Fatal System Error

  • by Joseph Menn
  • Narrated by Christian Rummel
  • 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this disquieting cyber thriller, Joseph Menn takes readers into the murky hacker underground, traveling the globe from San Francisco to Costa Rica and London to Russia. His guides are California surfer and computer whiz Barrett Lyon and a fearless British high-tech agent. Through these heroes, Menn shows the evolution of cyber-crime from small-time thieving to sophisticated, organized gangs, who began by attacking corporate websites but increasingly steal financial data from consumers and defense secrets from governments. Using unprecedented access to Mob businesses and Russian officials, the book reveals how top criminals earned protection from the Russian government.
Fatal System Error penetrates both the Russian cyber-mob and La Cosa Nostra as the two fight over the Internet's massive spoils. The cloak-and-dagger adventure shows why cyber-crime is much worse than you thought and why the Internet might not survive.


What the Critics Say

"Narrator Christian Rummel maintains an upbeat tone, in contrast to the depressing information he delivers. His cheery and enthusiastic attitude makes the mountain of facts more palatable." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Great Book

If you think the Internet is secure in any way, shape or form you should probably read this book (non-fiction). This is not about the old school hacking talents of Cap'n Crunch (John Draper), Phiber Optik (Mark Abene), or Condor (Kevin Mitnick) but a syndicated group of virus writers who have gone professional. It is a world wide epidemic of extortion and identity theft, primarily based in Russia and neighboring city states. The US Government has ranked it the largest and most important criminal activity surpassing the drug trade. A few folks have been put in prison but most remain at large and active.

It starts with the history of DDOS extortion attacks (distributed denial-of-service) against gambling and fortune 500 companies i.e. pay us x dollars or we will bring down your website at a critical time - right before the super bowl, a new product launch etc., and migrates to massive online identity and credit card theft. The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

The links between organized crime and governments, specifically the FSB (the successor of the KGB) and their protection of the hacker networks is outlined in detail.

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- Wade T. Brooks

True Electronic Crime

Audible has a number of excellent books reporting on international criminal activity - drugs, clothing knock-offs, illegal immigation. This book just happens to deal with true crime and the global cyber cartels. This book will appeal to law enforcement personnel, persons interested in criminal justice, and just about anyone who has a concern about cyber crime. It is a well written, informative, and (dare I say) entertaining approach to the problem. The gravity and pervasiveness of the problem will disturb anyone who has not been following such developments. People seeking detailed analysis might be disappointed. Individuals who just want an "inside" account of how things work and what the state of the criminal art looks like will be well rewarded. The reading of Christian Rummel is very good.
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- Roy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-11-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios