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Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It Hardcover – April 20, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Clarke first gives an overview of all the instances to date where cyber attacks have been used by state actors. In all cases but one (The Estonia attacks in 2007), the cyber attack was used to enhance a conventional attack. This is actually the best such overview I've seen, included some examples I hadn't heard of before, and Clarke's analysis is spot on. The only thing he didn't include was the very recent "operation aurora" (Google it if you want details), which probably occurred after he finished writing the book.
The book then has a detailed discussion of American policy on cyber warfare, and Clarke details all the developments to date. Since Clarke worked for presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama on national security issues, this book provides a front row seat to the ins and outs of the way our policies have developed. Clarke also details what is known about the cyber war capabilities of other countries, including China, Russia, and North Korea.Read more ›
Clarke takes the time to go over the basics of the cyber-universe for those that are not especially net-savvy, and then gets into the meat of the what, who, where and how (the "when" is the big question of course) of potential cyber attacks against the US. He gives a bit of history on attacks that have already happened, and a few that have failed.
I say the information is a bit scary because, even with a degree in Computer Science, I did not know the extent to which the Internet connects and controls so many aspects of our daily lives; in business as well as in our personal lives. More and more machines and appliances are being built with the capability to "talk" to the manufacturers who make them, a legitimate and smart way to diagnose problems and download fixes.... but the idea that the new copy machine in my home office might be hacked, and ordered to malfunction to the point that it catches on fire, is unsettling to say the least.
This is a good book, a page turner, and delivers information every 21st Century American should know.
At their best, Clarke and Knake walk the reader through the mechanics of cyber war, who some of the key players and countries are who could engage in it, and identify what the costs of such of war would entail. Other times, however, the book suffers from a somewhat hysterical tone, as the authors are out here not just to describe cyber war, but to also issue a clarion call for regulatory action to combat it. A bigger problem with the book is the complete lack of reference material, footnotes, or even an index. If you're going to go around sounding like a couple of cyber-Jeremiahs, you really should include some reference material to back up your gloomy assertions of impending doom.
The authors go after ISPs and many other comapnies for supposedly not caring about cyber-security. In reality, those companies have powerful incentives to make sure their networks are relatively safe and secure to avoid costly attacks and retain customers who demand their online information and activities be trouble-free.Read more ›
Early in the book I liked the "modern history" of cyber war. I especially enjoyed comparisons with the US military's experiences creating Space Command. I lived through some of that period but was unaware how Space Command's history affected creation of Cyber Command. Later, the book is almost derailed by the over-the-top cyber-geddon described at the end of chapter 3. It's just not necessary to include several pages where everything fails simultaneously, and I bet it erodes the confidence some readers have in the story. I'd remove the doom-and-gloom in future editions because I think people can imagine disasters fairly easily. Push through to chapter 4 and the book is once again on a sensible path, at least with respect to policy and history. For example, I loved reading Microsoft's lobbying goals: don't regulate, keep the military as a customer, and don't critique China! These rang true for me.
Shortly thereafter we encounter the weakest part of CW: technical advice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security...
Richard A. Clarke
Bought for class, they are kind of rare books, glad I could find them.Published 3 months ago by Christina Morgan
Fascinating inside look at cyber terrorism from someone who should know. Along with Ted Koppel's book a MUST READ for ALL Americans!Published 3 months ago by Steve Urbana
Learned that our power grid is vulnerable. We need a coordinated policy to secure critical resources against cyber attack.Published 3 months ago by Joel Q. Cotten
Good read to understand how technology can also be one of our biggest threats as well as one of the most common things we rely on in the modern world.Published 5 months ago by heather