Field Guide Is All Over the Place

The first thing to clear up is that Michal Zalewski's latest book, "Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks," is not primarily about network protection, either wire-line or wireless.

The first thing to clear up is that Michal Zalewskis latest book, "Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks," is not primarily about network protection, either wire-line or wireless.

Rather, Zalewski touches on these topics along with such esoteric subjects as snooping CRT electromagnetic radiation and interkeystroke timing, a factor in determining words written using a keyboard.

This makes the $39.95, 320-page tome interesting, but Zalewski veers between expositions of various mathematical theories and instructions on how to construct simple snooping devices. Thus, the book likely will leave both nerds and managers unsatisfied: "Silence" provides no new technical information for geeks and also frequently dives into the weeds, leaving the non-electrical-engineering audience behind.

The gamboling read is always good-natured in its attempt to show the relationship between mathematical theory and methods of attack. Zalewski also provides flashes of insight into the method of attacks, often illustrating his points with fascinating anecdotes. However, his wit and technical knowledge never quite jell into a book that IT managers must add to their bookshelves.

"Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks" is published by No Starch Press and distributed in the United States by OReilly Media. Go to www.nostarch.com for more information.

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