Last night Neustar’s CEO Lisa Hook and Executive VP, Scott Blake Harris, hosted a book signing party in Neustar’s DC office for Mark Bowden, author of seven books including the non-fiction classic Black Hawk Down, for his latest non-fiction release, WORM The First Digital World War.
WORM tells the story of the Conficker worm, one of the world’s most devastating pieces of malware that continues to baffle experts and has infected more than 12 million computers around the world, including those of the British Parliament and the French and German military.
Mark Bowden spoke to guests and the media about the process of researching the Conficker worm. Bowden commented that the best topics for his books are those he knows nothing about, “Ignorance was the perfect starting point for me to start a story. Curiosity was instrumental.”
In his quest to find out more about the worm, Bowden interviewed the handful cyber geeks, Internet entrepreneurs, academics and computer programmers, which included Neustar’s own security experts Rodney Joffe and Dre Ludwig, who first identified it in November of 2008 and understood the urgent nature of this threat. This group of cyber warriors, who called themselves the Conficker Cabal, volunteered their time, and in some cases their own money, to identify, dissect, track, monitor and defend the Internet against this massive exploit.
Rodney Joffe commented, “Mark took the time to build relationships with the players, and based on his reputation and handling of Blackhawk Down, he earned the trusts of the group, and got full access to the inside ‘doings’. He also took great pains to verify and validate facts, and as a result his book is remarkably accurate and true to what really transpired.”
Although the creator of the Conficker worm is still not known, nor has its intended use been revealed, this nefarious individual, or group of individuals, has succeeded in creating a sustainable and profitable platform for massive Internet fraud and theft, or worse, cyber warfare that they can control.
My colleague Erin Bush (@ErinSlick) and I attending the event and live tweeted Mark Bowden ’s remarks (see below).