This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



July 2012

Watching Penguins with “PaPa Bill”


Book: Fatal System Error

Author: Joseph Menn
Original Publication: 2010 Oct 26
Started: 2011 Jan 12
Finished: 2011 Jan 18
Format: Kindle
4589 locations / 7 days
656 locations/day

So yeah, yeah, first I’ll just get it out of the way. I am writing this review over a year and a half after I read the book. Oops. Oh well. That’s just the way it is sometimes. Way behind. You know what that’s like.

Anyway, this is a book that looks at some aspects of internet crime, specifically spending a lot of time on DDOS attacks, defending against them, and some messy battles involving internet gambling sites, but also expanding to include some thoughts on “cyberwarfare” between governments and some on identity theft.

I remember the biggest impression I left the book with at the time was basically “Wow, really, there are REAL criminals and bad guys doing this kind of stuff?” I have to admit, that while I was vaguely aware of that fact, my overall impression of this sort of thing was that it was a bunch of small time folks, doing annoying stuff from their home computers. Not really the “organized crime” sort of picture that this book paints.

Of course that makes perfect sense though. If there is money to be made by scamming people or whatnot, and it can be more easily done via the internet, sure, there may be small timers out there, but why the hell wouldn’t it get organized and big? And since we’re talking about illegal and unethical acts for the most part, obviously that is going to take on the flavor of organized crime, and all of the sorts of things that implies in terms of violence and threats of violence getting added to the mix.

The book itself was an interesting detective story following the process of tracking down some of these crimes and tracking down who was actually doing what, and in some cases trying to actually move toward prosecutions and arrests, including dealing with corruption in Russia and other obstacles.

It was a good read. I don’t have the expertise to really understand how representative the types of stories outlined here really are, but it was interesting and disturbing. Worth the read if you are curious about this sort of thing.

Finally, in the past I’ve separately done posts with charts on what portions of my recent reviewed books were available on Kindle, and what portion of my recently read books were actually read on Kindle. Going forward I will just include that at the end of my review posts. So here goes.

% of the last 20 books I reviewed that are now available on Kindle:

% of the last 20 books I read that I actually read on Kindle:

(I bought my Kindle when the first ratio hit 50%. I’ve said before that I’ll do these charts until the ratios get to 90% or so.)