Book Report: Future Crimes

cyber_criminalFuture Crimes by Marc Goodman details the dark side of technology, examining how new technologies are used and abused for criminal purposes. In just under 400 pages, Goodman provides some basic historical background on computer security and then guides the reader through a cybercrime journey spanning consumer, industrial, medical, and various other technologies.

Fair warning to prospective readers: The story isn’t pretty. The author starts with a wake-up call about data privacy and how a plethora of companies like Facebook, Google, and OkCupid, and the $150 billion dollar data broker industry regularly collect, sell, and abuse user data. Future Crimes also explores the current derelict world of cyber peeping toms, bullies, revenge porn, and extortion. While these crimes are already rampant today, Goodman theorizes that things will get worse with the proliferation of surveillance cameras, geo-location services, RFID tags, and wireless networking technology. The point is crystal clear: Each technology innovation increases the attack surface, and cyber-criminals are only too happy to exploit these vulnerabilities for profit.

Aside from level setting on the present, about half of this book examines the future of cybercrime with an in-depth analysis of cybercriminal organizations, cybercrime processes, divisions of labor, specialization, and the overall cybercrime marketplace. This analysis is especially useful for cybersecurity professionals seeking to understand what motivates cyber-adversaries and how they do what they do. Goodman also does a good job of aligning cybercrime with the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.  

While the book can be a bit verbose, Future Crimes goes beyond other books by covering a variety of territories like consumer, industrial, medical, and even military technology threats, vulnerabilities, and crimes. In this way, Goodman weaves familiar cybersecurity events into a unique wide-angle lens of cybercrime.

I found Future Crimes extremely educational and believe it is a worthwhile read for cybersecurity professionals. For a more details on my perspective of the book, see my book review at the Cybersecurity Canon web page. I believe that Future Crimes is worthy of being included as part of the Canon, which is high praise indeed.

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Topics: Cybersecurity