on August 11, 2001
Most of those now negatively described as hackers are in their teens. Relatively unskilled in both the computer and personal areas, they use simplistic means to break into systems and are often caught. Frequently as a result of bragging about their exploits. In vying for attention, they fail to understand that the computer equivalent of joyriding is a very serious crime. No one knows how much the latest outbreak of a computer virus cost, but some estimates are in the hundred of millions of dollars.
This book is written for teens and is designed to give them fair warning concerning the consequences to both themselves and society if they choose to follow the hacker path. The point is to get the reader to understand where the ethical and legal bounds of computer use are. In that sense, the point is good, but it is not effectively executed. Very little time is actually spent in the gray areas of computing. No one can dispute that disabling an air traffic control system is dangerous behavior. How about middle ground such as playing a joke on another by using their e-mail address without their knowledge? Such more likely situations are not adequately covered.
The purpose of this book is an honorable and necessary one. However, it is written more for the pre-teen age and more ink should have been used setting down the limits of hacking. The user sophisticated enough to be able to hack would find the explanations in this book too simplistic to be of interest.
on April 7, 2000
This book is an excellent guide for my students. It explains many complex subjects in an simple manner. This book will stay a fundamental part of my schedule. I strongly recommend it for 4-6th graders, it provides a reference while keeping reading interesting. Way above any other book on this subject for this grade level. If you are unhappy with it, you are probably too old to be reading it in the first place.