A technothriller for the malware and Stuxnet era
An airliner’s controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction.
At first, these random computer failures seem like unrelated events. But Jeff Aiken, a former government analyst who quit in disgust after witnessing the gross errors that led up to 9/11, thinks otherwise. Jeff fears a more serious cyber terrorism attack targeting the United States computer infrastructure is already under way. And as other menacing computer malfunctions pop up around the world, some with deadly results, he realizes that there isn’t much time if he hopes to prevent an international catastrophe.
Written by a global authority on cyber security, Zero Day presents a chilling “what if” scenario that, in a world completely reliant on technology, is more than possible today - it’s a cataclysmic disaster just waiting to happen.
©2011 Mark Russinovich (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
It's not all that common that authors who use technology in their stories get the tech right. Mark does that very well. Since I have a background in tech, getting it wrong would have really taken away from the story. Instead, this was great for a long road trip so I could keep listening.
The use of technology was well placed and well used. This is important for someone who works with technology, otherwise the story would have had major distractions in it
It feels like this book ends abruptly, but I believe that it continues in Trojan Horse which wasn't available on Audible at the time of this writing.
If you aren't, don't waste a credit. If you are, you will probably enjoy how our new "toys" are being put to use in today's fight against terrorism. Technology is fascinating but can get a bit boring. The author spends way too much time explaining acronyms, it got old. Johnny Heller did a great job narrating.
Not sure. This story was dry and preachy. It tried too hard to force the points. Cook and Crichton wrap their messages in suspense and storyline... this book just kept citing examples of doom and went nowhere to hold my attention or interest.
No, but I'll hesitate before buying a book from this writer.
Dry. No story development.
Zero Day has an interesting premise, but falls waaaaaay short in execution.
The only one you get to know a little in this book is the main male character...the others are just plain and uninteresting. The story fails to interest much after the stupid 'TV' start to the book. If you are brave enough to try this one out, you'll know what I mean. The ending...well...anticlimax doesn't cover it.
This book could have been sooooo much more...some interesting found, but not enough to recommend it to anyone except hard core tech nerds...
Some notes on the audio book version...when there is code bits in the book...they get spelled out. Kinda tiring considering the first one lasted around 5 minutes.
Narration... Narration... Narration...
I couldn't believe my ears when the narrator kept pronouncing malware as mailware... are you serious? I also hear ICQ pronounced IQC.... just horrible narration. I didn't want to take a star away from overall but the narration really take away from the overall experience.
I found this to be an interesting book. The information about computers and the internet was spot-on, the details about how viruses work seems correct, the characters were well drawn and interesting and the descriptions of what might happen were all computers in the US and Western Europe to suddenly fail both realistic and frightening.
The steps the characters took to try to determine what viruses were at work, what they did and what steps would be needed to stop them all seemed reasonable in light of the computer dependent world we live in today. While there were a few too many coincidences for my liking nothing was completely out of the realm of possibility. My complaints are minor. The books seemed a bit too preachy for my taste, there was a bit too much in the way of technical information for those familiar with the way software works, parts of the book do not lend themselves to narration (the narration of assembler code really does not work. That needs to be seen to be understood) and the author needed to do a bit more research on traveling to Russia. The main characters buy an airline ticket, get their passports and just go. But, of course, US citizens cannot just travel to Russia, they need a visa and that takes special paperwork and time.
Other than those minor items I found the book reasonably interesting without too many glaring issues. All things considered it is a decent (although not great) book about a frightening possibility.
Audiobook. The reader must be a nerd, techie devotee, to enjoy a great portion of this book. The vulnerability of the world wide internet is nothing new, and possibly this reader has a head-in-the-sand view … which is the fundamental problem from the viewpoint of Russinovich. I can fully understand the author obsession to get the point of this vulnerability across to the general public, if not the entire world. The problem is, he’s got to accomplish this without putting the reader to sleep with plather that is completely meaningless to anyone who is not a techie-nerd.
Sure, tell me about the beautiful watch, how it sounds, keeps time, gleams … but tell me how to build it and I’m dozing off with boredom. Basically this is what you’ll find in the pages of Zero Day.
I rarely find it difficult to finish a book … but, sometimes it’s like taking medicine. Prepare to be fascinated or bored to death, there really is no in-between.
I love to read and since 2011 I have been mostly listening to audiobooks because oftentimes there is nothing like a good narrator.
I've been looking for computer or Internet tech thriller but surprisingly in this Internet Age, there are surprisingly few. This nove so far is one of my favorites. I loved Daemon by Daniel Suarez and the sequel Freedom and when I finished them, I went looking for more. This Jeff Aiken Novel was what I found. I wasn't disappointed although I must add that it is hard following a book like Daemon so that says a lot for this author and this book.
