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Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers

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A chilling, globe-spanning detective story, tracking an elite group of Russian hackers and the future of global warfare In 2014, the world witnessed the start of an escalating series of cyberattacks. Targeting American utility companies, NATO, and electric grids in Eastern Europe, the strikes became ever more brazen, eventually leading to the first-ever blackouts triggered A chilling, globe-spanning detective story, tracking an elite group of Russian hackers and the future of global warfare In 2014, the world witnessed the start of an escalating series of cyberattacks. Targeting American utility companies, NATO, and electric grids in Eastern Europe, the strikes became ever more brazen, eventually leading to the first-ever blackouts triggered by hackers. They culminated in the summer of 2017 when malware known as NotPetya was unleashed, compromising, disrupting, and paralyzing some of the world's largest companies. At the attack's epicenter in Ukraine, ATMs froze. The railway and postal systems shut down. NotPetya spread around the world, inflicting an unprecedented ten billions of dollars in damage--the largest, most penetrating cyberattack the world had ever seen. The hackers behind these attacks are quickly gaining a reputation as the most dangerous team of cyberwarriors in the internet's history: Sandworm. Believed to be working in the service of Russia's military intelligence agency, they represent a persistent, highly skilled, state-sponsored hacking force, one whose talents are matched by their willingness to launch broad, unrestrained attacks on the most critical infrastructure of their adversaries. They target government and private sector, military and civilians alike. From WIRED senior writer Andy Greenberg comes Sandworm, the true story of the desperate hunt to identify and track those attackers. It considers the danger this force poses to our national stability and security. And as the Kremlin's role in manipulating foreign governments and sparking chaos globally comes into greater focus, Sandworm reveals the realities not just of Russia's global digital offensive, but of an era where warfare ceases to be waged on the battlefield--where the line between digital and physical conflict begins to blur, with world-shaking implications.


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A chilling, globe-spanning detective story, tracking an elite group of Russian hackers and the future of global warfare In 2014, the world witnessed the start of an escalating series of cyberattacks. Targeting American utility companies, NATO, and electric grids in Eastern Europe, the strikes became ever more brazen, eventually leading to the first-ever blackouts triggered A chilling, globe-spanning detective story, tracking an elite group of Russian hackers and the future of global warfare In 2014, the world witnessed the start of an escalating series of cyberattacks. Targeting American utility companies, NATO, and electric grids in Eastern Europe, the strikes became ever more brazen, eventually leading to the first-ever blackouts triggered by hackers. They culminated in the summer of 2017 when malware known as NotPetya was unleashed, compromising, disrupting, and paralyzing some of the world's largest companies. At the attack's epicenter in Ukraine, ATMs froze. The railway and postal systems shut down. NotPetya spread around the world, inflicting an unprecedented ten billions of dollars in damage--the largest, most penetrating cyberattack the world had ever seen. The hackers behind these attacks are quickly gaining a reputation as the most dangerous team of cyberwarriors in the internet's history: Sandworm. Believed to be working in the service of Russia's military intelligence agency, they represent a persistent, highly skilled, state-sponsored hacking force, one whose talents are matched by their willingness to launch broad, unrestrained attacks on the most critical infrastructure of their adversaries. They target government and private sector, military and civilians alike. From WIRED senior writer Andy Greenberg comes Sandworm, the true story of the desperate hunt to identify and track those attackers. It considers the danger this force poses to our national stability and security. And as the Kremlin's role in manipulating foreign governments and sparking chaos globally comes into greater focus, Sandworm reveals the realities not just of Russia's global digital offensive, but of an era where warfare ceases to be waged on the battlefield--where the line between digital and physical conflict begins to blur, with world-shaking implications.

