Review of 'Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World'

Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World by Bruce Schneier

click_here_to_kill_everybody.jpg For many years now I have subscribed to computer security expert Bruce Schneier's monthly newsletter “Crypto-Gram” which covers news in IT security. In “Click Here to Kill Everybody” Schneier discusses the ever more real threat that insecure “Internet of Things” or, in his words “Internet+”, devices might cause to humanity with, yes, the potential to result in the loss of life which, arguably, has already occurred. It is the manufacturers of things such as video doorbells, talking stuffed toys, and wi-fi equipment who in the pursuit of profit and the lack of any requirement to do so, provide little in the way of security. Such security risks include the provision of default passwords (or no passwords), inability to easily patch their software, slow (or no) releases of patched devices, and seemingly little interest in the area of security. Schneier argues that the only way to effectively deal with these companies is using the standard way of ensuring the safety of the populace, that is, through legislation. He is, however, not under any illusion that it will be a simple thing to encourage short-term thinking politicians that this is important so much of the book is spent in convincing the reader how important this really is.

Schneier's writing is very easy to read and follow with a number of stories that illustrate his points though I do find the book overlong for the material, perhaps intended for an audience that needs convincing rather than myself, an IT professional, who needs little of this. The book is divided into two parts: “The Trends” and “The Solutions”. Almost a quarter of the book consists of notes about the various topics he touched upon so you cannot say it is not well researched. Schneier does acknowledge he is purposely being provocative (and sensationalist) with the title of the book but hopes to impress upon the public the importance of this topic, grabbing their attention, informing, and hopefully persuading them of his thesis.

On a technical note, about 6 years old now the book is slightly dated most notably in the area of AI which is only briefly touched on here but has become in recent years a very hot topic indeed with it's own unique security issues however that in no way suggests that Schneier is out of touch here – Everything he says is as true today as when it was written with no concrete signs things are getting any better.

An easy to read introduction into a serious area of an often under-examined security concern that has the potential to cause widespread chaos and, yes, even death. This is a book intended for the everyone not simply IT experts despite the fact it was written by one.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2024-05-27

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Norton

Publication Date: 2018

ISBN: 9780393608885