Misha Glenny is one of the world’s leading experts on cybercrime and global mafia networks. An award winning investigative journalist, historian, author, political commentator and broadcaster whose clear and frank speaking style provides audiences with a deeper understanding of the real life of international criminals. He is a regular TED Global speaker and spent the year leading up to Brazil’s World Cup (Summer 2014) researching his new book on the underground drug trade in Rio de Janeiro.
A former BBC Central Europe Correspondent, Glenny is best known for his coverage of the collapse of communism and the wars in Yugoslavia for which he won the coveted Sony Gold Award for Broadcasting Excellence, and then for his path-breaking work on the rise of the global mafia. The author of five best-selling books he is currently a visiting professor at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute teaching a course on “crime in transition”.
In his latest book DarkMarket, assessing cybercriminals he describes meeting Brazilian hackers who sent out several million spam emails and “secured tens of millions of dollars for themselves from bank accounts in Brazil, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States”. Glenny observes that hackers do not need a high response rate in order for it to be worthwhile. Glenny conducted more than 200 hours of interviews to gather the material for DarkMarket, speaking to most of the major players on both sides of the law. One of the reasons cybercrime is hard to police is that it’s so widely distributed geographically. As Glenny puts it, money can be “stolen by a Russian in Ukraine from an American company and paid out in Dubai – and the whole transaction need last no longer than 10 minutes”. Even if law enforcement agents are able to penetrate the sophisticated firewalls that the criminals hide behind, they often find prosecution difficult or impossible because of a lack of hard evidence.
Major diplomatic players including the Foreign Office, the State Department, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies at the highest level regularly consult Glenny on trans-national organised crime.
Glenny is a distinguished Fulbright scholar; he is a former fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington as well as having worked as a visiting research professor at the London School of Economics. He has an honorary doctorate from the American University in Bulgaria.
He is the Founding Director of SEE Change, an NGO that completed a two-year project developing cross-border cooperation between multi-ethnic municipalities in Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia. It was during this project that Misha started researching the rise of the shadow economy since the fall of communism and the advent of globalization, which lead to the bestseller McMafia: Crime without Frontiers. Since its publication in 2008, it has been translated into over 30 languages. To write this book, Glenny spent several years investigating organized crime networks worldwide, which have grown to an estimated 15% of the global economy. His sources included not just intelligence and law enforcement officials but key players in global crime, including gangsters involved at most levels of mafia activity from Colombia to Tokyo and from Johannesburg to Moscow.
Glenny has written for all the major British and European newspapers and regularly contributes to the Guardian, Observer, The New York Times and New York Review of Books and is a regular broadcaster on radio and television. Glenny appeared in the 2011 documentary film, Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure, Profits.
He has spent
As a speaker Glenny’s greatest skill is explaining complex but compelling issues in an exciting way based on a wealth of first-hand experience during major global events of the last thirty years and a mountain of research. His presentations offer a lively and when appropriate, humorous look at the world we live in, and are not to be missed!