30 review for Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    I got this book for my husband, I had no intentions of reading it, but we were on a road trip and I put on the audio. I love books that expose me to new things that I turn out to be open to, this cyber world was shocking to me, I had no idea that such warfare was underway for such a long protracted time and the devastating consequences involved. There is no question in my mind our elections were interfered with upon after hearing the myriad of experiences in this dark world. To be honest, I foun I got this book for my husband, I had no intentions of reading it, but we were on a road trip and I put on the audio. I love books that expose me to new things that I turn out to be open to, this cyber world was shocking to me, I had no idea that such warfare was underway for such a long protracted time and the devastating consequences involved. There is no question in my mind our elections were interfered with upon after hearing the myriad of experiences in this dark world. To be honest, I found it terrifying, the harm we choose to inflict upon others is astounding, be it from a gun or cyberspace it’s all equally horrifying. Thought it was excellent and my ostrich head in the sand has been brutally awakened!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    One of the best books about modern infosecurity threats -- a detailed investigation into the activities of GRU in attacking infrastructure around the world (primarily in Ukraine), their motivations, and where the threat is evolving.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Scott

    If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. Absolutely outstanding reporting e,bedded in historical context about Russia’s hacking capabilities, what it’s doing in Ukraine and how it impacts all of us. It should be required reading for all cyber security, military, industry, and government officials. Everyone should read this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bouke

    Just listen to the Darknet diaries podcast episode NotPetya, it's better than the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Val

    This book was much more, and much better, than I expected, and I had high hopes when I started it. It tells the story of the elite Russian cyber attack team “Sandworm” as a central feature, but the book focuses even more on the first part of the title, “A New Era of Cyberwar,” giving a detailed but not overly-technical account of Cyberwar and the most devastating attacks made since network connected computing began. I have some training and experience in this field but I learned new things about This book was much more, and much better, than I expected, and I had high hopes when I started it. It tells the story of the elite Russian cyber attack team “Sandworm” as a central feature, but the book focuses even more on the first part of the title, “A New Era of Cyberwar,” giving a detailed but not overly-technical account of Cyberwar and the most devastating attacks made since network connected computing began. I have some training and experience in this field but I learned new things about old attacks, and new things about more recent attacks. Once the genie was out of the bottle (destroying centrifuges in Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant through computer code commands), it was only a matter of time before other experts around the world learned how to reverse-engineer the breakthrough and spread the know-how far and wide. Once such tools were used on another nation and observable in the wild, cyberwar was ready to cause physical world mayhem in other machines on other continents. To-date, this is the best book I’ve read about cyberwar and the nations that wage it, with Russia being front-and-center as the most aggressive, damaging, and dangerous. Its teams have sledgehammered pillars of the international economy, such as power grids, transportation systems, and shipping yards, leaving government and corporate officials around the world scrambling to rebuild entire computer infrastructures or go bankrupt. Such teams crashed the Korea Olympics, caused chaos on the systems cleaning up the Chernobyl accident site, shut off the power for millions of people in Ukraine, and of course, caused the American people to lose confidence in our national election voter information and ballot systems. The author uses some stunning examples or real-world effects to make the point that cyber attacks have very real physical world consequences. The attack on the shipping giant Maersk, with its ubiquitous containers and cranes in nearly every major port on the planet, will give any reader a jolt of reality as to the economic crises a few lines of code can ignite. This was a terrific read from start to finish, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the havoc state-sponsored hacker teams can wreak on the digital and physical worlds we operate in daily. To call them “hackers” is a misnomer from a past we no longer live in. The sophisticated cyber attacks such teams have carried out are not merely a bunch of hackers testing to see what they can penetrate, testing the limits of their skills or the security of their targets. Teams such as “Sandworm” are the cyber version of military Special Forces teams like SEALS or Green Berets. They never stop training, they are relentless, and they can be lethal when the mission requires it. This book will be eye-opening for those who still believe the USA is better-protected or more immune from crippling cyber attacks than the unfortunate nations teams like Sandworm have targeted repeatedly. America has always had an isolationist streak, believing itself safe from enemies because it is protected east and west by large oceans so we see our enemies coming to attack our homeland. However, in the cyber world, no such isolation or protection exists. One quote stood out to me, that perfectly states the threat we face with nearly everything we do taking place on the Internet in some way: “Every barbarian is already at every gate.” In warfare, the goal is to win, and some governments are willing to be more ruthless and provocative than others, clearly viewIng dominance in the cyber domain as a critical part of winning future wars. With the tools and proven ability to knock out power grids, crash trade and financial systems, take company servers hostage, and make physical machines stop working or break down or work too well for safety, there is almost no limit to what major nation-states can do to each other in an actual all-out war, and civilians who rely on electricity and water and computers to live normal ife will be the collateral damage. Just ask the Ukrainian cyber expert who could not use his credit card, his ATM card, buy groceries, heat his house, pay his bills online, or do anything we all take for granted, because entire regions of that country have been repeatedly hit by cyber warfare attacks from Russia. Russia’s actions in Crimea here preceded by cyber attacks that shut down pro-Ukraine government communications, websites, and established a misinformation campaign. Ukraine experts paint a bleak future picture for us all if an all-out cyberwar erupts with Russia at some point. Some attacks are meant to show capability, as a deterrent to similar attacks on oneself, but the pace and severity of cyberwar attacks are rising, as are the chances for retaliatory strikes and escalation from capable victims. If you can shut down shipping container cargo manifests and cripple loading cranes, you can keep your enemy from receiving food, tools, parts, supplies, the very lifeblood of a nation’s ability to wage war. If it cannot feed its population, or maintain its machines, or communicate with the populace, war morale plummets. Do it in winter when losing the power grid means also losing heating systems for homes and businesses, so pipes, and people, freeze. When we start to think about how many networked devices we have running things in our homes, we can move forward to imagining what happens when those devices stop working. SmartHomes are amazing, and are an open invitation for cyberwar to be the “barbarian already at every gate.” A fascinating 5-star book that is enlightening, entertaining, frightening, and unquestionably necessary for waking us all up to what lies ahead. You will never think of a “glitch” on your favorite devices the same again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marks54

