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Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime — from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,909 ratings  ·  216 reviews
There is a Threat Lurking Online with the Power to Destroy Your Finances, Steal Your Personal Data, and Endanger Your Life.

In Spam Nation, investigative journalist and cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs unmasks the criminal masterminds driving some of the biggest spam and hacker operations targeting Americans and their bank accounts. Tracing the rise, fall, and alarming resu
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 18th 2014 by Sourcebooks (first published September 1st 2014)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  1,909 ratings  ·  216 reviews


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Gwern
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it

(2h; ~73k words) Journalistic account of Brian Krebs’s (Wikipedia, blog) experience with some Russian spammers & associates.


Krebs has been engaged in a little war with Russian spammers: getting onto their forums, looking for weak points like abuse-friendly ISPs or payment processors, and blowing the whistle on them; he’s been heavily aided by the feuding community leaking lots of information and vouches to him, and the book revolves around one he’s hyped up as the ‘Pharma Wars’. All the leak

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Scott Baxter
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Fascinating subject, less than stellar execution.

This book illustrates just how difficult it is to write a first book, even if the author has a long career as a writer writing short pieces. Krebs has trouble deciding which things require longer explanation and which can be glossed over. For example, at one point he points out the importance of understanding what IP addresses are, but Krebs would have done well to spend much more time going into detail about what an IP address is, why it is impor
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Jean
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even though we have good filters on our e-mail programs these days and no longer see all the spam, the author maintains it is a critical problem. Krebs claims the crooks are no longer content with standard commercial fraud, e-mail criminals infect millions of computers worldwide with toxic digital parasites, designed to extort our wealth and steal our personal data.

Krebs states that Russia is the key spam Nation with skilled hackers and corrupt police and is now the global epicenter of cyber cri
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Rob
Executive Summary: Interesting read, but a bit too much of Mr. Kreb's personal story in places. 3.5 Stars.

Audio book: Christopher Lane does a decent job. He has a passable Russian accent, but for some reason he didn't always use it for the Russian characters. I wouldn't have done this in audio except it was on sale. I wouldn't bother with the audio book otherwise, and you'd be better off borrowing this from the library.

Full Review
I continue to be fascinated by computer crime. This is another i
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Monica Willyard Moen
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookshare, tech
This book offers a clear, easy to read introduction of spam, the people behind it, and the reason for its rise in prominence.
Audrey
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
While this book was published in 2014, there’s been plenty of new cybercrime that’s popped up since then. I suggest following Brian Krebs’s blog to keep up to date. Krebs started off as in investigative reporter but left to run his own blog when his articles became too hot to handle for the paper.

The book follows the history of email spam in its heyday. It’s actually been declining in favor of phishing, ransomware, and other scams.

It turns out the vast majority of spam came from Russia from onl
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RC1140
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really well structured and informative book into the underground dealings that are always happening but we are not aware off. The coverage was excellent and thought provoking giving you all the information you need even if you are not intimately informed about spam or cyber crime. It is always motivating that after reading a non fiction book like this that I find myself motivated to research more on the topic since it shows just how well the author captured my attention and allowed me to fill ...more
Will
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, this was pretty good, 3.5 stars, but I'll round up.

I think it fell a bit into the pitfall that some non-fiction writers fall into in terms of following the narrative of such a small number of people; I would have liked to see more about other folks involved in the spam wars (including anti-spammers), but I understand why the book was structured the way it was.

