Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime

Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime

by Kate Fazzini


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“Wow. Kate Fazzini is the rare top-level reporter who can make you see, smell and feel a hidden world, not just understand it. Cybercrime (and security) has found its Michael Lewis.” —Bret Witter, co-author of the #1 NYT bestseller The Monuments Men

One of BookRiot's "50 of the Best Books to Read This Summer"

In the tradition of Michael Lewis and Tom Wolfe, a fascinating and frightening behind-the-scenes look at the interconnected cultures of hackers, security specialists, and law enforcement

A 19-year-old Romanian student stumbles into a criminal ransomware ring in her village. Soon she is extorting Silicon Valley billionaires for millions—without knowing the first thing about computers.

A veteran cybersecurity specialist has built a deep network of top notch hackers in one of the world’s largest banks. But then the bank brings in a cadre of ex-military personnel to “help.”

A cynical Russian only leaves his tiny New Jersey apartment to hack sports cars at a high performance shop in Newark. But he opens his door to a consultant who needs his help.

A hotel doorman in China once served in the People’s Army, stealing intellectual property from American companies. Now he uses his skills to build up a private side-business selling the data he takes from travelers to Shanghai’s commercial center.

Kingdom of Lies follows the intertwined stories of cybercriminals and ethical hackers as they jump from criminal trend to criminal trend, crisis to crisis. A cybersecurity professional turned journalist, Kate Fazzini illuminates the many lies companies and governments tell us about our security, the lies criminals tell to get ahead, and the lies security leaders tell to make us think they are better at their jobs than they are.

Like Traffic set in the cybercrime world, Kingdom of Lies is as entertaining as it is eye opening.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250201348
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/11/2019
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 235,693
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Kate Fazzini is the author of Kingdom of Lies and the Cybersecurity Reporter for CNBC. Before that she reported on cybersecurity for The Wall Street Journal. She previously served as a principal in the cybersecurity practice at Washington D.C.-based Promontory Financial Group, now a division of IBM. Prior to that, she served as a vice president in cybersecurity operations at JPMorgan Chase. Fazzini teaches in the applied intelligence program at Georgetown University. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Swallows

Where we are introduced to some of the landmark events that set the stage for the book.

Foreword: Kingdom of Lies

Where we learn about the variety of lies we will encounteron our journey.

Chapter 1: The Futurethreat

We look back to the early days of some of the people perpetrating cyberthreats and their opposites in this book.

Chapter 2: The Charlatan

Where we learn that the upshot of a major cyberattack against the financial sector is that cash-strapped cybersecurity executives see a budget increase. But even a hiring spree has its downsides.

Chapter 3: The Wall

Where we meet some of the criminals who are attacking the financial sector, as well as the uphill battle facing large organizations as they try to respond.

Chapter 4: The Baby

Where we consider how a long-term strategy, by Russia and others, to tacitly allow cybercrime in exchange for the information and expertise of their criminals may bear strange fruit.

Chapter 5: The Italians

We begin to see how the cybercriminal world, devoid of physical borders, and the media misinterpretation of cyber events informs and misinforms our view of cybercrime.

Chapter 6: The Gig Economy

We meet more hackers and see how some have managed to converge their cybercriminal expertise into semi-legitimate work. Though many find it hard to leave their old ways behind.

Chapter 7: The Try-out

We learn how banks and nation-states strategize to capture the best up-and-coming hackers, from New York to China and in between.

Chapter 8: The Father

We see how hackers struggle with the pains of life, including parenthood, death and even getting hacked themselves.

Chapter 9: The Teenager

In Romania, we watch as a young university student makes a foolish teenager’s gamble, with a twist.

Chapter 10: The Medium

We learn tht there is the long history of connections between intelligence work and influence campaigns that have moved to the digital realm.

Chapter 11: The Lovers

In Romania, it may be too late for a teenager in a small town who has gotten in way over her head in the cybercriminal underground.

Chapter 12: The Researcher

We meet a hacker-for-hire who is one of the good guys, as he follows an intriguing lead from Helsinki to Bucharest.

Chapter 13: The Volunteers

Criminals aren’t always giving of themselves and their skills willingly when their governments come knocking – and this creates an intriguing conflict.

Chapter 14: The Mother

Even hackersmust sometimes answer to one of the world’s most powerful forces: Mom.

Chapter 15: The Ghost

People, machines and organizations are haunted by the past, whether it is a traumatic event, bad merger or executive clash. This is how some cope, or don’t.

Chapter 16: The Recruiters

Where a young hacker goes when he or she wants to grow up and get a real job? Considering the overwhelming lack of professionals currently working in the field, there is a space for everyone.

Chapter 17: The Insider Threat

Intelligence professionals make up a significant portion of cybersecurity staff today. How hard is it to journey from intriguing foreign fields to the sober offices of corporate America?

Chapter 18: The Terrorist #

What happens when criminals don’t converge with their local governments, but choose a transnational terrorist organization to latch onto instead?

Chapter 19: The Long Trip #

Even for cybercriminals, it’s possible to go down a better path, and sunlight – in limited quantities – provides the best disinfectant.

Chapter 20: The Reason #

Why do cybercriminals do what they do? We learn that maybe it doesn’t fucking matter.

Chapter 21: The Spaniard #

Where we learn that in the cleansing sunshine of the Costa del Sol, even cybercriminals who think they’re irredeemable can get a second chance.

Chapter 22: The Project Manager

In the end, no matter where you come from, what crimes you’ve committed or how many lives you’ve saved, we’re all just project managers.

Chapter 23: The Reporter

Where we see our sole representative from media struggle to come to terms with the fact that, to paraphrase Thomas Wolfe, sometimes you leave home, and sometimes home leaves you, but you can’t go home again.

Epilogue: We Didn’t Start the Fire

A reminder that there are so many more stories left to tell.

Appendix A: Glossary

Where we are given technical material to induce restful sleep.

Appendix B: Epilogue Explained

A brief journey among the hacker nerds.

Appendix C: Sources

Author’s Note

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