Warning: Will The Real Source Code Please Stand Up

As Jake Gyllenhal’s movie The Source Code draws red carpet attention, real source codes are at the mercy of the world’s cyber criminal elite. Proprietary financial and personal information is in global danger. Intelligent cyber terrorists are in abundance and looking for their next victim through unique computer source code infiltration. William A. Thau’s fictional suspense novel The Source Code, is a daunting examination into a world held hostage by the reality of identity theft and the criminal minds behind it. Thau’s focus on the chaos and destruction following individuals who fall prey to cyber theft, also brings to light potential downfall that could impact the global economy, all done without alarming government banks of $10 billion in stolen assets.

Thau’s The Source Code offers new perspective on worldwide vulnerability in identity protection issues. Source Code alteration through the use of cyber worms, which are designed to find loop holes in number strings and implant undetectable viruses for file corruption and key stroke monitoring, financial identity theft and sometimes political control, are of great interest in recent media. The subject matter of Thau’s 2005 novel seems to be an eerie foreshadowing of recent events, exemplified by a January 21, 2010 business feature article in The New York Times entitled, “Fearing Hackers Who Leave No Trace”. “The crown jewels of Google, Cisco Systems or any other technology company are the millions of lines of programming instructions, known as source code, that make its products run. . . . If hackers could steal those key instructions, and copy them, they could easily dull the company’s competitive edge in the marketplace. More insidiously, if attackers were able to make subtle, undetected changes to that code, they could essentially give themselves secret access to everything the company and its customers did with the software. The fear of someone building such a back door, known as a Trojan horse, and using it to conduct continual spying is why companies and security experts were so alarmed last week.”

Yet another feature article by the New York Times written by Michael Wines on Jan. 6, 2010, chronicled a $2.25 billion lawsuit directed at two Chinese technology firms by California software company Green Dam, which develops website blocking tools, due to 3,000 lines of code that were stolen, in an effort to enable Chinese government censors to block political and religious speeches, as well as content the government deemed unsuitable, such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Thau presents readers with plausible language on his subject matter through the novel’s fictional characters, as he explores the potential and realistic impacts of Source Code hijacking risks. “. . . We’re dealing with cyber-terrorists. They’re so smart that they’re making us feel stupid. In this world of cyberspace, where our wealth consists of numbers on a computer screen, they can steal our assets and military secrets in less than a second,” states the FBI Director in Thau’s novel, as she addresses the serious affect Source Code criminals could have on the world’s global state. Thau’s focus is to inspire readers to ponder the dangerous outcome of the world’s financial assets and citizen identities held solely in the hands of top intellectual and power-hungry criminal networks.

In an age when people are becoming more reliant on computers for both work and personal use, exposure to cyber-hackers and the risk associated with not only personal identify theft, but on a larger scale, potential sole ownership of international funds by global financial terrorists, is escalating at an alarming rate. Identity theft can encompass everything from using another person’s name and personal information without consent, to stealing a credit card number and misusing bank information. The FTC estimates that nearly nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year, the majority of which take decades to recover. Fact and fiction, Thau’s novel of terrified victims and global criminals is an intriguing eye opener into the functionality and risks associated with the real Source Code.

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