- Rilegato: 304 pagine
- Editore: John Wiley & Sons Inc (Computers) (ottobre 2002)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0471237124
- ISBN-13: 978-0471237129
- Peso di spedizione: 635 g
Some readers may find a book on computer security penned by a convicted computer criminal blasphemous. Rather than focusing on the writer's past, it is clear that Mitnick wishes the book to be viewed as an attempt at redemption.
The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security states that even if an organization has the best information systems security policies and procedures; most tightly controlled firewall, encrypted traffic, DMZ's, hardened operating systems patched servers and more; all of these security controls can be obviated via social engineering.
Social engineering is a method of gaining someone's trust by lying to them and then abusing that trust for malicious purposes - primarily gaining access to systems. Every user in an organization, be it a receptionist or a systems administrator, needs to know that when someone requesting information has some knowledge about company procedures or uses the corporate vernacular, that alone should not be authorization to provide controlled information.
The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security spends most of its time discussing many different social engineering scenarios. At the end of each chapter, the book analyzes what went wrong and how the attack could have been prevented.
The book is quite absorbing and makes for fascinating reading. With chapter titles such as The Direct Attack; Just Asking for it; the Reverse Sting; and Using Sympathy, Guilt and Intimidation, readers will find the narratives interesting, and often they relate to daily life at work.
Fourteen of the 16 chapters give examples of social engineering covering many different corporate sectors, including financial, manufacturing, medical, and legal. Mitnick notes that while companies are busy rolling out firewalls and other security paraphernalia, there are often unaware of the threats of social engineering. The menace of social engineering is that it does not take any deep technical skills - no protocol decoders, no kernel recompiling, no port scans - just some smooth talk and a little confidence.
Most of the stories in the book detail elementary social engineering escapades, but chapter 14 details one particularly nasty story where a social engineer showed up on-site at a robotics company. With some glib talk, combined with some drinks at a fancy restaurant, he ultimately was able to get all of the design specifications for a leading-edge product.
In order for an organization to develop a successful training program against the threats of social engineering, they must understand why people are vulnerable to attack in the first place. Chapter 15 explains of how attackers take advantage of human nature. Only by identifying and understanding these tendencies (namely, Authority, Liking, Reciprocation, Consistency, Social Validation, and Scarcity), can companies ensure employees understand why social engineers can manipulate us all.
After more than 200 pages of horror stories, Part 4 (Chapters 15 and 16) details the need for information security awareness and training. But even with 100 pages of security policies and procedures (much of it based on ideas from Charles Cresson Wood's seminal book Information Security Policies Made Easy) the truth is that nothing in Mitnick's security advice is revolutionary - it's information security 101. Namely, educate end-users to the risks and threats of non-technical attacks.
While there are many books on nearly every aspect of information security, The Art of Deception is one of the first (Bruce Schneier's Secrets and Lies being another) to deal with the human aspect of security; a topic that has long been neglected. For too long, corporate America has been fixated with cryptographic key lengths, and not focused enough on the human element of security.
From a management perspective, The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security should be on the list of required reading. Mitnick has done an effective job of showing exactly what the greatest threat of attack is - people and their human nature.
Most employee's don't think they are allowed to say 'no' to giving out information over the phone or email in the name of great customer service. There may be company policies but they 'still try to do the right thing' to help a co-worker regain access to the system, when in fact the person is a hacker.
Many solutions are offered to help small and large companies balance the choice of customer service over security and trust. One funny chapter was how Mr. Mitnick's used the same social engineering methods in prison to get additional phone calls, better food, and increase family visits. Classic... He didn't stop even in prison.
I recommend this book.