Worm: The First Digital World War tells the story of the Conficker worm, a potentially devastating piece of malware that has baffled experts and infected more than twelve million computers worldwide. When Conficker was unleashed in November 2008, cybersecurity experts did not know what to make of it. Exploiting security flaws in Microsoft Windows, it grew at an astonishingly rapid rate, infecting millions of computers around the world within weeks. Once the worm infiltrated one system it was able to link it with others to form a single network under illicit outside control known as a “botnet.” This botnet was soon capable of overpowering any of the vital computer networks that control banking, telephones, energy flow, air traffic, health-care information — even the Internet itself. Was it a platform for criminal profit or a weapon controlled by a foreign power or dissident organization?
Surprisingly, the U.S. government was only vaguely aware of the threat that Conficker posed, and the task of mounting resistance to the worm fell to a disparate but gifted group of geeks, Internet entrepreneurs, and computer programmers. But when Conficker’s controllers became aware that their creation was encountering resistance, they began refining the worm’s code to make it more difficult to trace and more powerful, testing the Cabal lock’s unity and resolve. Will the Cabal lock down the worm before it is too late? Game on.
©2011 Mark Bowden (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
We all have computers and we have all had malware, which I have never understood. This story concerns a worm/ virus/ or whatever that panicked everyone, but came to very little harm in the end.
There were huge efforts to sort it out without particular success. Actually, I still don't understand this stuff and the worm malware certainly vexed the people who do understand it - so I suppose we are all in for a very big kicking in the future.... we will just have to wait and see.
A bit depressing at the end of the day!
It started off good, and went down hill from there.
If you like a lecture on the terms and history of the internet great. It was like listening to someone read a dictionary of computer terms.
Another lively and well-paced foray into the darker side of the cyber world. Bowden (most famous for penning Black Hawk Down) tackles the story of the insidious Conficker worm. He constructs the story through the main players, a self-named Cabal of those involved in computer security (your proverbial white hats) who noticed, investigated, dissected, and then struggled to combat the elegantly designed program. Bowden ably parses the technology and finds the excitement and pressure in the struggle to stay ahead of updated versions of the worm. Most interestingly, the creator (or creators) were never identified and the worm remains active (largely through the apathy or ignorance of computer users who fail to update their computers). The book ends with a few of the main players making their best guesses about its origin and purpose, most alarmingly that it is something of a weapon system at the ready should it ever be called into use. A reminder that the wonders of technology and our interconnected lives are likewise quite vulnerable to attack.
great narration. story about heroes who don't think they're heroes. the book depicts the worm as a true crouching tiger, capable of much havoc... yet nothing has materialized.... yet? hence the anti climax. the cyber world is fascinating. If you know nothing about it, get smart quick. You're probably reading this on a smartphone, after all. good book. recommended.
This is not the best book I've ever read, but nor is it the worst. It was slow enough with the techno-speak that I kept up with it easily (as a somewhat layman) but it struck me as a little overly generous with the metaphors used in explanations.
An interesting story, meticulously researched, and told in about as compelling a way as I think could be accomplished. I was never vibrating out of my seat in excitement but I brought it up a few times over coffee with friends as I was reading it, as it did occupy my imagination at least a little bit.
On the whole, my verdict is a lukewarm 'go for it.'
This is a great high level review of the malware history leading up to konfiker worm and the sorry and drama around trying to shut it down. It contains enough technical details to convince IT and security savvy readers, while staying hi level enough not to lose anyone with some interest in this story.
I'm only modestly aware of cybersecurity issues, but I know enough to be very impressed with how Bowden was able to make very arcane matters make sense. A must- read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the cyberthreats we all face today.
Fascinating account of how such a simple thing, report for 45 buffer overflow, could have such far impact. Even more true now given how "connected" our world and systems are.
I might. It helps to reinforce lower vocabulary to use when talking to non-nerds.
A lot of people don't like this book because of all the x-men references and the lower level approach to the story. However, most people that would read this don't know the higher lingo, and also the higher lingo would in no way increase the effectiveness of this book.
If you want to know the basics of the security world and why we are in the mess we are at today, then this is a GREAT starting place. Absolutely recommend this book to anyone entering the cyber-security world or looking for some info on it.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.