Kingdom of Lies
"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 student stumbles into a criminal ransomware ring in her village. Soon she is extorting Silicon Valley billionaires for millions--without knowing the first thing about computers.A veteran cybersecurity specialist has built a deep network of top notch hackers in one of the world's largest banks. But then the bank brings in a cadre of ex-military personnel to "help."A cynical Russian only leaves his tiny New Jersey apartment to hack sports cars at a high performance shop in Newark. But he opens his door to a consultant who needs his help.A hotel doorman in China once served in the People's Army, stealing intellectual property from American companies. Now he uses his skills to build up a private side-business selling the data he takes from travelers to Shanghai's commercial center.Kingdom of Lies follows the intertwined stories of cybercriminals and ethical hackers as they jump from criminal trend to criminal trend, crisis to crisis. A cybersecurity professional turned journalist, Kate Fazzini illuminates the many lies companies and governments tell us about our security, the lies criminals tell to get ahead, and the lies security leaders tell to make us think they are better at their jobs than they are.Like Traffic set in the cybercrime world, Kingdom of Lies is as entertaining as it is eye opening.

Kingdom of Lies Details

TitleKingdom of Lies
Author
ReleaseJun 11th, 2019
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250201348
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Computer Science, Computers, Science

Kingdom of Lies Review

  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars, rounded upI’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 upI’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.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • David Wineberg
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Brandon Forsyth
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures In the World of CybercrimeAuthor: Kate FazziniPublisher: St. Martin’s PressPublication Date: June 11, 2019Review Date: May 27, 2019I 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 CybercrimeAuthor: Kate FazziniPublisher: St. Martin’s PressPublication Date: June 11, 2019Review Date: May 27, 2019I 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
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  • Carin
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Ilana
    January 1, 1970
    Former cybersecurity executive and journalist Kate Fazzini is sharing in the Kingdom of Lies everyday stories from the dark world of cybercrime. The complexity of human beings and the ambiguity of human nature offer both a simple explanation for the latest dramatic development in the field of e-crimes. Random people from the remotest areas of the world - from Romania to Siberia, Hong Kong and USA - are entering this world with the boldness and organisation of a business person. There is a plan a Former cybersecurity executive and journalist Kate Fazzini is sharing in the Kingdom of Lies everyday stories from the dark world of cybercrime. The complexity of human beings and the ambiguity of human nature offer both a simple explanation for the latest dramatic development in the field of e-crimes. Random people from the remotest areas of the world - from Romania to Siberia, Hong Kong and USA - are entering this world with the boldness and organisation of a business person. There is a plan and a financial target as well as a serious lack of ethics. Writing with the simplicity of the journalistic reporting and using a relatively simple vocabulary, Fazzini introduces this world to the reader in the most natural way. The perpetrators of such crimes could be anyone, you can be anytime the victim. The moment you are signing in for opening an email account, you are becoming part of a vast network that at the same time includes the legal and illicit trade. The author's experience is an important asset in introducing this world to the reader, from the intricacies of the corporate world to the simplicity of the daily hacker, looking for some opportunity to get some money or just explore some loopholes in the system.At the end of the reading day - the books reads easily in a sitting - you can be either afraid and paranoically skeptical about the human nature (but for that you don't need necessarily a book, just some basic everydaylife observation) and the Internet in general, or just rationally aware about the risks of the cyber world and consequently the criminal implications. Although from the technical point of view, the book is documented and has a pertaining speciality background, I've found some local descriptions and details not necessarily accurate. For instance, it's doubtful there is an Arnika Valley village in Romania, 200-km away from Bucharest where you can have Starbucks and pay with Bitcoins (it's highly doubtful that you can pay with such currency at all in this country). Also, arc doesn't mean spring in Romania. (The book is expected to be published in June and I've been offered a complimentary ARC, therefore it might be time to make corrections if necessary). If you are looking for getting some basic knowledge about cybercrime Kingdom of Lies is the recommended lecture but if you are looking for some sophisticated revelations about the complexity of the underground criminal network operating on the Internet, maybe you should search for another reference.Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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  • Edwin Howard
    January 1, 1970
