Reading Life

Experts’ tips will help your cybersecurity

pkelley@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 31, 2014 

  • ‘Limestone Gumption’

    Bryan Robinson will read and sign copies of “Limestone Gumption” 2 p.m. Feb. 22 at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road.

If you’re someone whose online security precautions consist of using the word “password” for your passwords, you might want to grab a copy of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know” (Oxford University Press; $16.95).

The book, co-authored by Peter Singer, a Charlotte native who directs the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, has won glowing reviews. Popular Science called it “an impressively comprehensive guide to one of the least understood arenas of modern life.”

Though it’s concise, at 300 pages, the guide covers cyber issues both personal and global with easy-to-understand explanations and engaging stories. It explains, for instance, how a U.S. soldier stationed in the Middle East triggered one of the largest security breaches in U.S. history in 2008 when he used a USB flash drive he’d found in a parking lot.

The drive had been planted there by a foreign intelligence agency in a ploy known as a “candy drop.” Moral of that story: If you don’t know where the flash drive has been, don’t use it.

Singer and co-author Allen Friedman report, by the way, that the most frequently used password is “password.” And the second-most popular? “123456.”

New from Carolina authors

Bryan Robinson, a therapist, retired UNC Charlotte professor and author of self-help books on issues such as stress and workaholism, is now also a novelist. In his new mystery, “Limestone Gumption” (Gale/Five Star; $25.95), psychologist Brad Pope becomes a murder suspect when he returns to his hometown to confront his long-lost father.

Asheville’s Marie Bartlett has written “Pearl, MD” (Taylor and Seale; $14.95). Set in the late 1800s, this historical novel follows a young female physician who moves to Asheville to make a fresh start following a tragic medical mistake.

Charlotte attorney Scott Syfert has written “The First American Declaration of Independence? The Disputed History of the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 20, 1775” (McFarland; $35).

As Syfert explains in his preface, the story of whether the people of Mecklenburg County wrote the first declaration of independence in the American colonies “continues to arouse strong passions.” While many historians dismiss the document as a myth or hoax, Syfert offers the comprehensive story.

Kelley: 704-358-5271;

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service