THE MAGAZINE

New in Plaintext

By Peter Piazza

Despite its title, Cyber Terrorism: A Guide for Facility Managers is not about terrorism at all. Instead, it is a somewhat dated primer on how computers and networks function and how to create business continuity and recovery plans that take these high-tech backbones into consideration.

The first three chapters discuss--in very brief terms--how the technology works. Later chapters look at developing business continuity strategies, such as how to identify and evaluate hazards and determine recovery priorities; user issues, including training, access controls, and policy; and recovery planning steps, from establishing a planning team to implementing a plan.

Not until the final chapter does the author, Joseph F. Gustin (described as "a professional writer, consultant, and noted speaker" as well as former director of training and development of an unnamed "major multi-unit healthcare system"), look at cybercrime--cyberterrorism does not even get a mention in the book's index. This section, however, is little more than a quick description of how the FBI's cyber division works, with a series of bullet points on how to minimize computer intrusions.

Facility managers may appreciate the handy tables and checklists that the book provides (most seem to come from the National Institute of Standards and Technology), such as a physical and environmental security checklist and a list of questions designed to manage the life cycle of IT systems. An appendix provides a template for an IT security plan, and a glossary gives short explanations of IT jargon.

However, those looking for more details of computer threats will come away with their appetites merely whetted, and those hoping for the most up-to-date information available will certainly be disappointed, as the book seems dated despite its 2004 copyright date.

For example, the paragraph on computer worms gives as its sole example the PrettyPark worm that was widespread in 1999. And there is no mention of the Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), which was established in September 2003 and largely took over the functions of the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), which is cited throughout the book.

The book is available through the Web site of its publisher Fairmont Press for $98. But those seeking the latest cyberterror countermeasure advice should look elsewhere.

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