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Spies Among Us: How to Stop the Spies, Terrorists, Hackers, and Criminals You Don't Even Know You Encounter Every Day

ISBN: 978-0-7645-8468-8
346 pages
April 2005
Spies Among Us: How to Stop the Spies, Terrorists, Hackers, and Criminals You Don


Ira Winkler has been dubbed "A Modern Day James Bond" by CNN and other media outlets for his ability to simulate espionage attacks against many of the top companies in the world, showing how billions of dollars can disappear. This unique book is packed with the riveting, true stories and case studies of how he did it-and how people and companies can avoid falling victim to the spies among us.

American corporations now lose as much as $300 billion a year to hacking, cracking, physical security breaches, and other criminal activity. Millions of people a year have their identities stolen or fall victim to other scams. In Spies Among Us, Ira Winkler reveals his security secrets, disclosing how companies and individuals can protect themselves from even the most diabolical criminals. He goes into the mindset of everyone from small-time hackers to foreign intelligence agencies to disclose cost-effective countermeasures for all types of attacks.

In Spies Among Us, readers learn:
* Why James Bond and Sydney Bristow are terrible spies
* How a team was able to infiltrate an airport in a post-9/11 world and plant a bomb
* How Ira and his team were able to steal nuclear reactor designs in three hours
* The real risks that individuals face from the spies that they unknowingly meet on a daily basis
* Recommendations for how companies and individuals can secure themselves against the spies, criminals, and terrorists who regularly cross their path
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Table of Contents


About the Author.



1. How to Be a Spy.

2. Why You Can Never Be Secure.

3. Death by 1,000 Cuts.

4. Spies and Their Friends.

5. How the Spies Really Get You.


6. Spy vs. Spy.

7. Nuclear Meltdown.

8. Fill'er Up!

9. The Entrepreneur.

10. The Criminal Face of the Internet Age.

11. Crimes Against Individuals.


12. Taking Control.

13. Taking Action. Index.

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Author Information

Ira Winkler, dubbed a modern-day James Bond, began his career with the super-secret National Security Agency as an undercover security analyst. Since then he has assisted various agencies of the United States and other governments, as well as major corporations, in their battle against the technological underworld. Relentless in his dedication to sealing security breaches, he has "stolen" billions of dollars from huge corporations, lifted nuclear reactor designs in less than four hours, and hacked into multinational networks. In a single day, he siphoned off a billion dollars' worth of information from a leading corporation, exposing a potentially disastrous security gap. Along with espionage simulations and penetration testing, he also investigates cybercrime. Visit his Web site at www.irawinkler.com
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Required reading by counterintelligence warrant officers in training at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, Spies Among Us is a primer into the basic principles of intelligence operations. Indeed, Ira Winkler notes that spies, terrorists, hackers, and criminals all use the same basic techniques to collect information on their targets.
Mr. Winkler is a former undercover security analyst with the National Security Agency, who now works with governments and major corporations to help them uncover potential security breaches. He states in the introduction to Spies Among Us that there seems to be a fascination with spectacular acts committed by terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and computer hacking geniuses. Against such threats, corporations and individuals are tempted to feel powerless. Such acts, though potentially devastating, are quite rare and only affect relatively small numbers of people and businesses. Conversely, natural disasters, accidents, and criminal acts, though not as spectacular, are much more common and affect many more people. In Spies Among Us, Mr. Winkler seeks to empower his readers with simple countermeasures that can mitigate the common threats we all face. He further adds that such prudence also helps protect against attacks from the terrorists, spies, and computer geniuses.
Spies Among Us is divided into three parts. Part I discusses the fundamental concepts of the intelligence process, espionage, and crime. Part II explores the details of some notable penetration tests conducted by Mr. Winkler and his colleagues as well as some real-world cases of high- level crime and espionage. Finally, Part III describes the simple countermeasures that can be used to reduce both individual and corporate vulnerabilities to various threats.
In Part I, Mr. Winkler defines risk, threat, vulnerability, counter-measures, value, and their interrelationship. He further explains how to determine the value of assets and how to evaluate various threats against those assets. Of particular interest to BECCA members, Mr. Winkler thoroughly describes the corporate espionage threats that U.S. corporations face. He lists the major countries that successfully use their state intelligence agencies to target U.S. corporations. Among those countries are two U.S. allies identified by the CIA as conducting espionage against U.S. companies: France and Israel. Furthermore, Mr. Winkler describes how each nation targets U.S. corporations both at home and abroad. He states that the U.S. government is quite different than that of most other industrialized nations in that it generally does not collect intelligence on behalf of its corporations. Contrast this with the statement of Pierre Marion, the former head of the French foreign intelligence agency who has stated, "There is no such thing as an economic ally." Among other countries, the U.S. government is considered "naïve" in its view of international corporate espionage.
In addition to foreign intelligence threats, Part II of Spies Among Us explains how corporate information leaks can be caused or exploited by insiders (employees), petty crime, suppliers, customers, and competitors. In regards to employees, the author draws an amazing parallel between the profile of an extremely hard- working employee and that of a spy. They both show interest in what their coworkers are doing, they volunteer For extra work, they work late, and they rarely take vacations. Attackers Target vulnerabilities of corporations and individuals. Mr. Winkler defines Vulnerabilities in four categories: operational, physical, personnel, and technical. Under operational vulnerabilities, he addresses security awareness and makes a notable statement, that "there is no common sense without common knowledge," emphasizing the importance of security awareness training for everyone.
In Part II, not only does the author describe various successful attacks Against major corporations, he also describes the vulnerabilities which facilitated or allowed these attacks.
In Part III, Mr. Winkler explains simple countermeasures to address these vulnerabilities and similar vulnerabilities of individuals. He defines these countermeasures in the same categories that he used for vulnerabilities. However, he makes the interesting observation that the categories do not necessarily correlate. For instance, he states that poor security awareness is an operational vulnerability. However, an effective countermeasure for poor awareness is a technical countermeasure such as token-based authentication which thwarts social engineering attacks designed to obtain passwords from users. In the final chapter, Mr. Winkler provides practical suggestions for implementing and testing countermeasures and incident response procedures. He includes sound advice on how to garner support from management and compliance from employees. He states that an effective security awareness program could result in "thousands of people detecting security problems, not just the two people in a typical security department."
As a military intelligence professional, I found Spies Among Us to be a fascinating and enlightening read. As only someone who has great understanding can, Mr. Winkler greatly simplifies the intelligence process and provides interesting insights into recent events. He also writes from the vantage point of an insider. The security countermeasures he recommends are practical and feasible for both organizations and individuals to implement. As someone who sees the need for professional reading but who does not normally enjoy such activity, I found this book to be refreshingly enjoyable to read. I highly recommend Spies Among Us to anyone working in the security or intelligence field. I also highly recommend it to anyone else who has ever felt vulnerable or who just wants to peer into the hidden world of espionage and crime that is always among us.
"Spies Among Us reads like a Robert Ludlum novel, [and] it’s riveting because it’s all true. If you’ve got a social security number, you need to read this book whether you’re a CEO or a grandmother. Winkler reveals the top threats to our personal and national security, with lots of straight-forward advice on how to protect yourself."
–Soledad O'Brien, CNN

