[ http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764584685/c4iorg - WK]
By David Emberton
25, August 2005
Spies Among Us asserts that 99% of successful security attacks are
preventable. Author Ira Winkler tests and breaks security for a
living, having gotten his start in undercover work with the US
National Security Agency. He claims that today's victims are often too
caught up with media-hyped boogie men to see who or what is really
The book promises to help us protect ourselves from the world's "super
spies", as well as the burglar next door. Typical recommendations of
installing spyware and virus detection are given, but the advice goes
far beyond locking down a PC -- all information is valuable, whether
it's stored on a computer or not, and yours is there for the taking.
Winkler doesn't propose to eliminate all security threats. Rather, he
gives measured suggestions about assessing risk, deciding the value of
what's likely to be stolen at any given time and then setting security
expenditure accordingly. The ideas work on an individual and company
level, although the focus of Spies Among Us is decidedly corporate.
The book comes in three parts. In the first, Winkler pimps his
experience in the world of espionage to explain how spying works. The
second part features Winkler on safari, stealing nuclear power plans
and other fancy items from his rich clients. The third and final
section gets down to the details of creating and implementing a
security program, in broad but shallow detail.
Probably the weakest aspect of Spies Among Us is the theme of post-911
"terror hype." The publisher had asked that this be de-emphasised for
fear of dating the rest of the material, but apparently the author
didn't listen. However, if you can endure the occasional rant against
popular culture, Winkler's information and stories of true spying are
well worth the cover price and a few quiet evenings.
Local Price: $42.95
Sept 16-18th, 2005
San Diego, California