Cyber Defense Review

Book Reviews

Book Review: Cyber War

August 1, 2018 — This book takes a holistic view of the cyber world and how it pertains to the United States regarding capabilities, vulnerabilities, policy, and potential strategies. We, as student and instructor in a course entitled Networks for Cyber Operations used this book as one of our texts in the Spring semester of 2016. Author Richard Clarke uses his experience in dealing with nuclear weapons, and his role as a Special Advisor to the President for Cyber Security to explain how the world situation has changed to make cyberattacks a significant threat to the United States. Clarke and Knake do an excellent job of speaking to a general audience (from cyber novices to experienced cyber warriors and hackers). The authors introduce the subject by describing the Israeli cyberattack on Syria before the bombing of a nuclear facility in 2007. This book stays away from the technical aspects of cyberattacks, but provides detailed background information about the Internet and how digitization has created a new battlefield. MORE

Book Review: Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet

July 31, 2018 — Dr. Ronald J. Deibert’s book Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet addresses growing concerns regarding international cyber threats and argues against current countries’ methods of responding to these threats. Deibert presents a solid, well-rounded argument, with intriguing evidence to support his assertions regarding our flawed cybersecurity environment, and closes Black Code with personal recommendations to secure and regulate the cyberspace domain. Readers receive a broad spectrum analysis of cyberspace and cybersecurity and are provided specific information on the actions and interactions of hackers, international governments, and related cyber industries. Black Code reads like a cyber novel; brilliantly crafted with a strong foundation and argument against current cybersecurity techniques and practices. Dr. Deibert is Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab is described as “an interdisciplinary research and development laboratory working at the intersection of the digital technologies, global security, and human rights.” MORE

Book Review: Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control your World

August 1, 2017 — We all surrender privacy in some form and fashion and allow companies to gather data so these enterprises can better serve us. Our cell phone provider needs to know where we are to route calls to the appropriate cell tower. As consumers and users, we allow the cell phone company to track and follow our moves because the convenience of being able to receive a call is greater than our perceived loss of privacy. For the last twenty years, Americans have accepted that the benefit of convenience outweighs the loss of privacy. MORE

Book Review: Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War

February 28, 2017 — Writing a history of anything without clear or accepted chronological boundaries, such as cyber war, is a challenging undertaking. Even with a definite start and stop points, Winston Churchill still felt that he needed six enormous volumes, eight years, and a team of contributing authors to tell his history of the easily demarcated Second World War. British wartime codebreaker turned Cambridge historian, F.H. “Harry” Hinsley, in some respects had a more modest task than Churchill—to write a history of World War II examining only the intelligence aspect. Like Churchill, however, Professor Hinsley found that he required several research and writing assistants, many years of work, and four volumes to tell his history of World War II secrets, not to mention the benefit of over a quarter century of time—much-needed hindsight and cooling off of intelligence sources and methods—to place intelligence and code-breaking operations into their wartime context. MORE

Book Review: Ghost Fleet – Scary, Accessible, Entertaining and Plausible – The Future Implications of Cyber Attacks

October 23, 2015 — Singer, P. W., and Cole, August. Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015, 416pp. When it comes to cyber Pearl Harbor metaphors, this book takes the cake. Providing a disturbingly realistic take on a connected future warfare scenario Singer and Cole immerse the reader into a world that lies just beyond the horizon. Their tale of interwoven fact and fiction is a quick and entertaining must read for all who would belittle the potential disruptive attributes of cyberspace and a networked way of war that has become increasingly pervasive from modern strategy and tactics down to acquisitions and manpower assessments. MORE