When Gadgets Betray Us

When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of our Infatuation with New Technologies by Robert Vamosi (Basic Books, 2011).

This is an important and timely book about the security (or lack of security) of the technologies we use every day. It is an eye-opening look at the vulnerability of systems that in some cases we don’t even realize can be hacked (like tire pressure monitors and parking meters). Computer hacking and identity theft are only the tip of the iceberg; whenever you use mobile or wireless technologies, you are providing information about yourself that exposes you to clever criminals. Participating in social media and using mobile devices allows corporations and governments to track you and to collect and analyze data about you. Unlike Jaron Lanier’s 2011 book You Are Not a Gadget, this is not a philosophical manifesto but a window into the world that computer security experts work with every day. Vamosi offers a wealth of practical advice, and a balanced tone that recognizes that while most people will keep using the new technologies, they would prefer not to completely give up their privacy or personal safety.

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