May 06 2011

Kingpin

Published by at 12:27 pm under Books

by Kevin Poulsen

This is a non-fiction story of serious Internet oriented crime. Necessarily a little out of date, but very informative about the nature of the criminals using the Internet and the techniques they use to steal information that results in ‘real world’ thefts. The story was written by Wired magazine’s cyber security editor and is centered around one now convicted credit card information thief named Max Butler.
The book started a little slow, but once it got into the characters involved in the ‘carder’ subculture and the techniques they use, my interest picked up. Carders include a complete supply chain from thieves who steal credit card details through middlemen who sell that information to others who make fake cards which are used to purchase generally expensive merchandise which is then turned into cash. There are many variations on how to steal information and how to turn fake cards into cash, but getting and transferring the hard cash is often the hard point at which criminals can be identified and, sometimes, caught. Both the criminal and law enforcement sides of the story are told.
Worth reading is you want to get a sense for what goes on under the surface in internet and store front retail commerce. Contrary to what you might expect, most of the card information that is stolen is stolen from retail merchants doing business out of store fronts rather than via internet transactions though the internet enables the theft of that information from the merchants.

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