If you’re already worried about computer crime and identity theft, you’ll be wracked with fear if you read this troubling new account of the subject by a Los Angeles Times reporter specializing in Internet security. Joseph Menn’s “Fatal System Error” is aptly subtitled “The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet.”
By focusing on two heroes of the underpowered movement to combat Internet crime, Menn brings this complex and terrifying reality into high relief. The book is largely devoted to the efforts of Barrett Lyon, a California surfer self-taught to become one of the world’s leading Internet security experts, and Andy Crocker, a courageous British policeman, and their collaborative work to identify the criminals responsible for the now all-too-familiar viruses, worms, Trojans, and denial-of-service attacks that have infiltrated millions of computers and disabled thousands of Web sites.
Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet by Joseph Menn @@@@ (4 out of 5)
It’s disturbing enough to learn that criminals siphoned off $1 trillion from computer fraud in 2009 alone, and to know that a huge proportion of that money went into the pockets of the American mafia and the Russian mob. Even more disquieting, though, is to learn about how both the Russian and Chinese governments are protecting Internet criminals because they have enlisted them in building offensive cyberwar weapons. What we all learned recently about Chinese hackers’ attacks on Google and other U.S. companies invested in China is just a hint of the breadth and depth of that government’s efforts to gain ascendancy over the West by building the capacity to bring down our economies in the event of a future conflict.
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