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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Life imitates art

I saw a story in the news today - Researchers Say They Uncover International Cyber-Spy Network ....

Security researchers said they have discovered software capable of stealing information installed on computers in 103 countries, an apparently coordinated cyber-attack that targeted the office of the Dalai Lama and government agencies around the world .... he researchers say the infected computers acted as a kind of illicit information-gathering network, and that they observed sensitive documents being stolen from a computer network operated by the Dalai Lama's organization. They traced the attacks to computers located in China, but stop short of blaming the Chinese government ....

It's interesting because this is so like the storyline of an audio book I picked up at the library last week - Breakpoint by Richard Clarke. It tells of a Chinese-based threat to the US government and science community cyber communications networks. Here's a bit about it from The New York Times .......

Richard Clarke, the former National Security Council staff member whose 2004 book, “Against All Enemies,” chastised the Bush and Clinton administrations for not doing enough to prevent terrorism before Sept. 11 (and became a best seller in the process), is continuing his career as a novelist. In “Breakpoint,” his second thriller, Jimmy Foley, an N.Y.P.D. detective on loan to the feds, and Susan Connor, head of the Special Projects Branch of the Intelligence Analysis Center, try to uncover who is behind a series of attacks on America’s scientific elite and cyber infrastructure. They discover that a lot of surprising science, from babies being given an extra set of chromosomes to something called “human brain reverse-engineering,” is being carried out far from the public eye — and that more than one group might have reason to be upset. Though the book is set in the near future, Mr. Clarke ends with an author’s note pointing out that much of his science is not entirely fictional. “Sometimes you can tell more truth through fiction,” he writes.

The writing is not the best I've read, but the science stuff is interesting .... technological singularity .... darpa ... transhumanism, etc. Here below is an audio excerpt from the book, at a point where the internet flow to and from the US has been almost completely cut off and now the good guys are investigating the mysterious explosion of a high tech computer lab ....

* Breakpoint (mp3)


Blogger cowboyangel said...

Interesting stuff, Crystal.

"Stop short of blaming the Chinese government." Yeah.

I read Clarke's "Against All Enemies," and thought it was pretty good. But I guess I wouldn't be surprised if his fiction was well-written. I don't remember great writing from his non-fiction, just interesting information. I actually didn't know he was writing fiction now.

8:05 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

I think this is just one of two fiction books by him. It's interesting for the info, like you said, but his style leaves a little to be desired.

10:28 AM  

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