From Publishers Weekly
On today's battlefields computers play a major role, controlling targeting systems, relaying critical intelligence information, and managing logistics. And, like their civilian counter-parts, defense computers are susceptible to hacking. In September 2007, Israeli cyber warriors "blinded" Syrian anti-aircraft installations, allowing Israeli planes to bomb a suspected nuclear weapons manufacturing facility (Syrian computers were hacked and reprogrammed to display an empty sky). One of the first known cyber attacks against an independent nation was a Russian DDOS (Deliberate Denial of Service) on Estonia. Since it can rarely be traced directly back to the source, the DDOS has become a common form of attack, with Russia, China, North Korea, the U.S., and virtually every other country in possession of a formidable military having launched low-level DDOS assaults. Analysts across the globe are well aware that any future large-scale conflict will include cyber warfare as part of a combined arms effort. Clarke and Knake argue that today's leaders, though more computer savvy than ever, may still be ignorant of the cyber threats facing their national security.
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International security experts—Clarke from the nuclear generation and Knake from the cyber generation—ponder the irony that although the U.S. pioneered the technology behind cyber warfare, outdated thinking, policies, and strategies make us vulnerable to losing any cyber contest with a hostile nation. Cyber war refers to hostile attempts by one nation to penetrate another’s computers or networks. Among recent examples: suspicion that in 2007 Israel executed a cyber assault on a Syrian nuclear weapons plant being built by North Korea, the 2008 cyber attack on Georgia by Russia to knock out its government computers before an actual attack on that nation, and North Korea’s actions in 2009 after a nuclear missile test to launch botnets to disrupt government computer systems in the U.S. and South Korea. Cyber warriors often use programs to crash Web sites and computers to cover other, more aggressive actions in the real world. In this chilling and eye-opening book, Clarke and Knake provide a highly detailed yet accessible look at how cyber warfare is being waged and the need to rethink our national security to face this new threat. --Vanessa Bush