Countdown to Zero Day: Book summary and reviews of Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter

Countdown to Zero Day

Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon

by Kim Zetter

Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter

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Book Summary

In January 2010, inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency noticed that centrifuges at an Iranian uranium enrichment plant were failing at an unprecedented rate. The cause was a complete mystery - apparently as much to the technicians replacing the centrifuges as to the inspectors observing them.

Then, five months later, a seemingly unrelated event occurred: A computer security firm in Belarus was called in to troubleshoot some computers in Iran that were crashing and rebooting repeatedly.

  At first, the firm's programmers believed the malicious code on the machines was a simple, routine piece of malware. But as they and other experts around the world investigated, they discovered a mysterious virus of unparalleled complexity.

They had, they soon learned, stumbled upon the world's first digital weapon. For Stuxnet, as it came to be known, was unlike any other virus or worm built before: Rather than simply hijacking targeted computers or stealing information from them, it escaped the digital realm to wreak actual, physical destruction on a nuclear facility. 

In these pages, Wired journalist Kim Zetter draws on her extensive sources and expertise to tell the story behind Stuxnet's planning, execution, and discovery, covering its genesis in the corridors of Bush's White House and its unleashing on systems in Iran - and telling the spectacular, unlikely tale of the security geeks who managed to unravel a sabotage campaign years in the making.

But Countdown to Zero Day ranges far beyond Stuxnet itself. Here, Zetter shows us how digital warfare developed in the US. She takes us inside today's flourishing zero-day "grey markets," in which intelligence agencies and militaries pay huge sums for the malicious code they need to carry out infiltrations and attacks. She reveals just how vulnerable many of our own critical systems are to Stuxnet-like strikes, from nation-state adversaries and anonymous hackers alike - and shows us just what might happen should our infrastructure be targeted by such an attack.

Propelled by Zetter's unique knowledge and access, and filled with eye-opening explanations of the technologies involved, Countdown to Zero Day is a comprehensive and prescient portrait of a world at the edge of a new kind of war. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Unpacks this complex issue with the panache of a spy thriller…even readers who can't tell a PLC from an iPad will learn much from Zetter's accessible, expertly crafted account." - Publishers Weekly

"Zetter's well-paced study offers a sharp account of past mischief and a glimpse of things to come." - Kirkus

"Read this not only for the purported history but also to understand the very real threat to the complicated yet vulnerable and delicate infrastructure that is the basis of interconnected modern society." - Library Journal

"Part detective story, part scary-brilliant treatise on the future of warfare…an ambitious, comprehensive, and engrossing book that should be required reading for anyone who cares about the threats that America - and the world - are sure to be facing over the coming years." - Kevin Mitnick, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost in the Wires and The Art of Intrusion

The information about Countdown to Zero Day shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Kim Zetter is an award-winning journalist who covers cybercrime, civil liberties, privacy, and security for Wired. She was among the first journalists to cover Stuxnet after its discovery and has authored many of the most comprehensive articles about it. She has also broken numerous stories over the years about WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, NSA surveillance, and the hacker underground.

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