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Publisher's Summary

From Wired senior writer Andy Greenberg comes the true story of the most devastating cyberattack in history and the desperate hunt to identify and track the elite Russian agents behind it.

"Much more than a true-life techno-thriller...a tour through a realm that is both invisible and critical to the daily lives of every person alive in the 21st century." (Los Angeles Times)

In 2014, the world witnessed the start of a mysterious series of cyberattacks. Targeting American utility companies, NATO, and electric grids in Eastern Europe, the strikes grew ever more brazen. They culminated in the summer of 2017, when the malware known as NotPetya was unleashed, penetrating, disrupting, and paralyzing some of the world's largest businesses - from drug manufacturers to software developers to shipping companies. At the attack's epicenter in Ukraine, ATMs froze. The railway and postal systems shut down. Hospitals went dark. NotPetya spread around the world, inflicting an unprecedented 10 billion dollars in damage - the largest, most devastating cyberattack the world had ever seen.

The hackers behind these attacks are quickly gaining a reputation as the most dangerous team of cyberwarriors in history: a group known as Sandworm. Working in the service of Russia's military intelligence agency, they represent a persistent, highly skilled force, one whose talents are matched by their willingness to launch broad, unrestrained attacks on the most critical infrastructure of their adversaries. They target government and private sector, military, and civilians alike.

A chilling, globe-spanning detective story, Sandworm considers the danger this force poses to our national security and stability. As the Kremlin's role in foreign government manipulation comes into greater focus, Sandworm exposes the realities not just of Russia's global digital offensive, but of an era where warfare ceases to be waged on the battlefield. It reveals how the lines between digital and physical conflict, between wartime and peacetime, have begun to blur - with world-shaking implications.

©2019 Andy Greenberg (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

Winner of the Cornelius Ryan Citation for Excellence from the Overseas Press Club of America

“As Russia has attacked, Greenberg has not been far behind, reporting on these incursions in Wired while searching for their perpetrators. Like the best true-crime writing, his narrative is both perversely entertaining and terrifying.” (New York Review of Books

“Immensely readable.... A hair-raising, cautionary tale about the burgeoning, post-Stuxnet world of state-sponsored hackers.... Greenberg lays out in chilling detail how future wars will be waged in cyberspace and makes the case that we have done little, as of yet, to prevent it.” (Washington Post

"[A] chilling account of a Kremlin-led cyber attack, a new front in global conflict." (Financial Times)

What listeners say about Sandworm

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An alarming review of the current cyber threat landscape

A very informative and very frightening account of the new cyber reality. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Eye-opening but ear-shattering

Great book, very eye opening, and I feel like we're going to see a sequel to it, whether we like it or not. But the narrator really misses the mark with the voices. If you're going to try to do different voices in a documentary, at least try to watch the interviews to hear what they sound like. If the reader knows what the people mentioned actually sound like, the narrator doing them wrong really ruins the experience.

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When the lights go out, is it the FSB troll farms?

This book starts with the lights going out in the Ukraine, and follows a number of international cybersecurity firms and personalities tracking the origins and damage of the Sandworm group, a Russian cyberintelligence group looking for ways to hack physical infrastructure rather than less damaging ransomware or stealing of secrets. Imagine a virus that can make a nuclear power plant overheat, a dam overflow, airport runway navigation altered, etc. Sandworm is still out there and it is not clear what physical damage is planned for the future. The book is well written and offers the average reader a clear understanding of the dangers of cyberwarfare when deployed to disrupt physical infrastructure in other countries.

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Compelling read. Captivating. Highly recommend.

Certainly a gripping wake up call. Pretty much “binge read”this - just couldn’t stop listening. Greenberg’s incredibly well researched book not only describes cyber attacks on infrastructure, but delves into the complex web of historical, political and social factors behind them. Highly recommended for readers looking for objective insight into the world of cyber attacks, real and potential, described via a light but compelling, non-technical narrative. Really enjoyed the narration too - Mark Bramhall does an excellent job of bringing Greenberg‘a work to life.

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Surprisingly more boring than I thought.

This was surprisingly more boring than I thought it was gonna be. had trouble getting through it all. Cybercrimes are an issue. I guess?

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Scary

This scared me. For myself, for the world, for the future.
Well written, almost sound like a far fetched fiction, except it’s not.

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  • ndru1
  • 2019-11-12

Thru the eyes of the Sandworm's hunters and prey

I've always enjoyed Wired's in-depth reporting on major cyber attacks, so when Andy Greenberg put out a book last week I grabbed it. While many recent books have been about stolen personal data and influence campaigns by China and North Korea, this books has a clear focus: weapons of cyber destruction by Russia.

