Fancy Bear Goes Phishing is about the Dark History of the Information Age and tells it by documenting 5 extraordinary hacks. Since hacking and cybersecurity are of interest to me, I was excited to read about these hacks. Some of which were eve before my time – starting with a grad student who accidentally crashed the internet creating one of the first worm viruses. Also interesting was how things got names – viruses, worms, Fancy Bear, etc. All of which is documented in this book.
I was also quite pleased with myself after reading about a hack to T-Mobile that ended up getting Paris Hilton’s data that my website is now better secured than T-Mobile’s was at the time and how easy it was for anyone to get into their database and get the user data stored there. (I’m assuming they know a lot more now than they did in 2005 or thereabouts when the hack was.)
This book is written by a Yale University professor and he has a class at Yale that goes through some of this information as well ( think they’ll let me take it?) and while it is long and there’s a decent amount of tech jargon I didn’t feel lost at all when reading it and found it really broke things down in an interesting and informative way.
I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
An entertaining account of the philosophy and technology of hacking—and why we all need to understand it.
It’s a signal paradox of our times that we live in an information society but do not know how it works. And without understanding how our information is stored, used, and protected, we are vulnerable to having it exploited. In Fancy Bear Goes Phishing, Scott J. Shapiro draws on his popular Yale University class about hacking to expose the secrets of the digital age. With lucidity and wit, he establishes that cybercrime has less to do with defective programming than with the faulty wiring of our psyches and society. And because hacking is a human-interest story, he tells the fascinating tales of perpetrators, including Robert Morris Jr., the graduate student who accidentally crashed the internet in the 1980s, and the Bulgarian “Dark Avenger,” who invented the first mutating computer-virus engine. We also meet a sixteen-year-old from South Boston who took control of Paris Hilton’s cell phone, the Russian intelligence officers who sought to take control of a US election, and others.
In telling their stories, Shapiro exposes the hackers’ tool kits and gives fresh answers to vital questions: Why is the internet so vulnerable? What can we do in response? Combining the philosophical adventure of Gödel, Escher, Bach with dramatic true-crime narrative, the result is a lively and original account of the future of hacking, espionage, and war, and of how to live in an era of cybercrime.