• Countdown to Zero Day

  • Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
  • By: Kim Zetter
  • Narrated by: Joe Ochman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 11-11-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 (1,290 ratings)

Regular price: $31.50

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Publisher's Summary

Top cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter tells the story behind the virus that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear efforts and shows how its existence has ushered in a new age of warfare - one in which a digital attack can have the same destructive capability as a megaton bomb.
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.
©2014 Kim Zetter (P)2014 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"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 best-selling author of Ghost in the Wires and The Art of Intrusion)
"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)
"A true techno-whodunit [that] offers a sharp account of past mischief and a glimpse of things to come… Zetter writes lucidly about mind-numbingly technical matters, reveling in the geekery of malware and espionage, and she takes the narrative down some dark electronic corridors.... Governments, hackers, and parties unknown are launching ticking computer time bombs every day, all coming to a laptop near you." (Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Baumerx20 on 05-02-15

Interesting Story, Terrible Production Quality

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No. I would recommend the physical book, but not the audio book. It is terribly produced.

What did you like best about this story?

The story presented a speculated account of the Stuxnet virus and the first time the United States has ever used a digital weapon against a country. Note the US has not publicy acknowledged credit for this attack however based on the accounts of a variety of sources the author explains in excellent detail, the events surrounding this attack.

What didn’t you like about Joe Ochman’s performance?

It wasn't Joe's performance that was bad. It was the Production team who produced the book, and some of the decisions they made. First the reading of a book very obviously written by a woman by a male reader was kind of an odd choice. If you read or listen to a lot of books you can usually distinguish writing styles and descriptions which can be very distinctly male or female. There are points in the book where Kim, the author pretty much gushes over one of her sources, Ralph Langner. The way she describes him as a rock star and how he is portrayed in the book comes across a little silly when read by a man. Not to say that males don't gush over other males, but knowing this book was written by a woman makes it odd. I swear you can hear Joe(the reader) smile during some of these descriptions and phrases.Second the use of Acronyms in audio books is difficult. This book uses a TON of acronyms and in a physical book it is ok to define the acronym once then use the acronym letters for the rest of the book. However in an audio book it sounds ridiculous and is terrible to the point of laughing out loud, to skipping ahead, to uncomfortably struggling to listen to. That and if you don't listen to the book in one sitting you have no idea what the acronym stands for anymore. Good producers know how to assist in creating continuity by either spelling out the acronym each time, which is ok or working with the author to augment the book for an audio book reading. This comes across as lazy and unbearable at points.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The whole book was very interesting. Kim takes a very technical topic and provides an insight to a topic that normal or non technical people can understand.

Any additional comments?

Overall the book was very good and I recommend reading it in place of listening as this audio book was not produced very well.

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7 of 9 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Encino Man on 06-02-15

Well Researched but "Preachy"

The first 75% of the book is well-researched and enjoyable. Unfortunately, the last 25% preaches the unlikely belief that if the makers of Stuxnet (US & Israel) opened the door for countries such as North Korea, Iran and others to do their own cyber warfare. Is he kidding? North Korea is involved with everything from counterfeiting U.S. currency to kidnapping, not to mention nuclear extortion. Stuxnet may or may not have been a good idea, but to think that nation states such as North Korea somehow now feel okay with their own cyber programs because of Stuxnet is just more rehashing of the age old (and I believe discredited) argument that it is the U.S. militarism that has caused other nations to do the bad things that they do and that if we were nicer then everyone else would be as well. I'm not sure that the beheaders of ISIL would agree but wouldn't it be be great if the world was devoid of bad people -- sadly it's not.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By N. Dwyer on 04-18-15

Intriguing story - well told!

An interesting contemporary subject well researched and told. Great level of detail that doesn't distract the listener from the main context of the story. I enjoyed it very much

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Just little old me on 04-01-15

Fascinating subject and an amazing story

Well researched, probably bit too much detail for me, but a wake up call if ever there was one. Makes me want to run to the hills .. It's so hard to build 'safe' connected systems. Started listening to security now on twit.tv to try to keep up with the latest what is going on. Any IT person should read/listen to this book and think very hard about what they are doing and how to protect themselves.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jason on 05-20-17

A Thrilling Eye-Opener

Although we all know about computer viruses, few of us have much of an understanding of how much of a role cyber-warfare plays in international espionage and sabotage.
Countdown to Zero Day does a great job in enlightening us about all levels of cyber attack and defence, focussing on the extraordinary Stuxnet attack interwoven with countless other examples.
With a good balance between intrigue and technical detail, it held my attention the whole time. Well written and well read.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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