Fancy Bear Goes Phishing

Fancy Bear Goes Phishing

The Dark History of the Information Age, in Five Extraordinary Hacks

Summary

Fancy Bear was hungry. Looking for embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton, the elite hacking unit within Russian military intelligence broke into the Democratic National Committee network, grabbed what it could, and may have contributed to the election of Donald Trump.

Robert Morris was curious. Experimenting one night, the graduate student from Cornell University released "the Great Worm" and became the first person to crash the internet.

Dark Avenger was in love. To impress his crush, the Bulgarian hacker invented the first mutating computer virus-engine and nearly destroyed the anti-virus industry.

Why is the internet so insecure? How do hackers exploit its vulnerabilities? Fancy Bear Goes Phishing tells the stories of five great hacks, their origins, motivations and consequences. As well as Fancy Bear, Robert Morris and Dark Avenger, we meet Cameron Lacroix, a sixteen-year-old from South Boston, who hacked Paris Hilton's cell phone because he wanted to be famous and Paras Jha, a Rutgers undergraduate, who built a giant botnet designed to get him out of his calculus exam and disrupt the online game Minecraft, but which almost destroyed the internet in the process. Scott Shapiro's five stories demonstrate that computer hacking is not just a tale of technology, but of human beings.

Yet as Shapiro shows, hackers do not just abuse computer code - they exploit the philosophical principles of computation: the very features that make computers possible also make hacking possible. He explains how our information society works, the ways our data is stored and manipulated, and why it is so subject to exploitation. Both intellectual romp and dramatic true-crime narrative, Fancy Bear Goes Phishing exposes the secrets of the digital age.

Reviews

  • When does cyber-espionage tip into cybercrime or even cyber-warfare? ... Scott Shapiro is well-placed to tackle these quandaries ... masterful ... His narrative zips between technical explanations, legal reasoning and the ideas of thinkers including René Descartes and Alan Turing ... making the subject intelligible to non-specialist readers
    Economist

About the author

Scott Shapiro

Scott J. Shapiro is the Charles F. Southmayd Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at Yale Law School, where he is the Director of the Centre for Law and Philosophy and the CyberSecurity Lab. He is also the Visiting Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at University College, London. He is the author of Legality and editor of The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and the Philosophy of Law, and the co-author, with Oona Hathaway, of The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World.
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