Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon

Kim Zetter. Crown, $25 (448p) ISBN 978-0-77043617-9
Cyberwarfare catapulted from science fiction into reality in 2010, when a previously unknown military-grade computer virus attacked centrifuges in Iran that were allegedly being used to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs. Zetter (Simple Kabbalah), a senior writer for Wired magazine, details how a series of clues led a small but intrepid group of computer security specialists from around the world to discover Stuxnet, the world’s first “zero-day exploit,” a virus without a patch. The origins of the virus were eventually traced to the U.S. and Israel, and though the allies frustrated Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon, unleashing the virus was “remarkably reckless,” Zetter argues. Stuxnet and its successors have compromised trusted components of the international computer world, like digital certificates and security updates, and have drawn unwelcome attention to vulnerable U.S. energy, water, and transportation infrastructures. Zetter suggests that the Stuxnet attack has opened up a digital Pandora’s box, “legitimizing” a new strain of warfare against which there is little defense and inciting an arms race carried on behind the scenes. Even readers who can’t tell a PLC from iPad will learn much from Zetter’s accessible, expertly crafted account, which unpacks this complex issue with the panache of a spy thriller. Agent: David Fugate, LaunchBooks Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/08/2014
Release date: 11/11/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-7704-3619-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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