Malicious Bots: An Inside Look into the Cyber-Criminal Underground of the Internet

Author: Jeffrey S. Beasley
Pages: 693
Publisher: New Riders
ISBN: 0131358383


While flying to security events around the globe, I stock myself with a couple of The Economist issues which are meant to last until the connecting flight to the next continent. Just before the RSA Conference my colleague gave me a couple of books that we got via a new cooperation with CRC Press. I was surprised that all of the four books in question seemed quite interesting, but I decided to choose “Malicious Bots”. While evaluating it, for a second it reminded me of Michele Slatalla’s legendary “Masters of Deception” which I read more than 10 years ago…

About the author

Jim Melnick and Ken Dunham serve on the front line of critical cyber-attacks and countermeasures as geopolitical and technical botnet experts, respectively. This author introduction is taken from the Preface section, as bios weren’t provided.

Inside the book

I don’t know if you are familiar with the book I mentioned in the introduction part of this article, but I quite enjoyed reading about gimmicks used by early 1990s hacker groups. “Hacking” (in that negative way) evolved over the years, so “Malicious Bots: An Inside Look into the Cyber-Criminal Underground of the Internet” talks about a hunt for a cyber criminal gang that was on the top of a vast bot network.

The book should appeal to a specific set of readers interested in reading about true cases of cyber crime. The whole concept of the book is to combine a real example of finding the bad guys and catching them, along with some details on malicious bot network inner workings.

So what are my thoughts on it? First, the bot case in question is not something really new. The cases the “find and catch” parts are based on are about 5 years old. I was familiar with the bots in question, so I was curious to see how the criminals behind them were tracked and caught.

If you are primarily interested in reading about technicalities about bot networks, the ways of distribution, administration etc. – I presume you won’t be too satisfied. Of course, you could learn this whole case study and even update yourself with some latest examples, but the book is rather thin – just about 130 pages of text (with some screenshots, logs and even botmaster photos?).

Final thoughts

I enjoyed reading “Malicious Bots”, as it shortened my intercontinental trip for a couple of hours. If you like to read about real life cases from the “dark zone”, the book will appeal to you, but there is another thing in play – the price tag. $60 is definitely at least two times more than I would pay for this type of a book.

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