    While reading “Sandworm”, One is tempted to recall the dialog of Slim Pickens in Kubrick’s movie Doctor Strangelove - “Nuclear Combat, toe to toe with the Russkies!” Or when he rides a bomb down to the end of the world. Andy Greenberg’s new book is about cyber war and focuses on the Russian teams, linked to the GRU organization, that were behind the cyber attacks on Ukraine and other countries, including the US since 2016 (and before). The title comes with a reference to Frank Herbert’s Dune stor While reading “Sandworm”, One is tempted to recall the dialog of Slim Pickens in Kubrick’s movie Doctor Strangelove - “Nuclear Combat, toe to toe with the Russkies!” Or when he rides a bomb down to the end of the world. Andy Greenberg’s new book is about cyber war and focuses on the Russian teams, linked to the GRU organization, that were behind the cyber attacks on Ukraine and other countries, including the US since 2016 (and before). The title comes with a reference to Frank Herbert’s Dune stories for one of the teams. I am not blessed with excessive knowledge of code of any sort, especially industrial controls or other ways that the Internet reaches out and touches us. I am thrown into chaos when I miss a key update and do not find out about it until later. This makes me recognize just how vulnerable modern urban society would be to cyber war. So in reading Greenberg’s book about the Russian cyber attacks, how they worked, the damage they caused, and the difficulties that cyber security researchers encountered in just figuring out what they were, my reaction was Yikes!. It is a scary book that is convincingly argued. I have no doubt that more of this will happen and I have no idea what to do about it that I am not already doing. The book is a well written spy thriller that does a good job in linking the world of post-cold war diplomacy with the new technologies of networked computer systems that are coming to control everything. ...and the book hardly touched on threats from China. It also provides an introduction to the world of cyber security that can be looked into further if one wishes. If you need to read more on cyber warfare, this seems like a good book to start with.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark Maddrey

