On venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’ podcast a16z, listen to Jonathan Lusthaus discuss the evolution of cybercrime from isolated single-perpetrator actions into a sprawling and sophisticated international industry:
The most extensive account yet of the lives of cybercriminals and the vast international industry they have created, deeply sourced and based on field research in the world’s technology-crime hotspots.
Cybercrime seems invisible. Attacks arrive out of nowhere, their origins hidden by layers of sophisticated technology. Only the victims are clear. But every crime has its perpetrator—specific individuals or groups sitting somewhere behind keyboards and screens. Jonathan Lusthaus lifts the veil on the world of these cybercriminals in the most extensive account yet of the lives they lead, and the vast international industry they have created.
We are long past the age of the lone adolescent hacker tapping away in his parents’ basement. Cybercrime now operates like a business. Its goods and services may be illicit, but it is highly organized, complex, driven by profit, and globally interconnected. Having traveled to cybercrime hotspots around the world to meet with hundreds of law enforcement agents, security gurus, hackers, and criminals, Lusthaus takes us inside this murky underworld and reveals how this business works. He explains the strategies criminals use to build a thriving industry in a low-trust environment characterized by a precarious combination of anonymity and teamwork. Crime takes hold where there is more technical talent than legitimate opportunity, and where authorities turn a blind eye—perhaps for a price. In the fight against cybercrime, understanding what drives people into this industry is as important as advanced security.
Based on seven years of fieldwork from Eastern Europe to West Africa, Industry of Anonymity is a compelling and revealing study of a rational business model which, however much we might wish otherwise, has become a defining feature of the modern world.