Rogue Code

2014-06-02

Paul Baccas

Proofpoint, UK
Editor: Martijn Grooten

Abstract

Paul Baccas reviews the third novel in Mark Russinovich's Jeff Aiken series.


Title: Rogue Code: A Jeff Aiken Novel

Author: Mark Russinovich

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

ISBN-13: 978-1250035370

Rogue Code is security researcher Mark Russinovich’s third novel featuring the main character Jeff Aiken, and like the previous two (Zero Day and Trojan Horse), is a modern techno-thriller with equal emphasis on both techno and thriller. The plot revolves around the world of high finance, particularly High Frequency Trading (HFT) and IPOs, and is mainly based in and around Wall Street. The timing of the book is particularly fortunate in that both editions of The Times (London and New York) feature in their list of non-fiction best sellers Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis, which describes the world of HFT and how it has changed share trading, and the market, forever.

As in the previous two novels, each chapter is introduced with either a memorandum or a vignette of the people/things affected by the rogue code – this does not hamper the pace of the book, and in fact adds to its depth. The characterization of the minor characters has improved since the first novel in the series, and I suspect that we may see some of them appearing in future books (as a protagonist, Jeff Aiken has at least three more major malware/computer security themes to tackle). There are several side themes that suggest that more stories may be in the pipeline: Jeff’s relationship with colleague Daryl, and the internecine strife between (ex )members of certain three-letter agencies with current (or former) members of other three-letter agencies.

Mark knows his subject in depth – and any area in which he doesn’t have direct experience, he researches, and that shows. Sometimes the explanations and details are superfluous after the first mention (for example, detailing the manufacturer, type, and model of the bad guys’ firearms wasn’t necessary more than once). Perhaps taking out the exposition of the story and adding an Afterword or Addendum with some of these details would help to keep the flow smooth and fast.

I enjoyed the latest instalment of the Jeff Aiken series and would recommend you consider this for your summer vacation reading. Mark seems to be on an 18-month product release cycle and I look forward to version 4.0.

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest articles:

VB2018 paper: Under the hood: the automotive challenge

In an average five-year-old car, there are about 30 different computers on board. In an average new car, there are double that number, and in some cases up to 100. That’s the size of network an average SMB would have, only there’s no CIO/CISO, and…

VB2018 paper: Android app deobfuscation using static-dynamic cooperation

Malicious Android applications are quite common, and can even be found from time to time in the Google Play Store. Thus, a lot of work has been done in both industry and academia on Android app analysis, and in particular, static code analysis. One…

VB2018 paper: Anatomy of an attack: detecting and defeating CRASHOVERRIDE

CRASHOVERRIDE is the first publicly known malware designed to impact electric grid operations. Reviewing previously unavailable data covering logs, forensics, and various incident information, in this paper Joe Slowik outlines the CRASHOVERRIDE…

VB2018 paper: The modality of mortality in domain names

Domains slated for abusive uses are effectively disposable: they are registered, quickly abused for cybercrime, and abandoned. In this paper Paul Vixie describes the first systematic study of domain lifetimes, unravelling their complexities and…

VB2018 paper: Analysing compiled binaries using Logic

In this paper Thaís Moreira Hamasaki provides an introduction to some practical applications of SMT solvers in IT security, investigating the theoretical limitations and practical solutions, focusing on their use as a tool for binary static analysis.


Bulletin Archive

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.