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Nicole Perlroth

The Cyber Weapons Arms Race

From New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth, THIS IS HOW THEY TELL ME THE WORLD ENDS is the untold, bestselling account of the cyber arms trade-the most secretive, invisible, government-backed market on earth-and a terrifying first look at a new kind of global warfare.

"Perlroth’s storytelling is part John le Carré and more parts Michael Crichton—“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” meets “The Andromeda Strain.” Because she’s writing about a boys’ club, there’s also a lot of “Fight Club” in this book. (“The first rule of the zero-day market was: Nobody talks about the zero-day market. The second rule of the zero-day market was: Nobody talks about the zero-day market.”) And, because she tells the story of the zero-day market through the story of her investigation, it’s got a Frances McDormand “Fargo” quality, too...spellbinding."

The New Yorker

"Perlroth dives into the shadowy and frightening world of cyberwarfare...a fast-paced account of the U.S. government’s digital vulnerability, how it has been exploited and why the stakes couldn’t be higher."

The New York Times

“Perlroth's terrifying revelation of how vulnerable American institutions and individuals are to clandestine cyberattacks by malicious hackers is possibly the most important book of the year . . . Perlroth's precise, lucid, and compelling presentation of mind-blowing disclosures about the underground arms race a must-read exposé.”

Booklist, Starred review

“A stemwinder of a tale of how frightening cyber weapons have been turned on their maker. Perlroth takes a complex subject that has been cloaked in techspeak and makes it dead real for the rest of us.”

Kara Swisher, Host of the New York Times podcast "Sway"

“The best kind of reportage . . . a rollicking fun trip, front to back, and an urgent call for action before our wired world spins out of our control. I've covered cybersecurity for a decade and yet paragraph after paragraph I kept wondering: 'How did she manage to figure *that* out? How is she so good?'”

Garrett M. Graff, Wired, author of New York Times bestseller THE ONLY PLANE IN THE SKY

“The definitive history of cyberwarfare. Nicole Perlroth connects the dots and the behind the scenes action of every serious intrusion, cyberattack and cyberespionage revelation in the last decade, offering recommendations for stopping the cyberwar none of us want to see.”

Clint Watts, Author of MESSING WITH THE ENEMY

“Nicole Perlroth does what few other authors on the cyber beat can: she tells a highly technical, gripping story as if over a beer at your favorite local dive bar. A page-turner.”

Nina Jankowicz, author of HOW TO LOSE THE INFORMATION WAR

“Usually, books like this are praised by saying that they read like a screenplay or a novel. Nicole Perlroth's is better: her sensitivity to both technical issues and human behavior give this book an authenticity that makes its message--that cybersecurity issues threaten our privacy, our economy, and maybe our lives--even scarier.”

Steven Levy, author of HACKERS and FACEBOOK

A must-read tale of cloak-and-dagger mercenary hackers, digital weapons of mass destruction and clandestine, ne'er-do-well government agencies. Perlroth's intrepid reporting shows why the consequences could be frightening.

Lawrence Ingrassia, author of BILLION DOLLAR BRAND CLUB

“Reads like a modern-day John le Carré novel, with terrifying tales of espionage and cyber warfare that will keep you up at night, both unable to stop reading, and terrified for what the future holds.”

Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair, author of AMERICAN KINGPIN

"Easily an early contender for a "best of the year" award, and it is by far one of the best books on cyber warfare and espionage out there today...pulls the reader fully into the narrative from the first page."

Diplomatic Courier

"One of the most absorbing books I’ve encountered in a long time....superbly organized, written, and edited. What a story Perlroth has to tell."

Kent Anderson, The Geyser

SHORTLISTED FOR THE FT MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR PRIZE 2021

McKinsey and The Financial Times

Nicole Perlroth spent a decade as the lead cybersecurity, digital espionage and sabotage reporter for The New York Times. Her investigations rooted out Russian hacks of nuclear plants, airports, elections, and petrochemical plants; North Korea's cyberattack against movie studiosbanks and hospitals; Iranian attacks on oil companies, banks, critical infrastructure, and presidential campaigns; and thousands of Chinese cyberattacks against America’s critical infrastructure and businesses, including a months-long hack of The Times. Her investigations, and outing of hacking divisions within China’s People’s Liberation Army, helped compel the first United States hacking charges against members of the Chinese military, and earned her the prestigious “Best in Business Award” from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Her co-investigation of the use of commercial spyware in Mexico was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book “This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends,” about the global cyber arms race, which was recently shortlisted for the 2021 McKinsey and Financial Times’ Business Book of the Year Award and has been translated into nine languages. The book and several of her Times articles have been optioned for television.

Ms. Perlroth has been widely cited and published, beyond The Times, in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, New York Magazine, The Economist, Wired Magazine, Forbes Magazine, CNN, PBS, NPR, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The Christian Science Monitor, C-SPAN, NBC’s “Meet The Press,” MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “Dan Rather’s America,” Axios, CBS, CNBC, USA Today, Recorded Futures, Lawfare, the Times' podcast "Sway," "The Daily," and VOX's "Pivot."

