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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Inside Internet Security - What Hackers Don't Want You to Know
Author:
Jeff Crumme
ISBN:
0-201-67516-1
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Pages:
270pp
Price:
£30-99
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
security
Appeared in:
16-6
This was going to be one of four types of book: lots of technical detail and code fragments for programmers or sensational stories of the type found in the popular press. It could have dived off deep in to maths of algorithms and ciphers. Fortunately it is the fourth type - a sane sensible look at network security for managers.

I know it says Internet security but these days the Internet is just an extension of a normal office network. At one time viruses were spread on floppy disks, now the vast majority get on to the PC either directly from the Internet or across the office network.

The book has no source code, no maths or protocol bits and bytes. What it does have is a non-sensational look at who hackers are, why they do it and what sort of holes there are. Most importantly, it tells you how to go about stopping them. Well actually it does point out you cannot stop hackers. So there are constant warnings that all you can do is minimise the risks and never get complacent. This is strategy and management rather than how to use specific software or systems.

Interestingly this book is going to make you see that antivirus software and firewalls are not infallible. You cannot just fit them and relax contented that you are safe. Then again it is not full of "scare stories" It is balanced, reasoned and at a level that most managers (technical or non-technical) are going to understand the problems and the solutions in general without getting demoralised or thinking it is easy.

Whilst the book has a slight US bias it is not a problem and everything should apply in most countries and hackers are of course international as on the 'net all geographical places are the same place.

There is the obligatory section on cryptography, public keys etc. and a very useful section on VPN, which is something, many companies now use and many do not for the exact same reasons!

This is by far the most dispassionate and well-balanced book I have come across in this subject. It handles a subject that is both precise yet very nebulous and riddled with myths in a way that lets you see clearly and assess the risks without panic. I recommend it for all non-technical managers... actually all managers, I bet half the technically astute managers do not know the realities of the myths etc.