Part true crime, part call to arms, Tangled Web: Tales of Digital Crime from the Shadows of Cyberspace
looks over the firewall from both sides to examine the brave new crooks and their pursuers. Author Richard Power, editorial director of San Francisco's Computer Security Institute, is simultaneously engaging and shaky--a rare and lovely combination. Between interviews with hackers and security experts, Power plies the reader with numbers that suggest that the world's networks are swarming with money-sucking leeches, most of which are never even noticed, and certainly not caught. If his voice never quite becomes hysterical, it's to preserve his credibility; after all, Power's Institute needs a strong public awareness of cybercrime in order to stay in business.
This is not to say that Tangled Web is inaccurate or strongly biased. The author gives credit, where it is due, to law enforcement agencies and security consultants who have made some genuine progress in preventing crime and apprehending criminals. Fortunately, it's tough, as of yet, to commit violent crimes over a network, but the reader still will find reason to think twice before glossing over security procedures, even at home. Power provides example countermeasures for all desired levels of connection, value, and privacy; and, while some are out of reach of individuals and smaller businesses, others cost only a little time or convenience. As with health insurance, it's better to take care of it beforehand, and Tangled Web should inspire even the most confident reader to action. --Rob Lightner
"A fascinating account of cybercrime that is packed with previously unpublished material about some of the biggest casesa great read!" -- Dorothy Denning, Professor of Computer Science, Georgetown University