ISACA Journal
Volume 1, 2,015 

Book Reviews 

The Fifth Domain: Wake Up Neo 

Guiliano Pozza and John D. Halamka | Reviewed by Ibe Etea, CISA, CRISC, CA, CFE, CIA, CRMA 

The Fifth Domain: Wake Up Neo, written by two chief information officers (CIOs), is an innovative experiment with the cybertechnology novel and is worth the attention of information security professionals. The two authors have tinkered with contemporary reality and plausible fiction to raise the stakes in knowledge transfer, using a leisurely but effective way of sharing information while piquing readers’ interest in a highly technical field—the world of cybertechnology.

With the simplicity of a magazine article and a clearly defined purpose, the authors go about exploring key points about the scary, but real, nature of cyberthreats. These threats are most often overlooked in business, albeit actually lurking around every corner of this highly mechanized and computerized world.

The key characters are analyzed concisely in terms of their personalities and their professional lives in such a way that one empathizes with the characters and story, which develop further as the tale thickens. In this book, readers can connect with the characters they meet: their fears, routines, concerns and intrigues.

The plot focuses on the buildup of cyberattacks on health care information systems, the investigations that ensue, and the different roles and personalities involved. For those with an affinity for rapidly evolving action scenes and movies, this book is a must-read.

The emphasis on personalities does not detract from the informational nature of the book. The combination of information with a fictitious story emphasizes current security issues. This is done through the use of informative appendices, frequently asked questions, facts, puzzles and current topical security references. As a result, this book provides useful contemporary information for practitioners.

CIOs Guiliano Pozza and John D. Halamka, the authors of this novel, created a pioneering work that shifts from the typical subject-centric textbook. The Fifth Domain is a refreshing, leisurely read that contains informative insights, especially for a topic as advanced as cybersecurity. While the primary industry focus of the title is health care, the security points apply to all sectors, as the message and relevance of the book is all-inclusive.

For anyone who is interested in the modern dynamics and possible impacts of cybersecurity and cyberhacking, the benefits of the book are twofold: learn and enjoy this well-written novel.

Editor’s Note

The Fifth Domain: Wake Up Neo is available from the ISACA Bookstore. For information, see the ISACA Bookstore Supplement in the Journal, visit, email or telephone +1.847.660.5650.

Reviewed by Ibe Etea, CISA, CRISC, CA, CFE, CIA, CRMA, a corporate governance, internal controls, fraud and enterprise risk assurance professional. Etea also serves as a member on the advisory council of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).


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