The First Digital World War

Book - 2011
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This book is a cyber-crime story that explores the Conficker Computer "Worm," a potentially devastating computer virus that has baffled experts and infected as many as 12 million computers to date. It is about the next frontier in terrorism. When the Conficker computer worm was unleashed on the world in November 2008, cybersecurity experts did not know what to make of it. The worm, exploiting the security flaws in Microsoft Windows, 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 that system with others to form a single network under illicit outside control, a situation known as a "botnet." This botnet was soon capable of overpowering any of the vital computer networks that today control banking, telephone service, energy flow, air traffic, health-care information, even the Internet itself. Was it a platform for criminal profit, or a weapon? Security experts do not know for sure what Conficker's purpose is, or even where it came from. This book reports this new frontier on terror. The author explores the battle of wits between expert programmers over the future of the Internet, a battle that has pitted those determined to exploit the Internet against those committed to protect it, and awakened the U.S. government to the urgent nature of the threat. The book delivers a look at the ongoing and largely unreported war taking place literally beneath our fingertips.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, c2011.
ISBN: 9780802119834
Characteristics: x, 245 p. ;,24 cm.


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Feb 23, 2013

The comments below by johnsankey really nails it! I would add that Bowden writes in a "good-guy-vs.-bad-guy" manner,without really ever understanding what he's writing about; the official flag bearer for the status quo and Wall Street. His books always read the same. The ultimate question is: who funded this botnet, who was essentially behind it? Bowden is always a complete letdown. Bowden also doesn't includ the full backgrounders on the subjects he mentions (SRI and their Scientologists, for instance?!?!), and his mischaracterizations of Paul Vixie --- greatly exaggerating his background regarding internet protocols, is really outrageous! The one really interesting item in the entire book (and no, neither the Pentagon nor Richard M. Nixon, contrary to Bowden's inferences, were behind the Internet, it was President Kennedy's administration (see JCR Licklider, et al.)) was the idiot at the Pentagon who picked up a USB drive in the parking lot and compromised their system.

Mar 13, 2012

I heard about this from an interview with the author on CBC radio and it sounded interesting. I was expecting a more technical book however and in the end simply didn't bother to finish it.

Nov 25, 2011

Sensationally subtitled "the first digital world war", this book is in fact about one Internet bot only. Bowden is far too close to his subject. Most of the book consists of copies of lengthy infantile hacker rants, where self-selected self-glorified people say what they think without thinking.

If you are expert in the technology of the Internet (as I am), the portion of the book that presents details of the Conficker worm and its predecessors will be of interest. Otherwise, the book is a waste of time to read. Particularly pathetic is the effort of the counter-worm hackers (the "Cabal") to bask in the cachet that comes from the attention of the US government with their claim that the world as we know it was about to end tomorrow. (It didn't, and it won't.) I wouldn't listen to blinkered nerds like them either, particularly given how obvious it is that the worm was an inside job by one of them.

Oct 24, 2011

I found this book an interesting documentary of the battle against computer viruses and 'malware'.

The author did a great job of combining technical details with a detective story that should appeal to technical weenies and non-nerds too.

honeylove810 Sep 30, 2011

I have my own copy that i won as part of a online giveaway :)

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