Nicole Perlroth’s “This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends” is a masterclass on the darkness and light of the “SIGINT” world, or to the layman, cyberwar. If you already know about Sandworm, Stuxnet, NotPetya then by all means go out and get this book. Yes, get it anyway because Perlroth, a New York Times Reporter, goes above and beyond with her depth, details, and resources. The final sixty pages of this book are notes and references. This book is tight as a drum, and you will be too when you read just how far down the Zero-Day Exploits we really are.
Oddly enough, This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends starts with Perlroth on her way to Ukraine where Russian cyberattacks have been front and center in all aspects of Ukrainian life. A message from Putin saying “Hey, Russia is still in control.” But what Perlroth explains is how Ukraine is only the sounding board for Russian cyber exploits.
And the Russians are not alone. North Korea, Iran, and others have upped their SIGINT game and are attacking full bore. No system, no industry, and no hardware are immune. From Microsoft to Apple, nothing is secure.
But this book really takes off in the tracking of Zero-Day Exploits both the well documented prior cases and those being bought off the black market and stored for the cyberwar of the future. The highest bidder? The deepest pockets? Yep, right here in the USA under the ever opaque lens of the NSA. Hackers, brokers, government agencies, and nation-states all working in a secret market where millions of dollars are exchanged for Zero-Days and more. Missile strikes of code and backdoors.
I can’t stress enough how alarming this book is. I won’t share the secret other than to say if you thought you knew how bad it was, it’s worse.