For the most part, Krebs does a good job of not getting bogged down with technical details, but still explaining technical matter
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Rick Howard
Executive Summary

In Spam Nation, Brian Krebs covers a key portion of our cyber security and cyber crime history: 2007–2013, that period when we started to learn about the Russian Business Network, bulletproof-hosting providers, fast-flux obfuscation, criminal best business practices, underground cyber crime forums, and strange-sounding botnet names like Conficker, Rustock, Storm, and Waledac. This period just happens to coincide with Krebs’s rise in popularity as one of the leading cyber securit
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Jacob
Dec 04, 2014 rated it liked it
To me, the subject matter of this totally hooked me: what is the source of spam sent worldwide? Why is it profitable for them? Why is spam not nearly the problem it used to be? Fortunately, the author provides plenty of answers to those questions. In addition, he recounts a feud that started between two of the most prominent spammers that ended up with both of them kind of destroying each other and causing significant damage to the spamming industry (not that most of us are sad about that). It's ...more
Rich Miller
I was turned on to this book after reading the author's blog at http://www.krebsonsecurity.com and becoming intrigued to learn about the sources of and reasons for the torrent of spam that we are hit with in our inboxes each and every day. The author is obviously well-versed on this topic, and his story about the competing cybercrime factions made for a compelling story. There is some technical jargon sprinkled throughout this book, but the author made the topic approachable for any reader by pr ...more
Mo
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Very interesting story about two spam kingpins destroying each other. Definitely shows you another side of spam that I don't think most people know or understand. The story was captivating, but the author struggled with sounding egotistical, though I don't think he is, having read his blog for a while now. I think he made a good attempt at making the story exciting. Had he simply retold information, it would have been boring, but he didn't find the right balance between telling an excting story ...more
Vasil Kolev
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, tech
It's a very good and mostly in-depth look into the world of spammers, especially the ones that deal with selling drugs. It concentrates mostly on some Russians, but still paints a petty good picture of most of the business, and the advice in the end seems good enough for beginners and most people.

The parts on why people buy from spammers were really interesting, which point to why most of the big pharma companies don't really want to investigate them, as it mostly seems that they sell the same s
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Isa K.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Brian Krebs's favorite word is miscreant. >.>

An interesting, richly detailed account of the cyber crime ecosystem. I must admit I was slightly bemused by the fact that the author doesn't know that Livejournal was an American company sold to a Russian one, not the other way around (at one point he says that Russian Livejournal bought Six Apart and I was like ORLY? Also remember when having a MovableType install as a blogger was like buying a BMW? *sigh*) ... but this is just olds on the int
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Atila Iamarino
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: internet
Um livro um tanto ultrapassado (muito por obra do autor) contanto como começou e como foi o auge do spam de medicamentos por e-mail. Um assunto um tanto específico, mas bem contado e escrito por alguém que realmente entende sobre o que está falando.

Legal para quem quiser entender um pouco do cenário de cybercriminals russos, botnets, spam e quais são as demandas de mercado que geram spam de medicamentos. Vulgo, o preço dos remédios nos EUA.
Jeanne Boyarsky
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
Brian Krebs has spent much time and money looking into both spam and security. I've learned a lot reading his blog so I picked up his book. Aside from epilogue on how to protect yourself, this isn't an actionable book. It's about what happened. Still interesting though to see what he went through and learned. I'm glad he has a "who's who" at the beginning was helpful to keep track of all the names.
Mishlaev
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great story. It feels like great detective tv show, but about hackers and spammers.
Brain Krebs did an incredible work. This book it 'untold' story of global web.
Wesley Fryer
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door” by Brian Krebs (@briankrebs) is an eye opening dive into the world of Internet spam, pharmaceutical drugs sold online, cyberattacks, malware, the dark web, and corruption within the Russian justice system. It should be required reading (or listening) for anyone working in or interested in the field of information technology today.

Do you know someone who has had their email account hacked? A few years
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Elly
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Interesting view on the people who worked with spam emails. Slightly outdated advice at the end, as it was published in 2014, but still worthwhile to listen to the epilog. Most people know, or SHOULD know that advice by now, but it is still important to follow. 2 factor login is much more common nowadays than then.
Specifically for the audible version: big parts were spoken with a to my ears Russian accent, a nice touch to indicate the words of the Russian people involved.
Cristina Ana
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting read, but too biographical for a supposedly technical non-fiction book. Still, I learned a great deal from it.
Noorilhuda
I love 'Mr. Robot''s Elliot - he is right in everything he thinks, and wrong in everything he does! ‘Mr. Robot’ (U.S. TV series) tells the story of disillusioned hackers trying to change the injustices of the world - one hack at a time - and getting played by criminals unknowingly. Part of the problem is how much of us is on the internet - i.e. ID, banking / medical records, personal photographs, family, friends, likes and dislikes - the more in control we think we are, the more vulnerable we ac ...more
Tony
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I borrowed this book, as an eBook, from the local library. I had only 14 days to read it. and I did so.