    KINGDOM OF LIES, by Kate Fazzini, jumps deep into the world of cybersecurity. Fazzini follows characters not just on the lawful side and the unlawful side, but many who allegiance to right and/or wrong is irrelevant; people who are most concerned with what project stimulates them and pays them enough to life the life they want (which is often far from extravagant). Many people whose careers circle around cybercrime are not clearly defined on the good side or the bad side and Fazzini writes this KINGDOM OF LIES, by Kate Fazzini, jumps deep into the world of cybersecurity. Fazzini follows characters not just on the lawful side and the unlawful side, but many who allegiance to right and/or wrong is irrelevant; people who are most concerned with what project stimulates them and pays them enough to life the life they want (which is often far from extravagant). Many people whose careers circle around cybercrime are not clearly defined on the good side or the bad side and Fazzini writes this book with that in mind. The design of the book not only constantly bounces between solving cybercrime and committing cybercrime, but Fazzini at times even turns the table and has the reader pulling for the criminals and condemning the victims, as if they deserve it. Fazzini keeps allegiances spins around to keep the book entertaining, but also to mirror how people in the cybersecurity/cybercrime business feel everyday. Fazzini introduces several different groups of people and slowly brings all of there stories together into a climax and resolution that is both complete and satisfying. Fazzini even makes the cybercrime world seem sexy and inviting; making this reader look into taking a cybersecurity class in the future. Entertaining and immensely educational, KINGDOM OF LIES is an eye opener to the industry that is constantly growing and evolving. By creating fascinating individuals and multiple compelling events layered on top of each other, Fazzini's book kept me engaged from beginning to end. Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Kate Fazzini, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Diane Hernandez
    January 1, 1970
    Kingdom of Lies is an eye-opening look into the shadowy world of cyber hacking. However, much of the story has already been told by other media.Individual stories of hacking make for compelling reading. The stories are told from both the criminal and victim’s point-of-view. However, they never lead into a real conclusion. Also, while labeled as true stories, so many details were changed that is impossible to know what is true and what is fiction. I was so excited to read this book. I love readin Kingdom of Lies is an eye-opening look into the shadowy world of cyber hacking. However, much of the story has already been told by other media.Individual stories of hacking make for compelling reading. The stories are told from both the criminal and victim’s point-of-view. However, they never lead into a real conclusion. Also, while labeled as true stories, so many details were changed that is impossible to know what is true and what is fiction. I was so excited to read this book. I love reading about both black and white hat hackers. Perhaps that is the reason this book didn’t work for me. This book didn’t go into enough detail for me. Each of the stories could have been expanded into their own full-blown books with beginnings, middles, and endings. Instead the stories within Kingdom of Lies, and even the entire book, just stopped with no conclusions drawn.I realize the author is a journalist and so used to the inverted pyramid of most important to least important fact. However, none of the stories were related to some overall lesson or plot point. I read a lot of non-fiction and that is the point of most of it. Kingdom of Lies is just a slice of individual or company’s life. Also, there are many television shows and online articles that would be a better way to get the same information that can be gleaned from this book. Overall, I can’t give Kingdom of Lies more than 2.5 stars rounded up.Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for granting my wish for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Emi Bevacqua
    January 1, 1970
    From the outset Fazzini tells us these are stories, but the way they overlapped gave me false hope that all would merge and culminate in a comprehensive ending to all the various cybershenanigans: Party Girl Renè Kreutz in Romania evolves into a hacker involved quite heroically with dastardly Sigmar "Sig" Himelman who is practically related to Cybercrime Researcher Dieter in Helsinki and then there is hacker Bolin Chou in China, and another female heroine Caroline Chan at targeted NOW Bank, Russ From the outset Fazzini tells us these are stories, but the way they overlapped gave me false hope that all would merge and culminate in a comprehensive ending to all the various cybershenanigans: Party Girl Renè Kreutz in Romania evolves into a hacker involved quite heroically with dastardly Sigmar "Sig" Himelman who is practically related to Cybercrime Researcher Dieter in Helsinki and then there is hacker Bolin Chou in China, and another female heroine Caroline Chan at targeted NOW Bank, Russian hacker Valery Romanov, etc etc. The structure of this book unnerved me rather more than the subject matter, to be honest. I'm not sure if it's accurate to tag this Historical Fiction or True Crime or something altogether different, but the characters and the subject matter are compelling as all get-out! I may have been confused by the Prologue followed by the Forward, or being told that I know more about cybersecurity than I think I do, but everything in Kingdom of Lies made for great reading. I love the feminist point of view, pointing out the tremendous value women bring to key roles whether in cyber security or cyber crime. And all the details around election interference and various conspiracy theories. I hope there is a sequel.