    It is a rare feat to write a non-fiction book that manages to be both factually informative and absolutely compelling to read. This book is one that does. It could not be more timely or important given the current need to mis-direct attention with spurious charges of meddling BY Ukrainian actors when the truth is ENTIRELY the opposite. They have been and will continue to be the targets of Russian interference. And, of course, so are we. I love the way Mr. Greenberg includes enough of the technic It is a rare feat to write a non-fiction book that manages to be both factually informative and absolutely compelling to read. This book is one that does. It could not be more timely or important given the current need to mis-direct attention with spurious charges of meddling BY Ukrainian actors when the truth is ENTIRELY the opposite. They have been and will continue to be the targets of Russian interference. And, of course, so are we. I love the way Mr. Greenberg includes enough of the technical hacking information to feed my interest but never lets it bog down the flow of the story. He connects the dots starting with dot 1 and running through to dot 256 (or wherever we are now). It is exactly the kind of reporting that used to be undeniable before 2016 when nearly half of the country decided to be delusional and only believe what they wanted. This book does scare me but I know that we have intelligent people, one might call them "elites", working to protect our important systems and I hope they can continue to do their work without interference from idiotic despots.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Fantastic read. This was like a history of hacking for me, and I was in awe of all the events I had never heard of because the news is so focused on the president’s latest tweets. I feel I have a foundational understanding finally of the politics of Ukraine and Russia and the major codenames for hackers and malware. It is written well and keeps your attention. I started taking notes halfway through because I know I will come back to them as this landscape develops. This is another book I really Fantastic read. This was like a history of hacking for me, and I was in awe of all the events I had never heard of because the news is so focused on the president’s latest tweets. I feel I have a foundational understanding finally of the politics of Ukraine and Russia and the major codenames for hackers and malware. It is written well and keeps your attention. I started taking notes halfway through because I know I will come back to them as this landscape develops. This is another book I really think should be required reading!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    Too technical for me, but a very important topic. I hope I'll get back to it someday. It seems to me that if they want to reach a non-tech crowd like me, the Dune series discovery angle could be very interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

    Well researched, well written look into some of the most high profile cyber attacks in the last 10 years. Most of these attacks have an underlying thread connecting them. Russia. They've been honing their cyberwar tactics in their wars with Georgia, Estonia, and Ukraine. Their attacks have been getting more brazen and reckless since the international community seems unwilling to draw a red line and hold Russia to account, even after NotPetya caused more than $10 billion dollars in damage to comp Well researched, well written look into some of the most high profile cyber attacks in the last 10 years. Most of these attacks have an underlying thread connecting them. Russia. They've been honing their cyberwar tactics in their wars with Georgia, Estonia, and Ukraine. Their attacks have been getting more brazen and reckless since the international community seems unwilling to draw a red line and hold Russia to account, even after NotPetya caused more than $10 billion dollars in damage to companies around the world. I've read most of the existing books on cyberwar and this is a must read. Greenberg (WIRED Security writer) writes in a way that you don't have to be a computer expert to understand. Highly recommend.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Snorre Lothar von Gohren Edwin

