I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.
A seemingly mundane computer clean-up leads to an electrifying quest for an enigmatic—and deadly—treasure in this gripping techno-thriller.
After selling his dorm-room startup for millions and effectively retiring at the age of twenty-five, Alex Fife is eager for a new challenge. When he agrees to clean up an old PC as a favor, he never expects to find the adventure of a lifetime waiting for him inside the machine. But as he rummages through old emails, Alex stumbles upon a startling discovery: The previous owner, a shady antiques smuggler, had been trying to unload a mysterious object known as the Florentine on the black market. And with the dealer’s untimely passing, the Florentine is now unaccounted for and ripe for the taking. Alex dives headfirst into a hunt for the priceless object.
What starts out as a seemingly innocuous pursuit quickly devolves into a nightmare when Alex discovers the true technological nature of the Florentine. Not just a lost treasure, it’s something far more insidious: a weapon that could bring the developed world to its knees. Alex races through subterranean grottos, freezing morgues, and hidden cellars in the dark underbelly of Los Angeles, desperate to find the Florentine before it falls into the wrong hands. Because if nefarious forces find it first, there’ll be nothing Alex—or anyone else—can do to prevent a catastrophic attack.
The author is donating all of his proceeds from sales of The Florentine Deception to charities to help underprivileged and low-income students.
1,620 books sold, $8,173.00 donated as of December 31st (with $182 pending)!
Let’s help him reach his goal of selling 2,000 books and donating $10,000!
Visit http://florentinedeception.weebly.com/charities.html to see the list of charities.
Once in a while, real-life is stranger than fiction. Especially when it comes to computer hackers. The bad guys are extremely creative and will do whatever it takes to make a few million (or hundred million) dollars. I’d like to share one such real-life story, with the names changed to protect the innocent.
In April of 2013, an administrative assistant at a major French multinational – let’s call it company F – received an email containing an invoice in her inbox. Nothing unusual, really. Five minutes later, she received a phone call from one of her company’s vice presidents, asking her if she could quickly process the invoice, since the deal was very important to the company.
Spurred by the VP’s urgency, the admin opened up the invoice attachment and began to process it. Little did she know that the invoice file contained a cleverly concealed Trojan horse – and that the moment she double-clicked on it, her computer had been infiltrated by an attacker. Not only that, but the “vice president” who called her and spoke to her in perfect French was actually a member of the attacker’s gang, based somewhere in Israel.
The Trojan enabled the hackers to immediately take control of the assistant’s computer, view her activities, and access her confidential document files. The attackers began rummaging through her files and soon discovered the company’s disaster recovery plans, including details of F’s banking and telecom providers.
Armed with this data, the attacker called the telecom provider and impersonated a company F representative, telling the provider that F’s building had suffered a physical disaster, and asked the provider to re-route all calls to a different location. The telco, tricked into believing the caller was a representative of company F, rerouted incoming calls to the attacker’s phone switch.
Immediately after, the attacker faxed a request to company F’s bank, requesting large wire transfers from F’s accounts to numerous offshore accounts. Since this was an unusual and potentially fraudulent request, a bank representative called company F to verify the transaction. But since all calls to company F had been rerouted by the telecom provider, they were directed to the attacker, in Israel, who happily confirmed the authenticity of the transactions. The bank dutifully transferred the funds to multiple offshore accounts, and the money disappeared into the ether.
Even more amazing, when authorities tried to trace the location of the attacker’s computers, they found that the attackers had been communicating over a mobile phone network, and were in motion during the entire attack, driving around Israel! No doubt, they hauled their computers in the back of a van with a portable power supply, connecting up through a mobile phone wireless hotspot – just like in a movie.
Unbelievable? Maybe… but entirely true! In any case, if you enjoyed this anecdote, I think you’ll also enjoy The Florentine Deception audiobook. It combines the adventure of a Da Vinci Code with a feasible cyber-security cyber doomsday-scenario, all narrated by a fantastic voice actor – Nick Podehl.
The Florentine Deception by Carey Nachenberg is a fast-paced technothriller that had me listening nonstop. It is such a joy when the right narrator reads the right book, and Nick Podehl really did a fantastic job with this one. One of my favorite things about the book was the way it was written – the author wrote a story that wasn’t bogged down with futuristic, unknown tech terms. It made it easy for me to read and enjoy without having to keep looking up words or feel like I’m lost. The story felt plausible, which is what makes it great. Alex is easy to like and you want to be right by his side in figuring this one out. While I was listening, I kept thinking that this would make an awesome action movie – one I would totally go see! The Florentine Deception is an exciting read that will keep you up past your bedtime to find out what is going to happen.
About the Author
Carey Nachenberg is Symantec Corporation’s Chief Engineer and is considered one of the inventors of Norton AntiVirus. As Chief Engineer, Carey drives the technical strategy for all of Symantec’s core security technologies and security content. He has led the design and development of Symantec’s core antivirus, intrusion prevention and reputation-based security technologies; his work in these areas have garnered over eighty-five United States patents.
In addition to his work in the cyber-security field, Carey has also recently published his first novel, a cyber-security thriller entitled “The Florentine Deception,” and is donating all proceeds from sales of the novel to charities supporting underserved students and veterans. Carey holds BS and MS degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from University of California at Los Angeles, where he continues to serve as Adjunct Professor of Computer Science.
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