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When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of Our Infatuation with New Technologiesby Robert Vamosi
Synopses & Reviews
Technology is evolving faster than we are. As our mobile phones, mp3 players, cars, and digital cameras become more and more complex, we understand less and less about how they actually work and what personal details these gadgets might reveal about us.
Robert Vamosi, an award-winning journalist and analyst who has been covering digital security issues for more than a decade, shows us the dark side of all that digital capability and convenience. Hotel-room TV remotes can be used to steal our account information and spy on what we've been watching, toll-booth transponders receive unencrypted EZ Pass or FasTrak info that can be stolen and cloned, and our cars monitor and store data about our driving habits that can be used in court against us.
When Gadgets Betray Us gives us a glimpse into the secret lives of our gadgets and helps us to better understand--and manage--these very real risks.
"PCWorld's Vamosi offers a solid analysis of just how deeply technology can be used to gather personal information about us without our awareness, a scenario more alarming than we can imagine. His thoroughly researched look at the products being used in many unintended ways, and unintentionally, by their owners is exhaustively detailed: how auto antitheft technology can be used to help car thieves; how mobile phone conversations can be intercepted without our knowledge; how 'black box' data recording technology in automobiles as well as 'in our digital cameras, our photocopiers, and even those convenient toll-booth bypass gadgets on the freeway' can be used by companies to surreptitiously gather personal information. Vamosi's goal is to shock, but he also argues that, in certain cases, such as data-mining health information, 'electronic data can sometimes be better at telling us what is happening in the world around us than our own senses.' But overall, he convincingly shows how and why we need to 'scrutinize the gadgets we now take for granted, and view with suspicion new gadgets that come our way.' (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Book News Annotation:
Writing in plain language for general readers, Vamosi, a computer security analyst and a contributing editor at PCWorld, explains what we're really signing up for when we log in and reveals the secret lives of our electronic devices, offering a commonsense approach for protecting ourselves. The book is about hardware hacking and new kinds of identity fraud: how our mobile phone conversations can be intercepted, how our credit cards and driver's licenses can be copied at a distance. The author travels from the streets of New York and LA to Johannesburg and Berlin, to talk to people who have experienced firsthand how gadgets can betray us and to examine the effects of technology in the Third World. He recommends the addition of basic authentication and strong encryption to most hardware to reduce the vulnerabilities described in the book, but notes that hardware manufacturers have so far shown little interest in securing their gadgets. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
All those new gadgets that you can't live without? They're giving away your secrets.
About the Author
In addition to being a security analyst for Javelin Strategy and Research, Robert Vamosi is a contributing editor at PCWorld and a security blogger for Forbes.com. He lives in northern California.
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