• by Mark Bowden
  • Narrated by Christopher Lane
  • 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Important Insight into the Next 10 Years

I’m often amazed at how surprised others seem to be by big events. Seriously. The rise of the internet was not surprising to most computer scientists. 9-11 was not surprising to a large number of terrorism experts. That the iPhone or more precisely something like it would explode into the mainstream was predicted by a plethora of prognosticators for very long time.

So this book is your change to able to say, “Oh, yea I’ve known about that for a couple of years”, while too many of your friends are reeling in shock … although in my personal experience saying this wish such lack of tact is less than ideal for your friendships {wink} …

Sometime in the next 5 to 15 years (let’s call it 10 years) there will be an act of cyber-war or cyber-terrorism that will shock much of the western world. But really the shocking thing would be if such an event doesn’t occur.

This book is the story of the creation of a formidable new weapon in the “cold” cyber-war, which seems to have been escalating for about 5 years, by none other than the former Soviet Union. It is told from the perspective of rag tag band of American intellectuals who fought intently to prevent its creation. It is a very good story, but more importantly knowing this story will elucidate future world events. In the end there is just enough

The story is one that most computer security experts don’t know, or only vaguely know. In this regard this is a must read for mainstream computer scientists. But the author goes to great lengths to explain concepts to non-programmers. For example he explains in surprising detail the, somewhat rudimentary, buffer overflow attack at the heart of the sorry through an extended analogy to a cook following a recipe a bit too slavishly while a miscreant tricks the cook into inserting ruinous items into his own recipe. Often this sort of thing is tedious for the expert listener, but somehow it wasn’t in this case.
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- Kenneth "Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining."

Engaging and Informative

Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down), in Worm, tells the story of the Conflicker worm which was introduced to computers in 2008 and infected 1.5 million computers in 195 countries. He brings to the public the story of those who would disrupt the internet and those who are charged to protect it. A strength of Bowden is his uncanny ability to tell this story in a way that the nongeek will easily follow and understand. I was particularly interested in passage where Bowden explains what goes into protecting the internet, profiles the people involved in that task, and explains something of what takes place in such an atmosphere and environment. It is probably the topic covered, but I found Black Hawk Down to be far more engaging than Worm. On the other hand, the battle scenes of Black Hawk Down lend themselves to life-and-death struggle and computer hacking and worms are not that bloody. Nonetheless, Bowden fan will be entertained, informed, and otherwise rewarded for reading his most recent book. Christopher Lane's reading is well done.
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- Lynn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-11-2011
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio