I Know Your Password
True stories from the dark side of the web
Picture this: you buy something on eBay and not long afterwards your bank account is plundered. Or your smart thermostat is hijacked and your house heated to 37˚C until you transfer bitcoins to the hackers. You buy a surveillance camera to keep an eye on your dog and it suddenly says ‘Suck my dick’. The internet is a world of opportunities but we often forget that these opportunities are open to criminals and stalkers too.
Daniël Verlaan, a young investigative journalist specialized in new technology, has written an eye-opening and frank, story-driven account of the hidden dangers of the digital world. He explains how hackers look for weaknesses in website and database security, what the dark web is, why you should be concerned about data leaks, phishing, ransomware and spyware, and – most importantly – what you can do about it.
Verlaan went undercover and surfed the dark web. He interviewed hackers, cyber criminals and victims of revenge porn. He talked to a teenager who brought down entire banking systems and found out how a small arthouse cinema could take computers hostage on a large scale. Unsuspecting targets as well as perpetrators of clever, malicious and international hacks each have their say. Surprisingly, some amazingly well-executed online scams turn out to be little more than the bored experiments of insecure adolescent boys.
These are disturbing, sometimes terrifying stories that will make you think again about how you use your computer and your smart phone. While DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), international cyberattacks and phishing pose their own kind of threat, Verlaan also infiltrated a large-scale paedophile network on the dark web and shares findings that came unsettlingly close to home. In a chapter on revenge porn, it becomes clear how devastating these types of criminal actions can be, and Joëlle and Nova tell how their lives have been turned upside down by threats, extortion and stalking.
Each chapter concludes with useful tips against digital vulnerability. Readers will abandon their naïve belief that they have nothing to hide after reading this book. You may have nothing to hide, but you do have something to lose. In this age of Covid-19, when most of our life is conducted through our laptops and smartphones, and online scams are more common than ever, this book has been on the bestseller lists for weeks.