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Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 26, 2010
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“Fatal System Error accurately reveals the secretive global cyber cartels and their hidden multi-billion dollar business, proving cybercrime does pay and pays well."
Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Co-Founder, Berkman Center for Internet & Society and author of The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It
“Joseph Menn immerses us in the personalities and politics behind today's cybersecurity threats and countermeasures. This balanced, compelling account shows why the future of the Internet depends more on people of good will than on some technological magic bullet."
Vicky Raab, The New Yorker
“[Fatal System Error] kept me riveted to the couch all weekend”
Quentin Hardy, Forbes
“[A] well-reported book on some of the biggest (known) cybercrimes in the past decade… Menn's book could hardly be more timely.”
“As eye-popping as the book's portrayal of bookies and wise-guy swagger is… the second half of the book is even more mind-blowing.”
BBC Focus Magazine
“The issues raised are hugely important, and failure to deal with criminals behind so much online crime will be an embarrassment to governments worldwide.”
“In profiling two eclectic cyber-crime fighters, Menn has crafted a fascinating high-tech whodunit that educates even as it entertains.”
“Menn spins racy tales of true-life cybercrime...The villains glory in handles such as ‘Bra1n’, and the heroes are portrayed respectively as Matthew Broderick from Wargames and Daniel Craig's Bond, but the narrative glitter is sprinkled on top of serious and thorough reporting. Menn concludes: ‘A number of enormously powerful national governments, especially those of Russia and China, have picked the blossoming of the internet age as the time to ally with organised crime.’”
Richard Stiennon, founder of T-Harvest and former VP of Threat Research at Webroot Software
“Not since Cliff Stoll’s The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage has there been a book that delves as deeply into the workings of criminal hackers. This book will be widely read by law enforcement, policy makers, and IT security professionals. Like Stoll’s book I predict it will inspire a generation of technologists to join the battle against cyber criminals."
Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet is the wake-up call that those in Washington, and those charged with IT need to wake up to. Unfortunately, it is likely those that truly need to read this book, will press the information security snooze button yet again.
Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2010
“[E]ven an unbiased observer would say that Fatal System Error is a compelling read, despite the fact that it’s nonfiction (or maybe because it’s nonfiction). It’s also a very frightening book.”
Processor, May 7, 2010
“Menn’s deconstruction of an especially sophisticated set of attacks, the victim’s countermeasures, and eventual criminal investigation of the web of attackers is a valuable wake-up call for IT pros that should serve to catalyze redoubled efforts to improve cybersecurity.”
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
I met Barrett in 2004 when he was still immersed in getting Prolexic off the ground. I was at Gartner and looking for something new to get involved in. Barrett's network defenses against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks was the most exciting thing I had encountered. Barrett thought I was joking when I asked him if I could send him my resume. I was completely serious until I met his business partner Mickey Flynn in a hotel bar in Chicago. Mickey ran BetCRIS, one of the key sports book making and online gaming organizations in Costa Rica. For once in my career my spidey sense served me well. Mickey seemed like a great guy but it was the first time I had ever met anyone accompanied by two big body guards wearing sports coats and obviously packing. As Barrett's adventure unfolded I saw bits and pieces of it but I had no idea just how deeply entrenched Barrett had become in the workings of an international crime ring, one that had its own problems with cyber criminals in Russia. Thanks to Joseph Menn I now know the story.Read more ›
It's disturbing enough to learn that criminals siphoned off [...] trillion from computer fraud in 2009 alone, and to know that a huge proportion of that money went into the pockets of the American mafia and the Russian mob. Even more disquieting, though, is to learn about how both the Russian and Chinese governments are protecting Internet criminals because they have enlisted them in building offensive cyberwar weapons. What we all learned recently about Chinese hackers' attacks on Google and other U.S. companies invested in China is just a hint of the breadth and depth of that government's efforts to gain ascendancy over the West by building the capacity to bring down our economies in the event of a future conflict.
(From Mal Warwick's Blog on Books)
I'd recommend this book for ANYONE that uses the internet.
What I got was a fascinating book with two main stories told from the perspectives of the good guys. The first was a story of how a young dyslexic man struggled against the odds to become one of the best people around at defeating Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDOS) attacks. His story, which spans at least two continents and his unwitting participation with some of the internet's shadier characters, is a fascinating one. That story comprises part one of the book, and ties into part two quite neatly. Part two is the story of a British detective and his exploits in foreign countries (particularly Russia) in his efforts to find and eventually catch several of the same cyber-criminals from part one. While it has the tempo of a fictional "cyber-thriller", this book is non-fiction and is based on the very thorough work of Joseph Menn, a reporter for the Financial Times (previously of the LA Times). The overall theme is that of the war that is taking place using the world's computers and networks as a battleground. Despite the chronicled successes outlined in these two stories, it's a war that's very quickly being lost.
I've been working in the cyber-security industry for a while now, so I'm not entirely unfamiliar with some of the more sinister aspects of what happens on the internet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is of course fascinating in the information divulged and the players in what I see as an eternal chess match that is rife with coincidental skirmishes. Read morePublished 5 months ago by RisingWolf
Great book. I would also recommend Kingpin. Kingpin is about the cardersmarket and gives a good insight into how they operate.Published 22 months ago by John
See full review at my blog site: Terebrate
If you are interested in the evolution of cyber crime, Fatal System Error is a good first reference. Read more
The United States needs to prepare itself for a cyberwar in the near future. The book illustrates our need to defend our infrastructures. Read morePublished on February 8, 2014 by Ross Hoffman
When I first heard of this book, I thought it was only suited for computer propeller heads. But actually it was well written so anyone interested in ID theft could understand. Read morePublished on January 22, 2014 by EM
This book is simply the best I've read so far on the subject. It is very well written and must read.Published on October 4, 2013 by Yachtmaster
Its really the story of two people, one a hacker and the other a policeman, and a tale I found very seductive. Read morePublished on October 2, 2013 by John Jay Browning