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Book Review: Cyber Research

Threat Level Red: Cybersecurity Research Programs of the U.S. Government By Michael Erbschloe. CRC Press;; 280 pages; $72.95.

There’s no question that computers and data are part of our personal and professional lives. Cybersecurity awareness is critical for everyone. News reports of computer hacks of personal information and attacks on our national infrastructure concern all computer users. Especially alarming are attempts to compromise national defense systems.

Michael Erbschloe has more than 30 years of experience in information technology analysis, as well as teaching the subject at the university level. He is currently active as a consultant on technology and security issues and has written several books and articles on the subjects.

In Threat Level Red, he offers an extensive outline of government research into cybersecurity and its provided applications. Much of this is funneled to the private sector to improve businesses’ efforts in protecting their applications. A number of U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, and other government programs are included. Additionally, Erbschloe discusses initiatives in cybersecurity including the Federal Information Security Act of 2014, the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiatives, and programs concerning critical private sector industries. 

Among the lessons found in the text is this startling statistic: “It is estimated that 80 percent to 90 percent of current cybersecurity failings are due to human and organizational shortcomings.” 

Threat Level Red is a college-level text with discussion questions and references at the conclusion of each chapter. Well indexed, it also includes a useful glossary of technical terms as well as acronyms and their definitions. This book is an excellent reference to the national computer defense systems and is highly recommended.

Reviewer: Adrian A. Barnie, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), is a contract senior investigator with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a member of ASIS International for 44 years.