THE MAGAZINE

Hacking Wall Street

By John Kula; Reviewed by Ronald Mendell, MS, CISSP

***** Hacking Wall Street. By John Kula; published by DarkWave Technologies Press, 2008; 402 pages; $45.95.
 
Hacking Wall Street is an interesting book in several respects, some of them good and some of them not so desirable.
 
The author knows a considerable amount about online stock trading. He has an in-depth understanding of the “pump and dump” scheme in which an individual touts a stock to increase its price prior to executing a large sell-off. The author also has an above-average background knowledge of malware and the use of “shadow” banking tools, such as electronic money and prepaid cards that can be replenished online. His chapter on how to get around online authentication tools provides a comprehensive introduction.
 
In addition, the author provides numerous technical notes throughout the text to document facts he asserts in his discussion. Most chapters end with a glossary defining financial and computer security terms.
 
On the less desirable side, the book offers little beyond the body text, and the author’s credentials are a mystery. He supplies no biographical information, instead referring the reader to his Web site, where no further information is provided, just a few Web links. Also absent are an index, bibliography, and contact information for the publisher.
 
Computer security generalists will find some value in this book, and it can provide background information on financial computer security. The chapter on working around authentication countermeasures may also have some value for the generalist. And computer security specialists in the financial industry would probably gain an overview of the challenges the sector faces. But security professionals cannot draw their primary insights from an author without clear credentials.
 

Reviewer: Ronald Mendell, MS, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), is an adjunct assistant professor in Computer Science at Austin Community College in Texas. He is also an independent writer and researcher specializing in security and investigative issues. He is currently writing a book, Probing into Cold Cases, for Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd.

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