Welcome to the Boing Boing guestblog, Joseph Menn!

I am delighted to welcome author and journalist Joseph Menn (web / Twitter / Facebook) to Boing Boing as guestblogger. His most recent book, Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet, was published this January in the US and comes out today in an updated paperback form.

From his bio:

Menn has spoken at major security conferences including RSA, Black Hat DC and DefCon on his findings, which include hard evidence that the governments of Russia and China are protecting and directing the behavior of some of the world's worst cyber-criminals. He also has given invited talks at meetings convened by the US Secret Service and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"Fatal System Error accurately reveals the secretive global cyber cartels and their hidden multibillion-dollar business, proving cybercrime does pay and pays well," said Richard A. Clarke, special advisor to President George W. Bush for cyber security. The New Yorker magazine said it was "riveted" by the tale, comparing it to the novels of Stieg Larsson, while Business Week called it "a fascinating high-tech whodunit." Fatal System Error has been placed on the official reading list of the US Strategic Command and is being translated into Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Menn has reported on technology for more than a decade at the Financial Times and the Los Angeles Times, mostly from his current base in San Francisco. His coverage areas for the FT include technology security and privacy, digital media, and Apple and the PC industry.

He is a two-time finalist for the Loeb Award, the most prestigious in financial journalism, for coverage of Microsoft and the Hollywood writers' strike. Earlier, he won a "Best in Business" award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for tobacco coverage at Bloomberg News, where as legal editor he directed stories that revealed the landmark settlement talks between the cigarette companies and the states.

His previous books include All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster, the definitive 2003 work selected as a book-of-the-year finalist by the trade group Investigative Reporters & Editors Inc. "All the Rave" reversed the conventional wisdom on what had been the most exhaustively covered start-up of the era. The New York Times wrote it "provides a well-documented history of one of the most celebrated collapses of the Internet. But it goes far deeper, giving an inside account of the creation of Napster, the battle for its control and the maneuvering by big Silicon Valley names to try to turn music piracy into gold."

Menn is also co-author of The People Vs. Big Tobacco: How the States Took on the Cigarette Giants (1998) and a principal editor of The Chronology: The Documented Day-by-Day Account of the Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Contras (1987). He has taught advanced technology and business writing at the University of California at Berkeley's graduate school of journalism and lectured at other universities and conferences.


  1. I’ve worked in information security for 15 years or so. This book is an excellent behind the scenes look at a number of big infosecurity incidents of the internet age. I kept muttering “so that’s who those guys were” through the whole book. They brought up websites that I remember blocking and really fleshed out the stories behind a lot of the big DOS incidents.

    I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know since I picked it up last summer. It’s pretty frightening but this is not hype, this is the reality I’ve been trying to get people to wake up to for years.

  2. Just have the last chapter to read of his book. Kicking myself as it sat around on the shelf for six months and I did not realise how good it was.
    The only error in the whole book so far is how to pronounce “Team Cymru”.

    I certainly recommend the book especially if you want to be scared of carders.

    Looking forward to the blogging as the book gives the impression that it is all up to date and so written very fast.

  3. Maybe someone could utilize prolonged psyops operations on 4chan to influence the bewildered herd there to turn against and attack China?

    [just askin’ questions]

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