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DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia Paperback – 5 Jul 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099546558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099546559
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Eye-popping... A real life crime thriller" (Mail on Sunday)

"A page-turner... This is a gripping tale, brilliantly researched" (Sunday Times)

"Compulsive, thriller-paced reading" (Metro)

"Glenny is skilful at taking a world that might seem impenetrable and esoteric and making it seem human… The story Glenny tells is fascinating" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Like a thriller…gripping" (Guardian)

Book Description

The essential crime book of our times, from the author of the bestselling McMafia.

Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2012


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ReviewMan VINE VOICE on 1 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The author spins a good yarn, that's for sure. The book is very readable but, as with many books, the blurb completely misrepresents the technical detail in the book. I suspect that non 'geeks' might learn a lot from the book, though. To be fair to the author he does imply that one should treat the comments of many of those whom he interviewed with some suspicion because the very essence of identity on the Internet is one of fantasy. I did find the book somewhat disjointed. Some 'actors' were mentioned without giving any detail on what befell them after being arrested by law enforcement agencies. It is rather worrying to think that many of the villains consider their crimes of 'carding' as being a minor one. I often wondered how small time crooks from so called impoverished and backward countries managed to get hold of sophisticated machines which mimic ATM based card readers: thanks to the book I now know. Smile, I'm no less neurotic about being tricked by one than I was before, though.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Aug 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
There are many threats coming from the internet, but in this book, Misha Glenny, a well-respected journalist, examines mainly cybercrime, (dominantly theft of financial details and cloning of credit card data for financial profit), the one that tends to affect mostly individuals, rather than organizations, although there is also a brief discussion of cyber espionage, particularly attacks originating from nation states, designed to paralyze, or even destroy, an opponent's essential infrastructure. The world of hackers and the criminal skimmers, is a mixture of geeks (computer experts, usually with some sort of personality disorder) who are not primarily interested in money, more in showing off their skills and establishing their reputation, and hardened criminals, whose interest is definitely cash. Opportunities for cybercrime arose from the massive lapses in security that existed in the early days of the internet and the web, and although most of these have now been closed, many institutions are still vulnerable. Thus banks still insist that chip-and-pin cards are impregnable, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Most of the book is an analysis of the most successful of the hacker/scammer sites, DarkMarket, whose contributors came from a wide range of countries, and how it was eventually brought down by the co-operative efforts of law enforcement agencies in many countries, including America, Germany, Turkey and the UK.

Much of the information comes from interviews with law enforcements officers and the hackers themselves, and this raises a fundamental problem, not unlike the one facing the reader of political memoirs. How much should we believe, when all parties want to show themselves in the best light?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 24 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Misha Glenny's book is a fascinating explanation of the events that led to the take-down of the infamous DarkMarket site, where hackers and criminals met to sell illegally skimmed credit card information and associated paraphernalia. It's a complicated story that crosses countries including Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, the US, Sri Lanka and the UK and involved a wide cast of characters in both the hacking community and in law enforcement. Because of the wide cast, the story does bounce around a lot between players and I sometimes found it difficult to keep straight who was who - especially because so many of the references are to on-line pseudonyms.

This is a book pitched at those who are unfamiliar with this world (like me) and so there's plenty of explanation on how hackers and skimmers operate. I appreciated that but those more experienced in the subject may find it too basic. There's also a certain amount of conjecture on the motivation of the main players, with Glenny having to put together likely psychologies from the information available.

There are a number of parts of the book that are terrifying - from the ease with which people can get your personal information, to the general cluelessness of ordinary people to using the internet and the total lack of coordination and understanding of the subject matter on the part of law enforcement. In fact the blunders made by law enforcement officers are some of the most jaw dropping moments in the book (including German police allowing a teenage hacker to access his computer before being taken away).

All in all, it's a really interesting read that kept me engrossed from beginning to end but the nature of the subject matter means that this isn't a definitive account and (of necessity) there are a lot of unknowns that can't be known. However if you've got a passing interest in underground technology culture and cyber crime, I think it's worth checking out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tram22 on 1 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A frightening read, highlights how vulnerable we all are every time we pay by credit/debit card.
Very well researched, as expected from a respected journalist. The most disturbing element was the degree to which the various security/law enforcement agencies were blissfully unaware of what each other were doing - not just across national boundaries, but even within their own jurisdiction.
Worth reading, but don't expect to feel reassured.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Brown on 6 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this on the back of enjoying McMafia but it's not in the same league. McMafia was a "pleasant", educational and interesting romp around the worlds criminal gangs. Here Glenny concentrates on an area of criminal activity that is undeniably difficult to write about in an interesting way. How do you make computer based crime interesting - especially credit card fraud? Part of the problem is that what happened a just scant few years ago is ancient history in computing terms. The use of online nicknames / handles makes both the people less human and also harder to keep a track of. The story is presented in fairly large font, with short chapters that jump confusingly around in time and place, are over-reliant on conjecture and that mostly end with an attempted cliffhanger. Whether it's the style and presentation of the writing, the amount of conjecture or the lack of a feel for the real-world seriousness I'm afraid this book really failed to keep me engaged.
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