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A former US Navy intelligence officer, David Locke Hall was a federal prosecutor when a bizarre-sounding website, CRACK99, came to his attention. It looked like Craigslist on acid, but what it sold was anything but amateurish: thousands of high-tech software products used largely by the military, and for mere pennies on the dollar. Want to purchase satellite tracking software? No problem. Aerospace and aviation simulations? No problem. Communications systems designs? No problem. Software for Marine One, the presidential helicopter? No problem. With delivery times and customer service to rival the world's most successful online retailers, anybody, anywhere - including rogue regimes, terrorists, and countries forbidden from doing business with the United States - had access to these goods for any purpose whatsoever. But who was behind CRACK99, and where were they?
The Justice Department discouraged potentially costly, risky cases like this, preferring the low-hanging fruit that scored points from politicians and the public. But Hall and his colleagues were determined to find the culprit. They bought CRACK99's products for delivery in the United States, buying more and more to appeal to the budding entrepreneur in the man they identified as Xiang Li. After winning his confidence, they lured him to Saipan - a US commonwealth territory where Hall's own father had stormed the beaches with the marines during World War II. There, they set up an audacious sting that culminated in Xiang Li's capture and imprisonment. The value of the goods offered by CRACK99? A cool $100 million.
An eye-opening look at cybercrime and its chilling consequences for national security, CRACK99 is like a caper that resonates with every amazing detail.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Steven on 08-29-16
Not what I thought it was going to be.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No, it was not like the story I was expecting at all. Maybe it was my fault for not looking in to it enough.
Was CRACK99 worth the listening time?
I thought books like @WAR, Data and Goliath where way better. So no it was not worth my time.
By veryspecialscorp on 07-18-16
What disappointed you about CRACK99?
II usually don't write reviews. But this book was not good and I don't want anyone else to waste nearly 11 hours of their life on it. I love true crime, especially when it comes to technology--but this was literally written from the most boring point of view possible--the US Attorney that prosecuted the piracy case. Here's what I didn't like about the book 1.) It was way too long--it was filled with fluff from the author about other unrelated cases that he prosecuted throughout his career 2.) He spent wait too much time on the details in the case, i.e.. repeating the name of every piece of software and what it was worth throughout the story,. It just seemed to drag on with no end in sight. This would have been much more interesting if it was told from another perspective or with more of the actual technology behind the cracks--which was actually pretty sophisticated but only talked about in passing. There was no real connection to the other characters in the book and the end felt anticlimactic. There are plenty of other tech-crime stories out there to tickle your fancy. Sorry--but it was just really hard to finish this book.
What could David Locke Hall have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
The story didn't seem like a story but really just a series of events cut an pasted together. There was no real plot and I feel like there could have been one.
Would you be willing to try another one of Mark Peckham’s performances?
I'm not sure--he kind of sounded like he had a cold the entire time he was reading