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Deception in the digital age : exploiting and defending human targets through computer-mediated communications
Malin C., Gudaitis T., Holt T., Kilger M., ACADEMIC PRESS, Cambridge, MA, 2017. 284 pp.  Type: Book (978-0-124116-30-6)
Date Reviewed: Jul 16 2018

We are living in a very digitally connected world. An unwanted consequence is that each one of us who uses a computer, smartphone, tablet, or even smart TV could be targeted by individuals or groups who want to influence our beliefs and behaviors or gain access to our data, money, or Internet-controlled devices. For this purpose, attackers appeal to sophisticated cyber deception techniques, exploiting our psychological stereotypes and social weaknesses. Therefore, the introductory part of the book addresses the psychological background of social influence in general and focuses on social manipulation practices. The misdirecting techniques used by illusionists, the psychological principles of social persuasion, and cognitive process models and their involvement in the design of the Internet’s manipulative schemes, such as hoax viruses, scareware, and ransomware, are described.

The book’s main subjects are the deceptive tactics and techniques used over computer-mediated communications and the recommended ways to avoid them. It first presents a large spectrum of cyberattack methods that aim to, for example, change people’s minds, profit from sensitive information, or compromise an organization’s image. Among those mentioned are online chain messages, phishing attacks, and watering hole campaigns. It then explains some decoy defensive techniques, generically named honeypots, honeynets, and honeytokens, which are employed to entice cyberattacks and then identify the attackers and their procedures.

A profile analysis of those who commercialize malware--from hacking services or personal data on cyber underground markets to terrorist organizations and nation-state-sponsored entities involved in cyber war campaigns--represents the last theme of this work.

The text contains many real-world examples of cyberattacks and underlines their constitutive elements, applied psychological principles, and appropriate defensive strategies. A documented evolution of cyberterrorism tactics and some case studies of recent international conflicts involving cyber war operations are also presented.

Taking into consideration the authors’ expertise and practical experience, extended from behavioral science and social psychology to cybercrime and information systems security, along with the accessible coverage of defense methods for the most common online deceptive attacks, this book could be a big asset to every network-active person.

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Reviewer:  Valentin V. Inceu Review #: CR146150 (1811-0563)
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Abuse And Crime Involving Computers (K.4.1 ... )
World Wide Web (WWW) (H.3.4 ... )
Security and Protection (K.6.5 )
Systems And Software (H.3.4 )
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 Deception in the digital age: exploiting and defending human targets through computer-mediated communications
Malin C., Gudaitis T., Holt T., Kilger M.,  ACADEMIC PRESS, Cambridge, MA, 2017. 284 pp. Type: Book (978-0-124116-30-6), Reviews: (4 of 4)
Sep 14 2018

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