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Steal This Computer Book 4.0: What They Won't Tell You About the Internet 4th Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 068-9145710502
ISBN-10: 1593271050
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If ever a book on cyberculture wore a fedora and trench coat and leaned against a lamppost on a foggy street, this is the one. It is an unabashed look at the dark side of the Net--the stuff many other books gloss over. It's hard-edged, wisecracking, and often quite cynical as it pours over the reality of online scams, illegal activities, and simple annoyances.

Wang's stated goal is to open the reader's eyes about what's really there. He shows what's being done, how it's being done, and how to avoid problems or even strike back. He begins with a chapter about the news media, and his message is that no source is to be trusted completely. He examines issues important to Internet users: the cost of getting computerized (with tips on how to find the real bargains), who is using the Internet as a source of hate information, and how your privacy can be invaded and protected.

He shows you the secrets of malicious hackers and others and how some of them attack computer systems without the ethical mindset typical of the original, idealistic hackers. Wang shows you how you can set up your defenses against such an onslaught, discussing how to protect yourself and your kids from online stalkers and how online con games work.

Wang never claims that the Internet is the electronic den of darkness that the pop media make it out to be. But he makes it clear that something this big has its lowlights--it's own "net noir." His messages are "know your enemy" and "be careful who you trust," an ideology verified by the examples he provides. --Elizabeth Lewis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A technology classic that is as entertaining and irreverent as it is informative." -- MacDirectory, Summer/Fall 2006

"Could be VERY useful for the IT consultant . . . who needs a better understanding of security and the world of hackers." -- Small Business News, May 21, 2006

"This book has some of the best information about protecting yourself, your family and your computer . . . almost as compelling as a good novel." -- Kickstart News, September 2006
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 4 edition (April 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271053
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Overall this is a good book. The first part is sorta stupid, though. It talks mainly about how not to only listen to one person but to get information from multiple sources. It could be summed up in about a page.
Chapter 4 talks about buying computers and software. It helped me out by giving me some tricks to do next time I buy a computer.
Chapter 5 tells you about keeping your files secure with encryption. It tells you about some different types of encryption algorithms and how to write your own encryption programs. It also shows you how to play some dirty tricks. It talked about using anonymous remailers to send anonymous email and talked about just how anonymous they were. It even told you how to surf the web anonymously so that people couldn't receive information about your computer, browser, and more.
Chapter 6 told about phone phreaking history such as captian crunch. Wallace then goes on by telling you possibly things that could've happened but didn't. When telling these stories he tries to make himself sound like a phreaker but he didn't even do anything. Then, he tells your some really obvious stuff like "To start phone phreaking, you need access to a telephone." and "phreaking from your own phone will let the telephone company trace it to your house." I don't know if he couldn't think of anything else or he thinks you are really stupid. After that, he talks about phreaking color boxes and then goes on to voice mail hacking. Then, he talks about cellular phone fraud and tv satellite descrambling.
Chapter 7 talks about defeating windoz 3.1/95/98 screen saver passwords which if you ever tried you should've done it on the first or second try.
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Format: Paperback
"Steal This Computer Book" is a good introduction to the existence of the dark side of computing, but there's not a whole lot here for the advanced user. Some chapters just seem to be lists of reference material (URLs, mostly); others provide some in-depth info on specific topics. If you're looking for a "how-to" guide, this is not the book for you. The final chapter, "Hostile Java Applets," contains the entire code of three such applets, but has no explanation of how they work -- if you don't already know Java, this chapter will do almost nothing for you. It has the feel of an author who has some basic knowledge of the subject, and has read some other books or articles on the topic, but then went and found some things and just pasted them into his book. The section on phreaking is the same way. My advice? Buy this book, read it all the way through and copy down all the URLs, and then return it. Even advanced users (like, I daresay, myself) will have gained some additional perspective on certain matters, though a good amount of the material needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Newbies certainly should read this book, to gain at least a basic groundwork of knowledge (if not understanding) about the topics presented herein.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that never quite turns out as good as I hoped it would be... Steal This Computer Book 4.0 : What They Won't Tell You About the Internet by Wallace Wang. It tries to cover a lot of ground, and as a result it's not as focused as it should be...

Contents:

Part 1 - The Early Hackers: The Hacker Mentality; The First Hackers - The Phone Phreakers; Hacking People, Places, and Things

Part 2 - The PC Pioneers: ASNI Bombs and Viruses; Trojan Horses and Worms; Warez (Software Piracy)

Part 3 - The Internet Hackers: Where The Hackers Are; Stalking A Computer; Cracking Passwords; Digging Into A Computer With Rootkits; Censoring Information; The Filesharing Networks

Part 4 - The Real World Hackers: The Internet Con Artists; Finding People On The Internet; Propaganda As News and Entertainment; Hacktivism - Online Activism; Hate Groups and Terrorists on the Internet

Part 5 - The Future - Hacking For Profit: Identity Theft and Spam; Banner Ads, Pop-Up Ads, and Search Engine Spamming; Adware and Spyware

Part 6 - Protecting Your Computer and Yourself: Computing On A Shoestring - Getting Stuff For (Almost) Free; Computer Forensics - The Art Of Deleting and Retrieving Data; Locking Down Your Computer

Epilogue; What's On The Steal This Computer Book 4.0 CD; Index

This book has been around for quite a long time, and it's gone through a number of revisions (the 4.0 in the title). The earliest reviews of this book are from mid-1998, and in some areas it looks like the book has never been updated. Part of that is the historical nature of the material he's covering, and I'm sure there's a number of readers trying to figure out what MS-DOS is.
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Format: Paperback
Sheesh the reviews are so harsh for this book it's amazing that a new edition was even published!!

This book is kind of a mish-mash of lots of different topics. While it's not as bad as these reviews make it out to be, it's not that good either. Even the title of the book gives no indication what this text is about. To summarize, I would say that this book talks about the Internet in general, and all the shady aspects of it. File sharing via P2P applications, banner ads, OEM software for sale, finding wireless networks... basically if you want to learn more about the dark site of the Internet and how you can use (or be used) it to your ad/disadvantage, this book is a fun read.

Overall I cannot recommend this due to a writing style which is subpar and no clear-cut direction of what the author is looking to achieve.

Real the other reviews and make your own assessment. It's not that bad, but just because the title is (kind of) creative and the cover is black, that doesn't necessarily make this book good.

***
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