Billion dollar heists, missing cryptoqueens: Six must-listen cyber podcasts

It can be hard to find technology podcasts dealing with cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies and more that aren't full of incomprehensible jargon and insufferable hosts.

We've chosen half a dozen that stand out for their ability to entertain and inform - and will make you gasp and laugh along the way.

Some you'll be able to binge-listen over a weekend, while others offer a weekly insight into the weird world of the WWW.

But all are worthy of a listen and will leave you better clued up than you were before.

The Missing Cryptoqueen

The Missing Cryptoqueen is a nine-part BBC podcast tracing the story of Bulgarian Dr Ruja Ignatova, a businesswoman who launched a cryptocurrency called OneCoin in 2014.

Within a couple of years over three million people had become involved with OneCoin - and then she disappeared.

Writer Jamie Barlett set off on a hunt to find the missing cryptoqueen and the story he uncovered has more twists and turns than a Hollywood thriller.

As well as being a tremendous - and relatively short - listen, this show also serves as a reminder that just because lots of people do something it doesn't necessarily mean it's right!

Smashing Security

Definitely one of the lighter podcasts on the list, partly thanks to the wonderful and snarky relationship between hosts Graham Cluley and Carole Theriault.

Each week the computer security industry veterans are joined by a guest to chat about what's happening in the world of cybersecurity, hacking and internet threats.

It's informational and takes complicated information and translates it in a way which both entertains and doesn't patronise the listener.

Past episodes have titles such as 'Booze, nudes, and insurance dudes', 'God bless his hairy palms' and 'Pipeline pickle, Blockchain bollocks, and Eufy SNAFU' giving you a good indication of what to expect.

If you want a laugh mixed with your cybersecurity news then this could be the one for you.

Darknet Diaries

Darknet Diaries is an ongoing podcast series hosted by Jack Rhysider, a security professional who worked in the security operations centre of a major company.

Episodes feature voiceovers from Rhysider interspersed with interviews. There's a level of suspense built up through the use of incidental music that, at times, makes this seem more like a scripted show than dealing with real life. But it's VERY real.

Episode 90, for example, tells the story of Jenny, a social engineer and physical penetration tester who is paid to break into places to test out their security.

She broke her own rules on one job and was left fearing for her life, hiding in the bushes of a house while security guards searched for her.

And she's just one of the many guests who offer a perspective on what it's like on a side of the internet we often don't see. 

The Lazarus Heist

Another BBC production, this one telling the story of the most daring bank theft ever attempted - and you probably haven't even heard of it.

But the story is much more complicated than that.

Geoff White and Jean Lee are the hosts who combine to tell the story of how North Korea, Kim Jong-un and an international math Olympian are involved - and how a single word made all the difference in the attempted heist.

It all starts somewhere you might not expect, too - the infamous hack of Sony in 2014, linked to Seth Rogen movie The Interview.

How did the hackers get access to Sony's servers and what exactly does it have to do with an attempt to steal a billion dollars? You'll have your answer in just 10 highly-engaging episodes.

Exit Scam

Exit Scam is a short, eight-part documentary series that deals with the life and apparent death of Gerald Cotten, the founder of Canada's biggest bitcoin exchange, Quadriga.

Cotten died in India in mysterious circumstances on his honeymoon in 2018 - and afterwards it emerged C$215 million that had been invested in his company had disappeared forever.

Initially it was thought it was because his passwords had been lost, but it turns out that wasn't the case.

Host Aaron Lammer and producer Lane Brown spent two years investigating Cotten, his business - and his death, because not everyone thinks Cotten is dead.

Interviews with those who knew Cotten are mixed with experts, including one who specialises in finding people who have faked their deaths, to tell this amazing story.

Grumpy Old Geeks

This isn't solely dedicated to cybersecurity or cryptocurrency but those subjects are dealt with all of the time, and with a healthy dose of scepticism and snark by Jason Defillipo and Brian Schulmeister.

Their weekly guest Dave Bittner is a security expert who hosts a daily cyber security show and so his recurring section is often - but not always - a healthy diversion from the bickering of the two main hosts.

The show is peppered with swearing, references to Star Wars and recommendations for software, television shows and movies.

It won't take long to work out just how this podcast got its name. Be warned - if the thoughts of two old white dudes in their late 40s are likely to offend your sensibilities, proceed with caution.

But both Defillipo and Schulmeister have been involved in the tech industry for decades and their points of view are often interesting, well-considered and useful.