A cybersecurity pundit blends memoir and advice in this compact debut book.
With society’s shift to wireless and cloud-based computing, Schober, president and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems, which makes diagnostic equipment for wireless networks, has found a second career helping people thwart hackers. In this volume, he connects with readers on a personal level by sharing his own experiences of being hacked and showcases his authority by chronicling how often he has been sought out by TV and other media, such as after the notorious Target and Sony data breaches. Schober begins with bank account and credit card risks and notes the nontechnical ways that cyberthieves in the workplace steal identities through careless habits, like sticky notes with passwords on monitors. He discusses spam, malware, phishing, and spoofing; different kinds of hackers; and the dark web, where they trade stolen data. Despite these subjects’ technical nature, the author consistently uses plain language geared to novices and writes in a straightforward, conversational style reflecting his considerable public-speaking experience. A good glossary of cyberterms is included. He uses the metaphor of physically securing a home, advocating multiple layers of defenses designed to make thieves move on to easier targets. He emphasizes strong passwords changed regularly and details techniques to apply and avoid in creating them. He suggests substituting gibberish or passwords for security question answers, like school or pet names, which might be guessed or found on social media. He warns readers not to click on links in unsolicited emails. Few of his tips are original, but the author breathes life into his counsel by combining deep technical knowledge, extensive personal experience, and a down-to-earth communication style. Some may find his name-dropping gratuitous, but by placing himself at the center of the fast-paced action, Schober creates a narrative that is more likely to keep readers engaged than typical tech guides—one that pulls together all major cybersecurity threats, details their consequences, and offers practical, preventive actions that are easy to understand and implement.
An engrossing volume about hackers that should cause readers to immediately tweak their passwords.