Chronogically, the book starts with the first attack on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015. This attack use the Dark Energy malware, which included the first of many references to Frank Herbert's Dune, hence Sandworm. If you have read other books on cyber war, you can probably skip the first two sections.

It gets interesting in Section 3 with the second hack on the Ukrainian power grid, in which experts note that the attackers held back from doing their worst possible damage. The group was also responsible for NotPetya, the most damaging cyber attack till date that ravaged the Ukraine and also several MNCs, who had links to Ukraine.

Greenberg also links the group to the hacking of various elections and concludes that all these attacks - whether noisy influence campaigns or stealthy destruction of infrastructure - are all by Russia's GRU and all have the primary goal of influence.

What makes the book very readable is seeing the story of each attach unfold through the viewpoints of key players in each incident. So while I may have revealed some of the takeaway, I am definitely not spoiling the enjoyment of anyone who wants to read it.

For some samples of Greenberg's writing (you can skip these sections in the book later):
https://www.wired.com/2016/03/inside-cunning-unprecedented-hack-ukraines-power-grid/
https://www.wired.com/story/crash-override-malware/
https://www.wired.com/story/untold-story-2018-olympics-destroyer-cyberattack/

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  • Scott
  • 2019-11-10

An important expose - well researched, frightening & prescient.

This is a supremely important expose of the development, use and effects of state-sponsored computer hacking as warfare - initially Russian in Ukraine, and now while still primarily by Russia, carried out be other nations including the US. As the US still steadfastly refuses to promote international, Geneva-style sanctions on these immensely dangerous and potentially catastrophic crimes (because such limitations would limit US offensive opportunity) I am reminded of the opposition John Kennedy faced from his Joint Chiefs when he attempted to work with Khrushchev to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, advocating instead for a nuclear first strike, claiming that while the US might lose 30 million people, we’d ultimately win because the USSR would lose more. This book is a prescient warning and analysis - at a time where we still have the opportunity to advocate a change in course.

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  • saidshe
  • 2020-02-12

Listening a second time.

I restarted the book from the beginning as soon as I finished it the first time. On the second listen I was better with tracking the dates & main characters. The writing is as smooth as the voiceover & I've rarely found that to be true. Especially with non-fiction. The author reveals shocking details that I can't believe the general public isn't aware of. We should all know what's coming.
If you're easily frightened about doomsday scenarios, you won't care for this book.
I can't fathom that any human being could find out this much info, weave it together a great narrative & turn it into a great book.

9 people found this helpful

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  • TJ
  • 2019-12-03

Riveting Revelation

Global codex, keys to the kingdom, comfort or paranoia, offense or defense...you pick. The revelation of this book, transcends everything we think we know about the grid. Are we moving headlong into a New Stone Age, perhaps. I now see my computer and access to the globe in light or not so light. Next time you see me I’ll be.......end of line.

9 people found this helpful

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  • 1337reviewer
  • 2020-01-24

Thrilling. True. Currently on-going .

Very much worth listening to, especially by members of the infosec community at Silicon Valley companies. The narrator is earnest and there are slight technical inaccuracies but this is because it is a complex topic and the author, coming from outside the field, did his honest best. Any minor confusion or incorrect descriptions is minor and does not detract from the narrative: a real-life spy thriller that’s happening •today•.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Curtiss J.
  • 2020-01-12

Fascinating & Frightening!

You don’t have to be a computer nerd to easily follow along and see the profound implications the subject of this book has had in ALL our lives in the past decade or two and what we may be in store for in the near future. Fascinating and frightening.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Roger R.
  • 2019-12-02

How hacking has become the new war front

The author is well researched and so how cyber warfare has progressed. Also found that while the Russian GRU is a big problem. the US government is not with out it's issues.

7 people found this helpful

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  • TF
  • 2019-11-23

Excellent

I really enjoyed this book. Thoroughly researched, the book introduces the theme which the overall book is built on and breaks it down into a handful of incident related stories that make for really easy reading, at least for those who have even the most basic knowledge of cyber attacks or even an interest in online security. In short, the author does a fantastic job of turning what could be, and is often done so in similar books on the topic, really esoteric information laid out page after page into a fast paced read. If you have any idea of or have read about Stuxnet, this book will 100% appeal to you.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Hughes
  • 2020-06-07

Excellent Content & Delivery

The content is gripping, masterfully delivered, shocking, and eye-opening. Highly recommend for anyone interested in developing a deeper understanding of the historical pretenses that have shaped our current cyber "climate".

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  • stan
  • 2021-08-29

Very Informative & well researched

The author obviously hates Trump and should have kept his politics out of the book

2 people found this helpful

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  • Vincent
  • 2020-01-08

In audible!

Speech jerky, listening is painful so I did not listen for more than 10 minutes despite the interest of the subject
The voice just sounds like SIRI... disappointing

1 person found this helpful