Cybercrime and Espionage

Authors: Will Gragido and John Pirc
Pages: 272
Publisher: Syngress
ISBN: 1597496138

Introduction

Cybercrime and espionage are topics that I always enjoy reading about. I was primarily interested in how the authors combined these two seemingly different worlds into one concept and was curious to see the prime focus of the subversive multivector threats (SMT) mentioned in the title.

Inside the book

The authors, seasoned experts in the information security field with obvious intelligence insights, provide the readers with an interesting overview of the current biggest issues surrounding non-state and state sponsored attacks, showing the inner workings of both the yin and yang in this never ending story.

Don’t expect anything too technical, as the content primarily centers on higher level topics, but you’ll also find some “lower level” information on Onion Routers, specific drive-by download malware concepts, as well as some notable tools and attack methods.

Early in the book the authors mentioned the laughable marketing bastardization of APT (Advanced Persistent Threats), so I was curious to see their take on this hot item in the industry. Both of them mostly agree with Richard Bejtlich and his insightful description of APTs, but go further and focus on SMT. This type of “one step further” threats are maybe new in both taxonomic and practical terms, but at the same time they represent issues that have plagued humanity (in some form) since our earliest days.

By going into details with subversive multivector threats, the authors focus around seven commonalities – reconnaissance, infiltration, identification, acquisition, security, extraction and delivery. Information provided in all of these areas resembles a storyline of a innovative techno thriller movie, but on the other hand, we’ve seen it in action in cases such as the Stuxnet one.

The book also contains a fair share of real world stories ranging from early espionage in U.S., over the legendary Robert Hanssen (the techno spy that was just in it for the money and was active for 22 years) to new happenings such as Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks.

Final thoughts

Overall, this was a really interesting reading material. The authors managed to provide a fresh perspective on the intricacies surrounding modern cyber crime of today, but have not neglected the “big picture”.




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