Cyber security expert Jeff Aiken knows that no computer system is completely secure. When he’s called to investigate a possible breach at the New York Stock Exchange, he discovers not only that their system has been infiltrated but that someone on the inside knows. Yet for some reason, they have allowed the hackers to steal millions of dollars from accounts without trying to stop the theft. When Jeff uncovers the crime, the NYSE suddenly turns on him. Accused of grand larceny, he must find and expose the criminals behind the theft, not just to prove his innocence but to stop a multibillion-dollar heist that could upend the U.S. economy. Unwilling to heed Jeff’s warnings, the NYSE plans to continue with a major IPO using a new, untested system, one that might be susceptible both to hackers and to ruthless high-frequency traders willing to take any risk to turn a profit.
Jeff Aiken and Daryl Haugen are back and, once again like in “Zero Day” and “Trojan Horse,” find themselves in the middle of a plot to steal billions of dollars from the New York Stock Exchange. Their investigation has them on the run for their lives, and ranges from San Francisco, to New York, to Brazil. Will they be able to stop the hackers in time to prevent the theft and a possible flash crash of the financial markets?
“Rogue Code” focuses on the stock market, particularly high-frequency traders, or HFTs, and the dependence on computer systems and sophisticated software algorithms (or “algos”). At the heart of the story is a small social networking company about to issue a potentially lucrative IPO, the NYSE and its trading systems and security, and a Brazilian gang. Like the previous Jeff Aiken novels, Russinovich blends current events, technology, and thriller elements that make “Rogue Code” an enjoyable, if somewhat formulaic at this point, read.
If you’re interested, here’s a recent real-world story about HFTs.