• Worm

  • The First Digital World War
  • By: Mark Bowden
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (973 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Mark Bowden (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about Worm

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Important Insight into the Next 10 Years

I’m often amazed at how surprised others seem to be by big events. Seriously. The rise of the internet was not surprising to most computer scientists. 9-11 was not surprising to a large number of terrorism experts. That the iPhone or more precisely something like it would explode into the mainstream was predicted by a plethora of prognosticators for very long time.

So this book is your change to able to say, “Oh, yea I’ve known about that for a couple of years”, while too many of your friends are reeling in shock … although in my personal experience saying this wish such lack of tact is less than ideal for your friendships {wink} …

Sometime in the next 5 to 15 years (let’s call it 10 years) there will be an act of cyber-war or cyber-terrorism that will shock much of the western world. But really the shocking thing would be if such an event doesn’t occur.

This book is the story of the creation of a formidable new weapon in the “cold” cyber-war, which seems to have been escalating for about 5 years, by none other than the former Soviet Union. It is told from the perspective of rag tag band of American intellectuals who fought intently to prevent its creation. It is a very good story, but more importantly knowing this story will elucidate future world events. In the end there is just enough

The story is one that most computer security experts don’t know, or only vaguely know. In this regard this is a must read for mainstream computer scientists. But the author goes to great lengths to explain concepts to non-programmers. For example he explains in surprising detail the, somewhat rudimentary, buffer overflow attack at the heart of the sorry through an extended analogy to a cook following a recipe a bit too slavishly while a miscreant tricks the cook into inserting ruinous items into his own recipe. Often this sort of thing is tedious for the expert listener, but somehow it wasn’t in this case.

20 people found this helpful

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Clear, Concise Story of the Conficker Worm

I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. It was very clearly written with plenty of background on the technical side of computer viruses and worms to make the story clear and easy to follow. The Conficker worm turns out to be rather mysterious, and I appreciated that mystery element. For the most part, Bowden keeps himself out of the story - another plus. Recommended for those who like Hackers, The Cuckoo's Egg, and stories about computer history.

12 people found this helpful

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Engaging and Informative

Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down), in Worm, tells the story of the Conflicker worm which was introduced to computers in 2008 and infected 1.5 million computers in 195 countries. He brings to the public the story of those who would disrupt the internet and those who are charged to protect it. A strength of Bowden is his uncanny ability to tell this story in a way that the nongeek will easily follow and understand. I was particularly interested in passage where Bowden explains what goes into protecting the internet, profiles the people involved in that task, and explains something of what takes place in such an atmosphere and environment. It is probably the topic covered, but I found Black Hawk Down to be far more engaging than Worm. On the other hand, the battle scenes of Black Hawk Down lend themselves to life-and-death struggle and computer hacking and worms are not that bloody. Nonetheless, Bowden fan will be entertained, informed, and otherwise rewarded for reading his most recent book. Christopher Lane's reading is well done.

10 people found this helpful

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scary

I just finished this book and I see in today's newspaper some of the people that are in the book have a grant from the government to build a new firewall. They are to start from the beginning to create a new way of protecting computers instead of patches. Mark Bowden's well written book allowed me to understand the problem and the importance to the new firewall. The conficker worm is the largest most frighting malware I have heard of. This book reads like a sci-fi book only it is all real. The conficker has created the largest bot-net ever seen and no one yet knows what this worm is going to do or when never mind how to stop it. Just imagine what would happen if some one shut down all the Internet traffic and crashed all the computers. This is a great book and Christopher Lane did a good job narrating the story.

8 people found this helpful

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Enlightening

If you are interested in international security and conflict Worm should be on your radar. Bowden condenses and focuses a very heady topic with aplomb.

5 people found this helpful

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Informative and shocking.

An interesting read about a subject I knew little about. Sure I surf the internet but never understood the workings and how someone benefits from all the viruses(malware).
I came away knowing more about the internet and with less confidence in my government to protect us.
I would recommend this book as an eye opener!

