BOOK REVIEW: Big Brother is watching

The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin Mitnick, Little, Brown and Company, US $28.00, Pp 320, February 2017, ISBN 978-0316380508

We are the first generation in human history that can be mentioned as such a precise at such a precise level. We can be monitored digitally throughout our lives. Almost all of our communications can be seen one way or another. We even carry small tracking devices on us all the time – we just don’t call them tracking devices, we call them smartphones. This is not all.  In The Art of Invisibility, Kevin Mitnick says that online monitoring can see what books we buy and what news articles we read – even which parts of the articles are most interesting to us. It can see where we travel and who we travel with. And online monitoring knows if you are sick, or sad, or horny. Much of the monitoring that is done today compiles data to make money. Companies that offer free services somehow convert those into billions of dollars of revenue – nicely illustrating just how valuable it is to profile Internet users in mass scale. However, there’s also more targeted monitoring: the kind of monitoring done by government agencies, domestic and foreign.

Mitnick says that digital communication has made it possible for governments to do bulk surveillance. But it has also enabled us to protect ourselves better. We can protect ourselves with tools like encryption, by storing our data in safe ways, and by following basic principles of operations security (OPSEC) We just need a guide on how to do it right. Mitnick writes, “You may think you don’t need to worry about this, but you do. You might not have anything to hide, but you have everything to protect.”

Mitnick makes a case that each of us is being watched, at home and out in the world – as you walk down the street, sit in a café, or drive down the highway. Your computer, your phone, your car, your home alarm system, even your refrigerator are all potential points of access into your private life. The good news is, in addition to scaring you, Mitnick also shows you what to do about the lack of privacy – a situation that has become the norm. Mitnick tells us how to “encrypt and send a secure email, protect your data, hide your true IP address from places you visit, obscure your computer from being tracked and defend your anonymity and much more.

The Art of Invisibility is one of the scariest books written in the 21st century, not because it talks about supernatural beings trying to do harm to you, but because it tells you the Big Brother is watching you 24/7 and can harm you whenever or if they want. Your enemies are the gadgets you will never suspect of doing harm to you. The gadgets you cannot do without in today’s world like your refrigerator are spying on you. If Mitnick scares you, he also tells you how to avoid constant spying and protect your identity. This is for everyone with any one electronic gadget around.

Source: The Washington Book Review

Topics: The Art of Invisibility, data protection, encryption, government monitoring, Hacker, identity protection, internet, IP address, keynote speaker, anonymity, Big Brother, privacy, Kevin Mitnick

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