The Mother of All Viruses

John Kovacich
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Genres: Science Fiction, Military and Espionage, Action and Adventure. Format: Multiple. Views: This Week 79, Total 2729.
An ex-hacker, a sexy college professor, stolen top secret hardware, a cover-up, a kidnapping, a government conspiracy, hacked defense computers, FBI, CIA, NSA, Armageddon.

An excerpt from the actual deposition transcripts:
"Let the record reflect that this deposition commenced at 9:15 am on December the 3rd, 2004 at the FBI offices in Atlanta, Georgia. Present for this recording are Special Agent Alvin Dirk, the Honorable Judge Ramiro Vasquez, and the witness, Robert O. Blain. This deposition is merely a recording of the events which transpired at Norwood University and is not now nor ever will be part of any trial or prosecution. Go ahead."

"My name is Bobby Blain. Most people seem to think it all started when Dr. Jennings hired me, and all the computers started getting hacked. It was easy for people to think that, because I have a history and got myself in some trouble when I was younger. I hacked some computers and almost got the president impeached, but it really started before that, when I still worked for Dr. Karlyn."

"Dr. Karlyn gave me a chance to redeem myself by allowing me to work on his computer for him. Then one day, this scientist I had never seen before comes and gives Dr. Karlyn a device. I was never told what he wanted, but I think he wanted Dr. Karlyn to help him reverse engineer it. I was only asked to build an interface to attach it to the computer. Dr. Karlyn did the rest. I think he figured out how to turn it on, but when he did, strange things started to happen."

"We didn't know it then, but it turns out the device was stolen from a government facility. I don't know where they got it, that is more classified than this deposition. I can tell you with absolute certainty that they didn't make it themselves. I'd like to tell you more, but I don't think I'm allowed."

"Anyway, someone at the university needed to get Dr. Karlyn out of the way and falsely accused him of inappropriate conduct with a student. He could have fought it, the dean believed him, but he decides to leave the school anyway. Before he goes, he gives his computer to Professor Jennings and he gives me a letter of recommendation, so after I help deliver and setup the computer, she agrees to hire me."

"The first night it is up and running, at least two attempts are made to hack into the computer. I forgot to mention that even before I deliver the computer, this guy tries to break in and steal something from it, but I was there and he didn't get anything."

"I can't divulge any secrets about Professor Jennings' project here, but my part is to prove that her process would work if she were given enough computer resources, so I re-write her process to work across a network and run on thousands of computers."

"That's when things got really crazy. Someone keeps trying to hack into our computer; someone hacks the entire school and the phone company. Professor Jennings' secretary is kidnapped. The FBI gets involved, but they're chasing the wrong people for reasons only they can tell you."

"Then someone plants a virus on our computer and the next thing we know, it's spread all over the internet, including some very sensitive government computers. Meanwhile, our project continues to gain speed and surpass anyone's expectations."

"When the FBI come in and learn that the device that was given to Dr. Karlyn is actually some super cool futuristic computer that is able to grow and build more circuits for itself, they want to disconnect the computer and confiscate it."

"That's when computers all over the world go out of control. The pentagon and all the armed forces are helpless. Air traffic is grounded. All the computer problems are traced back to the professor's computer. The FBI want it dismantled more than ever, but the academics involved want to get the device to relinquish control over the world before they do."

"And, well, I guess that's all I'm allowed to say, thank you."
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Very Good Story, Well Written, Recommended, Well Edited in 1 reviews.
Ian Miller : The book starts at a small US University where the young Professor Deidre Jennings has a problem. She has kicked off her career with a piece of inspiration, but subsequent inspiration eludes her. This little scene is somewhat recognizable if you have been in this position, so well done, John. Somehow, she gets the idea to formulate a research program computing and predicting quantum events. I found this concept somewhat silly, but we can forgive this because it has nothing really to do with the story other than she needs extreme computing power. She inherits that from another professor, and besides the computer, she inherits the professor's assistant, Bobby, and something else embedded in the computer as well. When she has insufficient computing power, Bobby comes up with a means to get lots of additional processors from gamers, and in one glorious experiment, she gets considerably more processing, and eventually more than she expected. All sorts of things get of hand.

The story is quite enthralling, and the author shows an interesting technique in the middle of the story by splitting it into several strands, and by jumping between them, it feels as though a lot is happening when in reality little is. This is good technique. While the structural technique is excellent, there are perhaps too many grammatical errors, particularly relating to apostrophes and possessive pronouns, and overall, I found too many parts of the plot did not really make sense. One simple example. If the Federal authorities thought that stolen government property was on a site, surely they would simply get a search warrant rather than send in burglars? Or even approach the known innocent professor and ask to see the computer? However, perhaps I am being a little harsh there; I thought that the dysfunctional aspects of communication between various US agencies was ridiculous, however having read about 9/11, maybe they are closer to the truth than I like. To summarize, I think if you like a book relating to computers and undesirable outcomes from computers, and if you do not think too hard about why people are doing what they are, this should be a good book for you.