4 people found this helpful

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THIS IS ONE FANTASTIC BOOK!

I thought this might be too technical for me but I love messing around with my computer so took the plunge. It's the best unsolved "whodunnit" ever. I could NOT put the book down. Talk about gripping your seat and holding your breath...and to think that 'thing' is still out there ready to pounce.

The story is great, and the narration is perfect. I even chuckled from time to time. This will appeal to people at all levels of technical expertise and all age groups. I am 75 years old and loved it.

4 people found this helpful

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New Attack in the Digital Worrld

For anyone that is reading my review you are already connected to the digital world, as we know as the Internet. Even though you may not be an ultra geek or just don't care what is going on in cyberspace, you should wake up and be more aware of the new digital threat to our new society because the attack will effect everyone, no matter if they go online or not because all of our financial institutions are link together and we live in a digital world.

There were many articles, postings, warnings, security patches and ongoing technology podcasts and blogs on Conficker. They were all mix match of speculation, like Y2K. No one really knew what was going to happen when Conficker went off.

"Worm" is a good read, even though you might not have any interest on this subject. The material that is presented is elementary for people that aren't aware of these types attacks, but it also goes much deeper for savvy users to keep their interest. More like inside baseball on Conficker.

C Day came and went like Y2K. The Internet didn't break down, the power grid didn't blew up and we had access to our bank accounts. The book addresses several valid points. If we are not careful or up to date, there will be a virus that will bring the net down and we will all be broken.

3 people found this helpful

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I enjoyed this

What made the experience of listening to Worm the most enjoyable?

This is an interesting story about a world I know little about. I like the way the author weaved some information in as to how things work in the computer world, as I like to understand how things work. It is an engaging story, a mystery. Well written and well narrated.

3 people found this helpful

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Not what it was advertised to be

It started off good, and went down hill from there.
If you like a lecture on the terms and history of the internet great. It was like listening to someone read a dictionary of computer terms.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim Vaughan
  • 11-25-12

An exiting account of a new kind of apocalypse!

Hugely enjoyable, if slightly scary account of the "Confiker worm", which is probably inside your computer (and mine) at this moment, waiting for a command from "the BotMaster" to awake, and create havoc, by comandeering your PC, along with millions of others to target and "pwn" banking, utilities, defense and other essential computer networks of our civilisation's fragile infrastructure.



This is a true story of potential network apocalypse, of huge egos, and huge intelligences, experts in arcane knowledge most of us cannot begin to grasp, evil geniuses and selfless volunteers; real life "X-men"; "white hats" fighting the shadowy "black hats" in a battle of wits, with the fate of our society at stake - the good guys trying to stay just one step ahead. It's all great fun, and brilliantly written and narrated.



Rather worryingly, the people who should be monitoring this kind of thing, the CIA, FBI, MI5 and others, seem to be blissfully unaware of the danger. Hmmm!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr James A McGill
  • 01-27-19

Enlightening

Loved this title was great whilst walking the dogs couldn't wait next to hear next chapter

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  • Jay
  • 07-23-15

A real-world techno thriller

Would you listen to Worm again? Why?

Yes. It is brisk, well written and rich with the kind of detail I like in my books. There's stuff there for IT security professionals too

What did you like best about this story?

It zips along at a pace. It could have been dry and functional but Bowden compels the listener to keep up

Have you listened to any of Christopher Lane’s other performances? How does this one compare?

n/a

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

n/a

Any additional comments?

Recommended.

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  • gordon
  • 01-02-15

Very Good.

If you are at all interested in computer security then this is worth a listen.

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  • Nick
  • 02-27-20

I really was looking forward to this...

But I just didn't get into it. And I've read all of the titles on similar subject matter. Granted I'm a nerd, this goes into too much basic back story that I became bored. Others may not.