Saturday, May 7, 2011

Book Review: Zero Day by Mark Russinovich

Zero Day Cover

I don’t usually do book reviews here on The Crime Analyst’s Blog. However, when the author’s publicist contacted me about this and sent me some info on the book it piqued my interest. Zero Day is a novel by Mark Russinovich. Part of what interested me in this book was Mark’s background. Mark is a cyber-security expert and is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft among other things. It’s probably be safe to say that he’s a serious computer geek/guru. The other part that interested me was the premise of the book, a terrorist related large scale cyber attack.

A few weeks ago at my workplace the organizations mail server took a dive. I don’t consider my organization to overly dependent on email but the effects of a couple of days without email was quite pronounced. I was surprised how inconvenient things got during this outage. The scenario is Zero Day takes computer outage to new levels. Not to give away too much but the scenario is especially prescient since the recent death of Osama bin Laden and the threats of retaliation by Al Qaeda sympathizers.

The book was an easy, enjoyable read. The chapters were short, something I like since most of my reading is usually done is short bursts. For me, I’d rather stop at the end of chapter rather than in the midst of a long chapter. The story line was engaging, and a lot like other thrillers such as a Tom Clancy book. Right around the middle of the book there was a unexpected plot twist that made the book hard to put down. For entertainment alone, it made the book worth the read.

As a crime analyst, stories like Zero Day get me to thinking about the implications should a scenario like this leave the realm of fiction and make it’s way to the real world. Some crime fiction stories are so outlandish as to have nearly no chance of becoming real. However, the scenario in Zero Day is entirely plausible. Of course that’s part of the reason it’s so thrilling. It’s also the reason that a story like this this keeps analysts awake at night.

More information about Zero Day or Mark Russinovich can be found at the Zero Day book website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of the book mentioned above for free in the hope that I would review it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Thanks for the great review, Scott. I'm glad you liked Zero Day!

  2. Thanks for letting me read it and review it!

  3. I've read the cyber-terrorism thriller and I can say that it appeals not only to computer geeks but also novices. Mark did a great job in balancing the technical explanations. I'm hoping that he gets more ideas for further cyber thrillers to educate us while entertaining and scaring the readers.

    email encryption

  4. Michael, Thanks for the comment.


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