The Ransomware Hunting Team

A Band Of Misfits' Improbable Crusade To Save The World From Cybercrime
Spy Schools
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Daniel Golden and ProPublica reporter Renee Dudley take you deep inside the hidden universe of ransomware hackers, their nefarious methods, and the band of volunteers who are fighting to keep us safe. The Ransomware Hunting Team is a tour de force of investigative reporting, with more twists, turns and shadowy figures than any spy thriller.

Scattered across the world, an elite team of code-crackers is working tirelessly to thwart the most notorious cyber scourge of our time. You’ve probably never heard of them. But if you work for a school, a business, a hospital, or a municipal government, or simply cherish the data you store on your digital devices, you may be painfully familiar with the group’s sworn enemy: ransomware. Again and again, an improbable band of misfits, mostly self-taught and often struggling to make ends meet, have outwitted the shadowy networks of hackers and criminal gangs that lock computer networks and extort huge payments in return for the key.

The Ransomware Hunting Team traces the adventures of these scraggly superheroes and how they have used their skills to save millions of ransomware victims from paying billions of dollars to criminals. Working in their spare time from bedrooms and back offices, and refusing any payment, they’ve rescued those whom the often hapless FBI is unwilling or unable to help. Foremost among them is Michael Gillespie, a cancer survivor and cat lover who got his start cracking ransomware while working at a “Nerds on Call” store in the town of Normal, Illinois. Gillespie and his teammates—including the brilliant, reclusive Fabian Wosar, a German high school dropout who enjoys bantering with the attackers he foils but suffers from bouts of melancholy, and his “right-hand woman,” University of London computer science prodigy Sarah White—have established themselves as the world’s most effective defense against an escalating threat that has already shut down cities, hospitals, regional gas supplies and much more. This book follows them as they respond to dire calls for help, and traces their ups and downs as they navigate the technological and moral challenges of combating 21 st century-style hostage taking. Urgent, uplifting, and entertaining, Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden’s The Ransomware Hunting Team is a real-life technological thriller that illuminates a dangerous new era of cybercrime.