Synopses & Reviews
From The New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth, the untold story of the cyberweapons market—the most secretive, invisible, government-backed market on earth—and a terrifying first look at a new kind of global warfare.
Zero day: a software bug that allows a hacker to break into your devices and move around undetected. One of the most coveted tools in a spy's arsenal, a zero day has the power to silently spy on your iPhone, dismantle the safety controls at a chemical plant, alter an election, and shut down the electric grid (just ask Ukraine).
For decades, under cover of classification levels and non-disclosure agreements, the United States government became the world's dominant hoarder of zero days. U.S. government agents paid top dollar—first thousands, and later millions of dollars—to hackers willing to sell their lock-picking code and their silence.
Then the United States lost control of its hoard and the market.
Now those zero days are in the hands of hostile nations and mercenaries who do not care if your vote goes missing, your clean water is contaminated, or our nuclear plants melt down.
Filled with spies, hackers, arms dealers, and a few unsung heroes, written like a thriller and a reference, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends is an astonishing feat of journalism. Based on years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, The New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth lifts the curtain on a market in shadow, revealing the urgent threat faced by us all if we cannot bring the global cyber arms race to heel.
“Reads like a modern-day John le Carré novel, with terrifying tales of espionage and cyber warfare that will keep you up at night, both unable to stop reading, and terrified for what the future holds.” Nick Bilton, author of American Kingpin, Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair
“Perlroth’s terrifying revelation of how vulnerable American institutions and individuals are to clandestine cyberattacks by malicious hackers is possibly the most important book of the year... a must-read exposé.” Booklist, starred review
“A stemwinder of a tale of how frightening cyber weapons have been turned on their maker. Perlroth takes a complex subject that has been cloaked in techspeak and makes it dead real for the rest of us." Kara Swisher, host of the New York Times podcast “Sway”
“Reads like the best kind of reportage... 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, Wired, author of New York Times bestseller The Only Plane in the Sky
Watch the Powell’s virtual event with Nicole Perlroth and John Markoff!
About the Author
Nicole Perlroth is an award-winning cybersecurity journalist for The New York Times, where her work has been optioned for both film and television. Ms. Perlroth previously covered venture capital and start-ups for Forbes Magazine. She is a regular lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a graduate of Princeton University and Stanford University. She lives with her husband and son in the Bay Area, but increasingly prefers life off the grid in a cabin in the woods.