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The life of a cybercrime kingpin

Molly Wood Feb 22, 2011
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The life of a cybercrime kingpin

Molly Wood Feb 22, 2011
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Kevin Poulsen is the author of the new book, “Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground.” It traces the rise and fall, or the various rises and falls, of Max Butler. He grew up as a volatile Idahoan with a quick temper and a real gift for technology. That talent led him to lucrative security jobs where companies would pay him to detect weaknesses in their computer networks.

If you have the ability to find problems, however, you also have the ability to exploit them. The book chronicles Butler’s departure from the legal side of computer security to the criminal side. Eventually, Butler realizes that the real money to be made, the real power to be realized, lies not in the still fairly well-secured corporate and government institutions but in the bad guys’ dens. He becomes a hacker of hackers, a thief of thieves.

We speak with Poulsen about Butler’s story. Poulsen is a senior editor at Wired.com. Interestingly, Poulsen is also a former hacker who served a sentence in prison for his crimes.

Also in this program, the most amazing technology for voice technology: a corded rotary phone!

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