Joined: 05 Feb 2004
Location: CT, USA
|Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:42 am Post subject: Book Review - Cyber Spying
Cyber Spying: Tracking Your Family‘s (Sometimes) Secret Online Lives
Author(s): Ted Fair, Michael Nordfelt, Sandra Ring & Dr. Eric Cole
Publisher: Syngress www.syngress.com
Date Published: March 2005
Book Specifications: Softcover 448 pages
Publisher's Suggested User Level: Not Rated
Reviewer's Recommended User Level: Beginner to Advanced
Suggested Publisher Price: $39.95 US / $57.95 CDN / L22.99 UK
Amazon.com: Cyber Spying
Amazon.co.uk: Cyber Spying
Blurb from back cover:
|Uncover the Threats Lurking in the Darkness of Your Family’s Computer
Many people have no idea of the evils that exist across the Internet or the danger that can result from simply answering an innocent-sounding e-mail or participating in a chat. Your loved ones could unknowingly be putting themselves in grave risk. By using the tools and techniques in this book to check up or spy on them, you can identify the perils, educate your loved ones about impending danger, and avoid potential physical, emotional, or financial disasters. This book was written to help make the Internet safe for families and friends; to raise awareness of the inherent dangers of the Internet; and to help parents keep their children out of trouble.—Dr. Eric Cole
One of the realities of modern life is that many of us use the computer. And we use our computers for a variety of reasons, both aboveboard and nefarious. Likewise, our children, spouses and “significant others” do as well. During such usage, most of us leave tracks behind that others can view, if they know how.
Cyber Spying aims to give us the tools to look at the tracks left in the computers of those around us. While there is controversy relating to whether or not this should be done, the authors allege that there are situations that call for this type of investigation. For example, in cases of marital infidelity, finding out the truth can literally be a matter of life and death. The authors even cite an instance where parents discovered information that lead them to believe that their son meant to cause Columbine-style damage at his school. The authors maintain that these are valid reasons to look into someone’s online activities & computer usage.
Cyber Spying presents a wealth of information on the ways in which someone’s computer usage can be tracked. The first chapter, entitled “Why Spy?” presents some very valid arguments (as stated above) in favor of invading someone’s privacy. The authors also point out instances in which spying on someone else becomes unethical, illegal or simply not worth the trouble.
In the second chapter, entitled “Spying Basics”, the authors give us an overview of how to plan spying activity. They give tips on evaluating the risk involved, conceiving the spying strategy and even give tips on how to confront the individual being spied upon. Using cyber spying as a deterrent is mentioned also.
The next few chapters, “ Technology Overview: Computer Basics” and “Network Basics”, cover the basics of computers in a manner that would be enlightening to even a novice. From that point onward, the authors move on to the meat of the book.
Next we learn ways to spy on the information host on the computer itself, web browsing, email, chat and instant messaging as well as some more advanced techniques for gathering data. The authors use a myriad of tools, mostly freeware and walk the user through the setup and usage of each of the tools. For example the authors go into detail on the following tools (not an exhaustive list by any means): Ethereal, Best Free Keylogger, Packetyzer, Snort, OWNS, UltraVNC, Protected Storage Explorer and Google Desktop Search. The authors also cover the information accessible from the target’s cell phone.
The last chapter is one that would naturally lead out of the vulnerabilities discussed in the preceding chapters: “Counterspy: Are you being watched?”. In this chapter the authors discuss ways to avoid being targeted by the methods learned in the previous chapters, including the use of cryptography, stenography and virtual machines to keep your information private.
Style and Detail
This book is well written in a very entertaining style. In spite of the varying levels of writing in this book, the reader’s attention is held throughout. I found myself as interested in the discussion about the hard drive as I was about the uses of OWNS. Even the more technically challenging sections are easy and enjoyable to read.
There are numerous screenshots throughout the text, which certainly would come in handy for someone new to these programs. They are well chosen and illustrate the chosen points made in the text.
There are blocks of text set aside from time to time entitled “Tips and Tricks” and “ Notes from the Underground” that add valuable information to the text.
Cyber Spying is well organized, and the information inside progresses in a natural fashion. It is presented in such a way that even a novice to computers would be able to follow most of the discussion, while someone more advanced would still find it entertaining.
This book is a joy to read and is presented in a very professional manner. Due to the topic, it would be easy for a book such as this to present itself in a less than professional manner. At no point did the authors stray from a professional stance, and in fact they give some very sound advice on whether or not to spy on others.
The technical aspects are covered very nicely. The applications discussed are covered well and explained enough so that the user can complete their objectives. Naturally, no application is given full coverage, as to do so would be to lengthen this book dramatically. The variety of freeware mentioned in this text is enlightening.
If only to highlight the ways in which our personal information is vulnerable, this book is great reading material. I highly recommend it.
This book receives an honored SFDC Rating of 10/10.
Keywords: cyber spying
This review is copyright 2005 by the author, Sarah Zalewski, and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.
Last edited by meeeeeeeeee on Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:51 am; edited 2 times in total