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Download Worm: The First Digital World War Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Worm: The First Digital World War (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Mark Bowden
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (620 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Bowden Narrator: Christopher Lane Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2011 ISBN:
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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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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike Chapple | 2/18/2014

    " This book is somewhat readable but it contains many technical inaccuracies. While it is important to explain things to a nontechnical audience in a simplified fashion, this author introduces too many errors in his attempt to do do. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steven | 2/12/2014

    " Atrociously proofread, but an interesting and absorbing tale of the US team assembled to respond to the Conficker worm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Will Byrnes | 2/3/2014

    " There is a war being waged in the world today. Not one of the many you read about in newspapers (or newsfeeds) or the ones you see on your televisions and computer screens. This war is going on while we sleep, eat our breakfasts and go about our business, in our cities and suburbs, in the homes of our major industries, in our home computers. Forget the annoying daily viruses that attack, primarily, Windows systems, spewing unwanted spam; forget the unwanted pop-ups that emanate from the same source; forget the Blue Screen of Death and similar results from other fun system-stoppers that flood the lines connecting our machines to the world. This is an ongoing cyberwar, complete with black hats and white hats. There are folks out there who have devised a truly weaponized form of the evil sheiss we have to cope with every day. This new invader is capable of taking down the entire system. It is robust, almost impervious to correction even once detected, and it has spread itself, functioning like millions of sleeper cells throughout our electronic world, and it waits for instructions. It might be told to send out the usual sort of sexual spam we have all seen. No biggie. But then it might take down the entire internet by flooding certain sites with millions of hits. It might be instructed to disable the electrical grid, or occupy Wall Street’s computer systems. (Yes, I know some might cheer, but the damage would extend well beyond the street) And just because we do not yet have a body count that does not mean that this war does not have casualties. Businesses that have had to shut down because of such attacks, hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe billions, that might have been spent on more productive uses, but which have been allocated to cyber defense. Thank god there are some heroes out there who are making our lives a bit, a lot safer, by indulging their need to do the right thing. Each chapter is introduced by a quote from the X-Men comic book series. It is entirely appropriate, as Bowden sees his core characters as people with special powers. They are truly superheroes, operating on their own, outside government, for the most part, to fight off an invasion that most of us did not notice at all. The X-Men of Bowden’s tale are the ones who first caught on to this invasion, the ones with the technical savvy to actually appreciate how powerful, how dangerous, how sinister and how clever this invader is. It is thanks to them that our electronic world has not returned to pencil-and-paper accounting, and our trains have not been dashing into each other head on. I bet you will not recognize a single name among this group. No Steve Jobs or Bill Gates here, although many of the team members have done quite nicely for themselves. These Jean Grays, Logans, Kitty Prides and Professor Xaviers (although all male) combined their brainpower and did what needed to be done, even though it meant having to open their own checkbooks, and strain their home lives, to cover some of the considerable costs entailed. Ironically, they call themselves “The Cabal.” Bowden, author of Blackhawk Down and Killing Pablo knows adventure, and there is plenty to be had here. Not a car chase in sight, but if your heart does not race while reading this, you might want to get it checked. What is most amazing is how uninvolved our government has been in protecting the nation from assaults, real and potential, on our infrastructure, our financial system, and our defense systems, by not only bored, gifted teens, but by high level criminal enterprises and nation states. Actually not so surprising, given that the administration in question is the one that ignored repeated warnings of impending terrorist attacks in 2001. The current administration has taken the challenge more seriously. I have only one caveat for readers of this exciting book. Although it has clearly been written with a general audience in mind, there is enough geekish detail here to cause more than a bit of befuddlement. Bowden does a pretty good job of de-teching the material, and I scooted past it easily enough, but I am not a typical reader for this, having spent a few decades fiddling with bits and bytes. So take with a grain of salt my sense that the tech will not get in the way. For any who find that absolutely needing to grasp all the technical details impairs their reading experience, I suggest blowing past it. It is not critical for you to get the minutiae. The gist is plenty, and it is substantial. Worm is a page-turner. Be an early bird and catch it. There are more than a couple of books on the subject out there. I have read only a few. Neil Stephenson offers a fictionalized version of how clever techies might make mayhem in the world in Reamde. Richard Clarke has real world expertise in this area. He has a clear notion of what is going on, what is possible and what we should be afraid of. He writes both non-fiction Cyberwar and fiction, Breakpoint. QUOTES - I read this on a Nook, so the page numbers might not track with the hardcover P84 – Networks connected to the internet are vulnerable even if protected with hardware and software firewalls and other security mechanisms. The government, military, business and economic institutions, key infrastructure elements, and the population at large of the United States are completely dependent on the Internet. Internet-connected networks operate the national electric grid and distribution systems for fuel. Municipal water treatment and waste treatment are controlled through such systems. Other critical networks include the air traffic control system, the system linking the nation’s financial institutions, and the payment systems for Social Security and other government assistance on which many individuals and the overall economy depend. A successful attack on these internet-connected networks could paralyze the united States.” – [This is from a U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission report to Congress.] P 170 – in Modern warfare there is no such thing as unqualified victory, or unconditional defeat…Casualties mount. The public gets surly. The treasury coffers bottom out. The ruling party gets dumped. One no longer wins; one claims victory. Often both sides do. And sometimes both are right…in their own way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 1/29/2014

