A few weeks ago I got to see Alex Gibney’s new documentary Zero Days. I recollect how quiet the theatre was once the end credits finished and the lights came on. Most of us were trying to process the film and the impact it had on each of us. Afterwards Gibney along with 2 computer security experts did a Q&A, where we got our questions answered.
To use a hackneyed phrase Zero Days is an absorbing watch about the Stuxnet virus and how it was unleashed in the world. “We are,” Gibney said, “in a whole new arms race” to Steven Zeitchik of The Los Angeles Times. And the film does remind you of that long forgotten 20thc spectre of a nuclear arms race and cold war.
In 2010 the Stuxnet virus was discovered in Iran, where it had infected their industrial machines. How did it happen, and how did this malware come to infect Iran’s industrial machines especially the uranium enrichment plan is the story that Gibney tracks in this film. The Stuxnet virus was a very sophisticated one that attacked only Windows computers. It is believed that nation-states may have been involved in the creation of this virus as the film points out.
Zero Day refers to the fact that there is no notice given once hackers discover a zero day vulnerability in the computer system. Once hackers discover the zero day exploit they can introduce worms and malware into the system and create havoc.
Zero Day makes for a gripping watch and leaves you thinking and scratching your head about what really goes on in the world of cyberspace. Do regular folks have the foggiest notion? “Zero Days is a cold, two-hour, sky-is-falling case designed to make everyone agree, ” writes Jordan Hoffman in The Guardian. I suspect pretty much that is how you’ll feel after you watching Zero Days.
Zero Days releases on July 8, 2016 in the USA. It is also available on demand and on Amazon and iTunes.