Sunday, January 9, 2011

Zero Day: A Novel by Mark Russinovich

Zero Day: A Novel. Mark Russinovich. Thomas Dunne Books: St. Martin's Press. March 2011. 320 pp. Hardcover. ISBN #:9780312612467.

Have you ever experienced a virus, Trojan horse, spam, worm, etc. on your computer? It seems overwhelming when it happens, but imagine if it began to happen to computers around the country all at once. Imagine that, unlike your problem, this national problem doesn't seem to be fixable at all. The bottom line is financial loss at a devastating level but also other consequences never before contemplated.

A horrific scenario begins to multiple in Zero Day, a novel about the deadly effects of a computer virus deliberately designed to keep replicating itself and spreading through vulnerable spots on other computers. So far it has caused multiple deaths in a hospital where computerized medication programs went awry from this "glitch." An airplane drops thousands of feet in seconds, unsure of recovery. Automatic computer robots in an automobile factory go haywire, causing the death of the man assigned to monitor them and shutting down so that business comes to a total standstill. Dams fail, nuclear power plants fail, and on and on and on. It seems the stuff of futuristic science fiction but is a present day threat ever looming in a world increasingly reliant on computers for everything.

Jeff Aiken and Daryl Haugen are the best in the business. If they can't find the source and solution for these nightmares about to destroy America, no one can. Jeff is recovering from a traumatic loss and unsure of anything, but his intellectual curiosity quickly pulls him into the nonstop search for answers, possibilities that seek to find if this is a sicko individual act or a scenario being implemented by much larger international groups with terrorist goals. The clock is running now to Zero Day, involving an international connection that brooks no interference and is determined to be the hand of fate on the world.

If you aren't a computer geek, some of the lingo and explanations are going to pass right by you; but there's enough information and ever-developing, terrifying plot developments to keep you riveted to every page. If you are a computer pro, you're going to absolutely love every page of this story that actually provides the technological lingo which shows the realistic potential for this unstoppable plot to unravel in cyberspace. There's a tad much on repetition, but it's bearable and serves to reinforce the awful threat effectively happening.

Zero Day: A Novel covers a scenario frequently imagined but never, fortunately, realized to date beyond what can adequately be handled and responded to. It seems, according to Mark Russinovich to be a warning to businesses, government, and computer professionals that cyberwar is and will be our next war, with implications far beyond what the experts usually predict! Great novel about a very important issue!


  1. I don't read a lot of cyberthrillers. In fact, this might be my second or third. But the fast pace and compelling characters and scene descriptions in Zero Day kept me reading. I finished the whole book in a day and a half.

  2. Zero Day by Mark Russinovich was really great to read something that very possibly could happen and the inclusion of little things like assembly code really helped increase the reality.