Just finished reading Zero day by Mark Russinovich.
The story revolves around Jeff Aiken, a former government analyst and now one of the top computer security professionals in the world.
The story begins with, what at first seems like a regular assignment for Jeff. One of the local law firm has been hit by a nasty virus and almost all of the servers are in un-bootable state. Their data has been wiped clean. ( off of their servers ).
A spate of computer related accidents all over the world, leads Jeff and his partner to believe that this issue could be much more widespread. An oil tanker crashes onto the shore, a flight almost crashed into the ground and a nuclear power plant almost went into a melt-down state. All issues were computer related and all of them exhibited the same symptoms, like the one Jeff and his partner had been trying to fix.
The plot revolves around characters that are international in scope. The bad guys want nothing short of waging a full scale cyber-attack against the world.
About the writer: Russinovich has a background in computer-security and he's done a good job of putting context around the story.
The story builds up quite rapidly and it keeps you engaged. But, I found the ending to be a little unrealistic. Don’t read the next couple of lines if you haven’t read the book and well if you don’t want the experience to be ruined for you.
See, Jeff Aiken and his partner Daryll, they took it upon themselves to find the guy who has been unleashing malware that is wreaking all this havoc. Knowing very well, that there is an assassin on the loose. Someone who is systematically going around and killing people who have knowledge or suspicion about this act.
You’d expect that there would be co-ordination and some kind of a tactical unit would have been dispatched to mitigate such an enormous threat. But, if you hypothesize that something like this could be real and that there aren’t proper protocols to mitigate such a threat. Well, that’s extremely unnerving.
Overall, the book does an important job of bringing attention to a very critical area of focus. Yes, this the book is fiction, but the threat of cyber-terrorism is very real.
Somebody, somewhere could launch a series of code, that could effectively send us back to the dark ages. If that is not scary, then I am not sure what is.
Also, it’s not difficult to hypothesize that a bunch of bad guys would want to create weapons, digital of a nature. Weapons that would have the propensity of unleashing chaos and destruction upon the world. There’s all sorts of craziness out there. Again, it would be foolish to assume that unprotected systems would always remain safe.
Coming back to the book, I’m glad to see that individuals like Mark Russinovich have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness about such critical and important area.
Need to make a series (tv or movie) revolving around the cyber-security theme. Clearly, we need more young kids to defend the infrastructure. Think defence.