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 she’s devised are directed at her friends and family--including boy wonder Marcus Yallow, her old crush and archrival, and his entourage of naïve idealists--Masha realizes she has to choose.
And whatever choice she makes, someone is going to get hurt.
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Doctorow returns to the dystopian, all-too-near future of Little Brother for this gripping cyberthriller. Doctorow's potty-mouthed protagonist, Masha Maximow, a technological wunderkind fans will recognize from the earlier novels, is morally conflicted: at her high-powered, high-paying job with Xoth Intelligence, a gigantic cybersecurity firm, she uses her hacking skills to help malignant regimes spy on dissidents, while in her free time she helps the same dissenters escape the regimes' repressive wrath. The narrative alternates between flashbacks to her various adventures with Xoth and its rival Zyz, and her present-day involvement with a group of San Francisco radicals, as Masha gradually learns the price for all the luxury that spying on people has provided her. In Doctorow's chilling world, technological marvels turn on their users on a dime: the indispensable cellphone annihilates privacy, the self-driving car goes berserk and kills, and the internet is the world's most powerful surveillance tool. Doctorow lays the tech-talk on a bit thick, which may overwhelm a casual reader, but the high stakes and believable world keep the pages turning. Doctorow's fans will be pleased.