SPECIAL 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION —
THE MOST IMPORTANT AND INFLUENTIAL SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL OF THE PAST TWO DECADES
Twenty years ago, it was as if someone turned on a light. The future blazed into existence with each deliberate word that William Gibson laid down. The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer didn't just explode onto the science fiction scene–it permeated into the collective consciousness, culture, science, and technology.
Today, there is only one science fiction masterpiece to thank for the term “cyberpunk,” for easing the way into the information age and Internet society. Neuromancer‘s virtual reality has become real. And yet, William Gibson's gritty, sophisticated vision still manages to inspire the minds that lead mankind ever further into the future.
In this age of an open Internet, it is easy to forget that every American information industry, beginning with the telephone, has eventually been taken captive by some ruthless monopoly or cartel. With all our media now traveling a single network, an unprecedented potential is building for centralized control over what Americans see and hear. Could history repeat itself with the next industrial consolidation? Could the Internet—the entire flow of American information—come to be ruled by one corporate leviathan in possession of “the master switch”? That is the big question of Tim Wu’s pathbreaking book.
As Wu’s sweeping history shows, each of the new media of the twentieth century—radio, telephone, television, and film—was born free and open. Each invited unrestricted use and enterprising experiment until some would-be mogul battled his way to total domination. Here are stories of an uncommon will to power, the power over information: Adolph Zukor, who took a technology once used as commonly as YouTube is today and made it the exclusive prerogative of a kingdom called Hollywood . . . NBC’s founder, David Sarnoff, who, to save his broadcast empire from disruptive visionaries, bullied one inventor (of electronic television) into alcoholic despair and another (this one of FM radio, and his boyhood friend) into suicide . . . And foremost, Theodore Vail, founder of the Bell System, the greatest information empire of all time, and a capitalist whose faith in Soviet-style central planning set the course of every information industry thereafter.
Explaining how invention begets industry and industry begets empire—a progress often blessed by government, typically with stifling consequences for free expression and technical innovation alike—Wu identifies a time-honored pattern in the maneuvers of today’s great information powers: Apple, Google, and an eerily resurgent AT&T. A battle royal looms for the Internet’s future, and with almost every aspect of our lives now dependent on that network, this is one war we dare not tune out.
Part industrial exposé, part meditation on what freedom requires in the information age, The Master Switch is a stirring illumination of a drama that has played out over decades in the shadows of our national life and now culminates with terrifying implications for our future.
There has been a great deal of speculation recently concerning the likely impact of the ‘Information Age‘ on warfare. In this vein, much of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) literature subscribes to the idea that the Information Age will witness a transformation in the very nature of war. In this book, David Lonsdale puts that notion to the test.
Using a range of contexts, the book sets out to look at whether the classical Clausewitzian theory of the nature of war will retain its validity in this new age. The analysis covers the character of the future battlespace, the function of command, and the much-hyped concept of Strategic Information Warfare. Finally, the book broadens its perspective to examine the nature of ‘Information Power' and its implications for geopolitics. Through an assessment of both historical and contemporary case studies (including the events following September 11 and the recent war in Iraq), the author concludes that although the future will see many changes to the conduct of warfare, the nature of war, as given theoretical form by Clausewitz, will remain essentially unchanged.
As the cliché reminds us, information is power. In this age of computer systems and technology, an increasing majority of the world's information is stored electronically. It makes sense then that as an industry we rely on high-tech electronic protection systems to guard that information. As a professional hacker, I get paid to uncover weaknesses in those systems and exploit them. Whether breaking into buildings or slipping past industrial-grade firewalls, my goal has always been the same: extract the informational secrets using any means necessary. After hundreds of jobs, I discovered the secret to bypassing every conceivable high-tech security system. This book reveals those secrets, and as the title suggests, it has nothing to do with high technology. As it turns out, the secret isn't much of a secret at all. Hackers have known about these techniques for years. Presented in a light, accessible style, you'll get to ride shotgun with the authors on successful real-world break-ins as they share photos, videos and stories that prove how vulnerable the high-tech world is to no-tech attacks.
As you browse this book, you'll hear old familiar terms like “dumpster diving”, “social engineering”, and “shoulder surfing”. Some of these terms have drifted into obscurity to the point of becoming industry folklore; the tactics of the pre-dawn information age. But make no mistake; these and other old-school tactics work with amazing effectiveness today. In fact, there's a very good chance that someone in your organization will fall victim to one or more of these attacks this year. Will they be ready?
. Dumpster Diving
Be a good sport and don't read the two “D” words written in big bold letters above, and act surprised when I tell you hackers can accomplish this without relying on a single bit of technology (punny).
Hackers and ninja both like wearing black, and they do share the ability to slip inside a building and blend with the shadows.
. Shoulder Surfing
If you like having a screen on your laptop so you can see what you're working on, don't read this chapter.
. Physical Security
Locks are serious business and lock technicians are true engineers, most backed with years of hands-on experience. But what happens when you take the age-old respected profession of the locksmith and sprinkle it with hacker ingenuity?
. Social Engineering with Jack Wiles
Jack has trained hundreds of federal agents, corporate attorneys, CEOs and internal auditors on computer crime and security-related topics. His unforgettable presentations are filled with three decades of personal “war stories” from the trenches of Information Security and Physical Security.
. Google Hacking
A hacker doesn't even need his own computer to do the necessary research. If he can make it to a public library, Kinko's or Internet cafe, he can use Google to process all that data into something useful.
. P2P Hacking
Let's assume a guy has no budget, no commercial hacking software, no support from organized crime and no fancy gear. With all those restrictions, is this guy still a threat to you? Have a look at this chapter and judge for yourself.
. People Watching
Skilled people watchers can learn a whole lot in just a few quick glances. In this chapter we'll take a look at a few examples of the types of things that draws a no-tech hacker's eye.
What happens when a kiosk is more than a kiosk? What happens when the kiosk holds airline passenger information? What if the kiosk holds confidential patient information? What if the kiosk holds cash?
. Vehicle Surveillance
Most people don't realize that some of the most thrilling vehicular espionage happens when the cars aren't moving at all!
How do the weak defeat the strong? Ivan Arreguín-Toft argues that, although many factors affect asymmetric conflict outcomes (for example, the relative power of the actors, their weapons technology, and outside support), the interaction of each actor's strategy is the best explanation. Supporting his argument with combined statistical and comparative case study analysis, Arreguín-Toft's strategic interaction theory has implications not only for international relations theorists, but for policy makers grappling with interstate and civil wars, as well as terrorism.