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TANGLED WEB: Tales of Digital Crime from the Shadows of Cyberspace Hardcover – September, 2000

ISBN-13: 002-9236724436 ISBN-10: 078972443X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 431 pages
  • Publisher: Que Corporation; 1st edition (September 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078972443X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789724434
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,369,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

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"A fascinating account of cybercrime that is packed with previously unpublished material about some of the biggest cases—a great read!" -- Dorothy Denning, Professor of Computer Science, Georgetown University

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. G. Heiser on November 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is very little original thinking or detailed analysis in "Tangled Web." It is a pastiche of sound bites from security experts who are associates of the author. Chapter 2 goes a bit beyond sound bites, but it is still a rehash of other sources, and anyone who is moderately well-read in infosec will find that they have already been over all of this ground.
In addition to the quotes and sound bites, the author makes extensive use of the CSI/FBI survey (Power is the inspiration and driving force behind it). This study was conducted within a self-selecting audience that was expected to ESTIMATE the cost and frequency of the attacks they believe their organization experienced. It may be the best information we have, but it does not really represent a scientifically rigorous survey that can be accepted as providing an accurate understanding of the true cost or extent of computer crime. It looks impressive, but it is also designed to support the common agenda of Power's organization (the Computer Security Institute), and the FBI. Certainly the material is not intended to discourage people from attending CSI workshops.
Besides the lack of rigor in the much-quoted survey, the constant exaggeration of the monetary cost of hack-attack damages is misleading. Power delves into the pseudo-scientific again by using 7 significant figures to report on estimated costs of hacking sprees. I'm no fan of Mitnick, but quoting the inflated loss estimates provided by his victims does not make them fact. I think highly of Marcus Ranum, but he's hardly a cost accountant, so I question using his financial estimates on how much a hack attack costs a victim.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "" on September 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is an absolute "tour-de-force". Not only has the author provided the most complete history of recent (90's) cybercrime and well-informed analysis of the costs to society (and us cyber-consumers!), but he manages to do it with style, movement and even a touch of sardonic humor.
The deep analysis and constant eye towards the "human factor" in cybercrime is powerful and important. The extent to which psychology and organizational behavior guide the development of cybercrime and the sadly "Keystone"-like countermeasures of the majority of organizational cyber-cops/marks is an important lesson. In Chapters 10 and 11, for example, we get a close look at how human frailties and organizational hubris/naivete leave even "techno-savvy" organizations open to massive, needless losses. HR departments around the country should take heart; there will be many off-site training sessions in the offing if corporate America is to secure itself, and slick new hardware/software represent only a fraction of what it's going to take.
When the book moves into the Global and Governmental arena, the full scope becomes almost overwhelming. Luckily the author keeps it moving quickly and presents the information with remarkable clarity/economy given the sheer range of material he's putting together.
This book may not absolutely keep you out of the tangled-web, but at least you'll have some idea of where the stickier strands in your neighborhood are and how to *just maybe* avoid them.
The critical review of the role of the (largely clueless and unknowing) media in the reportage of cybercrime is very welcome. Popular myths and misconceptions have got to go if this problem is to be properly illuminated and addressed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ben Rothke on December 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Back in the 1970s, there was a television show called ScaredStraight, which brought together troubled youths and convictedfelons. The experience was supposed to shock the youths into becomingmodel citizens. In a similar vein, Tangled Web: Tales of DigitalCrime from the Shadows of Cyberspace is a scared straight lesson forcyberspace.
The book details the various types of computer crimes,including "hacktivism," espionage and sabotage, fraud, tradesecret theft, and computer break-ins. Case study after case studyreveals how every element of corporate America is at risk to someaspect of digital crime.
After reading Tangled Web, no manager canhonestly think computer crime could never happen to him orher. Whether it be via the activities of Vladimir Levin, the Russiancybercriminal who stole millions from Citibank, or those of Tim Lloyd,a disgruntled network administrator who caused millions in financiallosses to his employer, in incident after incident author RichardPower shows the reader how we are indeed in the midst of acyberwar.
As corporations rush to get on the informationsuperhighway, security is often neglected to the degree that manyorganizations don't have a position as elementary as chief securityofficer. Tangled Web shows in great detail the effects of excludinginformation systems security from a corporate infrastructure, and itisn't pretty...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SWoolf on September 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book! I didn't know much about digital crime, just what I'd read about the Love Bug and things like that. But I couldn't put this book down!
It talks about the mind of the computer criminal and why people do things like break into computer systems and cause damage, and it tells you how much damage all this costs. But the best parts of the book are where it describes actual computer crime cases, like the one where the Russian broke into the bank and stole millions of dollars, using computers. It also tells you about cases of identity theft and espionage and computer warfare.
What I also liked is that it gives you lots of sources where you can find out more about computer crime, and it includes the laws that apply to these kinds of crimes. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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More About the Author

(Author Photo Credit: @BrennaGeehan)

Richard Power is a writer, speaker and yoga teacher. He offers workshops, classes and private instruction in yoga and meditation. He is the author of nine books.

His blog, Words of Power, now focuses on exploring new language for the truths of the ancient future, and reflects insights into Vajrayana Buddha Dharma, Kashmir Shiva-Sakti philosophy, Hatha and Tantra Yoga, the Shamanic path, and other aspects of the world's collective mystical heritage. It is also a source of commentary on human rights, progressive politics, and vital sustainability issues such as coming to grips with Climate Crisis.

Power's digital stream of consciousness is also accessible via

For much of his life, Power has worked in the fields of security and intelligence. He has delivered briefings and led training in forty countries, and was an adviser to governments and corporations. His views on security, risk and intelligence have been featured in interviews on CNN, PBS, NPR and the BBC, and quoted in mainstream news media, including Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters and Associated Press.

Power grew up in New York City, and lives in San Francisco.