Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 110-115,000 words
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Max Nomad is an entrepreneur and computer security expert with over 20 years of experience in the field.
“ … a tech survival guide for anyone whose business and personal life is connected to the Internet. This friendly, novice-oriented reference uses the frightening -- and often campy -- Zombie Apocalypse as an allegory for the dangers of cyberspace.
Written for PC and Mac users, Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse is an armchair safari into the world of cybercrime. Readers will learn how to protect themselves through cautionary tales and insider explanations that take the mystery out of how these things work: how computer viruses and malware are part of a multi-billion dollar industry, how stolen credit cards pop up thousands of miles away without leaving their wallets, and how easily our computers can be used to commit crimes without our knowledge. Business managers will enjoy real-world strategies for preventing data theft and other digital disasters, along with cybercriminal secrets such as how even the best network security can be defeated with a phone call.”
The concept of this book is straightforward. Its aim is to give those who need to know about computer security, but who are not technologically sophisticated, the bare bones of what they need. It is aimed at the small business owner without staff who has the technical expertise required and individuals who have one or more computers and other devices that access the internet. In other words, everyone who might read this review.
The book consists of three main kinds of content. First are the zombie stories. Zombies in popular entertainment are mentioned, not only as a break from tech-speak for any reader whose brain is about to explode, but also discussion of the undead is used to illustrate some of the technical issues in a manner that will hopefully be more accessible to the target audience. Next is the technical content, simplified enough to be understandable to a layperson, but detailed enough to explain why this area is important, what needs to be done (even if that is sometimes to hire an expert), and enough explanation to decide whether this applies to your situation. Last, many areas have stories from Nomad’s personal experience to illustrate the risks and consequences of ignoring computer security.
Which leaves us with the question of how well does the book do in meeting the goal of informing the individual or small business owner of the basics of computer security? I found the zombie stories sometimes helped and other times detracted. A reader more into zombies than I am might feel differently. I’ve worked in the IT field longer than the author, but unlike him, my expertise isn’t in security. The cliché that I know just enough to be dangerous is probably true, but I think I know just enough to spot any major issues as well. Much of what he advises I know is correct and the portion I don’t know was at least credible. I don’t think he’s going to lead you astray. His stories of hackers run amuck were entertaining, at least to this computer nerd.
However, this book really needs a through polishing from a qualified copyeditor and proofreader. There were numerous typos, grammar issues, and other opportunities for tightening of prose. It didn’t fall short in what was presented, but could use much improvement in the actual presentation.
Way too many copyediting and proofreading misses.
Rating: *** Three Stars