together

Stealing the Network: How to Own an Identity + Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box + Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent
Price for all three: $119.82

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris Hurley is a Senior Penetration Tester in the Washington, DC area. He has more than 10 years of experience performing penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and general INFOSEC grunt work. He is the founder of the WorldWide WarDrive, a four-year project to assess the security posture of wireless networks deployed throughout the world. Chris was also the original organizer of the DEF CON WarDriving contest. He is the lead author of WarDriving: Drive, Detect, Defend (Syngress Publishing, ISBN: 19318360305). He has contributed to several other Syngress publications, including Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit (ISBN: 1-5974490210), Stealing the Network: How to Own an Identity (ISBN: 1597490067), InfoSec Career Hacking (ISBN: 1597490113), and OS X for Hackers at Heart (ISBN: 1597490407). He has a BS from Angelo State University in Computer Science and a whole bunch of certifications to make himself feel important.

Product Details

  • Series: Stealing the Network (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597490067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597490061
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,028,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have You Checked Your Childrens' Credit Reports? August 21, 2005
If you have undertaken efforts to protect your identity from theft, have you thought to check on the credit reports of your children? I certainly had not, but this is one of the hidden gems/tips in the just published How To Own an Identity (Raven Adler, Jay Beale, et al, Syngress Press, 2005, 450 Pages, ISBN 1597490067), the third book in Syngress' Stealing the Network series.

While not the best book in the series (I believe the second book, How to Own A Continent, holds this distinction). But it is still a very good read, offering insights into how your identity is not only vulnerable to theft by individual hackers, but how these hackers may be just a pawn in larger attacks by organized crime and other groups. Like the first two books in the series, this book is presented as fiction laced with technical fact and education. The main characters are much the same, but you are given new insights and backstories about them.

You may think you know a lot about social engineering, but this art form takes on new meaning and perspective when you read Chapter 6, "The Java Script Cafe". In fact this chapter provides a good back drop that leads to revelations on how a hacker might turn the tables on the very people they were trying to serve. The book may also make you think twice about how much the government may not be on your side in protecting you identity, whether it be by siding with the companies that buy and sell your information in the marketplace, or even some unnamed agencies that you think are working for you.

It all makes for a very good read, but at the same time it does not flow together as well as the first two titles in the series. This may be a case of just too many authors contributing to one book, which is unfortunate.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How about some proofreaders? January 31, 2006
By Giles
Good story, followed through pretty well from STN:Continent, which I haven't read in quite some time, so I didn't really do much cross-referencing, so take that comment for what it's worth. My two major issues with the book were:

1) Apparent lack of proofing whatsoever. In some cases it appeared that the author had stopped typing mid-sentence and picked up some time later, forgetting what exactly they had said because they had previously stopped typing mid-sentence. (re-read for example) At one point a whole paragraph was in there twice in a row. This sort of thing frazzled me a bit as I was reading it, and took away from the immersion to an extent. Each chapter was written by a different author so this is not a consitant trend through the entire book. There is some good writing in there as well.

2) More story, less technical stuff. This seemed a bit more 'novel-y' than the previous books, I kind of didn't like that aspect of it. That was just me though. Some of it was pretty good though, and a fun read, like the chapter about Knoll Jr. as well as the Blacktower chapter. All-in-all, I'd have to say that I liked the first STN [:box] the best, but that's just me. The cohesiveness of the story between chapters seemed to be better in this one [Identity] than STN:Continent, though.

Overall I give it three stars because I am a grammar nazi but you might enjoy it more. I recommend it if you've read the previous ones.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important info in a somewhat vague storyline... September 18, 2005
The latest installment in Syngress' Stealing series is Stealing The Network - How to Own an Identity by Timothy Mullen, Johnny Long, Raven Alder, Jay Beale, Riley Eller, Brian Hatch, Chris Hurley, Jeff Moss, Tom Parker, and Ryan Russell. The reason there are so many authors is that each chapter is written by a different person with an emphasis on the type of security issues they know best. The net effect ends up being an informative novel with hacking details woven in.

Since this is written in novel form, listing the table of contents wouldn't shed much light on what you're getting in the book. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of technical detail about particular hacks and social engineering attacks. The different writers cover various areas such as encryption and ciphers, hacking personal wi-fi networks to gain identity info, using credit card offers to help build alternate identities, and forensic examination of devices like fax machines and printers to gain knowledge of prior activity.

From a review perspective, I wasn't quite as engrossed in this book as I was with the prior installments. For one, this tries to pick up where Own a Continent leaves off. Many of the characters and incidents in this book got their beginning there. If you could read the two back-to-back, you might find better continuity. As it's been awhile since I read Continent, the story line wasn't as fresh to me as it could have been. Also, the basic storyline is rather vague and hard to follow. I kept thinking that the book was like a "certain type" of movie where the story line is only there to transition between the "action" scenes. While I'm not expecting NYT Top 10 Fiction material, I was hoping for something a little more cohesive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Intriguing but needs a better ending October 13, 2005
Following in the tradition of the previous books of the "Stealing the Network" series and several other O'Reilly computer security books, this installment gives an interesting view of identity theft and how it can be used. The editors assembled a wide range of computer security talent to show the way identity theft can be abused for crime. This work of fiction is closer to truth than you'd wish possible. These sobering tales of computer exploits explains the motto "Control Information, Control Life."

It's a scary thought that this much information (and therefore power) is so easily available online.

The book makes an interesting point about how some people will be secure in protecting their personal information, but then post genealogy information online freely without realizing its value to crackers.

Learning to "know your enemy" in the computer realm requires a pirate's intuition, savvy? Chapter 2 is a neat scenario for creating and cracking codes. My wonder is where did all the money comes from and what was his father up to? Chapter 3 sounds frightfully easy to do - knowledge is power.

The stories are compelling and interesting, arousing both fear and intrigue. This shows how close fiction and real life can be. Parts of the book and the ending are somewhat hard to follow and I found the ending disappointing. Although you get the endgame of the story, it'd like to learn more about the lessons learned from such an experience. In thinking through all these activities, what can be learned for prevention of identity theft for our individual, business, and government responsibilities?

The book doesn't fully address the added possibilities of fraud, cyber stalking, information abuse, blackmail, and spamming that these cyber capabilities allow.
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