I did like this better than Daemon in one respect, the author went into the tech details much more than I'm used to seeing in this small genre and for that I am glad. I can't say enough how much I enjoyed reading parts such as when our protagonist Jeff worked his way through the code on the machine at the law firm or how he describes how script kiddies use buffer overflow bugs to execute code. He explains it in such a way that you don't have to be a computer scientist to understand him. My wife confirmed that for me because she isn't a "computer person" as she puts it, while I am a system and network admin and we both enjoyed it equally.
One thing I'd like to note, because of what I said above and how he goes into detail regarding things like buffer overflows, etc; This is not a hacker instruction guide. You won't learn how to hack by reading this book. Sure, you might get a general idea or even come up with a decent flowchart on what and how to do certain things but I think Mark Russinovich does an awesome job going into the tech stuff while keeping the non-tech audience interested.
I also enjoy the author's writing style. It isn't so much a lyrical style as much as he explains things and tells the story in such a way that lets you concentrate on the story instead of reading or the listening. Even with audiobooks, I often find myself rewinding or playing parts over again because I just didn't get something. I didn't do that at all with this book, well....unless our dog jumped in my lap or pulled my pant leg wanting to go out. :)
Fanatical Endurance Athlete, who listens to a lot of books while training.
The plot in the book is relatively simple, but the technology behind the story is not simple at all. But the explanation of the technology is both educational and somewhat scary. The story tells of the malicious release of computer malwear and hypothesises the possible impact.
Simple plot, but the characters are real and believable. The background behind the main characters is comprehensive and adds to their actions. Probably there best thing about the main characters, is there are no super men or women, or ex special forces. They are easy to relate to because they are normal, real people.
Also the story is not around one person, there are many involved with equal standing. There is no real lead through the plot. This to me is another plus to the story, but there are not too many characters that the story is hard to follow.
Johnny Heller narrates the story brilliantly with one exception. The characterisation of the female characters seems to be lacking in comparison to some narrators. But this is the only negative of the delivery, but it doesn't detract from the story telling, its just that in my opinion, I think it could be better.
"Not bad, but a little amateurish."
I don't regret listening to it, but there's nothing particularly memorable about it and there was a lot that I found annoying the first time. There's trends like the 'good guys' being beautiful and perfect, and characters taking the less sensible choice with weak justifications just to move to the next plot point.
It tied together nicely enough, but there were no big surprises.
Definitely not the tech-centric scenes. The book was hyped as being technically accurate given the authors background, but then you get scenes where a company's IT expert is blown away by the concept of a boot-disk. Honestly I was expecting to learn something but it feels like either the author knows very little about it, or the editor had him remove everything that the reader might not understand. Sure it's not your typical fictional sci-fi 'hacking' rubbish, but it's hardly a satisfying pillar of realism.
Try as I might I can't conjure up any scenes that were memorable for the right reasons, it's just a steady stream of pretty-good punctuated with minor irritations.
Computers be scary, yo!
(Honestly I have no idea)
It's not bad, but the author feels very inexperienced; so many clichés and obvious choices. You can tell whether a character is going to be good or evil based on their physical description, and there's very little grey-area.
Once you accept that it's not going to be the best book you've read all year it's alright; it moves a long at a reasonable pace, and there's a decently collection of characters to follow.
It was good enough that I decided to try out the sequels as well; they're better, the author has clearly improved with practice, but they're still not fantastic.
"Pacey researched plot, horribly cliche characters"
This was recommended for me by the Audible/Amazon bots after reading Kill Decision and Daemon by Daniel Suarez and The Avogadro Corp by William Hertling.
The plot is well thought out and clearly the author knows a lot about the subject which made the scenarios believable, even if at times, the strings of code will leave the layman feeling a bit left behind.
I did enjoy the plot, but was continually irritated by the two dimensional female characters and the one dimensional thought processes being portrayed as going through the male characters minds. Perhaps it is a real insight into the programmers mind?
Sadly, the narrator had a real problem with French pronunciation which also grated as the plot went international.
So, in summary, a pacey and well researched plot with some interest and a well made important message about computer security, but not very well written in my opinion. Try the books above for more inventiveness and excitement.
"A gripping tech thriller..."
Unlike many techno-thrillers this pretty much has all of the details spot on, for those of you that don't live/work in the IT world it's worth pointing out that whilst this might sound fantastical it's all possible which I think makes it an even better read. Don't hesitate, download the book now and whilst you're listening to the first chapters update your antivirus package and make sure your Windows updates are installed!
Mark Russinovich knows his stuff like few other PC experts today. He manages to bring this knowledge (and his concerns about computer security) to life is a most realistic story. He also avoids most technical jargon and puts across his ideas using real English, not techno-babble.
Johnny Heller does a great job of narrating this book, and its sequel, Trojan Horse.
If you don't start doing an anti-malware scan on your PC while reading this book, you aren't paying attention!
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