YOUR SAFETY AND PRIVACY ONLINE

THE CIA AND NSA

A concise and practical, if peripatetic, single-volume cybersecurity manual.

A brief but comprehensive guide to cybersecurity for the technically unsophisticated. 

Debut author and cybersecurity professional Bjarnason says that he observed, in his capacity as an information-technology worker, a “severe lack of training” regarding online safety on the part of the “average computer user.” He created this manual to provide an accessible introduction for that sizable and vulnerable class. For a brief volume of well under 200 pages, it covers a broad range of subjects, including what to consider when using shared computers and when to use multiple email accounts, as well as more technical topics, such as the distinction between synchronous or asynchronous encryption. Still, the book is clearly aimed at amateurs; at one point, for instance, the author provides a lucid analysis of the different parts of a URL (“a fancy term for a web address”). At the heart of his strategy is rational caution—a “skeptical mindset” that meticulously vets every situation for potential danger but stops short of paranoia. “Critical thinking skills play a pivotal role in your online safety, as you may have noticed already,” he writes. In short: “If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it.” Overall, Bjarnason employs an informal and even cheeky style: In the service of demonstrating the power of clickbait, for example, he explains that his book’s subtitle is deceptively sensationalistic: “NSA,” in this case, stands for “network secure architecture,” he says, and “CIA” for the “triad” of “confidentiality, integrity, and availability.” In the end, the author largely delivers what he promises—a useful, sensible primer for the uninitiated on an essential and woefully esoteric subject. That said, the book lacks a clear organizational plan, meandering from subject to subject. It also lingers on subjects of limited practical value; for example, a discussion of threat modeling will be all but useless to Bjarnason’s target audience. His prose, though, is consistently transparent, and his expertise is beyond reproach, as he has decades of experience in the IT industry.

A concise and practical, if peripatetic, single-volume cybersecurity manual.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73330-683-6

Page Count: 187

Publisher: InfoSecHelp

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2020

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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