    It was an interesting story on a specific hacker group with good stories around for context. It gives you an insight to Russia, Ukraine and all their troubles as well. I got this tip from: https://darknetdiaries.com/ and the stories revolving NotPetya in that podcast, together with this book, gave alot of insight! It was an interesting story on a specific hacker group with good stories around for context. It gives you an insight to Russia, Ukraine and all their troubles as well. I got this tip from: https://darknetdiaries.com/ and the stories revolving NotPetya in that podcast, together with this book, gave alot of insight!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Cyber attacks seem to only exist in movies and fiction. However, our world is witnessing an escalating series of cyber attacks to civilian life. This book gave us the fascinating true stories of Sandworms, the world most reputable and dangerous cyber warriors from Russia. A malware, NotPetya, triggered the first-ever blackout to Ukraine, disrupting the electric grid and then spreading to some of the largest companies in the world in 2017. Then, broad and unrestrained attacks on the infrastructur Cyber attacks seem to only exist in movies and fiction. However, our world is witnessing an escalating series of cyber attacks to civilian life. This book gave us the fascinating true stories of Sandworms, the world most reputable and dangerous cyber warriors from Russia. A malware, NotPetya, triggered the first-ever blackout to Ukraine, disrupting the electric grid and then spreading to some of the largest companies in the world in 2017. Then, broad and unrestrained attacks on the infrastructure and civilian of the adversaries never stop. Why don't we respond? Although tracing the attackers was like finding needles among needles and the disruptions were by no means unnoticeable, Trump administration is reluctant to discuss any sentences contain "Russian" and "Hackers" no mater the context due to Russian's role in Trump's victory in the election and his notoriously thin knowledge of technology and security. As our life is more and more connected to the Internet, we have to think about what it means to be the subject of the attack. The world needs a new digital Geneva convention. It needs new rules for the roads. We need an approach that Government will adopt says that they will not attack civilians in times of peace.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    My expectations for this book were fairly low; Wired isn't a place I look to for quality writing. But I was pleasantly surprised. The story is quite interesting, and, not having followed big hacker news stories too closely, I learned a lot. Greenberg ties it all together nicely (if perhaps with more certainty in his attribution than he should have). Greenberg talks about Ukraine almost as much as computer hacking. Most of the perspective is fairly one-sided; he only interviews a few people and t My expectations for this book were fairly low; Wired isn't a place I look to for quality writing. But I was pleasantly surprised. The story is quite interesting, and, not having followed big hacker news stories too closely, I learned a lot. Greenberg ties it all together nicely (if perhaps with more certainty in his attribution than he should have). Greenberg talks about Ukraine almost as much as computer hacking. Most of the perspective is fairly one-sided; he only interviews a few people and tends to present their statements uncritically. But it is still a scary story, and reasonably convincing. > The next morning, the election commission was hit with a third and final attack, this time a punishing wave of junk traffic designed to keep its servers off-line and prevent them from confirming the legitimate results. … By the time I visited Kiev in early 2017, practically every strata of Ukrainian society was being hit in successive waves of coordinated hacker sabotage: media, energy, transportation, finance, government, and military. … the same group that had just snuffed out the lights for nearly a quarter of a million Ukrainians had only a year before infected the computers of American electric utilities with the very same malware. > NATO members were unwilling to remotely consider an Article 5 response to the Russian provocations [to Estonia]. This was, after all, a mere attack on the internet, not a life-threatening act of physical warfare. Ilves says he asked his diplomats to instead inquire about Article 4, which merely convenes NATO leaders for a "consultation" when a member's security is threatened. The liaisons quickly brought back an answer: Even that milder step proved a nonstarter. > Russia's gains from its brief war with Georgia, however, were tangible. It had consolidated pro-Russian separatist control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, granting Russia a permanent foothold on roughly 20 percent of Georgia's territory. Just as in Ukraine in 2014, Russia hadn't sought to conquer or occupy its smaller neighbor, but instead to lock it into a "frozen conflict," a permanent state of low-level war on its own soil. … No country had ever before so openly combined hacker disruption tactics with traditional warfare. The Russians had sought to dominate their enemy in every domain of war: land, sea, air, and now the internet. Georgia was the first crude experiment in a new flavor of hybrid warfare that bridged the digital and the physical. > No one in the security community could remember seeing a piece of malware that used four zero days in a single attack. Stuxnet, as Microsoft eventually dubbed the malware based on file names in its code, was easily the most sophisticated cyberattack ever seen in the wild. … Stuxnet's only flaw was that it was too effective. … When the NSA chose to let its Tailored Access Operations hackers abuse those software flaws, it prioritized military offense over civilian defense. > No U.S. agency even named Russia as the offender, despite the numerous clues available to any researcher who looked. The Obama administration was virtually silent. America and the world had lost a once-in-history chance, Lee argues, to definitively establish a set of norms to protect civilians in a new age of cyberwar. "It was a missed opportunity," he says. "If you say you won't allow something and then it happens and there's crickets, you're effectively condoning it." > But the code was also highly modular. The protocols could just as easily be swapped out for others—including those used in the United States. "I salute the author of this malware, because it will work anywhere," as Krotofil would later put it. "The beauty of this is that you can launch it in any country, in any substation." The notion that Sandworm was using Ukraine to test out techniques that it might someday repeat in western Europe or the United States was now more than an abstract theory: It had been borne out in the actual mechanics of the tool the researchers had uncovered. > Instead of an abstract fear that U.S. cyberweapons would inspire adversaries to develop their own, America's hacking arsenal had fallen, suddenly and directly, into enemy hands. … Maersk's desperate administrators finally found one lone surviving domain controller in a remote office—in Ghana. At some point before NotPetya struck, a blackout had knocked the Ghanaian machine off-line, and the computer remained disconnected from the network. It thus contained the singular known copy of the company's domain controller data left untouched by the malware … In total, the result was more than $10 billion in damages, according to a White House assessment > The result of all these combined myopias was the closest thing the earth has yet seen to the long-predicted, infrastructure-crippling cyberwar doomsday. To an extent never seen before or—as of this writing—since, a single surprise cyberattack took a chunk out of the foundation of civilization, from pharmaceuticals to shipping to food. Distributed across the world, and in a far more concentrated sense for Ukraine itself, NotPetya was the "electronic Pearl Harbor" that John Hamre had first warned of in 1997. … The "perfc" file that Amit Serper had identified as NotPetya's vaccine appeared on computers that hadn’t actually been affected by the worm, close to 10 percent of machines in some cases. The victim companies' administrators told him that they hadn't installed the vaccine. But those computers had, nonetheless, been spared from encryption. Yasinsky believed that the "vaccine" had, in fact, served a different purpose in the hands of the hackers: It was designed to preserve their access. > American utility operators, more than Ukrainians, have learned to manage the generation and flow of power primarily through their computers and automated systems. Without those modern tools, they're blinded. Ukrainian operators, by contrast, are far more accustomed to those tools' failures, and thus ready to fall back on an analog option.

