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Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It Paperback – April 10, 2012
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Knake from the cyber generation—ponder the irony that although the U.S. pioneered the technology behind cyber warfare, outdated thinking, policies, and strategies make us vulnerable to losing any cyber contest with a hostile nation.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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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Things I liked about the book:
The authors don't try to overload the reader with a lot of technical jargon trying to justify their position at the micro level of cyber security. Throughout the book, the authors use anecdotes and personal experiences to bring home THEIR point of view on the cyber threat to the US. I like this style of writing as I can relate to someone walking through their opinion forming process much easier than I can digest a litany of statistics and facts on a topic. Although, a healthy amount of that is critical to forming a valid, sound opinion (see my criticisms of this book). I did appreciate that the authors were trying to convey how they came to their current world view on the topic and what the Nation's leaders are facing in dealing with these challenges.
Things I didn't like about the book:
My criticisms of this book lie mostly in how little citation of recent examples (recent up to when the book was written, not 2015) was used in the book as support of the position of the authors. Much of the referenced facts and information provided in the book was pretty old, dating back to the late 80s and 90s, and the challenges that were faced back then (also included early 2000s). So much more has happened in this space since then, even up to when the book was written, that I felt that more discussion on recent findings would have been more warranted, as well as addressing some of the dissenting viewpoints out there to even further solidify their positions.
Also, citations of any facts are practically non-existent in this book. Much of the facts presented are in the form of, "I had a discussion with Mr. X one day" or "It was found at the XYZ conference that...", which wouldn't really hold much water in an academic setting (why I was reading the book in the first place). Still, setting that aside, you can take the book for what it is, accept their statements as their perspective on the topic and cross-check it with other sources that may or may not corroborate their findings. This book is entertaining to read, informational and definitely makes you think about the cyber challenges we face in not just the U.S., but the world as a whole.
review This is one of those books you should read for its message, especially if you think that we're safe from cyber attack. Unfortunately the truth is far different, and it will likely stay that way indefinitely. Stated simply, if you're not afraid yet, you should be, and reading Richard Clarke's Cyber War should do just fine to repopulate your anxiety closet if it's been emptying out lately.
Clarke is in a position to know what the real story is due to his recent government experience in the upper echelons of cyber defense. He presents his case for stronger defenses clearly, and without too much jargon. He also outlines not only current weaknesses of concern, but also the administrative and bureaucratic flaws that can lead as surely to vulnerabilities as technical gaps.
A highlight for those interested in the nuts and bolts of cyber warfare are his readable details on how actual attacks (such as the US/Israeli - Stuxnet attack launched against Iran) were conducted, and how U.S. enemies could exploit similar weaknesses in our own defenses.
Any book in an area as fast-moving as cyber security is itself vulnerable to becoming out of date quickly, but this one should hold up well for a number of years more, due to the fact that it focuses on fundamental weaknesses rather than the details of how individual exploits have been conducted