Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door
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Now a New York Times bestseller!
Winner of a 2015 Prose Award!
There is a Threat Lurking Online with the Power to Destroy Your Finances, Steal Your Personal Data, and Endanger Your Life.
In Spam Nation, investigative journalist and cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs unmasks the criminal masterminds driving some of the biggest spam and hacker operations targeting Americans and their bank accounts. Tracing the rise, fall, and alarming resurrection of the digital mafia behind the two largest spam pharmacies-and countless viruses, phishing, and spyware attacks-he delivers the first definitive narrative of the global spam problem and its threat to consumers everywhere.
Blending cutting-edge research, investigative reporting, and firsthand interviews, this terrifying true story reveals how we unwittingly invite these digital thieves into our lives every day. From unassuming computer programmers right next door to digital mobsters like "Cosma"-who unleashed a massive malware attack that has stolen thousands of Americans' logins and passwords-Krebs uncovers the shocking lengths to which these people will go to profit from our data and our wallets.
Not only are hundreds of thousands of Americans exposing themselves to fraud and dangerously toxic products from rogue online pharmacies, but even those who never open junk messages are at risk. As Krebs notes, spammers can-and do-hack into accounts through these emails, harvest personal information like usernames and passwords, and sell them on the digital black market. The fallout from this global epidemic doesn't just cost consumers and companies billions, it costs lives too.
Fast-paced and utterly gripping, Spam Nation ultimately proposes concrete solutions for protecting ourselves online and stemming this tidal wave of cybercrime-before it's too late.
"Krebs's talent for exposing the weaknesses in online security has earned him respect in the IT business and loathing among cybercriminals... His track record of scoops...has helped him become the rare blogger who supports himself on the strength of his reputation for hard-nosed reporting." -Bloomberg Businessweek
business. Thanks to data leaks from both Rx- Promotion and GlavMed- SpamIt, I had the names, phone numbers, addresses, and credit card numbers of more than a million people who had bought spam- advertised drugs. Some of those orders were fairly recent, so I was eager to interview buyers who might still have some of the pills and could forward them to me for testing at a qualified lab to see what these consumers were really getting. I purposefully avoided calling customers who sought out and
call once with an order that arrived a week later than it should have. But for now, the people supplying his drugs over the Internet appear to be getting their act together on the shipping. Craig said that every few months, when his prescription is about three weeks away from running out, he’ll start getting phone calls from people with Indian accents, asking if he’s ready for refills. ¨ ¨ ¨ Illinois resident “Steve” suspected his girlfriend had been cheating on him, but he didn’t fully
coincide with the arrest or imprisonment of several top spammers. However, McColo’s demise also marked the dawn of a new age of spamming through the genesis of a protracted and costly turf war we’ll explore in this book. Dubbed the “Pharma Wars” by bystanders in the cybercrime and cybersecurity worlds, it exploded into a vicious feud between two of the largest sponsors of pharmaceutical spam—with unsuspecting users like you and me trapped in the middle. On one side of the battle were the
via WebMoney, which, as mentioned, is a virtual currency like PayPal that is popular in Russia and Eastern Europe and widely used in the hacker underground. WebMoney accounts can be set up under pseudonyms or as merchant accounts, or they can be formally attested. The latter two types of accounts require the applicant to show a copy of his passport at an authorized WebMoney location prior to obtaining attestation for that account. This account information is not listed publicly by WebMoney, but
start wondering why we need you at all. It is going to be better if you start doing something, or else I will continue to discuss stuff with you less and less. GUSEV: You know, thanks for being frank with me, but I have not given you an opportunity to rise to a partner from a simple programmer just so that in the future you’d tell me that I was no longer necessary. You would have been a lead developer in some major company with the salary of five to seven thousand, and you would not have been