REVIEW: "Hackerteen volume one: Internet Blackout", Marcelo Marques

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. BKHKTNIB.RVW 20081005

    "Hackerteen volume one: Internet Blackout", Marcelo Marques, 2008,
    978-0-596-51647-5, U$19.99/C$19.99
    %A Marcelo Marques
    %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
    %D 2008
    %G 978-0-596-51647-5
    %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
    %O U$19.99/C$19.99 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104
    %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596516479/robsladesinterne
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596516479/robsladesinte-21
    %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596516479/robsladesin03-20
    %O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
    %P 101 p.
    %S Hackerteen
    %T "Hackerteen volume one: Internet Blackout"

    This is a comic book. (Oh, sorry, "graphic novel.") It's light (in
    terms both of weight and attention demand), and can be read quickly
    while you are waiting to board an airplane. It is also a kind of
    pamphlet on computer and Internet security and dangers.

    Unfortunately, the dangers, aside from social engineering, aren't
    spelled out too clearly. In fact, the story arc makes it seem as if
    the technically competent are in the most danger.

    A number of issues are addressed, but only peripherally. There is
    repeated mention of electronic voting or balloting, although the
    specific problems are not mentioned. The fact that DNS (the Domain
    Name Service) can be attacked in order to create problems on the
    Internet is a major factor in the plot (eventually), but, again, the
    details and difficulties are left out.

    The characters are fairly thin. We have a young hacker, on the path
    to social isolation, who gets into a situation (with a semi-religious,
    semi-martial arts orientation) that allows him to expand his skills
    and use them in a more productive fashion: all well and good. We have
    a shadowy leader, who, despite the implication that he is a good guy,
    could be any shadowy leader for anything. We have a nebulous and
    disjointed set of attackers, who nevertheless seem to be able to pull
    off not only individual penetrations and data thefts, but a major
    global conspiracy to boot. (We also have a cute technopeasant who,
    without any training whatsoever, seems to be able to figure out how to
    use a Linux system, but can't protect it.) We also seem to have
    spyware that works across platforms.

    We have various URL footnotes to explain references in the story.
    There is an associated Website (http://www.hackerteen.com), but even
    at the site the various references can't be found easily: you have to
    type in the URLs individually to find the background material. If
    there is any. Some is extensive, some is non-existent, some is not
    exactly on topic. (A fair amount is in Portuguese.) A reference to
    ethical hacking takes you (eventually) to Plato's cave, which is great
    for philosophy majors, but doesn't serve as a terrific introduction to
    ethics.

    The book ends rather abruptly. I imagine this is supposed to be a
    cliff-hanger and make us want to buy the next comic (sorry: "graphic
    novel") in the series.

    I'm all for computer and Internet security awareness, particularly for
    kids. I'm not sure that this is a useful tool in that regard.
    Certainly it is aimed at an older audience than Winn Schwartau
    addressed in "Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids" (cf.
    BKINCMEK.RVW), but the necessary content just doesn't seem to be
    there.

    copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKHKTNIB.RVW 20081005

    --
    ======================

    "Dictionary of Information Security," Syngress 1597491152
    http://blogs.securiteam.com/index.php/archives/author/p1/
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    Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Nov 10, 2008
    #1
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