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Zero Day

In recent years, the world of espionage has changed so much even James Bond has had to adapt. Anthony takes us deep inside a world most of us know almost nothing about — cyber espionage — to give us a detailed and dramatic account of the darker side of the internet.

Zero Day


“2009-06-07, 14:25 – Mission Log: I’m in!”

You’ve passed the first hurdle, effortlessly, thanks to a forged master key stolen from a locksmith with lax security. After years of training and preparation, your work finally begins.

You walk around the facility, calmly, systematically, drawing a map and surveying each room and noting who works in it, meticulously itemising every piece of hardware and software installed on every computer, effortlessly bypassing the security measures designed to block your access. Then you find it, your Primary Target: several Windows PCs with Siemens Step 7 SCADA Control System installed. Carefully, silently, you take copies of the custom-designed programs that are installed on the Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) that drive the machinery of this facility, and bundle them up, ready to be exfiltrated to a team of fellow operatives back at home anxiously awaiting your data.

If you catch an infosec specialist in a weaker moment, they’ll often confide that we’re losing the battle to keep our IT systems secure.

“2009-06-07, 14:56 – Mission Log: Preliminary survey & payload attached. More to come.”

While you’re at it, you take pictures of people, rooms, doors, signs, equipment — copies of documents, photos, diaries and address books on every computer and cell-phone you can touch — eavesdrop and record conversations and phone calls, and peer over the shoulders of staff as they enter login credentials to various systems. They might come in handy later. You do all of this with almost complete impunity, because no one can see you — you are virtually invisible, thanks to a special gadget cooked up by the boffins in the lab back home, bestowed upon you in the best 007 tradition.

You collect all of your reconnaissance and stolen data, place it into a tidy little box wrapped in birthday gift wrapping paper, and drop it into the mail trolley, addressed from the facility’s Chief Of Operations, to his great aunt who is apparently holidaying in Malaysia. No one notices anything wrong, and your package is sent.

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