When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of Our Infatuation With New Technologies

When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of Our Infatuation With New Technologies

by Robert Vamosi

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When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of Our Infatuation With New Technologies by Robert Vamosi

Technology is evolving faster than we are. As our mobile phones, mp3 players, cars, and digital cameras become more and more complex, we understand less and less about how they actually work and what personal details these gadgets might reveal about us.

Robert Vamosi, an award-winning journalist and analyst who has been covering digital security issues for more than a decade, shows us the dark side of all that digital capability and convenience. Hotel-room TV remotes can be used to steal our account information and spy on what we've been watching, toll-booth transponders receive unencrypted EZ Pass or FasTrak info that can be stolen and cloned, and our cars monitor and store data about our driving habits that can be used in court against us.

When Gadgets Betray Us gives us a glimpse into the secret lives of our gadgets and helps us to better understand--and manage--these very real risks.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465031382
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 02/05/2013
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Robert Vamosi is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and a senior analyst with the Mocana Corporation, a smart device security start up.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Gadgets Betray Us ix

Chapter 1 A False Sense of Security 1

Chapter 2 The Dark Side of Convenience 25

Chapter 3 Invisible Threats 51

Chapter 4 Electronic Bread Crumbs 79

Chapter 5 Me, I'm Not 105

Chapter 6 The Myth of Fingerprints 133

Chapter 7 Zeroes and Ones 157

Conclusion: High Hopes 185

Could the mobile phone one day become the perfect gadget?

Acknowledgments 193

Notes 195

Index 213

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Joe Grand, electrical engineer and author of Hardware Hacking: Have Fun While Voiding Your Warranty
“Written in a way for all to understand, Robert Vamosi exposes the dangers of inherently trusting electronic gadgets and gracefully reveals just how widespread the security problems are. You’ll never treat technology the same after reading this book…and you shouldn’t!”

Jeff Moss, Founder of Black Hat and DEFCON
“Like the great Oz behind the curtain, devices run our lives sometimes in unexpected ways. When Gadgets Betray Us opens your eyes to the implications of dependence on devices that don’t always behave.”

“A compelling scrutiny of the ways in which technological enhancements can be exploited for nefarious purposes... An erudite wake-up call.” Post and Courier“Vamosi has done his homework, offering a detailed recap of where we are now and what’s coming next…When Gadgets Betray Us helps us become aware of the benefits and the shortfalls of many scientific marvels.” The Guardian (UK)“A fascinating overview of ‘hardware hacking,’ from lockpicking and stealing cars to tapping mobile phones or cloning Oyster cards and passports. The vulnerabilities in modern tech that Vamosi describes can be alarming… This text itself could, of course, make a fine mischief-maker’s cookbook.” Salon.com“[H]as our technophilia left us too vulnerable? Exactly how long is the trail of digital bread crumbs we leave behind on a daily basis? . . . When Gadgets Betray Us, Robert Vamosi’s meticulously researched new book, offers a revealing look at the dark underbelly of our rapidly advancing electronics. This is not some Orwellian indictment of new technology, but instead a call for caution: Our gadgets are evolving faster than we can successfully secure them.” BBC Focus (UK), four-star review“This book isn’t a Luddite call to smash our smart phones. Vamosi is careful to point out how mobile tech is helping the human race worldwide, as well. All he does is ask that every sexy new gizmo be greeted with a healthy does of skepticism, and that we follow a few basic rules that will leave us with little to fear.” New Scientist“In When Gadgets Betray Us, [Robert Vamosi] points the finger at our unthinking relationship with technology. We put our faith in gizmos, he says, but our silicon helpers are too often not up to the job. . . . The interplay between humans and their gadgets is fascinating and complex. It is shaped by economics and psychology and the cultures we live in. Somewhere in the mix of those forces there may be a recipe for a more judicious use of technology, for some blend of techno-enthusiasm and common sense.” San Jose Mercury News“How worried should we be about the technology that pervades our daily lives, from the wireless router at home to our car to our smartphones to even, believe it or not, the chip we inserted into Fido? Very…[Vamosi’s] message: We are so dazzled by our bright, shiny tech toys that we continue to strike the wrong balance between convenience and security. We must be more aware of the risks we are taking and learn to be more vigilant.” Library Journal“You’d think the tech folks would be able to secure the data held in various devices we use daily, but Vamosi, IT security analyst and contributing editor to PCWORLD, strongly and meticulously suggests otherwise. He exposes a technology-development landscape chock-full of inadequately guarded data and programming. . . . Read this, and you’ll never again ignore the default security settings on accounts or your devices again.” Law Technology News“Vamosi is a skilled writer and the topic is fascinating, both to the non-technical and technical alike…Vamosi breaks down our infatuation with gadgets so that even those of us without information systems responsibility can think differently about how we interact with and rely on the technologies around us.” Good Men Project Magazine “[Vamosi’s] clearly done a lot of research, and his message about it all is important, too. Sometimes our gadgets really can betray us.”


Post and Courier “Vamosi has done his homework, offering a detailed recap of where we are now and what’s coming next… When Gadgets Betray Us helps us become aware of the benefits and the shortfalls of many scientific marvels.”



“The well-written work is valuable for all aficionados and users of modern gadgets and devices; it is an entertaining, highly informative read. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”

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