Deception in the Digital Age

Deception in the Digital Age

Exploiting and Defending Human Targets through Computer-Mediated Communications

1st Edition - June 23, 2017

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  • Authors: Cameron Malin, Terry Gudaitis, Thomas Holt, Max Kilger
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124116399
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124116306

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Deception in the Digital Age: Exploiting and Defending Human Targets Through Computer-Mediated Communication guides readers through the fascinating history and principles of deception—and how these techniques and stratagems are now being effectively used by cyber attackers. Users will find an in-depth guide that provides valuable insights into the cognitive, sensory and narrative bases of misdirection, used to shape the targeted audience’s perceptions and beliefs. The text provides a detailed analysis of the psychological, sensory, sociological, and technical precepts that reveal predictors of attacks—and conversely postmortem insight about attackers—presenting a unique resource that empowers readers to observe, understand and protect against cyber deception tactics. Written by information security experts with real-world investigative experience, the text is the most instructional book available on the subject, providing practical guidance to readers with rich literature references, diagrams and examples that enhance the learning process.

Key Features

  • Deeply examines the psychology of deception through the lens of misdirection and other techniques used by master magicians
  • Explores cognitive vulnerabilities that cyber attackers use to exploit human targets
  • Dissects the underpinnings and elements of deception narratives
  • Examines group dynamics and deception factors in cyber attacker underground markets
  • Provides deep coverage on how cyber attackers leverage psychological influence techniques in the trajectory of deception strategies
  • Explores the deception strategies used in today’s threat landscape—phishing, watering hole, scareware and ransomware attacks
  • Gives unprecedented insight into deceptive Internet video communications
  • Delves into the history and deception pathways of nation-state and cyber terrorism attackers
  • Provides unique insight into honeypot technologies and strategies
  • Explores the future of cyber deception


Information Security professionals of all levels, system administrators, forensic examiners, CIOs, CSOs, IT managers, InfoSec consultants, risk management consultants. criminologists, sociologists, attorneys, law enforcement officers

Table of Contents

  • 1. The Psychology of Deception
    2. Virtual Myths: Internet Urban Legend, Chain Letters, and Warnings
    3. Viral Influence: Deceptive Computing Attacks through Persuasion
    4. Social Dynamics of Deception: Cyber Underground Markets and Cultures
    5. Phishing, Watering Holes, and Scareware
    6. Seeing is not Believing: Deceptive Internet Video Communications
    7. e-Jihad: Jihadist Use of Cyber Denial and Deception
    8. Asymmetric Warfare and Psyops: Nation State Sponsored Cyber Attacks
    9. Sweet Deception: Honeypots
    10. Looking Forward

Product details

  • No. of pages: 284
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2017
  • Published: June 23, 2017
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124116399
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124116306

About the Authors

Cameron Malin

Cameron H. Malin is a Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) and Certified Network Defense Architect (C|NDA) as designated by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council); a GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA), GIAC Certified Forensic Analysis (GCFA), a GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH), GIAC Certified Reverse Engineering Malware professional (GREM), GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN), and GIAC Certified Unix Security Administrator (GCUX) as designated by the SANS Institute; and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), as designated by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium ((ISC)2®).

From 1998 through 2002, Mr. Malin was an Assistant State Attorney (ASA) and Special Assistant United States Attorney in Miami, Florida, where he specialized in computer crime prosecutions. During his tenure as an ASA, he was also an Assistant Professorial Lecturer in the Computer Fraud Investigations Masters Program at George Washington University.

Mr. Malin is currently a Supervisory Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation assigned to the Behavioral Analysis Unit, Cyber Behavioral Analysis Center. He is also a Subject Matter Expert for the Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Security & Information Systems Information Analysis Center and Defense Systems Information Analysis Center.

Mr. Malin is co-author of the Malware Forensics book series, Malware Forensics: Investigating and Analyzing Malicious Code, the Malware Forensics Field Guide for Windows Systems, and the Malware Forensics Field Guide for Linux Systems published by Syngress, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc.

The techniques, tools, methods, views, and opinions explained by Cameron Malin are personal to him, and do not represent those of the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the government of the United States of America. Neither the Federal government nor any Federal agency endorses this book or its contents in any way.

Terry Gudaitis

Dr. Terry Gudaitis is the Owner/Principal of Mindstar Security & Profiling, LLC which specializes in custom cyber and physical security solutions for Family Offices, high net worth persons, and their families. Terry started her career as a CIA operations officer and behavioral profiler. She left government service to pursue the expansion of profiling techniques as they applied to hackers targeting the financial services and energy sectors. She altered classic behavioral/psychological profiling methods used in homicide, serial crime, and terrorist investigation and adapted them for the applied use in computer crime investigations which included the integration of cyber intelligence as part of the investigations process. Prior to forming her own firm, Terry was the Vice President and Cyber Intelligence Director at Cyveillance and held senior positions at other private sector firms. In addition to her corporate related work, Terry is on the Advisory Boards of Mi3 Security Inc. and TechnoSecurity; has served on the United States Secret Service Advisory Board for Insider Threat; trained investigators at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and, regularly presents at national and international conferences. Terry is also a featured speaker at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. She received a Ph.D. in behavioral science from the University of Florida.

Affiliations and Expertise

CyberIntelligence Director, Cyveillance

Thomas Holt

Dr. Thomas Holt is a Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University specializing in cybercrime, policing, and policy. He received his Ph. D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis in 2005. He has published extensively on cybercrime and cyberterror with over 35 peer-reviewed articles in outlets such as Crime and Delinquency, Sexual Abuse, the Journal of Criminal Justice, Terrorism and Political Violence, and Deviant Behavior. He is also a co-author of the books Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: An Introduction (2015), and Policing Cybercrime and Cyberterror (2015). He has also received multiple grants from the National Institute of Justice and the National Science Foundation to examine the social and technical drivers of Russian malware writers, data thieves, and hackers using on-line data. He has also given multiple presentations on computer crime and hacking at academic and professional conferences, as well as hacker conferences across the country including Defcon and HOPE.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University

Max Kilger

Max Kilger, Ph.D. ( is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Systems & Cyber Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and also the Director of the Masters in Data Analytics Program at UTSA. Dr. Kilger received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University. He has over seventeen years of experience in the area of information security concentrating on the social and psychological factors motivating malicious online actors, hacking groups and cyberterrorists. Max has written and co-authored a number of journal articles and book chapters on profiling, the social structure of the hacking community, cyberviolence and the emergence of cyberterrorism. He is a founding and board member of the Honeynet Project, a not-for-profit information security organization with 54 teams of experts in 44 countries working for the public good. Max was a member of a National Academy of Engineering committee dedicated to make recommendations for combating terrorism. He is also a member of a multinational instructional team for a NATO counterterrorism course.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Systems and Cyber Security, University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Director of the Masters in Data Analytics Program, UTSA

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