Book Review: 'Hacked Again'

Scott Schober is small business owner who tells intriguing stories about how his company was hacked — and what happened next. This easy-to-read book is a good primer on the importance of online security for business owners, but it also shows how easily identity theft can happen to anyone, even a cybersecurity expert. Best of all, this book offers practical security advice with helpful steps that we all can follow to secure our corner of cyberspace.

by Daniel Lohrmann / February 22, 2016 0

From the introduction to the book Hacked Again:

With my Monday-morning coffee in hand, I turned on my computer and began comparing my mental checklist to my digital one for all the items I wanted to accomplish that week. It was late in 2013, and this weekly ritual allowed me to feel a sense of accomplishment as I crossed off each item I completed throughout the day to help me stay focused in my little world of organized chaos.

I am president and CEO of a privately held wireless engineering corporation that has been in business for more than forty years. Our area of expertise is in wireless and security testing tools. In the last five years, there has been a rapid growth in wireless threat-detection tools used by cybersecurity groups globally. In a typical day at the office, I check our online accounts to see where we stand — especially to see if we received any incoming wire transfers, as about twenty-five percent of our business is international.

As I reflect back on that scary day now, I remember entering in my frustratingly long and easy-to-forget password on the banking website only to find the account balance was alarmingly low. My mind raced in disbelief. Did payroll come out? No wait, it’s only Monday, and payroll is not debited until Thursday. I found myself looking at numerous debits not at all familiar to me. What’s going on here? Then the reality hit me.

Hacked … again! I finally had to admit it to myself out loud.

We are a security company and this happened to us? But this was not an isolated incident or even the first time my company had been hacked. For that, we must look back even further to a slightly younger and greener small business and its owner. Between and after our hacks, I have come to learn so much more than I ever would’ve imagined. I try not to let my mistakes define me so much as guide me and keep me humble. And that brings me to this book and to the idea behind writing it. ...

I am excited to share my journey with you in the hope it will prevent you from going down the same path I have already traversed. In Part 1, I share my candid story of how I quickly learned that nothing is truly secure. In Part 2, I share best practices to help you protect your identity, business, personal data and finances by using specific measures, both preventative and remedial. Part 3 is designed to help you stay safe in this challenging and always changing digital world without losing hope or sight of what’s truly important. In Part 4, I tally the major breaches that have made the headlines over the past several years and how they affect us all.

How I Came Across This New Book

About five to eight times a year, I get asked to read and consider reviewing new books that have something to do with cybersecurity, or hacking, or data breaches, or government technology, or three-letter agencies in Washington, D.C., or similar topics. I typically read most of the books sent to me and offer a blog review on a handful. For example, last year I wrote this blog about the book: “A Life of Lies and Spies,” which was about a CIA agent’s career centered on polygraph experiences.  

When Scott Schober contacted me recently, I was intrigued by his just-released book which offered the hook of a cybersecurity expert being hacked multiple times over several years — and even targeted by the bad guys because of the things he (and his company) were doing. Scott has learned from his mistakes, and he shares his insights in interesting ways.

Why I Recommend This Book

I don’t know Scott personally, but I was immediately drawn to his very honest and personal stories in this book. While this is not a ground-breaking book on data breaches or other cybertopics, Hacked Again is a well written book that I recommend without hesitation — especially as a primer for business owners or even government business pros who want to understand what really happens before, during and after data breaches or security incidents that occur regarding your own accounts.

Scott writes in an engaging style that makes difficult concepts easy to understand. His experience speaking about security and technology to global audiences and the mainstream media help his messages to come across in a conversation-like tone. I read this book during a family vacation in Florida, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised and engaged as I sat by a lazy river in the sunshine.

This book is also very practical, with helpful quick tips at the end of each chapter and a glossary of important terms at the end of the book. I know that many of my readers are in local, state, federal or international governments, and yes, I can recommend the book to you as well.

Why? The concepts not only affect businesses, but the solutions offered also affect home life, personal bank accounts and business transactions. Furthermore, most government shops run like small businesses as well, with the individual actions of each employee playing a major role in protecting sensitive data and ensuring appropriate cyberdefense techniques are followed.

Here are a few other things you will learn:

  • Website invasions — how they happen, and how to protect against them;
  • How hackers can compromise Twitter accounts ... and what to do about it;
  • Spam, phishing, spoofing and other terms demystified and defined;
  • Best practices for choosing passwords, and how often to update them;
  • The different types of hackers ranging from the garden-variety thrill seekers to organized cybercrime gang members;
  • What employees should (and shouldn't) know about security;
  • The dark Web — where hackers hang out and conspire with one another and on their own; and more.

Where Can You Go to Learn More?

If you are interested in learning more or getting a copy of the book, I encourage you to visit Scott’s website at: http://scottschober.com/author/

You can also order the book at Amazon.com.