Monday, August 27, 2007

Wired magazine’s September issue serves up well-written story about Web War I

Wired [1-year subscription]

There’s a lot of great content in the September issue of Wired Magazine, starting with a story about a botnet attack on Estonia. The attack, says the article, “nearly shut down the most wired country in Europe.” This orchestrated attack constituted Web War I against a country, the magazine says.

The attack involved a variety of methods, including computers forwarding SPAM or viruses without the owners even realizing it. Joshua Davis wrote the story, and he is one of those rare technical writers able to spin a riveting tale. Davis peppers his account of the attack and the solution with physical descriptions of major players as well as the meanings of technical terms related to the attack and the aftermath.

Davis begins his story by putting the reader in the victim’s seat:
The Minister of Defense checked the Web page again—still nothing. He stared at the error message. For some reason, the site for Estonia’s leading newspaper, the Postimees, wasn’t responding. Jaak Aaviksoo attempted to pull up the sites of a couple of other papers. They were all down.
From that point, Davis takes us to Estonia—even to Russia—as he unwinds the saga of a veritable Web War. By the end of the article, we are aware that any country with an Internet infrastructure may be vulnerable. The attack on Estonia began after a statue commemorating Russian soldiers who fought in World War II was moved to what Estonia perceived as a more appropriate site.

There’s also a story by another writer about a murder that allegedly occurs because of two people connecting via the Internet. Both of them pretend to be someone else, with tragic consequences. The story is true crime at its most interesting, with a cyber-twist.

I started reading Wired when I got a free subscription from one of the journalists’ organizations I joined. I’ve definitely become a fan. Clean writing, features and tips, and tech news keep me up-to-date on a primary resource for running my freelance business. Definitely worth a subscription.

*This is not a paid review. The staff of Wired has no idea I am praising their product.*

Visit Covering Florida for my take on national party leaders dealing a blow to both Democrats and Republicans because of the January presidential primary. Visit my column at The Writer, Web Savvy, to read about moving a magazine from print to Web.

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