Book Review: Tracers in the Dark

Back on March 2, 2020 I wrote a review about Andy Greenberg’s book on cyberwar titled Sandworm.  I really enjoyed that book, even though the subject was quite sobering.  Greenberg recently released his latest book, Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency.   For those of you who think that Bitcoin is a secure and private payment method, this book will disabuse you of that idea.

This book describes how the very public Bitcoin blockchain has been successfully used by law enforcement agencies to track down cyber-criminals and take down dark markets for the last decade.  Starting with MTGox, the Silk Road and the Dread Pirate Roberts aka Ross Ulbrecht, BTC-e, Alphabay, and administrator Alpha02, the Hansa dark market, Dream Market, the Welcome to Video child pornography market, and more recently the burgeoning ransomware operations.  Law enforcement agencies have developed effective ways to use the blockchain to discover the identity and location or cyber-criminals and their operations.

I learned a lot about Bitcoin and other crypto-currency, and took a trip down memory lane and the takedown of so many dark markets.  I have a presentation that I offer occasionally called Tour of the Dark Web. The highlight of the presentation is when I open Tor and take my audience on a live tour of some of the more interesting dark sites.  I have tried over the years to keep ahead of law enforcement, but often the dark market I was planning to tour is been taken down by law enforcement.  How that all happened is describes in detail in the book.  Definitely worth a read, especially if you are involved with cryptocurrencies or blockchains in any way.  You need to know what the risks are.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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