  14. 5 out of 5

    TJ Wilson

    This book kind of blew my mind in terms of the world that I did not know. A new frontier is out there, and no one is sure if we are handling it in the right way. I found the writing a bit awkward at times, but the reporting is very solid. So much groundwork here.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ahsan Khan

    Cyberwar is now.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Filip Olšovský

    Although the beginning is often unreasonably epic and the ending is just 20-30 pages too long, all the stuff in between is just brilliant. Probably the best book on this topic and a clear example of how reporting should look like.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Sandworm tells the story of the Kremlin hackers behind the worst computer crimes ever, from the *NotPetya* worm (which took many different corporations offline, including Maersk and many US hospitals) to the South Korean Olympics to our own 2016 elections. Greenberg traces it all back to *Sandworm*, one of the original worms. Ukraine is used as a test bed for Russian cyber aggression and the lessons we should learn (although I don't think we have) if (when?) they attack us. It is pretty crazy how Sandworm tells the story of the Kremlin hackers behind the worst computer crimes ever, from the *NotPetya* worm (which took many different corporations offline, including Maersk and many US hospitals) to the South Korean Olympics to our own 2016 elections. Greenberg traces it all back to *Sandworm*, one of the original worms. Ukraine is used as a test bed for Russian cyber aggression and the lessons we should learn (although I don't think we have) if (when?) they attack us. It is pretty crazy how "head in the sand" we are about these attacks. I think the thing that stuck most with me was the idea of "distance". While people in power say "Oh, Ukraine is so far away we don't have to put our foot down", in reality, when it comes to the Internet, we are all neighbors and there is no "distance" that protects us like the Atlantic and Pacific have protected us in the past. As a software developer, the stories told here have a real chilling effect. No matter how small or obscure your software might be, it can be used as a vector for real destruction. The developers of a small accounting software package in Ukraine might say that, while they were of course worried about security, why would anyone target us? Turns out, they were a perfect vector for the disastrous worldwide epidemic of "NotPetya" - once you are in a networked computer with complete control, you can quickly spread throughout the interconnected world. But in some ways this book reminded me of "Blowout" - a description of a litany of failures and of a lack of imagination that I feel powerless to do anything about and that the book itself is merely a catalog of failures and won't lead to any kind of change. But this one is worse. It makes me think about bunkers and ways to survive an apocalyptic loss of electricity, the lifeblood of modern society. There should be limits put on what kinds of attacks are "okay", but no - we think we are better than the "others", so we don't want to limit our attacks. Ugh. Good luck with that.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scott Martin

