DarkMarket – Book Review

DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia by Misha Glenny.

Misha Glenny is an established investigative journalist who has worked in tv and radio as well as in print. I decided to read this book after a talk he gave at the Edinburgh Book festival a couple of years ago. The book describes the series of events leading to the taking down of the DarkMarket site where cyber criminals would buy and sell stolen credit card information. It’s a well written book based on interviews with police and convicted criminals. This does risk the police point of view being economical with the truth and the criminals either exaggerating their own importance or fibbing outright. Glenny does give a health warning regarding the truthfulness of one of his interviewees.

The background is truly worldwide covering the UK, Ukraine, US, Russia, Sri Lanka and Turkey. The hackers were all male, highly intelligent but with personality disorders and often more interested in showing off their technical skills than making money. They were mostly very young: one Ukrainian hacker, now a politician, had already established a precursor to the DarkMarket site before he was eighteen. Another experienced German cyber- criminal was still at school.

The book doesn’t go into too much technical detail, which I found a good thing. Although the book is non-fiction, it is written in thriller style with ‘cliff-hangers’ at the end of each chapter. However I did find some of the chapters disjointed and I found it difficult keeping track of all the characters who are referred to both by their real names and on-line aliases. Three and a half stars.


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