back to article Microsoft Windows guru turns to cybercrime (fiction)

One of Microsoft's top Windows gurus and author of books and tools for securely coding Windows has embraced fiction with a debut tackling international cyber crime. Platform and Services Division technical fellow Mark Russinovich has delivered a Die-Hard-4-style novel called Zero Day. It tells the story of Osama-bin-Laiden- …


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  1. Danny 4

    Darn it, Daryl.

    "Why won't it work, Jeff?" said Daryl pushing the recently expired mouse around.

    Jeff stared at the blue screen now mocking his attempts at restarting the system.

    "The infection is too deep." replied Jeff. "The only way to get it back is reformat and reinstall."

    Jeff searched the ransacked office attempting to locate the system discs that would restore the forlorn machine to life. He knew his search would be futile. The makers dared not trust end-users with system discs.

    "Damn. I knew we should have used Linux." he said.

    1. David Webb


      Daryl looked at Jeff with come to bed eyes. The only infection he was interested in was the sort that required a visit to the GUM clinic afterwards. The smell of fresh laser ink was in the air, adding to the ambience and the mood.

      Yep, has the potential for the worst sex scene in the world, ever!

  2. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    over reliance on windows surely ?

    And is that how we get hacked down to stone age ?

    Paris, coz she is no hack, she is thorough.

  3. Andy Jones

    Not believable

    Airlines and Oil Tankers do not run on Windows so are unlikely to be hacked.

    @ Danny 4.

    Even if they could find the system discs to restore the OS they would probably find that the WGA servers are working properly so they would have to ring the Helpdesk in India.

    1. Robin

      re: Not believable

      "Airlines and Oil Tankers do not run on Windows so are unlikely to be hacked."

      Yeah ... but it's not real.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge


      Of course, because only Windows is hackable, and no company would be silly enough to implement a system that requires security, using Windows.

      I'll give you a clue: Neither of the above statements is true. Windows is far from the only hackable OS, and companies frequently do implement systems that really need to be secure using Wndows, because it's often cheaper than developing a custom solution.

  4. Stu 18


    Unfortunately, stunningly attractive Daryl is more interested in regaining his status on Halo 3 after his box RROD for the third time and some silicon valley nerd stole is live id.

    Sounds like a ripper read - NOT!

  5. Remy Redert

    re: Over reliance on Windows surely ?

    No, it's over reliance on internet connected systems and internet connected systems that shouldn't be, like power grids, factory robotic systems and all those other nice computer controlled gadgets that people are trying to link to the internet these days.

    The internet shouldn't be used by anything remotely security sensitive. You wanna hook your toaster up to the internet? I see absolutely no reason why, but go right ahead.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remy

      Connectivity is part of the security equation but definitely not all of it. Do a little reading on Stuxnet - those machines were air gapped and were still compromised.

      While I am as quick as anyone to agree with you that many systems that are currently being hooked into public networks shouldn't be... but at the same time we cannot kid ourselves into thinking that an air gap or properly configured firewall allows us to neglect security best practices in other areas.

      Note: you didn't explicitly state otherwise so you very well might agree with each other on this point, in which case please consider this an "in addition to" your prior post.


    2. dssf

      I wouldn't hook up my toaster, either (if i had one)

      To the Internet(s).

      Imagine your toast being cripsed, possibly enough to start a fire. Imagine the fridge being made to cycle on and off randomly, or off completely so the food rots. (Might start conspiracy theories of grocery inventory buyers trying to pull more shoppers into the stores...). Imagine the toilets cycling over and over. Or, the garage door (if not mechanically locke) being made to open. Or, the fish tank over pumping or not pumping at all. And, if the oven is turned on early and too high when a turkey is in there supposedly going to slow-bake.

  6. hplasm

    Zero Day

    The day after the last Windows installation crashed.

    Can't wait...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit like....

    Die Hard 4.0.

  8. Gilbert Wham

    /waits patiently...

    For keyboard/heat jokes.

  9. Malcolm 1


    Got to be worth a read just to see how someone who actually knows his tech does a hollywood blockbuster storyline.

