Trojan Horse, a cyber-thriller by Microsoft Fellow Mark Russinovich, is the second in the series after Zero Day. If you remember my Zero Day review, the book was recommended read for any with a technical inclination. Since then, a short called Operation Desolation also came out for the Kindle and was also found to be very enjoyable in its bite-size adventure format.
I finally had the chance to complete reading Trojan Horse, a full-size novel of over 300 pages. It follows the same main characters from Zero Day, Jeff Aiken and Daryl Haugen. They investigate a malware infection that leads them to quite an adventure with high risks and little reward.
The malware that takes center stage in Trojan Horse is quite clever and particularly insidious. E-mails and reports could not be trusted that they haven’t been modified. Able to confound electronic communication by not knowing if the true message was sent and received, it takes things to a whole new ballgame than the first noticed symptoms of a carefully modified document.
My favorite part of the book is how it revolves around Stuxnet. The relationship between Iran and China is laid out in the book with Stuxnet as a means for “you scratch my back, I scratch your back”. All told, the technical details, as one would expect from Mr. Russinovich’s pen are accurate and in the right place. Malware is at a point where it does not have to be embellished for fiction. If you are interested in technology and wonder about they cyber warfare between nation-states, this book will provide a sound example of the chess match taking place without us even knowing. Perhaps this might scare us in the right direction to start innovating in security means or at least making it a higher priority on huge projects like the nation’s Smart Grid.