About this site

About this site
(John Fedele/Getty Images)

Welcome to Zero Day. I’m a journalist who has been covering cybersecurity and national security for more than 15 years, writing about hacking/security, espionage, surveillance, and digital warfare for WIRED, Politico, the New York Times, Washington Post, Motherboard/Vice, The Intercept and many others. I’m also the author of Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon, which chronicles a real-world, covert hacking operation launched by the US and Israel to sabotage Iran's nuclear program – the first example of cyberwarfare (that we know of).

A zero day is a security hole in software that the software maker doesn’t know about yet and that remains unpatched, leaving systems vulnerable to be hacked. Zero Days are one of the most prized possessions of hackers — especially nation-state spies — who use them to break silently into computers where they can remain for months or years conducting reconnaissance, siphoning sensitive data, or planting logic bombs and other potentially destructive tools.

In 2007, the US and Israel launched one of the most sophisticated nation-state cyberattacks ever conducted, known as Stuxnet, which exploited an unprecedented five zero-day vulnerabilities in a single campaign. The two nations used the vulnerabilities to break into highly secured systems at a nuclear facility in Iran and sabotage centrifuges being used to enrich uranium — that is, until the code spread wildly out of control and got the attackers caught. In Countdown to Zero Day, I unraveled the mystery around how security researchers stumbled upon the attack code and spent months reverse-engineering or disassembling the complex digital weapon to figure out what it was targeting and what it was designed to do.

Over the years that I’ve worked as a journalist, I’ve become a kind of human disassembler — translating complex issues into simple, accessible language and concepts that non-tech readers can understand while still being informative for more technically savvy readers. Here at Zero Day, I’ll be aiming to do the same. I’ll also strive to help readers cut through the fog of falsehoods — dispel myths, get ahead of rapidly spreading misinformation, correct the record and provide expertise and analysis when useful. This explainer that I wrote in 2016 about the FBI’s battle with Apple over the San Bernardino iPhone is an example of this.

I’ll continue to write for other publications, breaking news, doing investigative work and writing lengthy magazine pieces. But I may also break news and publish feature stories here. This will be a work-in-progress as I get my footing and figure out the best way to use this new platform. I’d love to get your feedback as I do so. My aim will be to serve you, the reader, and the best way to do that is to hear from you about how I’m doing.

Why am I doing this? While I love writing for media outlets, I’m also itching for the freedom to follow where a lead takes me, to spend time digging into investigations, and to tell a good yarn in the way it needs to be told without altering it to fit a publication’s particular writing style. I’m also interested in having a more direct connection with readers who want to follow and support this kind of work through both story tips and subscriptions.

If you love stories about hackers, spies, cybercrime and the intersection between cybersecurity and national security, this publication should interest you. If you follow my articles and tweets or have read my book, you already have a good idea of what I cover and how I do it. But for those of you who may not be familiar with my work, see the Author page for examples.

And if you want to reach me, simply email me at countdowntozeroday@gmail.com. If you’d prefer to communicate via an encrypted channel, send me a DM @KimZetter to get contact details

Free or Paid Subscription?

Zero Day is an independent, reader-supported publication. Most of the content is made available for free to all subscribers, but some pieces are restricted to paid subscribers only. You can sign up for a paid subscription now or at any time in the future — the cost is just $10 a month or $100 a year. There is also a Special Friends and Sponsors rate ($25/month or $300/year) for those who are particularly interested in supporting the work.

I've very grateful for all paid subscriptions, which allow me to take the time needed to dig deeply into important topics and to investigate stories published both here and elsewhere. When I publish stories for WIRED and other publications, I often publish accompanying pieces here for paid subscribers only, which provide further information not included in the piece published for other media outlets. See, for example, the two pieces on the SolarWinds hack that I published here in conjunction with a lengthy magazine story I wrote for WIRED.

Paid subscriptions don't just support the pieces I publish here. As a freelance journalist, even when I'm paid by other publications to write an article, the fee does not cover the time and cost of producing the work (freelance writer rates have not increased in 30 years). So the support from paid subscribers is invaluable to supplement that work as well. Paid subscribers have told me they don't mind that the majority of content published here is available for free – they want to support the work and don't mind if others who might not be able to afford to pay can still have access to much of the content for free. If you feel differently, please let me know. I'm always interested in getting feedback from readers and would consider making more content paid-only if this is what paid subscribers prefer.

Cancellation and Refunds

You can cancel your subscription at any time through your account. Note, however, that Zero Day does not offer refunds for subscriptions cancelled before their time period is completed. If you cancel your subscription after you've paid for it and before the month or year for the subscription is completed, you will continue to receive emails to your inbox for the duration of the subscription period.

Privacy Policy

Zero Day does not sell or give your information to any third party. The email you provide to subscribe to the publication is used only by the hosting providers – Ghost/Outpost – to communicate with you about your subscription, and to Stripe to notify you when your subscription payment is processed.

Note About Sources

Like any publication, some of the people I quote in stories published here may also be paid subscribers to the publication.