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FANCY BEAR GOES PHISHING

THE DARK HISTORY OF THE INFORMATION AGE, IN FIVE EXTRAORDINARY HACKS

An authoritative, disturbing examination of hacking, cybercrime, and techno-espionage.

A cybersecurity expert delves into the mechanics, psychology, and impact of computer hacking.

Shapiro, a professor at Yale Law School and director of Yale’s Center for Law and Philosophy and its CyberSecurity Lab, is well situated to explore the downside of the internet. In his latest book, the author looks at some famous cases and players in the shadowy archives of hacking—e.g., when a graduate student accidentally crashed the internet in the 1980s; the invention of the first mutating computer-virus engine by a Bulgarian with the handle Dark Avenger; and Fancy Bear, a group probably affiliated with Russian military intelligence, which broke into the Democratic National Committee system in 2016. Each of these illustrated a technical aspect of hacking, but taken together, they show the breadth of motivations. While some hacks are for money and espionage, most Americans hackers are young men who arrived at it through online game forums and started to do it for the technical challenge and to earn the respect of their peers. This profiling raises the possibility of early identification and recruitment into the cybersecurity side. However, Shapiro believes that hackers will always be a step ahead and that a “constant patch-and-pray” strategy will eventually lose. Instead, writes the author, cybersecurity measures must be built into computer systems from an early stage. As a possible template, he points to recent legislation in California that requires “devices connected to the internet sold or offered for sale in [the state] to have ‘reasonable security features.’ ” Another avenue is to require corporations to report about their policies to manage cybersecurity risks. These are good ideas, but one suspects that the devil will be in the implementation details. Overall, this is an engrossing read, although there are parts that are dauntingly technical. Shapiro gives readers plenty to think about the next time they turn on their computers.

An authoritative, disturbing examination of hacking, cybercrime, and techno-espionage.

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9780374601171

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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THE AGE OF GRIEVANCE

A welcome call to grow up and cut out the whining.

The New York Times columnist serves up a cogent argument for shelving the grudge and sucking it up.

In 1976, Tom Wolfe described the “me decade” as a pit of mindless narcissism. A half century later, Bruni, author of Born Round and other bestselling books, calls for a renaming: “‘Me Turning Point’ would have been more accurate, because the period of time since has been a nonstop me jamboree.” Our present cultural situation, he notes, is marked by constant grievance and endless grasping. The ensuing blame game has its pros. Donald Trump, he notes, “became a victor by playing the victim, and his most impassioned oratory, such as it was, focused not on the good that he could do for others but on the bad supposedly done to him.” Bruni is an unabashed liberal, and while he places most of the worst behavior on the right—he opens with Sean Hannity’s bleating lie that the Biden administration was diverting scarce baby formula from needy Americans to illegal immigrants—he also allows that the left side of the aisle has committed its share of whining. A case in point: the silencing of a professor for showing an image of Mohammed to art students, neither religiously proscribed nor done without ample warning, but complained about by self-appointed student censors. Still, “not all grievances are created equal,” he writes. “There is January 6, 2021, and there is everything else. Attempts by leaders on the right to minimize what happened that day and lump it together with protests on the left are as ludicrous as they are dangerous.” Whether from left or right, Bruni calls for a dose of humility on the part of all: “an amalgam of kindness, openness, and silliness might be an effective solvent for grievance.”

A welcome call to grow up and cut out the whining.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781668016435

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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