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Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals and Scammers in the Internet Age [Paperback]

John Biggs
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 10 2004 1590593790 978-1590593790 1st ed. 2004. Corr. 2nd printing

Black Hat takes a balanced look at the hacking cases that made the news in the past few years, the people behind them, and the legislation currently in process regarding hacking, reverse-engineering, cracking, and spam.

Homes are becoming increasingly wired and, thanks to Wi-Fi, unwired. Hackers strike quickly and with disastrous results. These stories and follow-ups are a fascinating insight into the modern threats we all face in the techno jungle. Written by an internationally recognized author on computer security, Black Hat is a fun read for anyone interested in the threats of modern technology.

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

John Biggs is a skilled journalist with seven years of intensive, real-world experience in IT programming and management as well as a Master's degree in business and economic reporting/management. He is an expert in open source software, theory and technical aspects.

Among the publications he has written for are:

Linux Journal
New York Times
Tech Edge
PC Upgrade
Pittsburgh City Paper
In Pittsburgh Alternative Newsweekly

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Black Hat is an excellent, enjoyable read that tells the computer layman just about everything he needs to know about the dangers of online computing. If you've ever used a computer, you'll already be familiar with some of the topics discussed here - spam, viruses, online scams, etc. John Biggs takes you much further into these dire subjects, however, and I can almost guarantee that you will learn something you didn't already know - which is especially good, in that it can translate into better computer security for you. This isn't just a "what they are, what you can do" kind of book, though, as Biggs also takes you some way into the hacker community and lets you take a gander at the kind of mindset that drives all these script kiddies and outright criminals making our online experiences much less enjoyable than they could and should be. Hackers weren't always the spawn of Satan, and you will find a measure of respect in these pages for the hacker purist community, but that reflects the feelings of many computer experts. Your original hacker did it for the challenge, and I daresay software designers learned a great deal from these intellectually-oriented hackers - and what they learned has been incorporated into tighter, more secure software than we would have seen otherwise. There is a difference between these guys and the unscrupulous minds working their scripting magic to bring down networks or steal your personal data. The book ends on a positive note, as Biggs talks about the White Hats out there working silently to offset the dangers posed by today's Black Hats.

The book opens with an illuminating look at spam and some of the Spam Kings making money off what they consider to be a legal business method.
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This is easily one of the best books available today to teach the average person what goes on in the darkest corners of the Internet. Author John Biggs takes the reader on a mind-expanding journey into these areas where questionable characters are more the rule than the exception. Along the way you will learn about port scanning, viruses, spam, spyware, worms, scams, pirates, and hacking. This is one of the very few books that teach the reader what can happen and how to be prepared without becoming a book that teaches malcontents how to become a hacker. This makes it one of the very few books that I could recommend to high schools, youth groups, and adult groups who want to understand the dangers of the Internet.
"Black Hat" is a book that is long overdue for publication. Most books on this subject are too technical for the average reader; this one is the exception. Everyone who surfs the net, for whatever reason, should read a book like this just so they know what can happen. If you are a non-technical user then "Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age" is the best book available today for this purpose. This book should be considered as a gift for friends and family you love that surf the net and need to be safe.
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I recently received a copy of Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age by John Biggs from Apress. While the information technology professional might not learn anything new from this book, it will serve as a readable resource to help typical computer users to understand the threat to their well-being when they surf the internet.
The chapter selection is as follows: Black Hats: Things That Go Ping In The Night; Y.O.U MAYHAVE ALREDY 1!: SPAM; Deep Cover: Spyware; Shockwave: Worms and Viruses; Dear Friend: Scams; Upload Or Perish: Pirates; Break In: Hacking; Don't Get Burned: White Hats; Glossary; Selected Reading; Index
Biggs has written a relatively short (158 pages) book that deals with most of the major security risks an average user will face on a regular basis on the internet. For example, the chapter on spam starts off with a real-life scenario involving Alan Ralsky, a well-known spammer. You're then taken back to the early days of the 'net when the first generally recognized piece of spam made its appearance in UseNet. The growth of unsolicted mail is tracked to current day levels, as well as the reasons why spammers do what they do. He even takes a typical piece of spam mail and dissects the headers to show the reader how all is not as it seems in terms of where it came from and how it got to you. The current solutions, along with the pros and cons of each are discussed, in addition to where spam seems to be headed in the future. All this is done in a narrative fashion that stays at a level that is understandable to the average "Joe Computer User".
The chapter on scams is also very valuable for helping people avoid getting fleeced.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview July 7 2004
This is a very readable journey into the smarmy underside of the Internet. In straightforward, nontechnical prose, it explains the basic ideas behind spam and viruses and worms. Plus ostensibly benign spyware. And outright scams, that are a particularly pernicious subset of spam. Space is given to explaining about the Nigerian 419 and of phishers.
Then there is the explanation of downloading of copyrighted material (usually music). This differs from the others in that here millions actively participate. Whereas the others are pushed out to millions, most of whom decline.
The book is ideal for a person still new to the Internet, and worried about snares. It eshews a sensationalistic or preachy tone.
The only unfortunate thing is that it is pessimistic about defeating spam. The reasons give reflect the current consensus in the antispam field. But a few others, like myself, believe, based on our own works, that spam can indeed be crushed.
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