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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Review of my book in Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune

Wow. And I completely forgot to post about this previously. A review of my book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors 2nd edition appeared in the Seattle Times in November and was reprinted in the Chicago Tribune on December 4th!

The pertinent paragraphs are below, but do read the article in full at the first link:

Last time I wrote about Internet safety (in a column about MySpace.com), I received an e-mail with helpful suggestions from cybersafety expert Jayne Hitchcock, who has written a book on the topic: "Net Crimes and Misdemeanors: Outsmarting Web Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists," Second Edition (CyberAge Books, 2006, $25).

The book covers Internet dangers, including online scams, spyware, viruses, identity theft, harassment, phishing, cyberstalking and more. It suggests how to avoid these potential problems, as well as how to repair the damage if your kids, or you, fall victim.

The book begins by telling us that, yes, danger lurks on the Internet. Readers soon learn that Hitchcock was once a victim of cyberstalking. Consequently, she decided to find out more about Internet hazards, how to avoid them, how to recover when it's too late and finally, how to help others stay safe on the Net.

Chapter by chapter, Hitchcock explains the dangers, and then explains how we can protect ourselves and our computers with software shields, encryption, caution and good sense.

Finally, Hitchcock provides information on where to go for help. In an e-mail she points out two Web sites that can be particularly helpful for parents and others who want to learn more and become involved in advocating online safety for kids and adults:

• WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse) at www.haltabuse.org

• WHOA-KTD (the Kids/Teens Division) at www.haltabusektd.org


I also received a nice review of the book from an unexpected source Network World Security Strategies. A column will be written about my book by Michael Kabay, based on an extra-credit essay submitted by Norwich University undergraduate student Matthew Magliozzi in the CJ341 course during the Fall semester.

In Mr. Kabay's email to me, he wrote:

Mr Magliozzi provided an excellent review of an excellent book by Jayne A.
Hitchcock which my colleagues and I will certainly consider for possible
incorporation into the reading lists of several computer-crime-related
courses next year.

My thanks to Mr Magliozzi for his review and for his fine contributions in
class throughout the course and also to Ms Hitchcock for what sounds like a
wonderful piece of writing. I am looking forward to reading the book
myself.


Double wow!

Here's the gist of the review - if you want the full copy, email me.

J.A. Hitchcock < http://www.jahitchcock.com/ > has published a second edition of her book about Internet-mediated crime. Hitchcock has joined forces with Internet pioneer Vincent Cerf in _Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering Web Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists_ (CyberAge Books, 2006; ISBN 0-910-96572-2). < http://tinyurl.com/yzmgbw >

The book begins with a detailed account of her personal experiences as the victim of a cyberstalker.< http://members.tripod.com/~cyberstalked/ > In “Cyberstalking Happened to Me,” she describes the fraudulent offers from fraudsters initially calling themselves the “Woodside Literary Agency” and then goes on to recount the tale of the e-mail bombs, the forged newsgroup postings and the lawsuits filed against the perpetrators with the support of fellow writers. Hitchcock presents her experiences in an educational manner, not to garner sympathy. By explaining each step she took in the process of bringing Woodside to justice, she not only provides a guide for other victims to follow, but she also alerts the public to the difficulties one faces when reporting a computer crime to the authorities. This aspect alone makes the book worthwhile.

In “Words Can Hurt,” Hitchcock describes other instances of cyberstalking. She begins every chapter with definitions of essential terms and provides endnotes describing different acronyms or industry terms such as “sock puppet” (a secondary user-ID intended to deceive others into believing that someone is a separate user).< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet) >

The hallmark of her style that hits home more than any other cybercrime text is her presentation of personal stories. Hitchcock provides accounts of the victim-experience on a personal level. She does not provide a full name for the victim: they are simply “Nina,” “Andy,” “Katrina,” and so on. It is easy to become involved in these stories. Hitchcock addresses specific laws in relation to the specific cases and avoids legalistic details. Hitchcock closes out each chapter of her work with methods readers can take to protect themselves.

_Net Crimes_ would make an excellent supplement for an undergraduate course in cybercrime. Hitchcock addresses everything from spam to urban legends, eBay fraud, online dating fraud and phishing in terms of criminal acts. She also addresses steps law enforcement officials have taken both publicly in the community and on university campuses. Her work merits placement at the top of the college cybercrime literature list because her style resonates with students. I found that I could not put it down for long.

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