Item description for Zero Day Exploit: Countdown to Darkness (Cyber-Fiction) (Cyber-Fiction) by Rob Shein...
There exists a 0-day vulnerability in a particular line of SCADA Master products that are widely used in petrochemical facilities. Furthermore, since the telemetry between the Master and the RTUs (the units located at valves, gauges, etc.) is particularly fragile under attack, the attackers are able to take a two-tiered approach to the damage they cause.
The vulnerability is designed to simply replace a small bit of code in the SCADA Master so that upon communication with the RTUs, it will unpredictably send invalid data; the way in which the communications are invalid also varies somewhat. The symptoms of this appear not at the Master level, but in the RTUs themselves, which have unpredictable results. The first set of disasters occur as valves fail to close or open, or particular RTUs cease providing data.
It takes a bit of time for law enforcement to have a solid handle on things, as they are currently battling their own issues, but they notice the pattern. The SCADA systems are immediately segmented from other networks, and work begins on replacing RTUs. This, however, has no effect, and as time passes the ripples of the attack spread. Gas stations run out of gas, followed shortly by freight carriers. Private individuals and local police and fire departments are not far behind.
Disaster can only be prevented by Reuben, an elite cyber-security researcher who stumbles across the plot while contracting for the federal government.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 7" Height: 1" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Jul 14, 2004
ISBN 1931836094 ISBN13 9781931836098
Availability 74 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 22, 2017 10:07.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Rob Shein
Shein works as an independent consultant in the Washington, D.C. area. Rob has worked in the IT field for approximately a decade.
Reviews - What do customers think about Zero Day Exploit: Countdown to Darkness (Cyber-Fiction) (Cyber-Fiction)?
Great book for techies Apr 7, 2008
This is a good book if you are involved in IT security. Although some of the plot is a bit too simplistic, overall it gives a good account of what could happen.
another technothriller to check out Apr 1, 2007
The Expert on Everything - a novel
Big Brother meets Big Business in Edward David Gil's novel, "The Expert on Everything." Orwell was on the right track of course, but Edward Gil takes it a step further and into the 21st century. This techno thriller touches on the real threat of privacy no longer existing. The plot is smooth and interesting, showing a great deal of the truth of business development. Gil's style is of a different flavor and sticks out just enough to be memorable. Let's hope the premise never comes to be, and if it already does, I just don't want to know. Review by Heather Froeschl. [...]
Enjoyable Cyber-Fiction Mar 21, 2007
Zero Day Exploit calls our attention to an all too often under reported reality: We live in a high risk society where our digital infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to certain kinds of attacks.
I want to thank the author, Rob Shein, for producing a work of fiction that helps focus our attention on these contemporary risks, without being too shrill about them. This book I would recommend to my friends and clients alike as a nice change of pace to their usual reading choices.
Paul McCubbin, Senior Consultant Forsythe Solutions Group
Good on content, poor on delivery Apr 11, 2006
This is my 3rd hacker novel (Steal the Network: Box and Contintent) and I consider it better than both of them. The story is enjoyable and has several chapters of excitement that make you want to turn the page into the wee hours of the morning. The plot as a whole is more fluid, which is something that was lacking with the StN books, I found.
Having said that, there were no less than 4 glaring typos that took the professionalism down several notches. The appendix, in fact, ends midsentence in my copy of the book. At another point earlier it says "to find more information ." and omits the web address that was expected to accompany it. That, along with the somewhat lackluster dialogue were distractions to an otherwise enjoyable novel. The writing towards the end seemed overly rushed (telling the solution was found to a particular problem, rather than explaining /how/ for the sake of time was out of character for this style of book).
Overall, an enjoyable read if you like to get further insight into how the White Hats work, but this isn't a NYT Best Seller.
Not Totally "Right On", But Good Aug 21, 2005
Defending against external Internet threats and attacks is a daunting task at best. When coupled with internal politics and Byzantine contracting rules, you may as well put a "kick me" sign on your back. Before the days we became dependent on computers and networking for everyday tasks, the risks were not as great. When terrorism is added to the formula, there has to be a recognition that the days of finger-pointing and excuses are no longer acceptable. In Zero-Day Exploit: Countdown to Darkness (339 Pages, Syngress Press, 2004, ISBN 1931836094), Rob Shein, David Litchfield, and Marcus Sachs present an account of one possible attack scenario.
Like most fiction, you will have to ask yourself if the scenario in the book is possible at all. But the answer you give yourself may not be adequate. After all, who else except for the Able Danger team thought 9/11 was a real possibility?
What makes this book different from others that I have read, the authors bring a real world perspective of Washington, DC politics and the challenges brought by the divide between employees and federal contractors, as well as what happens when people put their own career self-preservation above doing the right thing. Think this is not possible in today's environment? Think again. Having spent 12 years as a federal acquisition professional, I saw it every day, and I know what happens to people who buck the system.
The book does get bogged down early with its detailed narrative of a DefCon convention, and I am not sure that it adds much to the book. The authors do manage to put useful information within this section, but the overall section was so dry I almost closed the book a few times. But then it picked up steam and I could not put it down until I finished it. Given my background, it was very interesting to see what I had experienced first hand (and still do as an IT consultant and auditor), knowing full well the damage those interactions alone can cause.
The technical information presented is good, but not so deep that a nontechnical reader will get lost or bored (except perhaps for the DefCon section). As the story unfolds, the authors do a very good job showing how the emotion of a situation can lead to blaming the wrong person (in this case the programmer of the faulty software) instead of the circumstances that lead to the faults outside of his control (See my review of Secure Coding - Principles and Practices for more on this topic).
The book is not cheap and may be a bit pricey for the content, but that does not mean it is not worth reading.
Who Should Read This Book?
IT Audit professionals, bureaucrats, and programmers/developers will all gain benefit from reading this book. It is not really a good read for other people because they may take the wrong message from it.