"Everyone...interested in how big companies...can be sabotaged or infiltrated...should read this marvelously entertaining, and instructive, book."
—Joseph Finder, author of Paranoia

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Press Release

July 01, 2010
Countering “The Spies Among Us”

"Spies Among Us reads like a Robert Ludlum novel, [and] it’s riveting because it’s all true. If you’ve got a social security number, you need to read this book whether you’re a CEO or a grandmother. Winkler reveals the top threats to our personal and national security, with lots of straight-forward advice on how to protect yourself."

–Soledad O'Brien, CNN


Hoboken, NJ (July 1, 2010) – While the latest case of espionage cracked by United States government reportedly didn’t yield many results for Russia, it should still serve as a reminder that though the cold war is over countries still continue to spy on one another and likely always will. The CIA trains and maintains spies throughout the world. China is suspected to have thousands of front companies operating in the US executing every form of hacking, cracking, physical security breaches, and other criminal activity. The latest sweep turned up 11 people suspected of working for a much larger network of Russian spies looking to infiltrate influential political circles in the US and discover what they thought of Russia and Barack Obama’s intentions for last year’s summit in Moscow.


One book, Spies Among Us: How to Stop the Spies, Terrorists, Hackers, and Criminals You Don't Even Know You Encounter Every Day (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; $27.50; Available Now; 978-0-7645-8468-8), takes a realistic look at such threats and outlines a plan on how to counter them. Though the most recent case of international espionage has the makings of and has been treated like modern day slapstick in the news, it is still a very serious issue and one that is not going away anytime soon.


In Spies Among Us, author Ira Winkler first walks the reader through the basics of how cyber criminals and the lot of bad guys think and how they do what they do: identifying valuable information, assessing risk, determining value, identifying threats (both internal and external), and spotting vulnerabilities. This last task is often the most difficult -- no one wants to admit they're not doing all they can to guard their employer's secrets. The second part of the book presents case histories from the author's own experience as one of the world's top security consultants and keynote speakers. Winkler then wraps up the book with recommendations for how companies and individuals can secure themselves against the spies, criminals, and terrorists who regularly cross their path; addressing the vulnerabilities and threats described throughout the book.


To book an author appearance or interview, please contact Ashley Evens at aevens@wiley.com or 201-748-6702.


Spies Among Us: How to Stop the Spies, Terrorists, Hackers, and Criminals You Don't Even Know You Encounter Every Day

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; Cloth; $27.50; 346 Pages

Available Now; ISBN 978-0-7645-8468-8

About the Author

Ira Winkler (Severna Park, MD) is a Partner with CSC, a $14.8 billion technology systems giant with 90,000 employees in 80 countries, famous for employing ethical hackers and cyber security specialists. Previously, Ira was Chief Security Strategist for Hewlett-Packard. He began his career at the National Security Agency as an undercover intelligence analyst, moved on to other gov't agencies and the National Computer Security Agency and then on up to the big corporate leagues of SAIC, CSC, and H-P, in cyber security undercover roles, as well as senior management. The media has dubbed Ira, the modern-day James Bond of cyber security.

About Wiley

Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. has been a valued source of information and understanding for 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Since 1901, Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 350 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Peace.

Our core businesses publish scientific, technical, medical and scholarly journals, encyclopedias, books, and online products and services; professional/trade books, subscription products, training materials, and online applications and websites; and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Wiley's global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company's Web site can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com. The Company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols JWa and JWb. 

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