First review of A Hacker’s Mind

First review of A Hacker’s Mind

Circus reviews A hacker’s mind:

A cyber security expert examines how the powerful game of whatever system is put in front of them, leaving it to others to cover the cost.

Schneier, professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of books such as Data and Goliath and Click here to kill everyone, regularly challenges his students to write down the first 100 digits of pi, a nearly impossible task—but not if they cheat, as he admonishes: “Don’t get caught.” Not getting caught is the goal of the hackers who exploit the vulnerabilities of systems of all kinds. Consider right-wing venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who found a hack in the tax code: “Because he was a co-founder of PayPal, he was able to use a $2,000 investment to buy 1.7 million shares of the company at $0.001 per share , making it $5 billion—all forever tax-free.” It was perfectly legal—and even if it wasn’t, the wealthy usually get away with it.The author, a fluent writer and tech communicator, reveals how the tax code lends itself to hacking, which allows tech companies like Apple and Google to avoid paying billions of dollars by transferring profits from the United States to corporate-friendly nations like Ireland, then offshoring the “disappearing” dollars to Bermuda, the Caymans, and other havens. Every system contains trapdoors that can be broken with advantage. For example, Schneier cites “Pudding Guy,” who hacked a mileage program for the airline by buying cheap pudding cups in a promotion that, for $3,150, earned him 1.2 million miles and “lifetime Gold Frequent Flyer status.” Since everything was within the letter if not the spirit of the offer, the company “paid up.” The companies often do so because they are game systems themselves. “Any rule can be hacked,” notes the author, whether it’s a religious dietary restriction or a legislative procedure. With t echnology, “can we hack more, faster, better,” which requires close monitoring and a requirement that everyone play by rules that are tough on tampering.

An eye-opening, thrilling book that offers hope of leveling a badly tilted playing field.

I received a starred review. Libraries make decisions about what to buy based on starred reviews. Publications make decisions about what to review based on starred reviews. This is a big deal.

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The book’s website

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Schneier on Security written by Bruce Schneier. Read the original post at:

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