She has delivered keynotes and speeches for the United States State Department, the World Bank, the Munich Security Conference, RSA, the Council on Foreign Relations, World Affairs Council, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Club, Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development, How To Academy, In-Q-Tel, Track ii Diplomacy, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Defense Policy Advisors, Hack the Capitol, the Center for European Policy Analysis and the CIOSExchange, an invite-only gathering of Fortune 50 Chief Information Officers.

She has lectured at Stanford University, including the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she co-authored a case study on the hack of Home Depot. She has also lectured at Princeton University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard Kennedy School, Hult International Business School, The Fletcher School at Tufts University, the Naval War College, Fordham Law, the University of California, Berkeley, John Hopkins Medical School, Cornell University Medical School and was selected as the inaugural “Journalist in Residence” for the University of Texas Strauss Center’s Journalism and World Affairs program and the Jeanette Pontacq Investigative Journalism Fellow.

Before joining the Times, Ms. Perlroth worked as a deputy editor at Forbes Magazine, an analyst at the Corporate Executive Board, a subsidiary of Gartner, and worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. She serves on the board of the Searle Scholars Program, which offers grants to support independent biomedical sciences and chemistry research of exceptional young faculty. Among Searle Scholars was Dr. Jennifer Doudna, of the University of California, Berkeley, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her groundbreaking work developing the CRISPR.

Ms. Perlroth is a graduate of Princeton University (B.A.), Stanford University (M.A.)

"Perlroth’s storytelling is part John le Carré and more parts Michael Crichton—“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” meets “The Andromeda Strain.” Because she’s writing about a boys’ club, there’s also a lot of “Fight Club” in this book. (“The first rule of the zero-day market was: Nobody talks about the zero-day market. The second rule of the zero-day market was: Nobody talks about the zero-day market.”) And, because she tells the story of the zero-day market through the story of her investigation, it’s got a Frances McDormand “Fargo” quality, too...spellbinding."

The New Yorker

“An intricately detailed, deeply sourced and reported history of the origins and growth of market and the global cyberweapons arms race it has sparked. . . . This is no bloodless, just-the-facts chronicle. Written in the hot, propulsive prose of a spy thriller, Perlroth’s book sets out from the start to scare us out of our complacency—and (on my part, at least) it succeeds. As a narrator, Perlroth comes at the reader hard, like an angry Cassandra who has spent the last seven years of her life (which is both the length of her career at The Times and more or less the time she spent working on the book) unmasking the signs of our impending doom—only to be ignored again and again.”

The New York Times Book Review

“Perlroth's terrifying revelation of how vulnerable American institutions and individuals are to clandestine cyberattacks by malicious hackers is possibly the most important book of the year...Perlroth's precise, lucid, and compelling presentation of mind-blowing disclosures about the underground arms race a must-read exposé.”

Booklist, Starred Review

“A powerful case for strong cybersecurity policy that reduces vulnerabilities while respecting civil rights.”

Kirkus Reviews

"Scarier than the scariest sci-fi movie, “This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race,” Ms. Perlroth’s stunningly detailed, must-read book tells the untold story of what may well be the clearest and most present danger facing the world."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“An essential cautionary tale [that] exposes the motivations and misgivings of the people helping governments hack into our devices. After Perlroth's incisive investigation, there's no excuse for ignoring the costs of the cyber arms race. Indeed, we are already deeply vulnerable.”

Sarah Frier, Bloomberg

“100% gripping. For anyone interested in cybersecurity, whether as student, policymaker, or citizen, it is well worth your read.”

P.W. Singer, author of LIKEWAR

“A wonderfully readable new book. Underlying everything Perlroth writes is the question of ethics: what is the right thing to do? Too many of the people she describes never seemed to think about that; their goals were short-term or selfish or both... a rip-roaring story of hackers and bug-sellers and spies that also looks at the deeper questions.”

Steven M. Bellovin, Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University

"When the weaknesses of a system can be bought and sold, the results can be calamitous, as This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends shows … Engaging and troubling … This secretive market is difficult to penetrate, but Perlroth has dug deeper than most and chronicles her efforts wittily."

The Economist

“From one of the literati, a compelling tale of the digerati: Nicole Perlroth puts arresting faces on the clandestine government-sponsored elites using 1s and 0s to protect us or menace us-and profit.”

Glenn Kramon, The New York Times

“The murky world of zero-day sales has remained in the shadows for decades, with few in the trade willing to talk about this critical topic. Nicole Perlroth has done a great job tracing the origin stories, coaxing practitioners into telling their fascinating tales and explaining why it all matters.”

Kim Zetter, author of COUNTDOWN TO ZERODAY

“Reads like a thriller. A masterful inside look at a highly profitable industry that was supposed to make us safer, but has ended up bringing us to the brink of the next world war.”

John Markoff, The New York Times

“A whirlwind global tour that introduces us to the crazy characters and bizarre stories behind the struggle to control the internet. It would be unbelievable if it wasn't all so very true.”

