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This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends


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From New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth, the untold story of the cyberweapons market - the most secretive, invisible, government-sponsored market on earth - and a terrifying first look at a new kind of global warfare.

About the Author

Nicole Perlroth covers cybersecurity for the New York Times. She is the recipient of several journalism awards including best technology reporting by the Society of Business Editors and Writers. Her 2014 Times profile of security blogger Brian Krebs was optioned by Sony Pictures and a 2016 story of Chinese hackers in a welding shop server was optioned for a television series. Prior to joining the New York Times in 2011, she covered venture capital and start-ups for Forbes Magazine. She is a guest lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and lives in Los Angeles.


An intricately detailed, deeply sourced and reported history of the origins and growth of the [cyberweapons] market and the global cyberweapons arms race it has sparked . . . This is no bloodless, just-the-facts chronicle. Written in the hot, propulsive prose of a spy thriller, Perlroth's book sets out from the start to scare us out of our complacency . . . Perlroth comes at the reader hard, like an angry Cassandra who has spent the last seven years of her life unmasking the signs of our impending doom - only to be ignored again and again . . . A strong, data-driven case for action -- Jonathan Tepperman * New York Times *
Perlroth is a longtime cybersecurity reporter for the New York Times, and her book makes a kind of Hollywood entrance . . . Perlroth's storytelling is part John le Carre and more parts Michael Crichton - 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' meets 'The Andromeda Strain'. Because she's writing about a boys' club, there's also a lot of 'Fight Club' in this book . . . And, because she tells the story of the zero-day market through the story of her investigation, it's got a Frances McDormand 'Fargo' quality, too . . . Spellbinding -- Jill Lepore * New Yorker *
When the weaknesses of a system can be bought and sold, the results can be calamitous, as This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends shows . . . Engaging and troubling . . . This secretive market is difficult to penetrate, but Perlroth has dug deeper than most and chronicles her efforts wittily * Economist *
A terrifying expose of the black market in software bugs . . . Perlroth's insider accounts provide texture and context that was often missing from news coverage at the time. Storytelling skills honed in her work as a New York Times reporter specialising in cybersecurity make them scarier, particularly because of the collateral damage . . . Yet the thrust of her commendably thorough and determined research is not the damage done, but the market in mayhem that underpins it . . . Perlroth does an admirable job in stripping away the jargon * The Times *
A stemwinder of a tale of how frightening cyber weapons have been turned on their maker, and the implications for the world when everyone and anyone can now decimate everyone else with a click of a mouse . . . Perlroth takes a complex subject that has been cloaked in opaque techspeak and makes it dead real for the rest of us. You will not look at your mobile phone, your search engine, even your networked thermostat the same way again -- Kara Swisher, co-founder of Recode and New York Times opinion writer
Nicole Perlroth has written a dazzling and revelatory history of the darkest corner of the internet, where hackers and governments secretly trade the tools of the next war . . . This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends is a rollicking fun trip, front to back, and an urgent call for action before our wired world spins out of our control. I've covered cybersecurity for a decade and yet paragraph after paragraph I kept wondering: 'How did she manage to figure *that* out? How is she so good?'" -- Garrett M. Graff, author of 'The Only Plane in the Sky'
The definitive history of cyberwarfare. Nicole Perlroth connects the dots and the behind the scenes action of every serious intrusion, cyberattack and cyberespionage revelation in the last decade -- Clint Watts, author of 'Messing With The Enemy'
A must-read tale of cloak-and-dagger mercenary hackers, digital weapons of mass destruction and clandestine, ne'er-do-well government agencies -- Lawrence Ingrassia, author of 'Billion Dollar Brand Club'
Usually, books like this are praised by saying that they read like a screenplay or a novel. Nicole Perlroth's is better: her sensitivity to both technical issues and human behavior give this book an authenticity that makes its message - that cybersecurity issues threaten our privacy, our economy, and maybe our lives - even scarier -- Steven Levy, author of 'Hackers and Facebook'
An essential cautionary tale [that] exposes the motivations and misgivings of the people helping governments hack into our devices. After Perlroth's incisive investigation, there's no excuse for ignoring the costs of the cyber arms race -- Sarah Frier, Bloomberg, author of 'No Filter'
Wonderfully readable . . . A rip-roaring story of hackers and bug-sellers and spies -- Steven M. Bellovin, Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University
Nicole Perlroth does what few other authors on the cyber beat can: she tells a highly technical, gripping story . . . A page-turner -- Nina Jankowicz, author of 'How to Lose the Information War'
A whirlwind global tour that introduces us to the crazy characters and bizarre stories behind the struggle to control the internet. It would be unbelievable if it wasn't all so very true -- Alex Stamos, Director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and former head of security for Facebook and Yahoo

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