An alarming view of the burgeoning dark side of the Internet.
“We are now entering the great age of digital crime,” warns Goodman, a former police detective–turned–cybercrime consultant and founder of the Future Crimes Institute. In this highly readable and exhaustive debut, he details the many ways in which hackers, organized criminals, terrorists and rogue governments are exploiting the vulnerability of our increasingly connected society. “[W]e’ve wired the world,” he writes, “but failed to secure it.” Noting how easy it is to hack into computer systems, most notably smartphones, Goodman first describes the present era of digital crime, from cyberattacks on companies (Target, Sony) to the failure to protect information by data brokers and social media to the growth in identity theft (13 million Americans affected annually) to digital surveillance, cyberstalking and hate crimes. Most companies are hacked regularly and cannot detect it; when they find out (from customers or police), they often try to hide the loss of data. “What most people do not understand…is that any data collected will invariably leak,” writes the author, and the worst is yet to come. The online world’s exponential growth is creating new opportunities, with easy profits and little detection, for sophisticated cyberunits of organized crime. The rise of the Internet of Things (chips and sensors in everyday objects, from cars to homes) will allow criminals to wreak havoc on such newly emerging technologies as robotics, 3-D manufacturing, synthetic biology and artificial intelligence. There will be no way to protect against hacking of baby cams, GPS systems, imbedded medical devices, drones, assembly lines, personal care bots and other objects, some 50 billion of which will join the global grid by 2020. Goodman suggests solid actions to limit the impact of cybercrimes, ranging from increased technical literacy of the public to a massive government “Manhattan Project” for cybersecurity to develop strategies against online threats.
A powerful wake-up call to pay attention to our online lives.