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Spam Nation MP3 CD – Audiobook, November 18, 2014
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About the Author
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Brian left the Washington Post after editorial management at WP decided that Cybercrime was an area that was a little too risky for its appetite.
Brian went on to found his own Website www.krebsonsecurity.com a daily blog dedicated to in-depth cyber-security news and investigation. Brian has become one of the most informed and prolific writers on the subject of Cybercrime.
His first book SPAM Nation chronicles the activities of two leading Russian figures of the Pharmaceutical SPAM racket, Igor Gusev and Victor Vrublevsky, who leaked detailed information about the other in an effort to destroy the other.
This book is a worthy read as it details the feud that developed between key Cybercrime characters and the supporting cast of corrupt banks, less than diligent ISP’s, crooked beauracrats and victims of toxic counterfeit drugs bought over the Internet from “Canadian Pharmacies”. These two individuals (Vrublevsy and Gusev), are responsible for a large percentage of SPAM that has plagued your and everyone else’s inboxes for the past 10 years.
It provides insight into motives, modus-operandi and the environment, sponsored by corrupt bureaucrats who enable Cybercrime to flourish in Eastern Europe, Russia and parts of Asia.
Why is it worth reading? Because YOU and YOUR IDENTITY are under constant threat from billions of SPAM emails and social engineering scams generated by a sophisticated, determined, patient and growing cadre of Cyber criminals.
If you have not received a letter from your bank or institution where you hold a credit account offering free credit protection services, advising that you that your credentials may have been stolen and that your account may be compromised in the past 12 months, it is almost certain you will receive one in the next 12 months.
Pharma Spam provided the trainer-wheels for the first generation of hackers. They made $millions selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals, manufactured in India, sold via online “Canadian” Pharmacies to Americans who could not afford or could not acquire drugs for any number of serious illnesses and addictive needs.
The Botnets that infected and continue to compromise millions of PC’s, causing them to generate billions of Spam emails daily still exist. They provide a platform to develop and launch more sophisticated phishing and spear-phishing attacks.
Hackers have perfected their craft in what history will record as the “wild-west” days of the Internet.
Ten years ago, these miscreants were making $millions.
Now they are making $Billions.
An increasing variety of clever scams, including impersonation of senior executives using look-alike URL’s to launch phishing and spear phishing attacks (social engineering), to gain access to the corporate network and commit fraud; extortion, identity theft, credit card theft, website ransom and Intellectual Property theft.
The epilogue, A Spam-free World: How you can protect yourself from Cyber-crime, is worth the price of the book ten times over.
If you don’t want to read the book, then please observe Brian’s three simple rules to protect your identity… and never click on a suspicious link or a link unless you can expose and validate that the underlying hyperlink is genuine.
Rule 1: If you didn’t go looking for it, do not install it.
Rule 2: If you installed it, update it.
Rule 3: If you no longer need it, remove it.
If you are interested in any subject related to Cybercrime, follow @Briankrebs on Twitter, make #Cybercrime a Twitter hashtag that you track and read daily and visit Brian’s website, it’s a must.
Finally, if you have never heard of and don’t know what “social engineering” is, then you had better do some research in a hurry, before you become the next victim of identity theft and fraud.
This gives the story told in the book a certain granularity by extracting sub stories from the bigger picture. It’s written more like an extended piece by an investigative journalist, and less like the work that a historian or enthusiast might tell.
Where the book does become a bit broader is in its definition of Spam, to include fraud & phising, and the stories the writer tells of peoples experience with online pharmaceuticals (an aside from the rest of the content in which he seemed to be much more personally involved). I always liked these stores, and found them to be the captivating part of the book.
For the right audience, this is a great book. One who wants to hear about Krebs’ struggles and ongoing investigation would be very satisfied (and it’s wroth noting that he is a very authoritative source on the subject. His blog is routinely cited by the media and his involvement in the topic extends past the publish date of this book).
However, for a passive observer that wants a bit of a broader history, told more like a story, and a more summarized version of personal conversations, events, etc this book doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Spam Nation focuses on Pharma spam and the related illegal sales. It's difficult to empathize with the author's perspective that this is a major problem. As is described in the book, many of the medications purchased illegally are the exact same medications sold in the US and perhaps made at the same factory as legitimately purchased products. There are obviously concerns regarding prescription abuse and that the illicit products advertised in spam could be fake or dangerous but war on pharma spam leads down the same road as the failed war on drugs. So long as Americans have prescription drug problems, the factories in developing nations that make the legitimate product will be tempted to (illegally) sell directly; there's too much financial incentive otherwise.
Spam is the byproduct of sellers trying to trying to reach buyers. Spam exists because people choose to accept the risks for a lower cost (buyer) or higher profits (seller). For most others Spam is an irritation similar to panhandling. It's unpleasant and there are some risks involved, but it's inevitable and not overly interesting. Because of these problems, I didn't enjoy Spam Nation and can't recommend it. If readers want approachable and current insight on spam and similar infosec topics, they should just go to Kreb's blog.
Top international reviews
Krebs paints a candid yet accurate picture of the spam underworld and it's kingpins. Though a factual detailing of events during the last decade of the spam scene, it's far from a tedious read as the major players in this world are extremely colourful characters and the ways in which their empires are run is truly fascinating.
A five star read from Mr Krebs - Bravo!
Krebs si è infiltrato in questo mondo come giornalista investigativo e ci racconta la storia come lo ha visto e vissuto lui. Naturalmente la storia potrebbe essere colorata da sue esperienze personali e sicuramente alcuni racconti che i criminali stessi hanno raccontato a lui sapendo che fosse giornalista che pubblicherà questi racconti, sono da prendere con le pinze perché possano avere diversi scopi di colorare e/o inventare fatti. Molte volte Krebs prova ad interpretare questi racconti basandosi su fatti e prove accumulati in altri modi.
Molto interessante storia e ne consiglio la lettura per tutti. Una parentesi interessante che non ha niente a che fare con lo spam è la vista pratica al mondo della giustizia e politica in Russia. Questo spiega tante cose anche dell'attuale situazione politica in Europa e la crisi tra occidente e la Russia oggi.
Cela reste néanmoins une lecture intéressante, car elle donne un aperçu plus poussé des acteurs concernés, de leurs liens entre eux, leurs caractères, etc.