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"Entertaining," captivating," thought provoking," "hard to put down," say the experts. No Outward Sign tells the "riveting" and timely story of a man caught between two women and a nation struggling to balance national lawfulness with national survival.

A computer attack on the nation finds the targeted industries in denial and authorities hamstrung by turf and legal impediments. The country's survival depends on Brent Singleton, cyber vigilante, who heads a rebel force willing to go against the law. Brent becomes the target of both the government and the terrorists, and finds an unexpected ally in a beautiful FBI computer-crime investigator.

This book is for you if you want characters worth your time, a rich story with a higher purpose, and a satisfying ending.

No Outward Sign book cover


What experts say section

"I am very impressed! It is exciting and very thought provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed the book ... an engaging and compelling story, well told, with an important message to senior managers in government and industry ..."

John Gilligan, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Air Force
Fairfax, VA

"No Outward Sign is an engaging read that's hard to put down. Although the intriguing story and characters keep you turning the pages, the issues Neugent portrays are real. By raising the national consciousness about our vulnerabilities, Neugent has provided an important contribution in an era primed for terrorists and other adversaries ... Anyone interested in the protection of our national infrastructure should read this book."

Mike and Margie Munson, Munson Enterprises, Inc.
Margie formerly was Director of the Defense Security Service
Mike formerly was Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office
Pinehurst, NC

"read it in two sittings...an attention grabber ... a serious book about a serious subject at a very apropos moment in time"

Charlie Sherupski, President, SHER Associates, Inc.,
formerly the senior information security officer at CIA,
Round Hill, VA

"riveting ... a winner ... gripping ... entertaining, authoritative, and very, very frightening"

Bruce Brody, top cybersecurity official, Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C.

"I finally had a chance to read No Outward Sign over the past few days. It is wonderful. I was fascinated at how much you managed to work into the book, including the oxymoron of computer security, the goodies of constructive hacking, the realities of government bureaucracy, the plot twists and turns, even the cello and your own poetry. It's a wonderful read."

Dr. Peter G. Neumann, Principal Scientist, SRI International
Menlo Park, CA

"Highly entertaining - I thoroughly enjoyed it! Also very informative about a topic that is constantly in the news. A must read for every cybersecurity professional."

Dr. Sushil Jajodia, George Mason University;
BDM Professor and Chairman, Department of Information & Software Engineering
Director, Center for Secure Information Systems
Fairfax, VA

"captivating...intriguing...on target"

Colonel Larry Huffman, Commander, Global Network Operations and Security Center;
Defense Information Systems Agency
Arlington, VA

"It seems odd to say this about a book on cyberterrorism, but No Outward Sign is simply fun to read. The book's intriguing characters and surprising plot twists captivate you from page one."

Mindy Rudell, cybersecurity professional
Arlington, VA

"like Robert Ludlum writing about cyberspace"

John Lowry, Technical Director, Information Assurance, BBN Technologies
Cambridge, MA
(BBN was the implementer and integrator of what became the Internet)

"I just got my book this week and it is a page turner... you remind me of Ludlum - huge compliment from me since he is my absolute favorite (aside from Tolkien, way different genre)."

Antoinette Arsic, Senior Information Analyst
Leesburg, VA

"a very good read both as a thriller and as an essay on the issues... lays out all the economic, political and legal conundrums facing the US as it trys to prepare adequate defenses to a cyber attack on our critical infrastructure - telecommunications, transportation systems, long haul pipelines."

David Lehman, Senior Vice President for Information and Technology

"Truly enjoyed your book."

Lorrayne Schaefer, lead computer security engineer
San Diego, CA

"...hard to put down... coming on the heels of the power outages in New York added an extra element of interest... a good cross between Clancy and Grisham."

Clifton Furedy, Network Manager, Schick Communications
Norfolk, VA

"the book is great...a page turner...I enjoyed it and learned something of the threat of cyber terrorism along the way... Amazing!"

Lois Yu, Senior Simulation Modeling Engineer
San Diego, CA


Raymond Neff, Sc.D., Chief Information Officer, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM

"Enjoyed your book very much."

Kevin West, Special Agent in Charge-Computer Crimes Unit, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation
Raleigh, NC

"Great job. You took a topic that could easily have become a snoozer and made it into a fast-paced thriller. Great characters, interesting plot, nice pace, timely situations. I liked it a lot."

Dr. Michael B. Harrington, Principal Information Technology Economist
McLean, VA

"I just finished Bill Neugent's 'No Outward Sign.' It's a thriller about cyber warfare, with a handful of love stories and other human interest sprinkled in. The author is a computer security expert so all the technical details are right. I made the mistake of choosing to read it to fall asleep at night - and it kept me up by being hard to put down."

Carl Ellison, Security Architect
Seattle, WA

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What others say section

"I read Bill’s book again this winter and enjoyed it even more the second time."

Bea Burdick, educator
Springfield, VA

"I made the mistake of starting into [the book in] the afternoon... and ended up severely cutting into my sleep for that night... read it straight through! Have had a (very) few books I actually couldn't put down, and that was one of them."

Kathie L., artist
Ontonagon, MI

"Had dinner with John Saul and Mike Sack last night and I was telling them about your book. They were very impressed with the Amazon numbers!"

