Home > Computer Security > Does my book do more harm than good?

Does my book do more harm than good?

Click here to learn more about my book

The first time I discussed writing a book about the shortcomings of computer security with one of my bosses, we were having lunch in a Chinese restaurant eating won ton soup. After describing the book’s contents, a look of concern washed over his face.

“Are you sure writing a book is a good idea?” he questioned.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Some of what you know is very dangerous in the wrong hands.”

I paused for a moment to think about what he said. “What do you mean by dangerous in the wrong hands? Hackers already know a lot of this information.”

“No,” he said shaking his head, “not all hackers know what you know and on top of that, you’re telling them how and why it’s possible to avoid detection. Don’t you see a problem with that?”

“That’s definitely an issue, but don’t you think it’s a bigger issue that people don’t know the truth? Don’t you think people need to know that all of this computer security we rely on only works against amateurs?”

My boss put down his chopsticks and spoon, wiped his mouth and mustache with his napkin and placed the napkin beside his bowl. “Just be careful what you write [ Mister Reiner ],” he said with a stern look. “You don’t want to be responsible for creating an army of super hackers.”

Bill Mullins has an interesting post on his blog that brought back the memory of this lunch with my boss.  I’m siding with Bill of course.  It’s ridiculous for someone to suggest that Bill is part of the malware problem.

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  1. August 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm | #1

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It is important to tell people what’s going on, especially from the point of view that you seem to be taking.

    I write on security topics all the time, even detailing how certain exploits are done because people (not just consumers, but IT pros) don’t realize how easy some of these things are to accomplish and what is at risk.

    Good work and I am looking forward to reading!

    • August 25, 2010 at 6:23 am | #2

      When I started getting into security, I was really surprised at how many IT pros knew very little about the hacking side of things. They knew how to secure a system and run a vulnerability scan, but many were clueless about exactly how a hacker would break into a system that they had secured.

  2. August 24, 2010 at 10:45 pm | #3

    I like your blog. You learn a lot from it. Not that i want to become a hacker but for a general computer nerd there some great stuff here.

    I also LOL´ed at; “You don’t want to be responsible for creating an army of super hackers.”

  3. August 24, 2010 at 10:48 pm | #5

    Mister Reiner, sounds like your boss is paranoid. Those that don’t know, fear. Wasn’t it at Kevin Mitnicks trial that they were afraid to allow him any access to phones or computers, expecting him to launch nukes I suppose…

    Their is nothing wrong with your book. For the most part it just gives a high level look at hacking, it does not get into the nitty gritty. I feel your book is a good introduction to people wanting to learn about IT security, it is not a hacking by numbers book.

    Next time your boss brings this up, just tell him you have learned how to hack cell phones and give him an evil look. :)

    • August 25, 2010 at 4:22 am | #6

      That whole thing about not allowing Kevin to use computers was beyond stupid.

  4. August 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm | #7

    Thanks for the Scoble post comment. Robert is a true pioneer and started internetworking with 6 2500 baud modems in a garage with some buddies in 1984.
    He was at Microsoft and is now the most popular blogger online.
    AND, amigo, I’m going to read your book!

    • August 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm | #8

      Cool on both counts. Robert sure has a lot of cool stuff on his blog. It’s going to take me awhile to catch up! LOL

  1. August 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm | #1

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