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March 9, 2013, 11:02 pm
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Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground
[Paperback] Kevin Poulsen (Author)
Excellent 2012 book that follows the life of an early 1990s 'recreational h
acker' (kind of like Dustin's fantasy of himself) and then profiles the mor
e serious "Russian Mafia" types that are prevalent today.
Talks about Shadowcrew and other such criminal hacker botnets. If Dustin w
as a real hacker he'd know about them (but he'll probably Google this name
and then pretend he knows about them, LOL). Does not cast the FBI in a fav
orable light, not surprisingly, as cooperating with the government before y
ou have an agreement (as happened to the one naive hacker profiled in the b
ook) is not a good idea.
You can get a 'free' copy on Piratebay. Well written (the author Poulsen w
rites for Wired mag and is a good writer who moves things along).
Former hacker Kevin Poulsen has, over the past decade, built a reputation a
s one of the top investigative reporters on the cybercrime beat. In Kingpin
, he pours his unmatched access and expertise into book form for the first
time, delivering a gripping cat-and-mouse narrative?and an unprecedented
view into the twenty-first century?s signature form of organized crime.
The word spread through the hacking underground like some unstoppable new v
irus: Someone?some brilliant, audacious crook?had just staged a hostile
takeover of an online criminal network that siphoned billions of dollars f
rom the US economy.
The FBI rushed to launch an ambitious undercover operation aimed at trackin
g down this new kingpin; other agencies around the world deployed dozens of
moles and double agents. Together, the cybercops lured numerous unsuspecti
ng hackers into their clutches. . . . Yet at every turn, their main quarry
displayed an uncanny ability to sniff out their snitches and see through th
The culprit they sought was the most unlikely of criminals: a brilliant pro
grammer with a hippie ethic and a supervillain?s double identity. As prom
inent ?white-hat? hacker Max ?Vision? Butler, he was a celebrity th
roughout the programming world, even serving as a consultant to the FBI. Bu
t as the black-hat ?Iceman,? he found in the world of data theft an irr
esistible opportunity to test his outsized abilities. He infiltrated thousa
nds of computers around the country, sucking down millions of credit card n
umbers at will. He effortlessly hacked his fellow hackers, stealing their i
ll-gotten gains from under their noses. Together with a smooth-talking con
artist, he ran a massive real-world crime ring.
And for years, he did it all with seeming impunity, even as countless rival
s ran afoul of police.
Yet as he watched the fraudsters around him squabble, their ranks riddled w
ith infiltrators, their methods inefficient, he began to see in their dysfu
nction the ultimate challenge: He would stage his coup and fix what was bro
ken, run things as they should be run?even if it meant painting a bull?
s-eye on his forehead.
Through the story of this criminal?s remarkable rise, and of law enforcem
ent?s quest to track him down, Kingpin lays bare the workings of a silent
crime wave still affecting millions of Americans. In these pages, we are u
shered into vast online-fraud supermarkets stocked with credit card numbers
, counterfeit checks, hacked bank accounts, dead drops, and fake passports.
We learn the workings of the numerous hacks?browser exploits, phishing a
ttacks, Trojan horses, and much more?these fraudsters use to ply their tr
ade, and trace the complex routes by which they turn stolen data into milli
ons of dollars. And thanks to Poulsen?s remarkable access to both cops an
d criminals, we step inside the quiet, desperate arms race that law enforce
ment continues to fight with these scammers today.
Ultimately, Kingpin is a journey into an underworld of startling scope and
power, one in which ordinary American teenagers work hand in hand with murd
erous Russian mobsters and where a simple Wi-Fi connection can unleash a to
rrent of gold worth millions.
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