The Plot to Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election


Malcolm W. Nance - 2016
    Clinton 2016 presidential election, this book exposed the Russian hacking while the CIA was drafting their own report. In April 2016, computer technicians at the Democratic National Committee discovered that someone had accessed the organization’s computer servers and conducted a theft that is best described as Watergate 2.0. In the weeks that followed, the nation’s top computer security experts discovered that the cyber thieves had helped themselves to everything: sensitive documents, emails, donor information, even voice mails.Soon after, the remainder of the Democratic Party machine, the congressional campaign, the Clinton campaign, and their friends and allies in the media were also hacked. Credit cards numbers, phone numbers, and contacts were stolen. In short order, the FBI found that more than twenty-five state election offices had their voter registration systems probed or attacked by the same hackers.Western intelligence agencies tracked the hack to Russian spy agencies and dubbed them the “Cyber Bears.” The media was soon flooded with the stolen information channeled through Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. It was a massive attack on America but the Russian hacks appeared to have a singular goal—elect Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.Malcolm Nance’s fast paced real-life spy thriller takes you from Vladimir Putin’s rise through the KGB from junior officer to spymaster-in-chief and spells out the story of how he performed the ultimate political manipulation—convincing Donald Trump to abandon seventy years of American foreign policy including the destruction of NATO, cheering the end of the European Union, allowing Russian domination of Eastern Europe, and destroying the existing global order with America at its lead.The Plot to Hack America is the thrilling true story of how Putin’s spy agency, run by the Russian billionaire class, used the promise of power and influence to cultivate Trump as well as his closest aides, the Kremlin Crew, to become unwitting assets of the Russian government. The goal? To put an end to 240 years of free and fair American democratic elections.

Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America


Christopher Wylie - 2019
    Bannon had long sensed that deep within America's soul lurked an explosive tension. Cambridge Analytica had the data to prove it, and in 2016 Bannon had a presidential campaign to use as his proving ground.Christopher Wylie might have seemed an unlikely figure to be at the center of such an operation. Canadian and liberal in his politics, he was only twenty-four when he got a job with a London firm that worked with the U.K. Ministry of Defense and was charged putatively with helping to build a team of data scientists to create new tools to identify and combat radical extremism online. In short order, those same military tools were turned to political purposes, and Cambridge Analytica was born. Wylie's decision to become a whistleblower prompted the largest data crime investigation in history. His story is both exposé and dire warning about a sudden problem born of very new and powerful capabilities. It has not only exposed the profound vulnerabilities and profound carelessness in the enormous companies that drive the attention economy, it has also exposed the profound vulnerabilities of democracy itself. What happened in 2016 was just a trial run. Ruthless actors are coming for your data, and they want to control what you think.

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous


Gabriella Coleman - 2014
    She ended up becoming so closely connected to Anonymous that the tricky story of her inside–outside status as Anon confidante, interpreter, and erstwhile mouthpiece forms one of the themes of this witty and entirely engrossing book.The narrative brims with details unearthed from within a notoriously mysterious subculture, whose semi-legendary tricksters—such as Topiary, tflow, Anachaos, and Sabu—emerge as complex, diverse, politically and culturally sophisticated people. Propelled by years of chats and encounters with a multitude of hackers, including imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond and the double agent who helped put him away, Hector Monsegur, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy is filled with insights into the meaning of digital activism and little understood facets of culture in the Internet age, including the history of “trolling,” the ethics and metaphysics of hacking, and the origins and manifold meanings of “the lulz.”

Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion from Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond


Mark Ames - 2005
    By looking at massacres in schools and offices as post-industrial rebellions, Mark Ames is able to juxtapose the historical place of rage in America with the social climate after Reaganomics began to effect worker's paychecks. But why high schools? Why post offices? Mark Ames examines the most fascinating and unexpected cases, crafting a convincing argument for workplace massacres as modern day slave rebellions. Like slave rebellions, rage massacres are doomed, gory, sometimes inadvertently comic, and grossly misunderstood. Going Postal seeks to contextualize this violence in a world where working isn't—and doesn’t pay—what it used to. Part social critique and part true crime page-turner, Going Postal answers the questions asked by commentators on the nightly news and films such as Bowling for Columbine.

Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump


Michael Isikoff - 2018
    election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency.Russian Roulette is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election.The Russians were wildly successful and the great break-in of 2016 was no "third-rate burglary." It was far more sophisticated and sinister — a brazen act of political espionage designed to interfere with American democracy. At the end of the day, Trump, the candidate who pursued business deals in Russia, won. And millions of Americans were left wondering, what the hell happened? This story of high-tech spying and multiple political feuds is told against the backdrop of Trump's strange relationship with Putin and the curious ties between members of his inner circle — including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn — and Russia.Russian Roulette chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country's political process and gain influence in Washington?

Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America


Robert I. Friedman - 2000
    With a $100,000 contract on his life, investigative journalist Robert I. Friedman has dared to expose the best-kept secret in the world.

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance


Julia Angwin - 2014
    We are being watched.We see online ads from websites we've visited, long after we've moved on to other interests. Our smartphones and cars transmit our location, enabling us to know what's in the neighborhood but also enabling others to track us. And the federal government, we recently learned, has been conducting a massive data-gathering surveillance operation across the Internet and on our phone lines.In Dragnet Nation, award-winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin reports from the front lines of America's surveillance economy, offering a revelatory and unsettling look at how the government, private companies, and even criminals use technology to indiscriminately sweep up vast amounts of our personal data. In a world where we can be watched in our own homes, where we can no longer keep secrets, and where we can be impersonated, financially manipulated, or even placed in a police lineup, Angwin argues that the greatest long-term danger is that we start to internalize the surveillance and censor our words and thoughts, until we lose the very freedom that makes us unique individuals. Appalled at such a prospect, Angwin conducts a series of experiments to try to protect herself, ranging from quitting Google to carrying a "burner" phone, showing how difficult it is for an average citizen to resist the dragnets' reach.Her book is a cautionary tale for all of us, with profound implications for our values, our society, and our very selves.

The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin


David Satter - 2016
    The Moscow Times said it was not surprising he was expelled, “it was surprising it took so long.” Satter is known in Russia for having written that the apartment bombings in 1999, which were blamed on Chechens and brought Putin to power, were actually carried out by the Russian FSB security police.   In this book, Satter tells the story of the apartment bombings and how Boris Yeltsin presided over the criminalization of Russia, why Vladimir Putin was chosen as his successor, and how Putin has suppressed all opposition while retaining the appearance of a pluralist state. As the threat represented by Russia becomes increasingly clear, Satter’s description of where Russia is and how it got there will be of vital interest to anyone concerned about the dangers facing the world today.

Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation


Andrew Marantz - 2019
     For several years, Andrew Marantz, a New Yorker staff writer, has been embedded in two worlds. The first is the world of social-media entrepreneurs, who, acting out of naïvete and reckless ambition, upended all traditional means of receiving and transmitting information. The second is the world of the people he calls "the gate crashers"—the conspiracists, white supremacists, and nihilist trolls who have become experts at using social media to advance their corrosive agenda. Antisocial ranges broadly—from the first mass-printed books to the trending hashtags of the present; from secret gatherings of neo-Fascists to the White House press briefing room—and traces how the unthinkable becomes thinkable, and then how it becomes reality. Combining the keen narrative detail of Bill Buford's Among the Thugs and the sweep of George Packer's The Unwinding, Antisocial reveals how the boundaries between technology, media, and politics have been erased, resulting in a deeply broken informational landscape—the landscape in which we all now live. Marantz shows how alienated young people are led down the rabbit hole of online radicalization, and how fringe ideas spread—from anonymous corners of social media to cable TV to the President's Twitter feed. Marantz also sits with the creators of social media as they start to reckon with the forces they've unleashed. Will they be able to solve the communication crisis they helped bring about, or are their interventions too little too late?

Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age


Martin Moore - 2018
    Authoritarian governments, moneyed elites and fringe hackers are exploiting our digital infrastructure and the vulnerabilities in our democratic system to influence our politics and elections. In just a few years, it has become a perpetual information war.Inherently unstable and prone to wild volatility, our digital ecosystem has at its heart a vacuum open to the influence of those with the motivation, money or expertise to exploit it. Played successfully it can lead to unprecedented swings of public opinion.Martin Moore explains how hackers interfere in our democratic processes, why they can do it and outlines what we need to do to save democracy for the digital age. This is a story about active measures, data mining, psy-ops, mercenaries, microtargeting, the alt-right, plutocrats, the collapse of local news, Silicon Valley, Trump, trolling, surveillance – and you.