    " Interesting, but I was utterly confused by the ending. So... the threat is still there? It seemed really inconclusive after all that buildup. I understand that it's non-fiction and the author can't change the outcome, but the writing made it seem like the threat was gone, when actually, nothing was solved except the same temporary solution. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bubba | 1/20/2014

    " I think every techie should read this, and if you're not a techie, you should read this to gain a better idea of how frail internet security can be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 1/17/2014

    " Decent book regarding conficker's history and the "plan of attack" to "stop" it, but not a very intriguing read in my opinion, at least not for anyone with a technical background. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hobson | 12/25/2013

    " Quick read from the Blackhawk Down author about the Conficker worm that infected millions of computers around the world and has the potential to take down the entire Internet. Fascinating characters and story, but very technical in places. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Ringler | 5/12/2013

    " Pretty interesting book for computer nerds who have a fascination with hacking, malware, etc. Very eye opening regarding what goes on behind the scenes on the Internet. Take home message - always update your operating system with patches. Of course the corollary is also true - back up your computer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark L | 4/3/2013

    " Such a good reporter & story-teller. Great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie Johnson | 9/21/2012

    " Pretty light and digestible, as I guess is the intention, for those who know a little about computers these days. Bowden references a more enjoyable, fictional book called Shockwave Rider. Still I recommend it to help in gathering a light knowledge base. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marc | 9/21/2012

    " This is just not an interesting enough book about what could be a cool subject. Sadly I think it's just not a very exciting story and the drab writing does not help. Hard to believe this is from the same author as Black Hawk Down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 6/29/2012

    " Incredibly interesting. A must read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thundergnome | 4/15/2012

    " Has a similar feel to the Cucko's Egg, very disheartening to see the same problems plague our government in 2 non-fiction books 25 year apart. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Keith | 2/26/2012

    " Boring. I'm sorry, it just was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Porter | 12/9/2011

    " A geek's detective story. Worm is not Bowden at his best (how can a computer virus war compare with the bloody drama of Blackhawk Down), but anyone interested in the subject matter will find the reporting on the growth of international cyber espionage, robbery and terrorism compelling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 10/26/2011

    " pretty good story about the heroic warfare in the world of internet malwae..if you don't understand bit parity, stack overflow, p2p, and a myriad others..this will be a touch book. but even for high range user.. it was much fun. fi ally, someone who only dumbs down the material a little.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lexie | 10/21/2011

    " I won this book through the First Reads Giveaway.

    This book is very informative, so it's nice to learn something new. I was expecting more of a story, but it kinda read like an article in my opinion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 10/7/2011

    " Interesting story and Bowden writes well, but this is little more than an expanded magazine story. The original version in The Atlantic was more precise and easier to digest. Not one of Mr. Bowden's best, in my eyes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joan | 10/4/2011

    " Reads like a thriller novel. My head started to spin at some points with all the techno talk (I'm sure I had "the glaze" going on), but I very much enjoyed the read. Now I'm afraid to open ANYTHING on my computer!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 10/2/2011

    " Such a good reporter & story-teller. Great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shana | 9/30/2011

    " I won this book on first reads! This book should be a required reading for anyone who uses a computer! This book gives the reality of just how dangerous hackers are. "

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About the Author
Author Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden is the author of Road Work, Finders Keepers, Killing Pablo, Bringing the Heat, Doctor Dealer, and Black Hawk Down, which was nominated for a National Book Award. A number of his books have been made into movies, including Money for Nothing, Killing Pablo, and the blockbuster hit Black Hawk Down. He worked as a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and is currently a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in the Philadelphia area.

About the Narrator

Christopher Lane is an award-winning actor, director, and narrator. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration and recipient of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards.