MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2010 (#43)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 47 of 147

BOOK REVIEWS 46 MacDirectory THE MYTHS OF SECURITY REVIEW BY RIC GETTER Granted, software security is not the hottest of topics among Mac users, but the fact that the platform isn't a prime target for malware only offers a degree of safety on one of many fronts. One big problem that everyone shares is separating fact from myth, whether the source is the New York Times or a computer company's technical bulletin In fact, you may not even be getting the straight scoop from your favorite financial institution or online retailer (and we're not even going to mention the big security vendors here). So, it's surprising to see one of the hardest-hitting books on the state of the security industry authored by someone who served as the Chief Security Architect (and is still a Chief Technical Officer) at MacAfee. The Myths of Security is possibly one of the most important books on the topic to come out in recent years. The remarkable thing is that its author, John Viega, has succeeded in making readable and thus accessible to an incredibly broad audience. The book is his platform to respond to the issue that stated quite bluntly in its subtitle: What the Computer Security Industry Doesn't Want You to Know. Though much of the book, he approaches the often weighty topic of computer and software security with a rather breezy and blog-like style. He goes into just enough detail to make and back up his points without losing the reader in the arcane depths of the topic at hand. To get the most out of his book, you'll need a little more than a casual user's knowledge of software and networking, but you'll be rewarded with more realistic expectations about security systems; what works, what doesn't and how avoid some potentially expensive forays into what is little more than snake oil and "security theater." What makes The Myths of Security so important is that the author is offering potential solutions as well as identifying the problems. Some of these will be immediately useful to his readers at home and in their work. Many others represent long-term goals that can and should be achieved by the hardware, software and security industries. Mac users picking up this book will have two key questions: Am I really safe? And, what makes the Mac more secure? Viega, a confessed Mac user at home, answers the first question, "sort of (at least for now)." His response to the second is not what you'd expect. His book is, by no means, fear mongering— you won't feel compelled to unplug your network cable. On the other hand, "https in the URL and lock icon in the menu bar may no longer provide the sense of safety and wellbeing that it once did." The Myths of Security: What the Computer Security Industry Doesn't Want You to Know by John Viega; $29.99, O'Reilly (; 239 pgs. ISBN 978-0-596-52302-2

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