It's Time to Beef Up Your Cyber

Jon Foro on July 20, 2018

I miss the days when the term "bad actor" was mostly useful in a thespian context, but that is no longer the world in which we live. Technology continues to move too fast for us to understand its consequences; we can't see around every corner, and sometimes villains await. While foreign powers might not be coming for your emails (I guess that depends on who you are; I have no idea), there are plenty of other shady characters out for your credit card numbers, bank accounts, and your very identity. The vectors for potential attacks seem to grow exponentially every year, and those are just the ones we hear about. Here are three books—all reasonably paranoid—with plenty of practical advice that will help you batten down the digital hatches at home, work, and the spaces in between.  

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Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World by Bruce Schneier

If you think this title is hyperbolic, you don't know who Bruce Schneier is. Wired called him "one of the world’s foremost security experts," and for decades he's been the go-to for opinions on everything from the internet to the TSA. He is one of the designers of the Twofish encryption protocol and the author of several books on cryptography and data security. With Click Here to Kill Everybody, Schneier describes the Internet of Things, where everything from your toaster to your camera to your car is now connected—and anything connected can be hacked and overtaken. This is terrifying! Fortunately, Schneier provides the context and advice for governments, businesses, and individuals to make (at least) informed decisions about the trade-offs between convenience and security. (Click Here won't be available until September 4, but in the meantime, check out Data and Goliath, another Schneier concoction of future shock and practical advice that will have you strengthening your passwords and deleting your social media accounts.)

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The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick

In The Art of Invisibility, "the world's most famous hacker" (with the rap sheet to prove it) lays out the basics for the all of us, covering everything from password management for average surfers to more extreme measures for the "anally retentive privacy activist," including strong email encryption, secure messaging apps, and anonymous Web browsing. (Unsure which camp you're in? Ask yourself if you've ever laundered Bitcoin.)  

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Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World by Marc Goodman

When your C.V. includes titles like "futurist-in-residence with the FBI," you've seen the rats in the internet pipes, and in Future Crimes Goodman brings the digital nightmares one after another at an almost breathless pace. But he also aims to educate, offering practical layman's advice for buttoning down your data. The only quibble is with the title, which implies a coming threat. The threat is here, and the future is now. 

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