Two cybersecurity experts, both with government backgrounds, realize their current cases have a connection. The more they dig the more widespread the danger grows, and to their horror they realize what seems like an ordinary bit of digital vandalism is merely the prelude to a total infrastructure attack that is planned for the anniversary of September 11th. Computer systems in the United States and Europe — from private PCs to those controlling ships and power plants — are being hit with an array of distinct but related viruses, all of which have the simple goal of turning their targets into complete bricks. The effect on the west will be catastrophic when the full attack is released.
Zero Day is a technical thriller, with cyber-forensics constituting most of the book. The ending chapters are a brief switch into action, but on the whole only readers with a serious interest in computer crime stories should try. Unfortunately, those are the very readers who are liable to be annoyed by the multitude of electronic conversations here being rendered in highly abbreviated form, with so many missing vowels one might as well be reading Hebrew. There’s also a bit of l33t speak, which — seriously, is that still a thing? I enjoyed this book’s sequel, Trojan Horse, far more, as it had more balanced characters (here we have evil Arabs, Russian hackers, and corrupt bureaucrats), and hope that means Russinovich continued to improve.
This completes my WannaCry-inspired sweep of books, although they’ve led me to an older history of the hacking community, publishyed in 1995.