Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
A well-written and fascinating book
on 4 April 2011
I think that this is a book written without a target audience in mind, just because Poulson felt it needed to be written. If you are already knowledgeable about black hat hacking, you will know a lot of this already. If you are an ordinary computer user, then a lot of the jargon might go over your head.
But it doesn't matter. Poulson writes so engagingly and clearly that, even if some of it is arcane, he can get across the thrill of the chase and into the minds of these amazingly strange and clever people. I had just finished the Millennium trilogy and really didn't believe that the heroine, Salander, could carry out the hacking that she did. Now I know that she could, and how.
The detailed accounts of how the security of banks, national security and retailers were penetrated and data and card details stolen make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. These are organisations that we deal with and give our cards to, such as restaurants and clothes shops. Poulson explains how a combination of software faults, and human laziness and carelessness, make data theft possible. He describes how, to start with, these thefts were covered up and customers told that they were to blame.
I finished up with a mix of feelings. I could not help admire the hackers as they attacked institutions and each other. At times the story had the complexity of a mix of John le Carre and CSI. But then I reminded myself that when my bank calls me to cancel a card, it is people like these who caused it.
As I put the book down I thought that some of the software described is running on my own computers. So guess what? I put an order in for the most advanced version of the free internet security software that I use. No, they probably aren't interested in me, but who knows? I now have a lot of respect for the hackers' skills.
All-in-all a well-written and fascinating book.