An eye-opening, immensely distressing exposé on the current state of organized cyberspammers.

SPAM NATION

THE INSIDE STORY OF ORGANIZED CYBERCRIME—FROM GLOBAL EPIDEMIC TO YOUR FRONT DOOR

How once-harmless Internet advertising developed into the dangerously intrusive inbox enemy it is today.

Former Washington Post reporter and current Web security analyst Krebs addresses the threat of email spam as much more than simply an online nuisance; rather, it’s the byproduct of fully functioning “virtual pirate coves of the Internet” trafficking illegal goods and services to unsuspecting users. His nuanced detective work uncovered corrupt business practices at rogue pharmaceutical sites (an industry which a large portion of email spam promotes). Digging deeper, he discovered a global conspiracy targeting just about anyone with an email address. Krebs’ guided tour of the cybercriminal underworld is a cautionary tale about menacing cultures of hackers, spammers and duplicitous digital network “cybercrooks”—e.g., shifty Russian e-commerce mogul Pavel Vrublevsky, whom the author surprised with a perilous, impromptu in-person meeting at his home in Moscow. Krebs’ background in cybersleuthing (he broke the story on the late-2013 Target credit-card database breach) is maximally utilized in chapters covering how “bulletproof hosting networks” and their integrated, parasitic “botnets” disseminate spam across scores of email addresses while frenetic anti-spam groups deploy ingenious counteroffensive tactics. The author analyzes how and why spammers become lucrative by tracing e-payment brokers directly to the illegal online pharmacy websites they contract with and expanding outward to the covert spamming networks like the notorious Russian Business Network and other underground factions based in the former Soviet states. Krebs admits it was his vigilante investigations into these types of criminals that sabotaged his 14-year tenure with the Post. For lay readers, an effectively revealing closing chapter offers tips on how anyone can safeguard their personal online information from hacker infiltration.

An eye-opening, immensely distressing exposé on the current state of organized cyberspammers.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1402295614

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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