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The First Digital World War

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


From the author of Black Hawk Down comes the story of the battle between those determined to exploit the internet and those committed to protect it—the ongoing war taking place literally beneath our fingertips.

The Conficker worm infected its first computer in November 2008 and within a month had infiltrated 1.5 million computers in 195 countries. Banks, telecommunications companies, and critical government networks (including the British Parliament and the French and German military) were infected. No one had ever seen anything like it. By January 2009 the worm lay hidden in at least eight million computers and the botnet of linked computers that it had created was big enough that an attack might crash the world. This is the gripping tale of the group of hackers, researches, millionaire Internet entrepreneurs, and computer security experts who united to defend the Internet from the Conficker worm: the story of the first digital world war.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 26, 2011 – Bestselling Black Hawk Down author Bowden follows a group of white-hat computer experts who came together to fight Conficker, malware that surfaced in late 2008 and appeared poised to take over millions of computers running Windows Operating System on April 1, 2009. Bowden shows how The Cabal struggled to stay ahead of the Conficker worm as it evolved in the course of four months into ever more threatening incarnations. The author takes readers behind the scenes, showing the security specialists increasing frenzy, not to mention occasional infighting, as they worked to defeat the worm. Along the way, the author lucidly explains how malware can take over computers as well as how the very openness of the Internet makes it vulnerable to attack. If no one is ultimately responsible for the Internet, then how do you police and defend it? he asks. But while Bowden presents the Cabal s efforts to defeat Conficker as an epic good vs. evil battle, the actual stakes are never entirely clear. Even the computer researchers have no way of knowing whether Conficker will set off Cybarmageddon, or will amount to no more than an elaborate April Fool s joke.

Customer Reviews

Where are the spell checkers?

This is a good, fast read, even for a non-Geek like me. However, there were so many grammatical errors, it took away from the experience.

By far, the best books I've read this year!

I can't remember the last time I had that "can't put the book down feeling". The last few years I always felt guilty if I wasn't reading some type of technical manual or learning some new programming language. Yes, I'm a geek.. but nowhere near X-men class, as the people described in the book. Now I aspire to learn more and about security and build my "do no evil white hat tactics.

I'm shocked at how fragile our Internet connected world has become and how close we've come to near utter failure (and continue to be driving towards). At the same time, I'm humbled and inspired to know there are selfless good people out there working tirelessly to protect the Internet for the rest of us.. nothing short of superheroes.

Not enough meat

I'm torn between feeling I wasted my time and money on this book and at least feeling better informed. There are really two stories here, one about the human side including the characters if the people primarily involved and the way in which internal politics and a general insular and self serving attitude makes our government so incapable of acting until someone's job is on the line. The other side is the side dealing with the computer / Internet guts that make viruses and worms possible. The first aspect is relatively well treated, though a bit disjointed due probably to trying to keep a timeline going at the same time as he tries to introduce the characters which inevitably requires digressions. The second aspect is way too thin. He mentions at the end the amount of time and effort the main actors gave him to try to explain it all to him, a relative novice to the world of computer geeks not to mention the rarified group involved. I don't feel like he passed the favor on. Lack of understanding contributes to our ability to take this subject as seriously as we should. We should be lobbying for a radical restructuring of the Internet which while it isn't likely to eliminate all possible malicious software, should at least make it much easier to cope with such infection and make life a lot harder for the perpetrators.
I was hoping for something like James Gleick's masterful book Chaos that perfectly mixed both the personal and technical and left you with at least a decent understanding of what the people at the beginning of the field had discovered and a basic knowledge of hoe it worked. I felt like this author didn't even try. Perhaps in this age of books written days after events happen, writers just don't have the time to do the research or spend the time needed to really convey such information. I wish they did.
D. Johnson

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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: Sep 27, 2011
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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