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Really engaging book - I read the entire thing in less than 4 hours because from the very first page, Kate Fazzini had me hooked. She does a phenomenal job of telling these stories in such a way that each person's personality shines through - even though she's writing in the third person. When I picked this book up at the library, I anticipated that it would be more educational than it turned out to be, but I don't mean this as a complaint; the stories in this book do have cautionary tales, but Really engaging book - I read the entire thing in less than 4 hours because from the very first page, Kate Fazzini had me hooked. She does a phenomenal job of telling these stories in such a way that each person's personality shines through - even though she's writing in the third person. When I picked this book up at the library, I anticipated that it would be more educational than it turned out to be, but I don't mean this as a complaint; the stories in this book do have cautionary tales, but that is second to their entertainment value. Here's my one complaint, and the reason I elected to give only four stars: in the beginning of the book, Fazzini states that by the end we will understand that cybersecurity all comes down to communication. And yes, she's right - through her stories, we learn that communication is quite important and impactful. Still, the way she closes the book, and this claim, could be much stronger. She doesn't provide much closure on this extremely important idea that she introduced at the start. That said, the book was great. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in cybercrime (or, generally, human beings and their weird, messy lives).
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  • Brian Miller
    January 1, 1970
    I went in to this book very hopeful as it is a very interesting subject and one that I know little about. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is a very well written book that adds the human layer to a book about unseen computer hacking. You always hear about how Russia, North Korea and Iran are virtually state sponsored hacking groups and this book includes that plus much more personal stories about the lives of those involved. I really enjoyed this book and will look for any future book I went in to this book very hopeful as it is a very interesting subject and one that I know little about. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is a very well written book that adds the human layer to a book about unseen computer hacking. You always hear about how Russia, North Korea and Iran are virtually state sponsored hacking groups and this book includes that plus much more personal stories about the lives of those involved. I really enjoyed this book and will look for any future books by this author. The sections on ransomware were the most interesting for me as the hackers at some points got thanked for their work. Thank you Netgalley, Kate Fazzini and St. Martin's Press for the ARC for my honest review.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book and immediately put it in my 'to read next' pile. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. It truly is an adventure and was massively interesting to read about how different factors in the cyber world work their scams, their people, what companies do to prevent this, mistakes that companies make with the kind of people they hire to do cybersercurity, the different kinds of things that can potentially be hacked, history about election influenc I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book and immediately put it in my 'to read next' pile. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. It truly is an adventure and was massively interesting to read about how different factors in the cyber world work their scams, their people, what companies do to prevent this, mistakes that companies make with the kind of people they hire to do cybersercurity, the different kinds of things that can potentially be hacked, history about election influencers and more. Kate Fazzini writes well with the amount of detail necessary to keep a good story going and to keep your attention. This book comes out in June and is one you'll want to put on your 'to read next' pile for sure.
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  • Dora Okeyo
    January 1, 1970
    This is an interesting dive into cybercrime and it gives the reader accounts of these from both victims and whom we'd call the perpetrators. It doesn't offer anything new on the stories shared in the media on cyber crime however the narration draws you in to understand and encounter this world. Thanks Netgalley for the eARC. I also have to give props to whoever designed the cover, it's a good one.
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  • Michaela
    January 1, 1970
    Worth read alone for Russian car hacker's advice to his son: avoid high-value-target locations, don't trust anyone asking you for money or tells you a sob story too soon after meeting you, never share personal information until you've known someone well over a year, if someone tells you they're not a good guy believe them the first time, never download an app on your phone, never allow some company to track your location.
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  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    The author's writing style jumps all over the place, so I didn't enjoy this as much as I could have. However, I found the information presented about hacking to be timely and very relevant.
  • Kate (kate_reads_)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 20%
  • PWRL
    January 1, 1970
    SM
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    A tiny bit choppy and truncated, but a fascinating read. I'm obsessed with cybersecurity now.(I received an ARC via my workplace #indigoemployee)
  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    Exactly the type of book I love!
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