A compelling and gripping story about a hacker’s background, mentality, skills, and criminal activities
Published: January 11, 2013
When friends and colleagues ask me how they can learn about cybersecurity, I provide the following advice. Rather than read textbooks or something like Network Security for Dummies, I recommend that they read a few of the more popular and recent titles from Amazon. I’m talking about books like Richard Clarke’s Cyberwar, Joseph Menn’s Fatal System Error, or Mark Bowden’s Worm. All of these are entertaining and insightful.
It is with this mindset that I recommend that anyone interested in cybersecurity read the book, Kingpin, by Kevin Poulsen. I don’t know Kevin but he is well qualified as an author. He himself is an ex-hacker, a security expert, and a regular writer for wired magazine.
This book is a story about one particular hacker named Max Butler whose security career went from highly-skilled but junior white hat hacker to become a global cyber crime leader who commandeered most of the “carder” (i.e. theft and distribution of credit card numbers, counterfeit cards, and other related criminal services) marketplace worth tens of millions of dollars. The book follows this transformation over several years in a picaresque fashion.
I won’t give away any more details but let me provide a few reasons why I liked this book and recommend it so strongly:
It’s hard to learn about any topic when reading is a boring slog. If you are interested in cybersecurity, I think you’ll find Kingpin a great learning experience as well as a proverbial “page turner.”
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