Science, Tech & Environment

Cybercrime explored: Journalist documents DarkMarket

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The cover of Misha Glenny's new book, DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You

Story from PRI's The World. Listen above to the full audio report.

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Cyberthieves. Cybercops. A new book by journalist Misha Glenny brings readers inside the dark world of cybercrime and DarkMarket, a shadowy online exchange where cybertoughs hung out and exchanged knowledge.

"DarkMarket was the premier English language criminal website, from 2005 until its closure in late 2008," Glenny said. "It acted as a sort of department store for criminals who could go there, log on, buy stolen credit card details, buy viruses, download tutorials."

What they didn't know, however, was that DarkMarket ended up being run in part by an undercover FBI agent, Keith Mularski.

However Mularski didn't stay unknown forever. After a time, his identity became known and the site had to be shutdown, which began a cat-and-mouse game between the FBI and other security agencies trying to arrest the criminals who posted on the site, while some of the cybercriminals conducted a sophisticated campaign of counter intelligence.

"When the police started coming after them, across the world they warned other carders if they'd been fingered by the FBI or other agencies," Glenny said.

Glenny says that while money drives many hackers, others are motivated by more philosophical perspectives. For example, some Russian hackers aligned themselves with Russian State Security to keep people from attacking the financial institutions of Russia and other former Soviet states.

 

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