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Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  58 reviews
"Kingdom of Lies is a brilliant and bold debut, as full of suspense as the best crime thrillers." --Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Blood Oath

In the tradition of Michael Lewis and Tom Wolfe, a fascinating and frightening behind-the-scenes look at the interconnected cultures of hackers, security specialists, and law enforcement

A 19-year-old Romanian s
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  244 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, nonfiction
2.5 stars, rounded up

I’m not a big fan of nonfiction, but the world of hackers is so much in the news nowadays, I was intrigued. The city of Baltimore’s computer system is being held for ransom as I write this.

I can’t say I cared for Fazzini’s writing style. There’s a lot of jumping around, which makes it hard to keep up, especially at the beginning when a lot of individuals are being introduced.

Individual stories should be used to explore bigger issues. But here, I really didn’t feel I learne
David Wineberg
May 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Kingdom of Lies is an unfinished proposal of a book. Kate Fazzini has fashioned her digging into the world of hacking into a story that is at once fascinating and rich, and also disjointed and pointless.

Fazzini has molded numerous stereotypes into real characters, leading real lives and suffering real frustrations and setbacks. They may even be real people; readers don’t know. She draws her characters really well, so that readers are right there with them. She keeps adding new characters as she
Casey Wheeler
This book is an interesting read from the perspective that I learned a few things, but it is more of an overview of the subject and does not get down into the more detailed aspects of cybercrime that I was expecting from the description. That said, I found this book a quick and enjoyable read. 

Some of the things I learned were that hackers not consider or refer to themselves as hackers; different countries use different methods to obtain information; some black hats eventually become white hats;
Brandon Forsyth
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I think my expectations were raised a little by the blurb likening Fazzini to “the Michael Lewis of cybercrime”, and the story never really flows or seems as well-drawn as Mr. Lewis is capable of. But that’s obviously a really unfair bar to compare against. For such a difficult subject matter to report on, the glimpses we do get are illuminating and the essential argument Fazzini is making is compelling. I’m just not sure it adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
Chunyang Ding
Jul 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Absolutely atrocious writing, with the only redeeming quality being the interesting subject matter. Fazzini tries to take us into the minds of the many characters, but noone is sufficiently fleshed out enough to be a mere caricature of a person. The writing style, which progresses chronologically but geographically schiznophrenic, is incredibly hard to trace any kind of narrative throughout.
Jeremy Brooks
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Somewhat interesting, but very scattered. It felt disjointed; there was no clear connection between all of the various players, and it felt like characters and stories just ended without any real resolution. Read more like a collection of notes about various people than a book.
Lynn Kelly
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author of this book is my husband’s niece, Kate Fazzini. Kingdom of Lies opened up the world of hackers, both good and bad, for me. It shows how multi-leveled they are and working independently. Don’t forget to read The Author’s Note in the end.
Sam Reaves
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
We hear a lot about cybercrime, but very little about the shadowy figures behind it. Who are these people who are lurking in cyberspace, flooding it with malware, crippling websites, holding our data for ransom, taking down giant corporations? Apart from a certain amount of noise about Russian hackers, there's not a lot of information out there.
Kate Fazzini worked in cybersecurity and now writes about it. The principal lie referred to in her title, she says, is "...that cybersecurity is hard. ..
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Kate Fazzini takes the reader into the shadowy world of white hat and black hat hackers as she looks at the people who work at bank and those who try to hack the banks and precipitates other cyber frauds. The names, locations and companies are changed to protect those who give information which always leads to a little inflation of the story as the author acknowledges. The people she covers are very interesting and you get attached to each group however as some others have acknowledged when you ...more
Emi Bevacqua
From the outset Fazzini tells us these are stories, but the way they overlapped gave me false hope that all would merge and culminate in a comprehensive ending to all the various cybershenanigans: Party Girl Renè Kreutz in Romania evolves into a hacker involved quite heroically with dastardly Sigmar "Sig" Himelman who is practically related to Cybercrime Researcher Dieter in Helsinki and then there is hacker Bolin Chou in China, and another female heroine Caroline Chan at targeted NOW Bank, Russ ...more
Elizabeth Mabrey
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
An interesting idea, but this reads like a first draft, not a finished product. I didn't care for the writing style, which meanders and doesn't connect anything or reach any resolutions. She also has a bad habit of introducing people with a weird attempt at suspense--he works at the bank but he doesn't know in a year he won't be there anymore! It gets repetitive and irritating. In the end the characters and stories she's telling don't conclude as much as it seems like it was deemed the book had ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures In the World of Cybercrime
Author: Kate Fazzini
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Review Date: May 27, 2019

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“In the tradition of Michael Lewis and Tom Wolfe, a fascinating and frightening behind-the-scenes look at the interconnected cultures of hackers, security specialists, and law enforcement.”

