Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime

Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime

"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 enforcementA 19-year-old Romanian s...

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Title:Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime
Author:Kate Fazzini
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Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime Reviews

  • Anneke

    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

    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 book about the world of cybercrime. Oh my Lord, so much I didn’t know. It is a terrifying world we live in, this shadowy world of cybercrime that ticks along, day and night, all around us, whether we are aware of it or not.

    I was utterly fascinated by this book, and very impressed with the author’s way of making a dark, complex world easier to understand.

    She weaves in and out of various cyber criminals’ and crime fighters’ worlds, in a way that kept my attention, and that also lightened up what could have been a very dense read. This is not a dull explication of the world of cybercrime. By weaving the stories back and forth of various criminals and crime fighters, she made the story interesting and accessible.

    I give this book 5+ stars. Highly, highly recommended. I intend to look for other writing by the author.

    Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for allowing me an early look at this fascinating book.

    This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon.

    #netgalley #stmartinspress #thekingdomoflies #katefazzini

    #cybercrime #nonfiction

  • Lynn Kelly

    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.

  • Carin

    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

    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 Target account results in being locked out, do you ever wonder how we got here? And who is behind it?

    Kate Fazzini used to work in the world of anti-cybercrime for a major bank. Now she is a reporter in the field, and so she is perfectly poised to take you through the terrifying new world of cybercrime. We're introduced to a few individual players as examples of the larger crime scene, including a young Romanian woman who starts off in customer service of a crime ring (yes, they have customer service reps!) and soon rises to the number two position thanks to her deft hand in expanding their randsomware reach. Along with a Russian man in New Jersey, a Chinese man, and a couple of others, Ms. Fazzini shows us how this world functions, through these examples, and it's pretty terrifying, while at the same time being reassuringly boring, in how like the real above-board world most of these organizations are.

    A fast read for fans of Michael Lewis, that will make you want to lock down all your accounts and finally sign up for that password manager you've been meaning to get around to.

  • Brandon Forsyth

    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.

  • 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;

    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; you don't necessarily need to be a code nerd to be successful in the business and there are a wide variety of reasons why groups and countries do it.

    Overall, this book is for someone who is not necessarily looking for a great amount of detail on the subject.

    I received a free advance readers' edition of this book courtesy the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on  Goodreads, Amazon and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook and Twitter pages.

  • Brian

    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

    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 get to the end nothing really comes together and you are left wondering what the point was. There is lots of good information in this book and interesting people but they just never tie together and you are left unsatisfied at the end.

  • Liz

    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

    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 learned anything meaningful. Senior officials of a company not understanding the issues the workers are facing goes without saying. That they have a propensity to hire too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Duh. Yes, there are nuggets of important info here, but I felt like I had to sift through minutiae to get to them. One of the important points that I wish Fazzini had spent more time exploring is the love/hate relationship between business and government.

    Also, so much has been fictionalized that I didn’t know what to believe. Made up companies really irritated me. She says she wants people to feel empowered by reading this book. But she doesn’t really give us the means to do so.

    In short, too much fluff and not enough meat to this book to allow me to give it many stars.

    My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

  • David Wineberg

    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

    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 goes, right up to the end. It becomes difficult to keep track of them all, and guessing how they fit into the overall scheme of things turns out to be a futile task. Because suddenly and without warning, the book ends. There is no scheme of things. No conflicts get resolved. The good guys don’t catch up to the bad guys, or even give chase. No one suffers any kind of direct penalty because of their hacking actions. The stories don’t ever merge or even connect. Anything or anyone. There are single, isolated characters who don’t connect to anyone at all. They just pop up from times to time. Perhaps the message is that hacking is a disjointed, decentralized enterprise, for both the white hats and the black hats. But we knew that.

    The two longest, deepest stories run separately and never cross. One is the cybersecurity unit of an international bank. It is plagued not merely by hackers, but by internal politics and bureaucracy where no good deed goes unpunished, and a loyal cohesive team disintegrates because of a narcissistic celebrity ex-military who is parachuted in to lead it. The other is a tiny Romanian ransomware shop, which runs its course, makes its millions and disintegrates. No one is ever in any danger. Risks are minimal. The ransomware operation and its players are never connected to the bank.

    Hackers are loners who don’t do well playing with others. This career choice gives them satisfaction and a living. As long as no one trusts anyone else and covers themselves from potential outcomes, everyone gets away with everything. So lies prevail, both as told to others and to themselves.

    Fazzini says she hopes readers will take away a better appreciation of privacy. But the book as a book is at best unsatisfying. Maybe it’s a koan and readers should just let it flow over them and not analyze it. Because trying to put it together as a single book with a story, a backbone, a conclusion and/or a message did not work.

    David Wineberg

  • Jeremy Brooks

    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.

  • Chunyang Ding

    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.

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