Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Right Way To Do Wrong - a good read for security buffs


The Right Way To Do Wrong - An Exposé of Successful Criminals is a very old book, published in 1906. I was intrigued since it was written by Harry Houdini, and I hadn't realised he was also an author.

Houdini's motive for writing the book is to warn off the righteous by educating them in all forms of devious frauds and scams, and to cause those less well intentioned to give pause before taking up a life of crime.

Reading the book over 100 years after publication, I am amazed - but perhaps on reflection not surprised - that Houdini manages to describe in great detail just about every Internet-related scam in existence (allowing of course for a transposition of technology)!

When he talks of Begging Letter Swindles, think Nigerian Letter or "419" Fraud. For Tricks of Bunco Men, see Advance Fee Scheme. The ease in which Impersonation/Identity Fraud was practiced in a pre-IT age... and just about every other gambit you can find on the FBI Common Fraud Schemes site.

If you are into IT Security, I think you'd enjoy reading this and mulling over the relevance to your day-to-day work. It is salutary to realise there is nothing new in the Evil that Men do, just new ways of doing it!

I listened to The Right Way To Do Wrong in audio from LibriVox. It is also available in print from Amazon.

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