Book Review – The Doodlebug War by Andrew Updegrove

If you ever want an opportunity to feel the kind of creeping malaise that can only come from knowing just how electronically entangled you are with everyone else, go hang out with some IT professionals, especially those who deal in IT security. It’s a (small) part of my job, so I’ve come to grips with the fact that my cell phone is probably listening to me type right now and just how dependent I’ve become on the Internet in my daily life. Not just for cat pictures, either; there’s data storage, access to applications I’ve written and maintain, interactions with other people, and, let’s face it, the Internet is pretty much the only way to get computer games anymore.

So, since I’m feeling like being a bit of a jerk, think about this way: Everything you do online – and this includes your phone, your car, your computer, your gaming system, your stereo, everything – is probably working through a series of choke points. What Steve Jobs called “The Cloud” is really just someone else’s computer and they’re renting you storage, access, and processing power. If that computer goes away, so does your data, your application, and your ability to do stuff. Poof. Gone. The backups are probably toasted, too, unless you’ve been keeping your own.

You have been backing up your own data, right?

Okay, now that I’ve lit a fire under your butt, let me also tell you there are still a whole bunch of people out there who want you dead and no wall, no mass deportations, no ban on certain religions entering the country is going to change their ability to get to you. Mostly because they’re already here. With some pretty common, off-the-shelf tools and hardware, a small, but determined adversary can cause a horrific amount of damage.

And when that small, but determined adversary really wants to stick it in and break it off? Well, remember the choke points I was talking about earlier?

So, just how bad can it get and what can be done to stop it? Read the Doodlebug war to find out. Like all of Updegrove’s books (read the review for The Alexandria Project), The Doodlebug War manages to finesse that fine point between action and thriller, giving us a tense read with plenty of moments of action and emotion interspersed throughout. There’s also a turtle. But the seriously scary thing about Updegrove’s books is he finds those little things that no one thinks about and finds ways to tighten the screws on them. If you like thrillers and thinking-person’s books, try one of them out. You won’t be disappointed.

The time is the immediate future, and the Caliphate is the enemy in the third Frank Adversego Thriller. Mullah Muhammed Foobar, the mysterious leader of a post-ISIS terrorist organization, has won control of much of the Mid East. Now he threatens to launch a horrific attack that will bring the United States and Europe to their knees. But How? The CIA turns to cybersecurity super sleuth Frank Adversego to find the answer. In a race against time, Frank must overcome personal as well as cyber trials to save the Western world from destruction. When he does, he discovers an all-too-real vulnerability that may lead to our own downfall – not at some theoretical point in the future, but as soon as tomorrow. In the words of “world’s greatest hacker” Kevin Mitnick: “Andrew Updegrove has done it again – delivered an impossible to put down thriller while exposing a dire cyber vulnerability that until now has gone unnoticed.”

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