Steal This Computer Book 4.0: What They Won't Tell You About the Internet Paperback – May 21 2006
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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 alternate Paperback edition.
...an intriguing book that outlines many of the secrets of hackers scammers, spammers and others....If you are a frequent user of the Internet you won't be able to put this book down. Steal This Computer Book is immediately fascinating and alarming. -- The Tampa Tribune, August 1998
If you're smart, and you work on the Internet, you'll get [Steal This Computer Book] before that teen-aged computer geek down the block does....If you, as a citizen of the Internet, are going to walk these electronic streets alone, then you had better be armed. -- Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 1998
This book is not going to make a lot of people very happy--and it's going to make a lot of others very nervous....It tells you how hackers, phone phreakers and other online misfits wreak the havoc they cause--and fives you enough information to let you do so yourself -- Houston Chronicle, August 1998
When it comes to computer security, Steal this Computer Book: What They Won't Tell You About the Internet reminds us that sometimes the best defense is a good offense. -- Midwest Book Review, September 1998 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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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. It also talks about cracking program passwords and then it goes on to defeating parental control software. If you can't access certain web pages, Wallace tells you how by having the html code emailed to you. He also shows you how to read banned books in secret.
Chapter 8 talks about harassing online services, how pedophiles stalk innocent children and what you can do to stop them. He tells you about generating fake credit card numbers and making your own online harassment program.
Chapter 9 talks about stopping spam. It shows you multiply ways to take revenge on spammers. If the spammer used a forged email address, Wallace shows you how to track down the spammer like two magnets attracting each other.
Chapter 10 shows some pictures of acctual hacked web sites and how to hack them.
Chapter 11 shows you how to track people down by using specific things about them. For example if you only had their SSC# how you could still find them no matter where they were. At the end of the chapter, he shows you how to hide yourself if you don't want to be tracked down or how to let someone easily find you if, for example, you gave your child up for adoption years ago and you don't want to contact him/her but you do want to let them find you if they ever wanted you.
Chapter 12 shows you about ConGames on the Internet. It shows you how to do them and how to protect yourself from them.
Chapter 13 Viruses Part I. ( I heard that the plural form of virus is exposed to be virii, just like the plural form or fungus is fungi but in the book it is written viruses so that's how I will spell it.)
This chapter expains what viruses are, the parts of them, how to tell if you have a virus on your computer, the different infection methods, if all viruses are bad and how to learn more about them.
Chapter 14 Viruses Part II.
This chapter shows the different methods of how an antivirus program works and what to do if you find a virus ( If you say any idiot knows that if you find one you should delete it, but you could also send it in to an antivirus program if you think it is a uncommon virus, keep a copy of it, modify the virus and make a new one and many other things.)
Chapter 15 tells you about writing your own computer virus. Wallace also tells you to watch out because viruses sometimes attack their own creators. He tells you some true things about antivirus companies like how they hire virus writers to help them detect viruses (makes sense, doesn't it) and how that their isn't any evidence of this, but that they may hire the virus writers to write a virus that only they have the antidote for so people will buy their program to detect it.
Chapter 16 is about Java applets. I haven't read all of it but so far so good.
Appendice A is the glossary with a decent amount of terms covered in the book. I really haven't used it too much because I never needed to.
Appendice B is Visual Basic 3.0 ( a very easy programming language that I suggest you learn ) source code for altering Mega$hack. A program he discusses in 12. ( it is used by cons but he alters it so they get a taste of their own medicine.) The source code is written on the page so you will have to type it into your Visual Basic Compiler.
Appendice C is about additional resources. It is compiled of online magazines, webpages, hacker conventions and more.
Summary: This book is for you if you are interested in the above things. The websites and newsgroups in the book lead to nothing except for a few like metacrawler that he obviously was paid to advertise for. If you are still unsure after unreading all the reviews, go to a local bookstore and see if they have this book there. If they do then look at it, see if you like it and if so, compare the prices of Amazon plus the shipping and time to the prices of the bookstore. I hope that this review helped you because I know what it is like to have one person rate it 5 stars and another person rate it 1 star. Sinse this is a pain, I figured that instead of giving my opinion, I would tell you what the book had in it.
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. The central theme of the book is "hacking", but there are areas where he strays into areas that I've not traditionally put in that category. Getting free stuff like email accounts and blogs? Censoring information? Hate groups? Even in the areas that I *do* consider more "hack-like", like file-sharing networks, he leaves out any mention of BitTorrent. Granted, there's a reference to the Steal This File Sharing Book, but still... It just seems that the information is a bit eclectic and rather "hit or miss" at times.
But even having said that, there is a guilty pleasure in reading this book. It's similar to reading about the seamy underbelly of your local city... you know it's there, you don't condone it, but you have a hard time averting your eyes when you drive by. And there are some things that I didn't know... like services that will email you requested web pages so as to avoid http logging.
So... I don't know that you'll get a lot out of it if you've been around computers for any length of time. It's still a fun read, and you can scan the areas that don't quite hold your interest...
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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