Book Review: Click Here to Kill Everybody
Appears in July 2019 Print Issue
W.W. Norton; wwnorton.com; 288 pages; $27.95.
With the advent of Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and robotics, the threat to cybersecurity has entered a new stage in which risks to privacy, integrity, and availability are further amplified, and it has grown to include risk to personal safety and other catastrophic physical world consequences. Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World explains the state of cybersecurity, the impact on trust of our technical and social systems, and recommendations for getting to a safer and more secure future.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part sets the context of the problem and explains the issues: how we got to where we are today, the ecosystem that fosters this, the risks involved, and the potential for catastrophic consequences. Author Bruce Schneier draws from real-world examples and his personal experience to further corroborate his points. The material includes historical information as well as current references.
Part two addresses solutions to these risks and describes the direction we need to go, who the key stakeholders must be, and some important strategies. But the book takes this exercise a step further and estimates what is likely to happen. The author openly acknowledges when statements are estimations or predictions rather than making unsupportable prognostications. Although his opinions are frequently stated, Schneier is a prominent security expert, and it is expected that many who pick up this book do so to seek his advice. He supports his positions in the book with thorough and methodical development of logic, principles, examples, and consideration of alternatives.
This is not a technical reference book, nor is it an instructional how-to book. There are no charts or graphs, but technical terms are well explained. References between chapters help the reader gain a greater understanding of the concepts, and extensive endnotes encourage further reading.
This book is less a call to action and more a well-thought-out roadmap to take us to a better cyber future. The book is oriented toward a wide range of readers, and it is an excellent resource for anyone interested in understanding the importance of cybersecurity in contemporary society.
Reviewer: Coleman Wolf, CPP, CISSP, leads the security practice at Environmental Systems, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois. He is an active member of both the ASIS IT Security Council and the Security Architecture and Engineering Council and has been an ASIS member for 25 years.