Alex Stamos, Director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and former head of security for Facebook

“This is not a book to read if you want to relax. Told in an enthrallingly cinematic style Perlroth takes us through some of the worst cyber-security breaches in history...revealing just how vulnerable our reliance on digital convenience has made us, both individually and as a society. This is How They Tell Me the World Ends is a stark, necessary, thoroughly reported reminder that no matter how strong the safe is, there’ll always be someone who can come along and crack it.”

Jonny Diamond, Lit Hub Editor-in-Chief

"“Exceptional . . . Ms. Perlroth is a seasoned cybersecurity reporter, and it shows—her mastery of detail and ability to write is vividly on display on every page. Reading this book, one will savor the vignettes and their connective tissue. I found myself pausing more often than usual to simply enjoy the prose, the detail, and the narrative. It is truly thought-provoking and pulls the reader fully into the narrative from the first page...Easily an early contender for a "best of the year" award, and it is by far one of the best books on cyber warfare and espionage out there today...pulls the reader fully into the narrative from the first page."

The Diplomatic Courier

"Written in the hot, propulsive prose of a spy thriller, Perlroth’s book sets out from the start to scare us out of our complacency...an intricately detailed, deeply sourced and reported history of the origins and growth of that market and the global cyberweapons arms race it has sparked."

The New York Times

"New York Times cybersecurity reporter Perlroth debuts with a colorful rundown of threats to the world’s digital infrastructure... Perlroth’s searing account of the role American hubris played in creating the zero-day market hits the mark."

Publisher's Weekly

"Sizzling...Her insider accounts provide texture and context. [Her] storytelling skills make them scarier, particularly because of the collateral damage."

Edward Lucas, The Times of London

"This big, smart but entirely intelligible book... is lively and enjoyable, scary until it’s (somewhat) calming, and mind-clearing."

George Ernsberger, About Books

“Riveting... You will be hooked in the first few pages.”

Dave Pell, Next Draft

“The New York Times cybersecurity reporter lifts the curtain on the cyberweapons market, revealing a terrifying look at a new kind of global arms race.”

“5 books not to miss," USA Today

“Readers of Perlroth’s alarming book will urge Washington to come up with a coherent, strong cybersecurity policy immediately, convinced by her argument that the U.S. is vulnerable to a new invisible global warfare...Perlroth takes readers on a vivid, fascinating tour of this shadowy world as she investigates hackers, creators of the world’s digital infrastructure, and the group that released National Security Agency hacking tools.”

National Book Review

02/5/2021

Interview: "Passing Judgment" Podcast

Friday, February 5, 2021 / 1PM Eastern

02/5/2021

Interview: "The New Book Network"

Friday, February 5, 2021 / 3PM eastern “New Book Network”podcast hosted by John Nicholas Sakellariadis

2/10/2020

Interview: NPR's "Fresh Air"

Nicole Perlroth is interviewed on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross

2/9/21

Interview: Cyber from VICE

An Interview with Ben Makuch of VICE

2/10/21

Interview: "Hidden Forces" Podcast

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 / 11AM eastern. An interview with “Hidden Forces”podcast hosted by Demetri Kofinas.

2/10/21

Event: City Lights Bookstore

Wednesday, February 10 / 6PM pacific City Lights will host a conversation between Nicole Perlroth and her New York Times' colleague David Sanger.

2/11/21

Event: McNally Jackson Bookstore

Thursday, February 11 / 7PM eastern McNally Jackson will host a conversation between Nicole Perlroth and Times' colleague Liz Harris.

2/15/21

Event: Literati Bookstore

Monday, February 15 / 7PM eastern Literati Bookstore will host a conversation between Nicole Perlroth and Glenn Kramon, former senior editor at The New York Times.

2/16/2021

Interview: Cyber Law Podcast

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 / 12:45PM eastern Nicole Perlroth will be interviewed by the Cyberlaw Podcast with Stewart Baker, former general counsel, National Security Agency.

2/17/21

Event: Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress

Wednesday, February 17 / 11AM eastern NIcole Perlroth will be interviewed by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Michael Rogers & Representative Glenn Nye.

2/17/21

Event: Powell's Bookstore

Wednesday, February 17 / 5PM pacific Powell’s will host Nicole Perlroth in-conversation with John Markoff.

2/18/21

Event: University of Texas Austin Strauss Center

Thursday, February 18 / 12:15PM Central Bobby Chesney will moderate an interview with Nicole Perlroth.

3/4/21

Event: St. Louis County Library

Thursday, March 4 / 7PM central St. Louis County Library will host an interview with Nicole Perlroth

2/23/21

Event: UC Irvine Center for Digital Transformation

Tuesday, February 23 / 5:30PM Pacific University of California Irvine's Center for Digital Transformation will host a conversation with Nicole Perlroth.

3/2/21

Event: Colony Club

The Colony Club will host a private event with Nicole Perlroth at 6PM Pacific.

3/6/21

Event: Tuscon Festival of Books

3/17/21

Event: "Off the Record," a program of the Foreign Policy Association

Wednesday, March 17 / 5PM eastern Off-the-Record, a program of the Foreign Policy Association will host Nicole Perlroth

3/25/21

Event: Princeton University, Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarfare

Thursday, March 25 / 11AM eastern Princeton University, Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarfare and Artificial Intelligence

Published by Bloomsbury
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