The Perfect Weapon: How the Cyber Arms Race Set the World Afire


David E. Sanger - 2018
    The Perfect Weapon is the riveting story of how, in less than a decade, cyberwarfare displaced terrorism and nuclear attacks as the greatest threat to American national security. Cheap to acquire, difficult to defend against, and designed to shield their user's identities so as to complicate retaliation, these weapons are capable of an unprecedented range of offensive tactics; they can take us just short of war, allowing for everything from disruption to theft to the cause of widespread damage of essential infrastructure systems. And the vulnerability of those systems has created a related but equally urgent conflict: American companies like Apple and Cisco must claim allegiance to no government in the name of selling secure products around the globe yet the US intelligence agencies want the help of such companies in defending against future cyberattacks. Reported and written with unprecedented access by New York Times chief Washington correspondent and bestselling author David Sanger, The Perfect Weapon takes readers inside war rooms and boardrooms, into the secret cyberdens of American and Chinese military, to give the deep-background story of the increasingly pitched battle between nations, their governments, their cyberwarriors, and their corporations.

Troll Hunting: Inside the World of Online Hate and its Human Fallout


Ginger Gorman - 2019
    She received scores of hateful tweets, including a death threat. A picture of Ginger heavily pregnant alongside her husband and two-and-half year old daughter appeared on a fascist website. Understandably she was terrified, but once the attack subsided, she found herself curious. Who were these trolls? How and why did they coordinate such an attack? And how does someone fight back against a troll?Over the next five years  Gorman spoke to psychologists, trolling victims, law enforcement, academics and, most importantly, the trolls themselves, embedding herself into their online communities and their psyches in ways she had never anticipated. What she discovered was both profoundly shocking and fascinating. Syndicates of highly organised predator trolls across the globe systematically set out to disrupt and disturb. Some want to highlight the media's alleged left-wing bias, some want to bring down capitalism, and some just want to have fun. Even if it means destroying someone's life...An intense and compelling read, Troll Hunting is an important window into not just the mindset and motivation of trolls, but the history of this kind of aberrant behaviour. Ginger Gorman has gained unprecedented access to trolls, even formed strange and enduring relationships with them, and her comprehensive investigation into what makes them tick has given us a brilliant book that is impossible to put down.

House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia


Craig Unger - 2018
    It is a chilling story that begins in the 1970s, when Trump made his first splash in the booming, money-drenched world of New York real estate, and ends with Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States. That moment was the culmination of Vladimir Putin’s long mission to undermine Western democracy, a mission that he and his hand-selected group of oligarchs and Mafia kingpins had ensnared Trump in, starting more than twenty years ago with the massive bailout of a string of sensational Trump hotel and casino failures in Atlantic City. This book confirms the most incredible American paranoias about Russian malevolence. To most, it will be a hair-raising revelation that the Cold War did not end in 1991—that it merely evolved, with Trump’s apartments offering the perfect vehicle for billions of dollars to leave the collapsing Soviet Union. In House of Trump, House of Putin, Craig Unger methodically traces the deep-rooted alliance between the highest echelons of American political operatives and the biggest players in the frightening underworld of the Russian Mafia. He traces Donald Trump’s sordid ascent from foundering real estate tycoon to leader of the free world. He traces Russia’s phoenixlike rise from the ashes of the post–Cold War Soviet Union as well as its ceaseless covert efforts to retaliate against the West and reclaim its status as a global superpower. Without Trump, Russia would have lacked a key component in its attempts to return to imperial greatness. Without Russia, Trump would not be president. This essential book is crucial to understanding the real powers at play in the shadows of today’s world.

The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld


Jamie Bartlett - 2014
    A world that is as creative and complex as it is dangerous and disturbing. A world that is much closer than you think.The dark net is an underworld that stretches from popular social media sites to the most secretive corners of the encrypted web. It is a world that frequently appears in newspaper headlines, but one that is little understood, and rarely explored. The Dark Net is a revelatory examination of the internet today, and of its most innovative and dangerous subcultures: trolls and pornographers, drug dealers and hackers, political extremists and computer scientists, Bitcoin programmers and self-harmers, libertarians and vigilantes.Based on extensive first-hand experience, exclusive interviews and shocking documentary evidence, The Dark Net offers a startling glimpse of human nature under the conditions of freedom and anonymity, and shines a light on an enigmatic and ever-changing world.

This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality


Peter Pomerantsev - 2019
    In this surreal atmosphere created to disorient us and undermine our sense of truth, we've lost not only our grip on peace and democracy -- but our very notion of what those words even mean.Peter Pomerantsev takes us to the front lines of the disinformation age, where he meets Twitter revolutionaries and pop-up populists, "behavioral change" salesmen, Jihadi fanboys, Identitarians, truth cops, and many others. Forty years after his dissident parents were pursued by the KGB, Pomerantsev finds the Kremlin re-emerging as a great propaganda power. His research takes him back to Russia -- but the answers he finds there are not what he expected.Blending reportage, family history, and intellectual adventure, This Is Not Propaganda explores how we can reimagine our politics and ourselves when reality seems to be coming apart.