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The Dark Side of Our Infatuation with New Technologies

by Robert Vamosi

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-465-01958-8
Publisher: Basic

A compelling scrutiny of the ways in which technological enhancements can be exploited for nefarious purposes.

PCWorld contributing editor Vamosi freely acknowledges that “people today can’t live without their technology,” but with that dependency comes a startling amount of consumer vulnerability. He explores many of the ways that cybercriminals track and pilfer personal information after hijacking mobile phones, credit cards, ID card information, passports, bank accounts and automobiles. Among the perpetrators profiled is Czechoslovakian career-criminal Radko Soucek, who began stealing cars as a youth using a pair of scissors and eventually masterminded a method using only his laptop, which soccer pro David Beckham fell prey to after a pair of his BMWs were stolen through their keyless ignition systems in 2005. The opportunities for security breaches expand every day, writes the author. He also examines how technology compromises our personal privacy when “electronic breadcrumbs” stored in places like automobile “black boxes,” mass-transit payment cards laptop hard drives, tollbooths and drivers’ licenses can be used in litigation and marketing strategies. Whereas it would be easy enough to place the blame on flawed technology, Vamosi faults the human innovators of these tools as well for their failure in not designing built-in, preventative security features. He points to user education and awareness as the solution to the conundrum of leaky data systems “to effect wise behavior in order to minimize personal risk.”

An erudite wake-up call.