Shannon Tullius, co-founder and vice president of the Maui Writers Foundation, sponsor of THE Maui Writers Conference
Maui, HI
[John Saul has written about 30 New York Times bestsellers. Mike Sack is his collaborator. They haven't read No Outward Sign, but they give a nod to its numbers.]

"It scared me."

Larry Wright, host, "The Other Side of Morning Drive," WEOL Radio
Elyria, OH

"I couldn't put it down! This book caught my attention early and I couldn't stop reading it! This story is great for the geeks and the girls! A lot of great technical references are weaved into this paperback. Check this one out!"

Sean Lawler, 21, Tenor Section Leader, Blue Coats Drum and Bugle Corps
Columbia, MD

“Read it in one sitting”

Frank Wade, 86, retired commercial pilot and aviation pioneer (knew Amelia Earhart)
Goldsboro, NC

"I really enjoyed the book... What's great about the book is that it opens up minds to ask a lot of questions... It made me realize how ignorant many of us are about what really goes on behind closed doors... it's downright scary"

Lois Loosli
Herschmettlen, Switzerland

"great reading"

Lou Keim, 52, Burmese breeder
Jarrettsville, MD

"I loved your book... You are a natural story teller... I hate to part with my copy of your book. But for the good cause of promoting it on the Vineyard, I am passing it among friends. I'll start with the computer geeks ... though even my husband the dentist liked it."

Robbie Hutchison, landscape designer
Martha's Vineyard, MA

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Online Reviews section

"Minireview: Bill Neugent, No Outward Sign

Bill (in his work at MITRE) has been on the inside of computer security for many decades. I just finished reading his novel, and found it delightful, an excellent piece of cybersecurity fiction. It is a well-written page-turner. It is soundly based on things that have happened or could easily happen, but threads them all together very nicely through a twisty plot. It twits the oxymoron of computer security, and brings together good-hacker motivations, government bureaucracies, international cyberthreats, short-sighted optimizations, and many other issues familiar to RISKS readers."

Peter G. Neumann wrote the review for THE RISKS DIGEST, Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems, Volume 23: Issue 71, 12 February 2005.

“…when Bill Neugent asked me to review his book, I said I'd be happy to read it, but no promises… He definitely knows his subject. His book got a solid review at Federal Computer Week, so there was no doubt that he had the tech side straight. The question was, ‘is this a good thriller?’ It is. The security geek can read it and enjoy it, but so can anyone. The most important thing about Bill's book is that it takes an extremely important threat that could devastate our lives and makes it fun to read about. This is no small deal with cyberterrorism. So, for the first time in my six years on the Net, I'm recommending a book.”

Bob Adams is founder of globaldisaster.org, which features a cyberterror resource center.
Read more from Bob on his 5 March 2003 blog at globalangst.

"I read his book on my way home from the conference and enjoyed it thoroughly. The story begins with the destruction of an Amtrak railway train — a terrorist act that has a dreadful resonance given the recent horrible events in Spain. We are introduced to brilliant FBI computer crime expert Paige Langford, who has been responsible for tracking down and convicting criminal hackers for the Bureau. Then we meet Brent Singleton, a criminal hacker with a social conscience. I have to say that I don't generally like novels in which criminal hackers are presented as heroes, but I came to like Brent in spite of my prejudices... Suffice it to say that perhaps the greatest compliment to any writer is to say that the people he writes about become real to his readers. I found that I genuinely cared about the people in this novel and that they have stayed with me in the weeks since I finished reading it. Neugent's ideas are sound; his warnings about infrastructure vulnerabilities need to be accepted at the highest levels of strategic thinking. Read this book if you like realistic sci-fi novels."

From NW on Security, "Outward signs of talent," M. E. Kabay, PhD, CISSP, Assoc. Prof. Information Assurance, Program Director, MSIA, Norwich University, Vermont

"Bill ... has the rare ability to keep the reader engaged throughout the entire story ... [He] is a vivid writer. He is adept at painting the imagery of each scene in the story ... the characters are very three-dimensional ... I highly recommend this book ..."

Read Nai-Pin Kathy Wang's full review.

"Take the time to read Bill's book. I enjoyed it immensely."

Read Nai-Pin Kathy Wang's Weblog entry of 9 January 2003.

"I knew him when ... I asked only for tickets to the premiere."

From Reid Gerhart's Weblog entry of 6 November 2003.

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About the novel section

The tale dramatizes that we're all naked in cyberspace. Our privacy's gone, our identity can be stolen, our financial accounts can be looted. Yet the greatest threats are to the power, water, communications, and other networks critical to modern life. This book tells the remarkable story of America's cyber vulnerabilities and shows that the most frightening attacks are those that strike from within, with no outward sign. Unique about the novel are its informed depictions of professional cyber attack and defense.

Brent Singleton leads his vigilante band against cyber-terrorists who are attacking the nation and finds himself in the sights of two beautiful women, one an Iraqi expatriate and the other an FBI special agent.

Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Read sample pages:


  Chapters 1-4


If you enjoy these chapters, forward them to your friends and colleagues.

Read more about The Cybersecurity Story.

If you enjoyed the book, please write a review on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com.

Bill, his father Harry, and Joe Pavoe

Bill, his father Harry, and Joe Pavoe

Bill oversees the patching
of net vulnerabilities

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Buy the book section


You can purchase No Outward Sign online at:


  Barnes & Noble.com

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Updated: 04-Mar-2003