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This book opens up the secretive world of Cyber War. What surprised me what the level of investigation and research done by the author. The writer provides in-depth and detailed description of the investigation that exposed the Stuxnet, its inner working as well as its creator. The story is fascinating and offers many previously unknown and unpublished details that likely to shock most readers. This is truly a ground breaking work on Cyber Warfare. If there is a criticism, it is the length and sometimes unnecessary details. A little editing and pruning would have helped, especially to non-technical readers. However on the whole, this is a wonderful book that I would strongly recommend to all those interested understanding how Cyber Warfare is waged.
Kim Zetter uses Stuxnet, the world’s first digital weapon used against Iran’s nuclear program, to make her audience aware of the challenges and opportunities that zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits represent for the nations with the greatest connectivity. Critical infrastructures represent a juicy target not only for cyber criminals (a.k.a. the black market), but also for law enforcement and intelligent agencies (a.k.a. the gray market) around the world. Ms. Zetter clearly highlights the numerous challenges that the software makers and web site owners (a.k.a. the white market) experience in trying to make their offerings as secure as possible. To her credit, she strikes the right balance between telling a riveting story accessible to a wide audience and offering much technical detail in the footnotes of her book. Furthermore, Ms. Zetter demonstrates with much clarity that the legal and policy issues surrounding the use of zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits have not been appropriately addressed in public in the United States. Like other countries involved with cyber warfare, the United States has to play both defense and offense in order to secure its interests. My only regret is that the author does not deal with the fast-growing Internet of Things. “Big Data” is a juicy target for the black, gray, and white markets mentioned above. In summary, Ms. Zetter succeeds with much talent in making an arcane subject understandable to a lay audience while simultaneously satisfying the appetite of a more tech-savvy audience.
This is an amazing and frightening book. I give the final chapter 10 stars. For me the rest of the book is simply too technically sophisticated, even for my better than average understanding of the technology. Some great journal needs to publish the final chapter and it must be required reading for all in Congress and the White House. The pathetic lack of even rudimentary understanding shown by our national legislators (and their staffs) attempting to deal with Facebook was enough to convince me that we have a very serious problem indeed.
I read this book in fits and starts. its well written but can be a bit dry in places. For the most part its a page turner and I learned new things about the events. I had a basic understanding after reading articles about stuxnet in NYTimes and arstechnica and I feel that I am fairly abreast of current events but this book offers a deeper perspective and narrative showing me the exact details involved in how the events unfolded. It is well written and exceptionally well researched including personal interviews and first source documents. I would say, in effect, this is the definitive account of what happened.
However, there are parst, mainly 2/3 of the way into the book and the last 1/4 of the book where it is a bit of a slog. The book spends some time in the end summarizing what happened which made me skim through it - hence the 4 stars and not 5. Otherwise its an exceptional book
A very clear and well written book for both the technical and non-technical reader interested in the Stuxnet virus. I would recommend this to any person who has any interest in this field. The author did a very good job of telling the story without just dumping the facts in every chapter. It was just so well written that it seemed like a suspense or drama, however it was real life history.
An interesting and thought provoking read. I would have preferred a more technical description of the cyber attack but can't fault the author for trying to reach a larger audience. The writing style did not really create the excitement of a great detective work. Another fault was that the last part of the book dealing with political and moral implications of the attack was repetitious and needed a finer point to it. Get the Kindle version because there is a wealth of information in the footnotes that is hyperlinked to other documents on the net.
"Countdown to Zero Day" reads like a fictional thriller, yet is obviously a real story. There are a TON of details in this book (the footnotes are crazy!), and I found it fascinating. But, for a dense, non-fictional accounting, it reads fast and was a thrilling story. If you're interested in tech, politics, or even just techno-thriller or similar type books, check it out.