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Secrets of Computer Espionage: Tactics and Countermeasures Paperback – Jun 20 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 20 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764537105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764537103
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 826 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,135,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“…provides insightful details backed up by a wealth of real-life examples….clearly a valuable addition to your bookshelf…” (, May 2004)

“…surprisingly clear given the degree of difficulty of his topic,…we suggest this practical book top managers…” (, May 2004)

"…an informative book which should help keep those defences up and those intruders out…" (PC Utilities, No.39, 2003)

“…will definitely open your eyes…quirky case studies and good coverage of latest technology…” (Internetworks, November 2003)

“…informative…entertaining…next time you go to your local bookseller, locate a copy. I bet you’ll be hooked…” (Linux Journal, 22 August 2003)

From the Back Cover

Is someone spying on you?

You might be surprised

It could be your boss, your competition, or a private investigator, but it could just as easily be a foreign intelligence agent–or the whiz kid down the street. More and more people today want to know what’s on your computer, your PDA, your cell phone, or your wireless network. And as soon as one vulnerable chink in your security is identified and plugged, a new spy tool or method will arise to circumvent the countermeasure.

Joel McNamara takes you inside the mind of the computer espionage artist–amateur or professional–and shows you appropriate defenses for a wide array of potential vulnerabilities.

This is not just another book on network security. This is the book that teaches you to think like a spy, because that’s the only way to outwit one.

  • Analyze your risk of becoming a target of espionage
  • Recognize and lock down the vulnerabilities of instant messaging, Web browsers, e-mail inboxes, and address books
  • Understand where electronic eavesdropping becomes criminal–and where it’s perfectly legal
  • Discover how spies circumvent security measures and learn how to protect yourself
  • Find out how law enforcement recovers evidence from a suspect computer
  • See how a determined spy can compromise the average fax machine, paper shredder, cell phone, voice-mail, pager, PDA, and digital camera
  • Learn how the government uses computer espionage techniques to combat drug lords, organized crime, foreign terrorists, and industrial espionage
  • Explore some of the top-secret national spying projects like TEMPEST, ECHELON, Carnivore/DCS-1000, intelligence-gathering worms and viruses, and what impact they may have on you

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The "Secrets of Computer Espionage" by Joel McNamara unveils what every PC user should know before they hop on to the internet Bandwagon. If you can read this review, then you need to purchase this book. Cyber Crime is the number one precursor to identity theft and the simple thruth is -- Internet Security is YOUR responsibility.
Joel McNamara makes you walk a mile in the bad guys shoes, forcing you to see both sides of the story. You will learn the real threats behind internet worms (such as Sasser) and trojan horses (like MyDoom). Discover why Windows(tm) isn't safe and learn who's after your PII (Personally Identifiable Information).
View the world through the eyes of an internet private eye and see that everything really is an open book, it just depends on where you look. Let Joel be your guide. Buy the ticket, take the ride... then go to [...] and see what's really inside.
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Format: Paperback
Joel McNamara's book is one of the very, very, few books that I classify as a "Must Read" for anyone involved in business or technology. This book does an amazing job of avoiding the "paranoia for paranoia's sake" tone seen so often in computer security books while still taking the issues seriously and discussing them intellegently.
The conversational tone is fun and often quite funny while not making the user feel talked down to. And Mr. McNamara does an equally great job of explaining very complex topics in way that works for both extremely sophisticated computer technology professionals and non-techies alike. I've brought this book around for side-discussions in the seminars I've given since it came out and my students, ranging from small business owners to 30+ year professional tech veterans in Fortune 50s have learned new and important lessons from it. For a book to address all these audiences is rare. For a book to succeed and be invaluable for all of them is virtually unheard of. This book succeeds amazingly well.
I've not only read the book through in one sitting, I keep referring back to it and it's incredibly useful web site on a regular basis.
Joel, thank you for writing one of the key books of the year!
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Format: Paperback
You and your computer face a dizzying array of security threats, writes tech consultant Joel McNamara. Competitors, cops, crooks and even disgruntled kin would love a peek at your hard drive. But don't hyperventilate just yet. If you calmly analyze the desirability and vulnerability of your secrets, you can figure out how to protect yourself. McNamara's prose is surprisingly clear given the degree of difficulty of his topic, and he offers a number of useful sidebars, charts and examples from inside the tech business to juice up his instructional tome. We suggest this practical book to managers charged with protecting corporate data, and to people who are unsure just how safe their computers are.
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By A Customer on Sept. 30 2003
Format: Paperback
Book comes with many urls by different source
that expand on his coverage. One needs to have
an internet connection to review these urls to
fully appreciate the scope and depth that
McNamara attempts bring to this subject. Reading
this books has been slower than normal for me
because I did checkup on the urls - some didnot
work - e.g. the urls that start off with is now
for some reason. The book's strength lies in describing
the tools and the physical environment of electronic
intelligence gathering. However, often the compilation
of security tools often reads off more like a
product description or specification sheet (which
reminds me of the old 8-bit McGraw-Hill Osborne
Microprocessor Handbooks which were more of reprint
of the manufacturers specs than a guide or manual).
The book's coverage of the legal and social
environment of electronic intelligence gathering
is concise and accurate; it is still up-to-date
as far as I know. While the McNamara does
cover extensively the software tools of the trade,
it is basic and falls short in adequately describing
the risk especially with respect to the Internet
and Windows XP/2000/NT. One glaring omission is that
McNamara fails to cover how a ILoveU/Blaster-type
worm can use Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) Services
to completely bypass passwords/firewalls/NTFS
accounts and takeover a Window XP/2000/NT computers
(which happen in mass during July to August of 2003
in the USA ). I like McNamara's use of spy vs.
counter-spy hypothetical examples to describe
how these technologies and methods worked together.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
As co-owner of a small business I read "Secrets of Computer Espionage" with interest, particularly since I thought that running a firewall and virus protection made my system fairly safe from intrusion. Hardly.
Consider the book required reading if you run any flavor of Microsoft Windows and need to keep private information private, and especially if your computers support external data connections (read: internet or external access).
McNamara covers a wide range of possible computer attacks from the mundane to the geeky-obscure. And he discusses the reasonable likelihood of each different type of attack along with how to identify and defend against them.
He also keeps the book common-sense, such as don't invest tens of thousands of dollars in attack-hardened hardware and software if you leave your building unlocked. He talks about physical access restrictions, company security policies, and other considerations regarding the ultimate goal of keeping the contents of your computer system safe - points that some computer security books overlook.
Finally, I love that McNamara injects humor, a conversational tone and many case studies into his book. It turns a potentially dry topic into an enjoyable read.
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