Crime Dot Com

From Viruses to Vote Rigging, How Hacking Went Global

Geoff White

Crime Dot Com

Geoff White

Distributed for Reaktion Books

336 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9781789142853 Published September 2020 For sale in North and South America only

“Brilliantly researched and written.”—Jon Snow, Channel 4 News
 
“A comprehensive and intelligible account of the elusive world of hacking and cybercrime over the last two decades. . . . Lively, insightful, and, often, alarming.”—Ewen MacAskill, Guardian

On May 4, 2000, an email that read “kindly check the attached LOVELETTER” was sent from a computer in the Philippines. Attached was a virus, the Love Bug, and within days it had been circulated across the globe, paralyzing banks, broadcasters, and businesses in its wake, and extending as far as the UK Parliament and, reportedly, the Pentagon. The outbreak presaged a new era of online mayhem: the age of Crime Dot Com. In this book, investigative journalist Geoff White charts the astonishing development of hacking, from its conception in the United States’ hippy tech community in the 1970s, through its childhood among the ruins of the Eastern Bloc, to its coming of age as one of the most dangerous and pervasive threats to our connected world. He takes us inside the workings of real-life cybercrimes, drawing on interviews with those behind the most devastating hacks and revealing how the tactics employed by high-tech crooks to make millions are being harnessed by nation states to target voters, cripple power networks, and even prepare for cyber-war. From Anonymous to the Dark Web, Ashley Madison to election rigging, Crime Dot Com is a thrilling, dizzying, and terrifying account of hacking, past and present, what the future has in store, and how we might protect ourselves from it.

Review Quotes
Sophie Bushwick | Scientific American
"Journalist White uses the stories of different hacks, dating from the 1980s to the 2016 election, to connect illicit activity on the earliest Internet forums to today's cyberattacks by hacktivists and state-sanctioned hacking teams. He humanizes this history by highlighting the people behind the tech: the Filipino student who unleashed the Love Bug, one of the first global cyberattacks to rely on psychological manipulation; the former cybercriminal who worked with the FBI to bring down Silk Road, a dark Web black market for illegal drugs (a scheme that involved him faking his own death); and the audio producer who lost thousands of dollars in a scam that exploited personal information stolen from telecommunications company TalkTalk. To secure, or 'harden,' systems against cybercrime, White writes, 'it's humans, not necessarily computers, that we need to harden up.'"
Library Journal
"Arguing that cybercrime has grown in power and in danger, journalist White offers a well-written, expertly researched examination of the topic. Relying on published reports and in-depth interviews, the author looks at three different facets: cybercrime gangs, 'hacktivist' movements, and ways in which nation states use cybercrimes. White is at his best when describing this seemingly legally sanctioned hacking, such as in Russia and North Korea. In vivid detail, he explores the 2015 raid on Bangladesh’s Central Bank; the movement Anonymous, which has made attacks on governments; and ways in which data is hacked for profit. . . . This is a fascinating, often gripping read, and a solid update to Brian Krebs’s Spam Nation. . . . For true crime and technology enthusiasts in search of an overview of cybercrime."
Jon Snow, Channel 4 News (UK)
“Brilliantly written and researched, Crime Dot Com is a vivid insight into the scale of the threat to us all from crime born of and facilitated by the digital age.”
Ewen MacAskill, former chief political correspondent for the "Guardian"
“White offers up a comprehensive and intelligible account of the elusive world of hacking and cybercrime over the last two decades. He ranges from the lone hacktivist to state-sponsored surveillance, from the Love Bug to the Lazarus Group, from Snowden’s revelations to the Huawei controversy. His book is, thankfully, jargon-free, keeping a tight focus on the humans involved rather than the technology. It is lively, insightful and, often, alarming.”
Edward Lucas, author of "Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West"
“White writes with insight and flair about a subject that concerns everyone—or should do. Criminals, hooligans, hostile state actors and terrorists attack our computers and networks every minute of every day. Our money, security and freedom are at risk. Yet the public is still pitifully unaware of the threats we face—and what we need to do to protect ourselves at an individual, business, and government level. Crime Dot Com joins the dots, painting a well-informed, easy-to-understand, and up-to-date picture of the mounting dangers caused by our complacency, greed, and ignorance.”
Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News
"White is one of the most authoritative reporters on cybercrime and Crime Dot Com is an informative, accessible, and entertaining tour of the cyber underworld. If you want to understand everything from ransomware to nation-state attacks on key infrastructure this is an excellent primer."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://press.uchicago.edu
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