BOOK REVIEW: Worm The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden

I have been a fan of Mark Bowden ever since I first read Black Hawk Down, which was later turned into a film by Ridley Scott. His writing style immediately captured my attention, and since then I have been keeping an eye on every book he has done.  With his latest, Bowden tells the story of the one of the biggest threats to the digital frontier that has ever existed…

It has been a while since I picked up and book and finished it in one read but this one I just could not put down. I could literally see the events playing out in my mind, and I was getting so involved in the narrative that I was feeling my heart race. Big words for a non fiction book, I know, but the fact that it was all real and how vulnerable it showed us to be to cyber terrorism was a real page turner. Here’s a summary from Atlantic Books:

In Worm, one of the world’s biggest selling authors of narrative non-fiction returns to bestselling form.

Worm is the gripping story of the ‘Conficker’ computer virus- which, since its introduction in November 2008, has infected millions of computers around the world – and the cyber security elites who have joined forces in a high-tech game of cops and robbers to find its creators and defeat them.

This dramatic cybercrime story travels from the Ukraine to the United States (and all parts in between) to explore the next frontier in terrorism. It is the story of a dazzling battle of wits over the future of the Internet. In Worm, Mark Bowden delivers an unputdownable account of the ongoing and largely unreported war taking place literally beneath our fingertips.

Bowden describes events with such ease that it is like watching a movie, and his characterization is so familiar that you feel like you know the people he is talking about. The book does not need you to be an expert in computers or the internet, as it describes everything with easy words so that everyone can understand. It is here that Bowden’s past experience as a journalist comes into play, allowing the reader to easily follow and understand what is going on.

The pace of the book is fast and keeps you wanting to know more with each and every single page. When the worm is first discovered, you know that it is the start of something big because it could happen to you and this is what makes it compelling reading.

At times, we find out how the team assembled to combat this threat to the internet started to distrust each other and the ramifications of this. Another part of this astonishing tale is how much everyone just dismissed it, apart from a few select individuals who were fighting this secret war against Conficker. Even the U.S. Government came late to the party due to underestimating the level of the threat.

Overall this is one of the best nonfiction books I have read in the last few years; it kept me gripped with every page, building up to a showdown that does not disappoint but does make you think that it is not over yet.

Source: Atlantic Books
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Montoya

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