Hacker how-to good summer reading

Friday, 27 June 2003, 12:25 PM EST

Stealing The Network: How to Own the Box, a compendium of tales written by well-known hackers, is a perfect summer read. The stories are fictional. The technology and techniques described are very real.

A warning: Those who believe in the theory of "security through obscurity" -- keeping information on hacking techniques under wraps so that fewer people might exploit them -- probably will be infuriated by this book.

Each chapter details not only the methods used to hack and counterattack, but also explains the thought processes hackers use to carry out assaults on computer systems and people.

The result is a fascinating look at the tedious and occasionally brilliant mental discipline of hacking. But it is a book that wanders close to what some might consider the ethical edge. Some security experts said that even though Stealing the Network is legal, it isn't right to provide detailed information on hacking to anyone who is willing to spend $50 on the book.

"We take a rather dim view of teaching folks about hacking," said Chris Wraight, a technology consultant at security firm Sophos. "To us, this serves no practical end; if anything, it greatly facilitates the real apprentice hackers out there in terms of speeding their learning curve."

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Visit the Reviews section to get more interesting books to read this summer.


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