    (Audiobook) As we become more and more dependent on computers and all other aspects of cyber, the dangers from hacking groups and cyber warriors will only increase. Additionally, future wars and conflicts will be fought in the cyber realm as much as on land, sea, air and space. This work, written by a writer who focuses on cyber/computer issues, covers the exploits and actions of one the more infamous group of hackers. Originating in Russia, Sandworm evolved over time from crime to a geo-politic (Audiobook) As we become more and more dependent on computers and all other aspects of cyber, the dangers from hacking groups and cyber warriors will only increase. Additionally, future wars and conflicts will be fought in the cyber realm as much as on land, sea, air and space. This work, written by a writer who focuses on cyber/computer issues, covers the exploits and actions of one the more infamous group of hackers. Originating in Russia, Sandworm evolved over time from crime to a geo-political weapon, and their activities in the cyber realm have had devestating impacts in cyber and the physical world. From looking to embarrass various international entities and organizations to the ability to take down and disable power plants, the hackers associated with Sandworm are another weapon in the Russian military and political arsenal. Greenberg uses an extensive array of sources and interviews to try to bring to light the work of this group of hackers. Over the course of several years, he comes to see Sandworm as not just a group of independent hackers, but one that is under the control of Russian intelligence and political leadership. In particular, they answer to the GRU (the modern incarnation of the KGB from the Soviet days). They were involved in everything from the invasion of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to the disabling of several Ukrainian power plants, to the disinformation campaign against the US during the 2016 Presidential election. The US and international community have acted against Russia for these endeavors, but often slowly and not always in a reciprocal manner. Cyber warfare is going to be a larger factor in the future of the world. From direct impact to computers and networks to how we perceive information and truth, cyber warfare will impact us all. This work is just of many that should be considered when discussing cyber warfare and the various entities associated with cyber. Audiobook or hard/e-copy will rate just the same for this work.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    HooOOLLy shit, this book was GOOD. It’s like a Bourne-meets-Matrix-meets-Muller, blow-by-hacker-blow account of a few decades worth of cyber warfare and espionage. Captivating. Horrifying. [insert ‘watching a trainwreck’ comment here] It’s also, coincidentally, a great follow-up to reading Edward Snowden’s “Permanent Record,” which I finished the day before starting “Sandworm.” I found myself often wanting to speak with others about the book, and I’ve already recommended it to many. What I like p HooOOLLy shit, this book was GOOD. It’s like a Bourne-meets-Matrix-meets-Muller, blow-by-hacker-blow account of a few decades worth of cyber warfare and espionage. Captivating. Horrifying. [insert ‘watching a trainwreck’ comment here] It’s also, coincidentally, a great follow-up to reading Edward Snowden’s “Permanent Record,” which I finished the day before starting “Sandworm.” I found myself often wanting to speak with others about the book, and I’ve already recommended it to many. What I like perhaps the most is that it is accessible enough that complete n00bs (including myself, who can only make a Real Nice Graph on Matlab) will be able to follow the logic of the worlds most talented & dangerous hackers, or that the human & physical implications of cyber warfare are thoroughly considered and depicted.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    A history book describing the most dangerous Russian hackers to date. They utilized zero day vulnerabilities of Windows/Linux/Unix systems and programmed viruses such as ransomware and wanna cry. Penetrated Ukrainian power grids, manipulated votes of French and US elections, brought down Pyeong Chang Olympic networks. The reasons for those actions were unknown. We have no idea how dangerous the world is out there. Our lives would descend into chaos if it were not for the cyber security heroes who A history book describing the most dangerous Russian hackers to date. They utilized zero day vulnerabilities of Windows/Linux/Unix systems and programmed viruses such as ransomware and wanna cry. Penetrated Ukrainian power grids, manipulated votes of French and US elections, brought down Pyeong Chang Olympic networks. The reasons for those actions were unknown. We have no idea how dangerous the world is out there. Our lives would descend into chaos if it were not for the cyber security heroes who fought nights and days against the malware bombs and penetration attacks unleashed by state sponsored hackers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ann Cox