    1. Code Monkey

      And if anyone knows about poor security...'s an ex-Windows "guru"

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Scratching the Surface of the Meaning of Life and the God Myth with ITs Evil Empires to Boot

    Hi, Gavin Clarke in San Francisco,

    Of course, there is fiction and there is fact , but whether or not there is any difference between the two of them, other than that which is afforded to them by their Product Placement in an alternate time zone/geophysical location/metadata rich environment for a Present Reality [factual use] or a Future Fantasy [fictional use], is a moot point.

    There would be a probably somewhat alien view which would posit that there is no earthly difference between the two of them, and they are always one and the same at all times, and quite different at specific times.

    Your report has an interesting parallel, which is not a fiction, in a submission made elsewhere on a matter which is really loded and loaded.

    [blockquote]Posted by: amanfromMars | 01/24/11 | 4:13 am |

    Has not the penny dropped yet*? Virtual Warefare, aka Cyber ZerodDay Trading, has taken over from Explosive Munitions and Kinetic Weapons as the Leading Defence Force for Attacking Systems of Command and Control.

    Nowadays one doesn’t assault sovereign territory for assets one covets, one seduces hearts and minds with SMARTer Information which reveals Intelligence Needs and Feeds and Seeds …….. for Sustainable Supply of Future Source ….. and in Stealthy Fields of Transparent Communication, are they invariably always in Steganographic CodeXSSXXXX. [/blockquote]

    And for all you Heavy Binary Thinkers and Ternary Quantum Tinkerers, does not cloud cover provided perfect remote controlled hosting of advanced operating systems for browser activity and stealthy networking and viral screening of future command and control protocols and algorithms for Live Operational Virtual Environments.

    42Entertainment type stuff, Gavin, from C42 Quantum Control Systems ..... AI@ITsWork, and not for the faint hearted or the sexually prudish and unaware.

    1. Barracoder

      Thank you for being so insane.

      Don't stress so much - alien space bats will save the day.

      1. Mystic Megabyte


        "Don't stress so much - alien space bats will save the day."

        Nah! Doctor Who was all geared-up to do it but having invested heavily in Lehman Bros. in 1907, DeLorean in 1976 and most recently in 3D-TV he's been cleaned out and the Tardis was re-possessed in 2020.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Endorsements have come from [...] White House cyber security czar"

    That kind of diminishes the credibility of the book in my eyes.

    Writing good fiction is difficult. Writing good political thrillers is difficult. Writing good code is difficult as well, but keyboard jockey skills do not translate to story writer skills. I doubt that this text will be in any way captivating. It might be technically realistic, but the usual over-the-top adjectives of the New York Times Bestseller list will most probably not be used on this.

    That said, it will certainly be good enough for idea-starved Hollywood. We might get another Sandra Bullock film out of it (or six, the way Hollywood is going these days). Whether that is a good thing or not I leave to the reader to judge.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Aircraft and ships not running windows.

    Someone's fogetting the USN "TowMeHome" in the 1990s

    Scary thing now is that windows is being deployed in critical stuff such as weapons control.

    Imagine Judge Dredd facing a BSOD...

  14. Steven Knox


    "An airliner's controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction."

    Haven't we heard all of these scenarios before? Somewhere around 1999-ish?

  15. dssf

    USS Yorktown....

    Somewhere along the way of the story causing much embarrassment, the blame went from WNT to a bad switchboard or somesuch. Anything to deflect failure from NT or bad, bad, BAD tech decisionmaking. Unfortunately, for some, the UK RN also later on chose to use windows as the combat direction/ship management system...

    If people are worried about Stutnex overspinning Iran's centrifuges so fast the rip apart, imagine a traitor uploading a bad, intentionally targetting patch to the engineering system and overspinning the gas turbines (yep, you probably don't need windows access to do that... the misuse of controls and overrides might easily enable it without the fanfare). Or, imaine if one or more warfare-centric, networked ships were fed slighly erroneous targetting and navigation data... nothing big, but just fuel-wasting, or position changing...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A little help

    If you go to the pre-order on Barnes and Noble, please click the link to request it be added as an ebook!

  17. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Not his best work

    I prefer Process Explorer.

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