This is a fantastic nonfiction
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Cybercrime is something that sounds foreign, and yet it affects us every day. When you have to go get your credit card to type in the security code from the back, when you have to enter your zip code at the gas pump, or when you have to remember any of your seventy-thousand increasingly-bizarre passwords, you are attempting to thwart cybercrime. Every time you chuckle over a spam email, roll your eyes over a phishing email, or scream in frustration when your third attempt to log in to your Targe ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Worth read alone for Russian car hacker's advice to his son: avoid high-value-target locations, don't trust anyone asking you for money or tells you a sob story too soon after meeting you, never share personal information until you've known someone well over a year, if someone tells you they're not a good guy believe them the first time, never download an app on your phone, never allow some company to track your location.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
Writing is horrible. Get on with the story already instead of endless descriptions of people and what they buy at the grocery store or how they like their coffee. Descriptions just go on and on. I wanted to learn about hacking stories and ended up giving up. Should be consolidated into a magazine article.
Elena MtlCa
Jul 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
If this is actually a book I'm the queen of St. Martin's Press. Guys, did you actually fact-checked? Minimally? Style is absent and the content is about as true as "spring" meaning, in Romanian, "arc". Hint: it doesn't. But what's to be expected when the she-superhacker was produced by a father "long-retired when she was born". What age Ms. Fazzini believes that people retire in Romania?
Save your time and $, reader. It's all about overselling and underdelivering.
Cristie Underwood
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
The author's writing style jumps all over the place, so I didn't enjoy this as much as I could have. However, I found the information presented about hacking to be timely and very relevant.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This book's an absolute stand-out for me in an otherwise very parched landscape of infosec offerings because of Fazzini's masterful and enthralling character studies of the good guys and bad guys. For that alone, Fazzini's dramatic writing and her understanding of people and their motives was worth the price of admission.

Fazzini promoted the book via LinkedIn, and it's marketed with a completely unsupported claim that although there'd been many egregious security breaches in recent years, the on
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Former cybersecurity executive and journalist Kate Fazzini is sharing in the Kingdom of Lies everyday stories from the dark world of cybercrime. The complexity of human beings and the ambiguity of human nature offer both a simple explanation for the latest dramatic development in the field of e-crimes.

Random people from the remotest areas of the world - from Romania to Siberia, Hong Kong and USA - are entering this world with the boldness and organisation of a business person. There is a plan a
Meagan Houle
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I've been interested in cybersecurity since my very first run-in with malware in 2009. It was one of those drive-by downloads that cluttered my screen with fear-mongering notifications until I figured out how to uninstall the program, and the stress of that encounter fed a lasting preoccupation with cybersecurity and malware. Picking up this book, I assumed I'd find technical information, some timelines perhaps, but I wasn't prepared for Kate's deep dive into the lives of the humans behind the c ...more
Edwin Howard
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-10-in-2019
KINGDOM OF LIES, by Kate Fazzini, jumps deep into the world of cybersecurity. Fazzini follows characters not just on the lawful side and the unlawful side, but many who allegiance to right and/or wrong is irrelevant; people who are most concerned with what project stimulates them and pays them enough to life the life they want (which is often far from extravagant).
Many people whose careers circle around cybercrime are not clearly defined on the good side or the bad side and Fazzini writes this
Diane Hernandez
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Kingdom of Lies is an eye-opening look into the shadowy world of cyber hacking. However, much of the story has already been told by other media.

Individual stories of hacking make for compelling reading. The stories are told from both the criminal and victim’s point-of-view. However, they never lead into a real conclusion. Also, while labeled as true stories, so many details were changed that is impossible to know what is true and what is fiction.

I was so excited to read this book. I love readin
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really engaging book - I read the entire thing in less than 4 hours because from the very first page, Kate Fazzini had me hooked. She does a phenomenal job of telling these stories in such a way that each person's personality shines through - even though she's writing in the third person. When I picked this book up at the library, I anticipated that it would be more educational than it turned out to be, but I don't mean this as a complaint; the stories in this book do have cautionary tales, but ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book and immediately put it in my 'to read next' pile. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. It truly is an adventure and was massively interesting to read about how different factors in the cyber world work their scams, their people, what companies do to prevent this, mistakes that companies make with the kind of people they hire to do cybersercurity, the different kinds of things that can potentially be hacked, history about election influenc ...more
Brian Miller
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I went in to this book very hopeful as it is a very interesting subject and one that I know little about. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is a very well written book that adds the human layer to a book about unseen computer hacking. You always hear about how Russia, North Korea and Iran are virtually state sponsored hacking groups and this book includes that plus much more personal stories about the lives of those involved. I really enjoyed this book and will look for any future book ...more
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was easy and quick to read. I liked reading about the different things that each of the people in this book did. Sig had a company that infected computers with ransomware. Victor hacked cars,
chou stole company's data. Rene was not good at using computers but, she could talk so she worked customer service at sig's company.
What most of the people did for a living in this book was not nice or anything I would do. I think the book makes Kate Fazzini's point that hackers are like everyon
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This makes for a nice companion to a more technical book about the world of cyber crime.

I found the style of this book to be more suited to the audiobook version, so I'd recommend giving that a shot. I appreciate the other reviews about this book that say it seems incomplete or doesn't provide enough detail - but for me that was what made it unique. There are dozens of books that will give you more detail about high profile cyber crime cases and tactics, but what makes this book different is th
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I can't turn down a "in the minds of cybercriminals" book. I just can't.

But with this one, I wish there were multiple ratings options in GR, because I had a blast reading this book, but the writing really really could have been better. It jumped back and forth between people and scenarios and time, all within a few pages. Finally I just resigned myself to being slightly confused and moving on. It's not clear how true some of this is either, which was a bit annoying. But overall, an interesting a
Angela Shearer
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When you work in the IT security space you have insights into a whole new world. This book accurately describes the IT Security culture, the smoke and mirror effects that take place and the incorrect assumptions that we make as lay people. This book is written in such a way that someone outside the industry can grasp the concepts that IT Security professionals attempt to over complicate. Over complicating things helps them secure their imagined "elite" status. I just love how this book dumbs it ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
The book was written in a compelling way, but I wanted more information and narrative. The subject matter is interesting, but it felt as if the author was trying to make it more suspenseful than it needed to be. As a result, she left a lot of unanswered questions. She did not tell us if that was because those questions are unanswerable or she just left us hanging as a plot device, but then never filled the plot in. Unless you have a fascination with cybercrime (which I do), this probably will di ...more
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