The Seven Keys was reviewed in daily newspaper Hallandsposten:
INTERNET UNDER ATTACK IN THRILLER
Author Åsa Schwarz has a B. A. in computer and systems sciences and works as an IT security consultant. Thus, when she writes a thriller about hackers, we may rest assured that she knows what she is writing about.
The Seven Keys is a frightening, very fast-paced thriller. It centres around a world-wide attack targeting the seven people who hold the keys to the Internet. Once a quarter these seven persons meet in Washington to uppdate the system making traffic on the Internet possible. This is of vital importance for the Internet – and thus modern society – to function.
One of the key holders is Swedish Rebecka. She succeeds in escaping her attackers and go into hiding. Eventually she gets in touch with two other key holders who have also managed to stay alive. Now the hunt for the cyber terrorist begins. The clues are pointing every which way – to Chinese intelligence services, to neo-Nazi organisations, and to the NSA. Who is friend and who is foe? Whom can you trust?
At the same time, Rebecka is facing other, more personal problems. On her husbands computer she finds evidence of him being unfaithful. He has brought the children to a safe house, but how safe is it really? The enemy seems to be continually one step ahead.
There is no dearth of conflict in this thriller. When one believes the very worst to have happened and relaxes a bit, there is the next punch in the face. This is all incredibly exciting and one’s brain has to struggle to figure out possible solutions to the mystery. The plot is so well constructed that only bits and pieces of the truth seep through and the turning points keep one on edge all the time.
An extra plus for Rebecka not being the Lisbeth Salander type, but about forty and a married mother of two, who has, to be sure, been a hacker in her youth but who didn’t suffer a difficult upbringing and who doesn’t hate society. She only wants to do her best to stop the keys to the Internet from ending up in the wrong hands.
One of the real-life seven key holders actually is Swedish. There is a short documentary about her on YouTube (in Swedish). Watch it!
— Annika Bengtsson
My hacker thriller The Seven Keys is being released today. When I wrote the afterword last spring, I knew that the message was an important one. I wanted it to be heard, somehow. Our society is fragile and rests on digital infrastructure which is far from secure.
Our government bodies, county councils, municipalities, and many of our companies are vulnerable. Sweden and many other countries could easily be the target of massive Internet blackouts and would then be at a standstill. Copious amount of information may end up in the wrong hands. Yet few seemed interested or able to understand the magnitude.
Then came the summer of the Swedish Transport Agency. Two government ministers and the board had to resign. Director general Maria Ågren was convicted of careless handling of secret intelligence. Suddenly everyone was talking about cyber security in Sweden. Thus, here is an easily accessible thriller with a very important message: we have to get the digital security upgraded. When you’ve read The Seven Keys, ask the political party you’ll vote for in the next election what they’re going to do to strengthen cyber security in your country.
The Seven Keys is today – 21 August, 2017 – released simultaenously in Sweden and Denmark. It is available in hardcover, as an audio book, and as an ebook.
You may now read my thriller short story CENTR, dealing with the power over the Internet. This is a short story, a work of fiction, but it was inspired by one of the most burning questions in the history of the Internet, today more burning than ever.
The United States of America has agreed to release control of ICANN, which handles the address register of all top domains. In other words, the address register is for example needed for directing internet traffic to the right country. In order to release control, the United States of America has posed certain conditions, to be fulfilled before September 2015. The question is… what happens if these conditions are not fulfilled?
I wrote the short story in the spring of 2015, on commission from .SE, in order for it to be mailed to the members of Centr, the European organisation for top domains, before a conference at Sheraton Stockholm Hotel, 1st – 3d of June, 2015.
I own the copyright and the short story might be distributed freely, provided that no changes are made.
Click HERE to download the story as a PDF file.