Attack Surface

384 pages

English language

Published Nov. 2, 2020

ISBN:
978-1-250-75753-1
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Goodreads:
49247283

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4 stars (34 reviews)

Cory Doctorow's Attack Surface is a standalone novel set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Little Brother and Homeland.

Most days, Masha Maximow was sure she'd chosen the winning side.

In her day job as a counterterrorism wizard for an transnational cybersecurity firm, she made the hacks that allowed repressive regimes to spy on dissidents, and manipulate their every move. The perks were fantastic, and the pay was obscene.

Just for fun, and to piss off her masters, Masha sometimes used her mad skills to help those same troublemakers evade detection, if their cause was just. It was a dangerous game and a hell of a rush. But seriously self-destructive. And unsustainable.

When her targets were strangers in faraway police states, it was easy to compartmentalize, to ignore the collateral damage of murder, rape, and torture. But when it hits close to home, and the hacks and exploits …

2 editions

reviewed Attack Surface by 코리 닥터로

attack surface

4 stars

I'll read anything Doctorow puts out. Enjoyed this techno-thriller, though the pacing felt vaguely off at times. Had a bit of Heinlein-esque unsubtle author monologuing through the mouths of charismatic and hypercompetent characters on the nature of technology as at best a tool for connecting and enabling humans to participate in person-to-person organizing and democracy, rather than as a magic wand that makes the world better -- you can clearly feel the period and mood he was writing this in.

A good roadtrip through tech activist landscape

4 stars

The first Doctorow's book I consumed, by listening this time. Felt a bit like a road movie. Somehow not so urgent like many of his essays. I guess I also enjoy his twists and reserved poetics more when related with reality than with fiction.

But listening time was really enjoyable and the book is easy to recommend. Non the less because it is generously stuffed with technicalities of surveillance and resistance methods (even if sometimes exaggerated), which aren't often heard of and seem to be very worth noticing.

Thanks @pluralistic@mamot.fr

Review of 'Attack Surface' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

This is the third volume of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother series, but it also serves as a standalone novel. It tells the story of Masha, who served as one of the antagonists in the first novel, Little Brother, and provided assistance to Marcus in the second, Homeland.

The story begins with Masha working for Xoth, a private company assisting a foreign government suppress protesters. After completing her work for the day aiding the authoritarian government, she moonlights by assisting a group of protestors, teaching them how to evade the monitoring.

If the first two books had Marcus as the protagonist, here we follow Masha Maximow, who was mostly “on the other side” working to help to suppress hacktivists, but at the same time supplied Marcus with sensitive data in the second book.

As the story unfolds, we see flashbacks of how Masha ended up working with Homeland Security …

Review of 'Attack Surface' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This is the third book in the "Little Brother" series, which started with "Little Brother" and "Homeland". Although this novel can be read on its own, it does make reference to several of the events and people from the previous novels so having read those first might add a little more depth.

Although these are nominally YA books, their themes are very serious and tech-heavy; the first book happens as a terrorist attach on San Francisco leads to the Department of Homeland Security using terrorism as an excuse to increase surveillance of its citizens, and follows the efforts of teen Marcus Yallow and his friends to create peer to peer un-monitorable networks through which to resist this. Homeland follows up to the previous book with more examination of state surveillance, political resistance, and Marcus's former acquaintance Masha Maximow surfacing as a whistleblower for Xyz, a corporate surveillance contractor working closely …

Review of 'Attack Surface' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Awesome conclusion/spinoff of the Little Brother story arc. This one focusing on Masha, a hacker involved on supplying surveillance companies and military contractors with tech to spy and control the general population.
A really insightful look into the dark side of tech, and the moral complexities of the people involved in it. It uses the whole story as a really clear introduction to tech concepts like cryptography, man-in-the-middle attacks, virtual machines and so on.
Definitely a required reading for survival in the age of surveillance capitalism and the horrors it brings.

Review of 'Attack Surface' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

An entertaining and...eventually...fast paced caper set in the world of governments spying on their own citizens using any cyber tool the big bad corporates will sell them. However the surfeit of One dimensional characters who accompany and harry the faintly believable heroine, plus Doctorow’s need to constantly be “educating” his audience – as evidenced in the frankly unnecessary and multiple afterwords – lets down its efforts to be anything other than a semi-enjoyable read which geeks especially will no doubt lap up.

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