Manufacturer
Joseph Menn
Price
$14.69
Pros
Gripping stuff, an IT security book for your Kindle that reads like a true crime thriller
Cons
Absolutely none, buy it!
Summary
If you have bought a Kindle and are looking for something outside of the boring 'top ten' lists to put on it and be sure of a good read, then look no further: Fatal System Error, Kindle Edition, is the true story of the birth of an underground cybercrime economy that reads like a gripping crime thriller.
Rating

Fatal System Error, subtitled 'The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet' is that rarest of finds: an IT security book that is not only informative and fascinating, but truly gripping from start to finish. This newly published made for Kindle edition is the cheapest option aa well, saving $11.26 off of the $25.95 print edition cover price.

Joseph Menn, a reporter for the Financial Times, is surely a closet novelist such are the twists and turns that he weaves into what by rights ought to be a pretty dry expose of the emerging cybercrime economy. While expose is accurate, dry most certainly is not. Written from the perspective of two different security heroes, a former member of the UK National High Tech Crime Unit and the founder of a security tool vendors, you cannot help but think this would make one heck of a Hollywood movie

Indeed, if I were a betting man I'd say that's just what will happen but think less in terms of 'Hackers' and more something like 'Goodfellas' meets 'The Bourne Conspiracy' - no, seriously. This no tale of talented and edgy geeks, it's more old school organized crime moved into the modern era through Distributed Denial of Service protection rackets, identity theft and large scale online bank robberies.

Menn starts by telling the story through the eyes, and mouth for that matter, of 25 year old Barrett Lyon back in 2003 when he is preparing to meet with the proprietors of BetCRIS, an online gambling firm based in Costa-Rica and run by what you might call some very colorful characters. The online gambling companies were the main target for the new breed of organised cybercriminals at the time and, with the help of BetCRIS, Lyon sets forth to do something about it. That something is a fascinating tale of technical ability mixed with a determination to get the job done properly, even if that means going undercover as a hacker to learn how the Russian and Chinese DDoS gangs operated.

Meanwhile, the other hero is actually a proper detective in the shape of Andy Crocker, a policeman working with the National High Tech Crime Unit in the UK who follows up on the information provided by Lyon (which the FBI apparently weren't remotely interested in) in order to hunt down, and ultimately seek a successful prosecution of, the gangs involved in the extortion and protection rackets.

Throw in a decent dose of government corruption, coupled with government and law enforcement indifference, and you end up with what has to be, in my opinion, the best book to tackle the cybercrime threat currently available. It is nothing short of a cyber-thriller, made all the more thrilling by the knowledge that we are reading first hand accounts of what actually happened.

About the Author

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

There are not many times when I have suggested having a fatal system error on a handheld device is a good thing :)

When I received an email from daniweb.com listing recently posted forum threads I might be interested in based on my activity so far on the site, I thought "Fatal System Error for the Kindle in Netbooks, Tablets and Mobile Devices" was referring to a crash of Kindle readers. Since I have never been a fan of Kindle, viewing it as a self-serving instrument of Amazon, to make sure users of other systems, particularly Adobe and generic pdf readers, can't read their books, I was intigued of the thought of their demise.

However, the actual subject of the post is interesting as well. I have always been interested in hakers, haking and cyber crime in general, as can be seen by the selection of pdf ebooks I offer on my own SNIP page.

I wuld like to read it, but I will not buy a Kindle just to do so, so if it ever comes out in pdf format, I will be sure to pick it up.

It's available as a plain old-fashioned book as well...