    I could not put this book down! It paints a frightening picture of what we can probably expect in the way of cyberwar, and explains the war between Russia and the Ukraine, meddling in past elections and the US’s policy (or lack of) on Russia’s hacking. All of the many acronyms can be annoying to remember, so I kept notes on each one and other names and topics that I am sure I will want to go back to again. Everyone should read this!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane Cordingley

    Facinating, and what a time to read it - right as they are talking that a response from Iran might be cyber. Recommend for anyone interested in what future reactions to attacks on a government might entail - or even internal hacker attacks.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ed Terrell

    Greenberg presents the topic of government interference into the lives and livelihood of people around the world not as a science fiction scenario but as an all too real problem that is not going away anytime soon. Most of us think of hackers as loners and small groups demanding ransomeware or stealing passwords. But it goes far beyond this due to the connectivity of industrial control systems and the outside world. Sandworm highlights the espionage of the GRU in Russia, both against the Ukraine Greenberg presents the topic of government interference into the lives and livelihood of people around the world not as a science fiction scenario but as an all too real problem that is not going away anytime soon. Most of us think of hackers as loners and small groups demanding ransomeware or stealing passwords. But it goes far beyond this due to the connectivity of industrial control systems and the outside world. Sandworm highlights the espionage of the GRU in Russia, both against the Ukraine in turning out the lights by remotely attacking the power grid and against the US by meddling in our elections. China and the US are not blameless but the capabilities of other state sponsored actors has leveled the playing field. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and commonplace programmable logic controllers (PLCs) cause valves to open, doors to shut, alarms to go off (or not) and if accessed by the wrong groups can cause catastrophic damage. Nuclear power plants are not immune.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Srinivas Chitturi

    Sandworm shows us how easy it is to hack if you have the backing of a state nation. It takes you through the experiments/practice of cyberwarfare of Russia on Ukraine and further into how the SCADA systems of famous companies can be infected. Right from ransomware, NotPetya, South Korean winter Olympics hacking nothing really seems outrageous to the elite hackers. Cyberwarfare is real and with the blurring lines between digital and physical worlds, we are treading on very dangerous grounds.

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Davis

    A Real Existential Threat A well researched book on cyber-warfare that reads like a fast paced spy thriller. I only wish it was fiction! Great reporting on an important topic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Thor Nordahl

    Very good book, although I got a little sick of the narrative structure. Also I'm either going off the grid or installing ultra-secure custom made software on all my devices after reading this..

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    Reads like fiction, a thriller, but this is real. Top notch reporting and does an excellent job laying it all out for a layidiot like me

  29. 4 out of 5

    Collin Lysford

    It's a common statement in cybersecurity that you can almost never really attribute a given attack to a given actor. But Sandworm does its best to assemble the massive preponderance of what evidence we do have of who's behind some of the highest profile attacks of the decade. When you combine that with concrete evidence that cyberwar can hop effortlessly into the realm of the real, this is an extremely timely guide into what everyone really needs to know about the new age of digital threat that' It's a common statement in cybersecurity that you can almost never really attribute a given attack to a given actor. But Sandworm does its best to assemble the massive preponderance of what evidence we do have of who's behind some of the highest profile attacks of the decade. When you combine that with concrete evidence that cyberwar can hop effortlessly into the realm of the real, this is an extremely timely guide into what everyone really needs to know about the new age of digital threat that's upon us. I've been waiting for this book ever since the Wired article last year that included some preview material, and it didn't disappoint. However, I think it tries a little too hard for it's own good to be punchy and mix things up frequently. The chapters are all super short, and when everything is connected in such fundamental ways, I can't help but feel sometimes this is making it harder than it needs to be to keep the big picture in your head all at once. This is definitely one of the books that I think could have stood to focus less on the gonzo/personal aspects and lean more into scholarly rigor. Still, it's not a huge detraction, and this is definitely a 4 star on the cusp of 5. I think pretty much everyone should read this book and know the kind of things the future has in store for us.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Neil McGee

    Very good, well researched. Really enjoyed.

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