Reviewing Spam Nation by Brian Krebs

I hardly ever read a book twice, in fact except for the Bible (3 times) and the collection of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, I can’t remember having read another book more than one time.  Just too many good books out there, and the unread pile of recent purchases in my office mocks me daily.  But Brian Krebs new book Spam Nation has made it to the list of books that I have read again.

Krebs is the security researcher who blew the whistle on the Target Breach in 2013, and I follow his blog “Krebs on Security.”  So when I had a chance to preorder this book I did. 

When I got the book I was a bit put off by the basic focus on spam.  This seemed, of all the security topics out there, to be the tamest of the bunch.  But I gave the book a chance, and I am glad I did.  If you want to finally understand what his happening in the digital underworld, what motivates cyber-criminals, and the methods and mechanisms they use, then this is the book for you.

As it turns out, spam is the underpinning for everything. Billions of spam to sell everything from pornography, to “Canadian” pharmaceuticals, to worthless security programs. Spam for phishing user credentials and personal information for identity theft and credit card fraud.  Spam is the reason millions of computers are infected with malware and organized into spam-spewing botnets.

This book tells the story of a group of Russian cyber-criminals, and in the process reveals the entire operations of the digital underground.  In addition to spamming, the book explains how these criminal groups rely on affiliate sales programs, “bulletproof” web hosting services, customer service operations (yes they have customer service) and most importantly, how the money is made, and how credit card processing works in an environment where almost all the transactions are shady or outright illegal.

A fascinating read for anyone who wants to understand at a deeper level what the threats are in cyberspace and how to avoid them.  If you wish you can order the book from the link below.

Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door’ target=_blank>Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door’ target=_blank>Order Spam Nation on Amazon

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Senior Cybersecurity Engineer at Computer Integration Technologies, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

Comments

  1. sharon  April 16, 2015

    Sounds like a valuable read. Thanks for recommending it, Bob! It is on my order list.

    reply

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