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Cyber War Will Not Take Place Hardcover – September 1, 2013


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Cyber War Will Not Take Place + A Fierce Domain: Conflict in Cyberspace, 1986 to 2012 + Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199330638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199330638
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Rid argues that what we have seen so far in the cyber realm can't properly be classified as war at all. And, he and his allies suggest, in thinking of it that way, we're creating new international hazards and diverting attention from changes that might actually keep us safe. Rid represents one pole of an emerging debate, as the world's policy establishment grapples with how to think about virtual attacks. One side believes that to downplay them is dangerously naive. . . Rid's side of this debate, which includes both experts on cybersecurity and those given the task of designing the new 'weapons' for cyberspace, argues that although the threat is real, in overstating it we're helping create a new kind of global risk."--Boston Globe


"'In Cyber War Will Not Take Place, Thomas Rid throws a well-timed bucket of cold water on an increasingly alarmist debate. Just as strategic bombing never fulfilled its promise, and even airpower at its apogee -- Kosovo in 1999, or Libya two years ago --only worked with old-fashioned boots on the ground, Rid argues that the promise of cyber war is equally illusory. . . What Rid does, with great skill, is to pivot the discussion away from cyber war and towards cyber weapons."--Financial Times


"His provocatively titled book attacks the hype and mystique about sabotage, espionage, subversion and other mischief on the internet. He agrees that these present urgent security problems. But he dislikes talk of warfare and the militarisation of the debate about dangers in cyberspace. Computer code can do lots of things, but it is not a weapon of war."--The Economist


"With news of cyber war, terrorism and espionage seemingly everywhere, separating hype from reality is not always easy. Many agencies and companies stand to gain by inflating cyber security fears. In Cyber War Will Not Take Place , Thomas Rid takes a razor to the evidence and carefully dissects the evolution of conflict and espionage in the cyber age. The result is a compelling and authoritative take on war and strategy in cyberspace, one that will surely be seminal in this area for years to come."--Ronald J. Deibert, Citizen Lab Director and author of Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace


"We're in the early years of a cyberwar arms race, one fueled by both fear and ignorance. This book is a cogent counterpoint to both the doomsayers and profiteers, and should be required reading for anyone concerned about our national security policy in cyberspace." -- Bruce Schneier, security guru and author of Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Thrive


"'This book will be welcomed by all those who have struggled to get the measure of the 'cyber-war' threat. As Thomas Rid takes on the digital doomsters he also provides a comprehensive, authoritative and sophisticated analysis of the strategic quandaries created by the new technologies." --Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies, King's College London


About the Author


Thomas Rid is Reader in War Studies at King's College London. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Now the book gets really silly.
Lemas Mitchell
This book contains more detail and better factually supported arguments than other books on the topic.
Richard Warner
Nor would an attack on vital national resources be so easy, but it is how this could happen.
Michael C. Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lemas Mitchell on September 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The upshot: Save your money.

At the outset, this author seems to have at least two major problems in his reasoning.

1. He chooses a definition of war (it must involve violence, it must be political, and it must be instrumental) and then concludes that whatever does not fit onto that definition does not constitute war. It's like he never stops to consider that, in light of new technology the definition of war could (and should) be expanded.

2. He gives a lot of anecdotal examples from history and shows where they were ultimately of little consequence. And therefore he arrives at the conclusion (not too lightly) that future attacks will be equally benign (or will not be able to wreak the destruction that many people fear). But to follow that reasoning to its logical conclusion, one could conclude that because the last attack where people fired muskets (and didn't kill that many people) meant that guns would never get to the level of destruction of an AK-47.

The book is written such that any of the chapters can be read stand-alone. And so I'll go through the book and make some statements chapter by chapter.

Chapter 1 (Definitions). This is where Rid lays out the definition. Again, war must be political, instrumental, and violent. The author then goes on to make the case that since not many people have been killed by electronic warfare, that it is not the same thing as hand to hand warfare or nuclear devices. The problem is that words are not our masters. They are our servants. If we follow this author's line of reasoning to its logical conclusion we could say something like: "So and so said that a legal system should have impartial jurists and be predictable.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Edward Terry on September 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The author uses a very restricted and dated definition of war, emphasizing again and again that cyber attacks do not constitute war because computers cannot directly make people bleed. he would have been right 200 years ago, but today, a view like that is naive. The author presents anecdotal information and questionable assumptions to validate his point-of-view and presents himself as an authority in this area.

I attended his presentation and ended up walking out because he failed to directly answer simple direct questions from the audience. His responses were evasive and did not address the specific questions members of the audience presented.

For a more comprehensive view of cyberattacks there are superior sources that have credibility. "Cyber War Will Not Take Place" is a simplistic, contrarian view of a very complex area.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clay Wilson on October 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thomas Rid's book is summarized well in the last chapter, with "It is about time for the debate to leave the realm of myth and fairytale--to a degree, serious experts have already moved on, and the political debate in several countries is beginning to follow their lead." I myself have stopped attending some of the usual big cybersecurity conferences held annually, because it seems not much progress has been made for finding new ideas and approaches. Thomas Rid has taken the next steps, and in this book, has left behind much of the traditional thinking that has kept discussions of cybersecurity, cyberattack, and cyber warfare confined inside smaller boxes. His analysis of the characteristics of sabotage, espionage and subversion is thorough and exhaustive, and this has generally been missing from much other literature about cybersecurity.

At first, I found it hard to agree with some of the concepts Rid has stressed. If all real war is historically violent and lethal, then perhaps cyberwarfare offers the possibility of less violence, but along with increased frequency of attacks due to ethical benefit and convenience. He describes cyber violence as mainly parasitic, without its own force or energy. However, he leaves open the question about whether the destruction of computerized intellectual property (such as e-money, or 3D blueprints) can also be considered violence, even though it lacks effects of heat, blast, and fragmentation felt in the physical world. His analysis leads to curious statements, such as cyberattacks are attacks against violence in a conflict, and thus more ethical than use of conventional weapons.

However, I still recommend this book. It gives a different viewpoint about characteristics that should be discussed concerning cyberwarfare.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Warner on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book contains more detail and better factually supported arguments than other books on the topic. A much needed corrective to loose talk about cyber war.
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