I thought it would be fun to include a brief review of any tech-related books I read, so I’m starting a new irregular mini column in this newsletter. To kick it off, I’ll talk about Nicole Perlroth’s book This is How They Tell Me the World Ends. This book covers the shadowy gray market of “zero days” – software exploits that are unknown to the developer and broader user base. These zero days are used by hackers and government agencies alike to achieve their goals. As more of our civilization becomes dependent upon technology, governments (“good” and “bad” ones) are developing an arsenal of hacks. Ms. Perlroth likens this activity to the nuclear arms race, albeit one much more hidden from citizens and regulators. And software “bombs” are different from kinetic bombs in a very important and dangerous way: a zero day exploit can be reused quite quickly by the targeted party against the attacking party. This book stands as one of only a few voices ringing the alarm bell to this dangerous practice of stockpiling digital exploits that is spiraling out of control. It’s a fascinating but chilling read.
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