Thursday, June 6, 2019

Book Review: Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime by Kate Fazzini

Cybercrime is something that sounds foreign, and yet it affects us every day. When you have to go get your credit card to type in the security code from the back, when you have to enter your zip code at the gas pump, or when you have to remember any of your seventy-thousand increasingly-bizarre passwords, you are attempting to thwart cybercrime. Every time you chuckle over a spam email, roll your eyes over a phishing email, or scream in frustration when your third attempt to log in to your Target account results in being locked out, do you ever wonder how we got here? And who is behind it?

Kate Fazzini used to work in the world of anti-cybercrime for a major bank. Now she is a reporter in the field, and so she is perfectly poised to take you through the terrifying new world of cybercrime. We're introduced to a few individual players as examples of the larger crime scene, including a young Romanian woman who starts off in customer service of a crime ring (yes, they have customer service reps!) and soon rises to the number two position thanks to her deft hand in expanding their randsomware reach. Along with a Russian man in New Jersey, a Chinese man, and a couple of others, Ms. Fazzini shows us how this world functions, through these examples, and it's pretty terrifying, while at the same time being reassuringly boring, in how like the real above-board world most of these organizations are.

A fast read for fans of Michael Lewis, that will make you want to lock down all your accounts and finally sign up for that password manager you've been meaning to get around to.

This book is published by St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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