Bowden, the best-selling author of Black Hawk Down and The Best Game Ever, has delivered a dramatic cyber-crime story that explores the Conficker Computer “Worm,” a potentially devastating computer virus that has baffled experts and infected as many as 12 million computers to date. Bowden has gained unprecedented access to the key players in the story and produced what could be his most important story to date.
When the Conficker Computer “Worm” was unleashed upon the world in November 2008, cyber-security experts did not know what to make of it. The worm, exploiting the security flaws in Microsoft Windows, 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.” It was soon capable of overpowering any of the vital computer networks that today control banking, telephones, energy flow, air traffic, health-care information—even the Internet itself. Was it a platform for criminal profit, or a weapon? Security experts do not know for sure what Conficker’s purpose is, or even where it came from. Their struggle to control it, a dazzling battle of wits between expert programmers over the future of the Internet, pitted those determined to exploit it against those committed to protect it, and awakened the U.S. Government for the first time to the urgent nature of the threat.
Bowden’s book reports this new frontier on terror in a way that has never been done before. Bowden skillfully explores the digital chess match unfolding in the esoteric world of computer security, telling the story from the perspective of both the good-guy hackers known as the “Conficker Cabal” working to defeat the worm and the bad guys intent on spreading it. In Worm: The Story of the First Digital World War, Mark Bowden delivers an accessible and fascinating look at the ongoing and largely unreported war taking place literally beneath our fingertips.