Chopping open the onion
August 31, 2012 3:42 PM   Subscribe

I want to read about the dark side of the Internet, preferably in the form of a narrative.

I just finished reading Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground in about 2 days and while I would have liked a little more fleshing out of the characters, the underground criminal world portrayed fascinated me. I'm looking for more books that have the cat-and-mouse element and the paranoia of the world of cybercrime.

I've browsed using Tor out of curiosity before, so I don't really have a threshold for how dark it gets. Books, longform journalism, even documentaries about hacking, trafficking, drugs, etc. involving the internet it what I'm after. I'd prefer nonfiction, but obviously I'd be open to any suggestions of fictitious portrayals. Bonus points for great characterization.

Basically I want anything that will make my mother want to stay off the Internet forever.
posted by Echobelly to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
A great starting point, if you haven't already done so, is a search at

posted by availablelight at 3:46 PM on August 31, 2012

Dark Market by Misha Glenny is non-fiction and is definitely has the cat-and-mouse element you're looking for.
posted by Adam_S at 4:08 PM on August 31, 2012

Here are a couple recent articles that are quite good:

How a Remote Town in Romania Has Become Cybercrime Central from Wired.

The Hacker is Watching from GQ.

A few years old, Bruce Schneier's Schneier on Security is a decent collection of non-fiction essays by one of the best minds in the field.

For fiction, try Zero Day by Mark Russinovich. He's a well-regarded IT security guy, so the novel has a lot of realistic elements.

Moving a bit farther from realism, but a fun read, is Daemon by Daniel Suarez. Also, its sequel, Freedom.

If you're interested in the topic, I also recommend reading Brian Krebs's blog. He does great investigative journalism into the cybercriminal underground.
posted by maxim0512 at 4:43 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll has got to be the definitive tracking-down-a-hacker account.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 4:54 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

Worm: The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden is a nonfiction account of the Conficker worm that appeared in 2008. Not terribly dark - it deals mostly with the "white hats" who tried to defeat it - but an interesting story of cybercrime versus cybersecurity.
posted by Quietgal at 5:02 PM on August 31, 2012

Fiction, but definitely about the dark side of the internet: "Rule 34" by (MeFi's own) Charles Stross.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:12 PM on August 31, 2012

Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick is great.
posted by PSB at 7:45 AM on September 3, 2012

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