I've often wondered just how profitable it is to spam people. I mean, if it wasn't profitable people wouldn't be doing it. The vast majority of us despise spam and we go to great lengths to avoid it. We set up elaborate spam filters on our email, or we pointedly choose email providers that will do that for us.

As with so many things, the different components of it are outsourced to different gro
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Daniel
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.25 of 5

You probably wouldn't be reading this blog, or this review as posted on-line, if you didn't know what 'spam' is, or if you only thought it was a canned meat-like food. And if you know what spam is, you probably find it annoying -- a clutter filling your email in-box -- but not necessarily dangerous. You would be wrong.

Brian Krebs, the cybersecurity expert who first reported the infamous security breach at Target®, is a j
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Jonathan
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WARNING: Parental guidance should be observed because of the adult subject matter. It is R rated.

For those who in IT Security (as I am) or curious about spam industry and history this is an excellent book. The narrator does an A+ job and even talks in Russian and New York accents when recounting discussions. You will get a chuckle at times at the absurdity of various conversations Krebs had with cyber criminals.

I think in one sense the cyber criminals come off as humanized and everyday citizens
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Glenn
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cybercrime
This book is focused on the evolution, decline, re-emergence and ongoing transformation of loosely-connected Russian cybercrime networks (called Partnerka) whose business is stealing from average citizens around the world.

The Partnerka harvests millions of email addresses (with a special focus on the US) and spams them relentlessly through armies of botnets (networks of infected computers) in an attempt to sell everything from unregulated drugs to illegally copied software to child porn. The Pa
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George Davidson
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: infosec-cybersec
One of the greats by renowned author and investigative journalist Brian Krebs. Pulls the covers on the email SPAM industry and looks at it not just from the perspective of criminals and law enforcement, but on consumers who are buying their products.

Unfortunately the spam will go on and even though some of the actors in the book have been taken down, plenty more where that comes from.
Mike Smith
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Spam Nation is a thoroughly researched investigation of the heyday of online pharmacies (in the late 2000s) and the unsolicited e-mail, known as "spam", that is used to sell pills to people around the world. Spam involves a complex ecosystem of hackers, programmers, and businessmen. Hackers take over personal computers and then use them to send out billions of e-mail messages advertising medicines, fake anti-virus software, sexual enhancement aids, and other products. Programmers write the web s ...more
Jacques Bezuidenhout
It was ok. Not really something I'd recommend to anyone, unless you are really really really interested in the subject. (which I am not)

I think it covers a lot, and does well in conveying the intended information.

I did learn quite a few things about how spammers and online pharmaceuticals work that I didn't know before.

Like any other cyber crime books, it always makes you a bit worried about your own security and whether you are doing enough.

The book was focused around the Russians a lot, but th
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Paul
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Krebs provides incredible insight into the world of spam and the illegal online pharmaceutical scams that had filled our inboxes for years. This particular plague has evolved into more malicious scams, such as ransomware, but the details of the warring factions trying to dominate this illegal market and how turning on each other brought about their downfall was fascinating.

Krebs provided great detail of the schemes behind botnets, how they are developed and modified, and then sold in a "busines
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J
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
As one of an admin on the front lines of this battle, I have a good grasp of the technical on this matter. What this book did for me is provide the human and political background that I never knew. It really help put a lot of what we were seeing on the front-line into perspective. Some times we get so wrapped up in the technical aspects, we forget the human side that drives it.

Kreb's writing may not be my favorite writer style wise (a bit dry), but I think he is very good investigate journalist
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