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DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 4, 2011
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“DarkMarket tells you things your mind will have difficulty believing. Twenty-first-century crime is utterly different from anything you've heard about from the media or anyone else. In DarkMarket, Misha Glenny explains the world of cybercrime. You'll think you're inside a hallucinatory science-fiction novel—but it's all true! Over the last two years Misha Glenny met the criminals of the Internet and the people who try to catch them. Everywhere—from the U.S. to Ukraine, via France, Germany and Turkey. This extraordinarily powerful book tells the story of how modern crime knows no borders, how shadowy it is, how impossible to combat. You will realize how these crimes touch your life and your children's lives without your ever noticing it. And this study of Internet crime, like Glenny's book on the international mafia, demonstrates how utterly we lack the shared supranational tools needed to fight it. Like McMafia, DarkMarket is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the world we live in. And you'd better go in with your eyes open.” –Roberto Saviano, author of Gomorra
“A complex, eye-opening account of cybercrime…Scary reading.” –Kirkus
“Glenny’s got an outstanding cast to work with: Before the story is over, Turkish military intelligence agents, the Tamil Tigers, members of the Saudi royal family, and the brother of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer all make appearances. Stieg Larsson and his tales of sleepy Scandinavian hackers start to look vapid in comparison…an eminently readable, witty narrative that sustains suspense until the very last pages.” –Wall Street Journal
“Glenny accomplishes the herculean task of converting cryptic and tangled information into short, gripping chapters that often read like a high-tech thriller (complete with a surprise ending).” –Publishers Weekly
“America and its western allies are spending billions to perfect future cyber war capability, but Misha Glenny tells us that cyber crime is right here and has been for years—hiding in plain sight. Glenny's account of the international police hunt for a hacker known as Cha0, one of the most successful cyber criminals of our time, should be required reading for the world's cyber war generals.” –Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker
“The interlocking series of websites, organizations and individuals that [Glenny’s] industry has uncovered make for a truly remarkable story…he has succeeded in illuminating much that was hidden. This is an early, at times magnificent pass at a new world, which will grow greatly as our lives become ever more entangled with the web.” –Financial Times
“About 50 pages into DarkMarket I walked to my laptop to make sure my antivirus software had done its overnight checks. It was a tribute, of sorts, to Glenny, a British specialist in organized crime, who I think has written the most engaging tale of cops and robbers in cyberspace since The Cuckoo's Egg, Cliff Stoll's engaging account of a computer break-in…[Glenny] has brought the threats home with the force of an approaching typhoon.” –San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Misha Glenny is a former BBC Central Europe correspondent. Glenny covered the fall of Communism and the wars in the former Yugoslavia. He is the author of McMafia; The Rebirth of History; The Fall of Yugoslavia (which won the Overseas Press Club Award in 1993 for Best Book on Foreign Affairs); and The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804-1999. He has been regularly consulted by U.S. and European governments on major policy issues. Misha Glenny lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since I am an IT professional, I had high hopes when I stumbled upon a book written by a BBC reporter about subject matter of which I am familiar. I really wanted to like it. The more I read, the more I was frustrated by the semantic inaccuracies of the author; and his constant attempt to elevate excitement by over explaining things or making innocuous things sound more important to the process than they actually were.
I would suggest the author give his audience a little more credit.
It's a confusing, new area of crime and I still haven't learned all that much after reading this book. Is there any progress in developing international agreements in pursuing these guys? Are jurisdictions and legal boundaries being refined? Who's doing what? What are the Russians doing to help out? I think I have more questions that when I started.
The book's value is limited to simply summarizing the difficulty of tracking, apprehending, and incarcerating those involved - problems begin with the fact that criminal acts are often perpetrated from an IP address in one country against an individual/corporation in a second, in which the proceeds may be cashed out in a third. The actions taking place may not even be considered a crime in all three nations, the authorities not on the best of terms with each other (eg. U.S. problems caused by hackers in Russia are not a priority for Russia's KGB, but woe to the Russian hacker who attacks Russian individuals or enterprises). Anonymity makes the physical location of a computer difficult to identify, as well as the individual operating it. Encryption is widely available for free, most notably PGP, further complicating law enforcement, though reportedly government entities use Echelon to break these codes. (On the other hand, simple corruption of local languages - usually Russian, make it almost impossible for American agents to infiltrate Russian networks.) Glenny also mentions that German police officers are legally required to ID themselves as belonging to law enforcement if tracking a suspect over the Internet. Similarly, there are legal limitations in the U.S. and elsewhere on the use of Virtual Network Computing (VNC) oversight programs that monitor downloading and software installation.
Continuing, 'Safemail' is an encrypted email system that cannot be cracked without getting an Israeli Court to subpoena the information (owned and operated in Tel Aviv), victims often reside outside the investigating officer's jurisdiction, often resulting in pressure to instead work on more local cases.
DarkMarket had sections for pirated software, fraudulent documents, viruses, card skimmers, and stolen card information. Also important was its escrow system to enforce trust among the thieves using it, its 'invite' system that limited those who could offer wares on it, and the use of site administrators to patrol for cops and rats. (Those administrators sometimes used their authority to push competitors out, for their own benefit.) Still another law enforcement problem - U.S. agencies sometimes didn't communicate with each other, leading to Keystone Cops situations of one agency investigating the investigators of another.
Most of the material covers the activities of DarkMarket's founder (Renukanth Subramaniam, in London) and FBI agent Keith Mularski's infiltration of it using the alias Master Spylntr; ultimately more than 60 arrests worldwide followed. It had 2,500 users at its peak. Max Vision (Iceman) also was a notorious hacker who ran an underground forum called Carders Market and ended up sentenced to 13 years in jail after stealing nearly 2 million credit card numbers and generating about $86 million in fraudulent charges.
Kevin Poulsen's 'Kingpin' provide much more focused and useful information on the cybercrime underground.