Submitted by: JoAnna Parker Martin
Don’t let the deliciously contrived title fool you; this book has substance. Best-selling author Bruce Schneier has the experience, qualifications, and titles to back up what he writes. His 16th book, Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World, is an engrossing read and an enlightening attempt to predict the future. He covers a lot of territory about the Internet of Things (which he calls “Internet +”) to illustrate the dangers of inaction on the policy front of internet privacy and security. Calling to mind a few Black Mirror episodes, he paints the picture of cars, voting machines, drones, and pace makers at the mercy of systemic failures in security planning and controls, especially in the area of the law. The internet can now sense and touch the real world in a way it didn’t a few years ago and the rise of surveillance capitalism poses significant problems.
But it isn’t hopeless.
He breaks out a practical road map for common sense actions that companies, governments, and individuals can take right now to make the future a safer place, broken into sections of what, how, and who. Some of his suggestions are not new or original to those of us in the industry, but he has a few more progressive ideas that I would be interested to see in action. One such idea is that if we cannot keep complex systems secure, then we should disconnect them from each other. In essence, be less connected.
Pros: This book is very practical and lays out what you need to know in a short amount of time. This is a prescient and fundamental read and a wake-up call. It sums up the privacy and security problems we face right now as a society and explains real world options in a hopeful way. It’s also great fodder for interesting conversations with just about anyone. Cons: The first half is better than the second, and it is not his best work from a writing perspective. (For one of his more popular reads in a slightly similar vein, check out Data & Goliath). If you are already familiar with IoT and are looking for new technical insights, you are unlikely to find many. It can also be a downer, so if your mental health isn’t great, you may want to skip this one.
Target Audience: Everyone with an interest in the future of computers and IoT, but mostly Americans.
Favorite quote: “I can think of no industry in the past 100 years that has improved its safety and security without being compelled to do so by government.”
My Verdict: Anyone with a smart device should probably read this book. Policy makers and security industry leaders must read this book.