x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

DarkMarket: inside the world of cybercrime

Structured like a thriller, Misha Glenny's insightful book takes readers inside the complex world of online crime.

DarkMarket / Misha Glenny
DarkMarket / Misha Glenny

Dependence leaves you vulnerable. The problem with digital and internet technology is that almost all of us are both dependent on it and ignorant of it. Wittingly and unwittingly we commit vast amounts of personal information to it daily. DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You takes its title from a criminal website dedicated to exploiting this. Misha Glenny conducted more than 200 hours of interviews with players on both sides of the law.

The book is structured like a thriller. Starting with an English clergyman whose bank account is hacked, Glenny follows the money. The path leads from Yorkshire to Brazil, St Petersburg, Pittsburg, India and China, while DarkMarket's administrators are a shady cast including a Tamil crack addict, members of a Turkish crime syndicate, Odessa gangsters and a Polish spammer. One, it transpires, is an FBI agent who infiltrated the site and brought its downfall in 2008.

Understanding the phenomenon of DarkMarket is, according to Glenny, vital, "even if the evidence is partial, tendentious and scattered both in the virtual and real world". On the strength of this unnerving book it is impossible to disagree.