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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review: The Quantum Breach by Denver Acey

The Quantum Breach by Denver Acey, AF, 2014, 256p, My Rating=4.5
Source: eARC provided by publicist in exchange for an honest review

Tanner Zane is a Mormon with a secret criminal past. Nobody suspects that, before his religious conversion, Tanner hacked into thousands of computer networks across the globe. He accumulated millions of dollars from his illegal activities until a sudden, life-changing event caused him to abandon hacking and give his fortune to charity. But Tanner’s guarded past is exposed when he is kidnapped by his mysterious neighbor and forced to hack into an impossible target – Los Alamos National Labs. Inside the government facility is a prototype quantum computer that is powerful enough to crack the digital safeguards of the Internet. When Tanner learns that cyber-terrorists will use the quantum computer to commit massive identify theft and corporate espionage around the world, he deliberately engages in an intellectual battle with his captors to prevent them from obtaining the device.

I’m somewhat of a privacy nut. Not only for the possibility of identity theft but for the safety of my children. I can’t say I’m special enough to target but who knows, I may unintentionally tick someone off, run into a loon, or as this book illustrated, used as a pawn! This novel reminded me that my paranoia is not unfounded. There are career professional hackers out there out for a quick buck and due to our technology age, cyber terrorism is possible. But don’t get me wrong, this book was not out to freak the readers out. Quite the opposite in fact. Through the entertaining story, the reader was enlightened to the world of hackers and its impact on individuals and the nation. Hackers are not just behind the scene/computer but out in the public ..pulling the “stupid tourist” trick, posing as police officers, or even date you!! You’ll be introduced to terms like, rootkit, PKI, Shor’s algorithm, malware, and Bluesnarf. Such information gives you the feeling of being in the inside track and that was invigorating …knowledge is power kind of thing. So kudos for that! But the story line was fantastic as well. I was captivated early on and found my mind reeling in the account as I read. I felt Tanner’s toe pain, I saw the Starting Five’s (the captors: Charles, Patrick, Magic, Michael, and Patrick …basketball fans will understand) trickery, and I understood Becky and Ken’s vulnerability. There were thrilling and surprising moments that had me shouting, “Oh crap, no way!” I was absolutely enthralled. I knew Tanner was up to something with the bass guitar but wow, he’s one really smart cookie! And the author even threw in a sweet love interest.  So this novel had it all; information, action, twists, and romance.

The read was so exciting that I agreed to take my kids to our local trampoline place.  They played, I read. How smart am I?  Killed two birds with one stone. An hour here and there like those, I finished the book in one day!

This was not your typical Hollywood espionage story with heavy violence and sexual content. That wasn't necessary. Who knew? ;)

Few people understand the terrifying, yet realistic threat of computer hacking like Denver Acey. Denver has spent his entire professional career in the information technology industry where he has witnessed and even thwarted actual cybercrime. From his top-secret job working for the US government to securing computer networks at Fortune 500 companies, Denver is personally familiar with hackers and their unscrupulous activities.
But over the years, Denver has become increasingly frustrated with Hollywood's inaccurate portrayal of cybercrime. Hackers are more intelligent and more sophisticated than simple teenagers, who guzzle down Mountain Dew while playing video games. Cybercrime is a billion-dollar business that encompasses organized crime and foreign governments. For these elite hackers, the fruits of success are iconic trademarks, innovative patents, and government secrets.
Because of his unique background, Denver decided to write a book to dispel hacking myths while highlighting the tenacity of cybercriminals. Utilizing actual computer hacking concepts and scenarios that he has experienced firsthand, Denver illustrates -- in a simple way for even the non-techie to understand -- how vulnerable we all are to cybercrime.

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