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Cyberwar: The Next Threat to National Security & What to Do About It
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Cyberwar: The Next Threat to National Security & What to Do About It

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,198 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Richard A. Clarke warned America once before about the havoc terrorism would wreak on our national security -- and he was right. Now he warns us of another threat, silent but equally dangerous. Cyber War is a powerful book about technology, government, and military strategy; about criminals, spies, soldiers, and hackers. This is the first book about the war of the future - ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Ecco (first published 2010)
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Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonHackers by Steven LevyGhost in the Wires by Kevin D. MitnickThe Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford StolliWoz by Steve Wozniak
Silicon Valley
33rd out of 159 books — 269 voters
Security Engineering by Ross J. AndersonSecrets and Lies by Bruce SchneierIntroduction to Security and Applied Cryptography by Bruce SchneierThe Practice of Network Security Monitoring by Richard BejtlichPractical Malware Analysis by Michael Sikorski
Information Security
16th out of 66 books — 14 voters


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Community Reviews

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Will Byrnes

Clarke remains one of the most compelling writers about matters of national security and he is in top form here. He and co-author, Knake, point out how the United States is at risk, from whom, and what we should be doing to make ourselves more secure.

The authors offer a nice intro to how the internet works, pointing out where along that road vulnerabilities lie, noting soft spots that are inherent in the DNA of the web.

Perhaps most alarming is that the nation lacks a comprehensive plan of defen
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Brian
(3.5) Too thin on the current state of cyber war, but a great look forward

I felt it a fairly superficial treatment of the capabilities and threat out there. Also would have loved anecdotes from cyberespionage and cyberterrorism past. I guess he's taking care not to reveal too much about what the US and other nations can do and have done, in the interest of national security. So I guess I understand that. But still, the first 3/4 of the book were pretty light treatment and listening to the author
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Tommy /|\
Clarke's book is a somewhat decent read. At nearly 300 pages, it could easily have been condensed to approximately 200 pages if the redundant and cyclic references were removed. The repeated references do assist Clarke in making his over-arching point of the weaknesses in the digital infrastructure of the United States -- but this also served to make me feel like I was being beaten repeatedly over the head with the same statements. Further hurting Clarke was a lack of technical explanation for s ...more
Michelle Jenson
I'm getting close to the half-way point in this book and am feeling a lot like some of the other reviewers. This book probably could have been condensed to 200 pages, or maybe even 150. Between his repetitive nature and his unnecessary reminders of his personal political leanings, this book would have been much better. I even caught a few sentences where he mentioned trying to gain more funding for himself....huh. Something felt off about the way he described this section.
And when you continue
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Marvin
A first-read win.

There probably isn't anything new for anyone with an adequate knowledge of the internet in this detailed but overwrought book on the possibilities of cyberwar. Like his previous book, the most interesting information comes from his personal experiences in advising presidents on this topic. He really doesn't like George W. Bush but his cynicism that Obama, or any president for that matter, is ready to address the threat is evident. There is much detail on what constitutes cyber t
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Gerald
Clarke knows what he's talking about, is perhaps the most influential expert in government on this topic. The parallels he draws with nuclear arms control, in which he participated, are fascinating and compelling. Making the world safe for free information exchange will require an international effort of similar scope and difficulty.

If you think the private sector and the marketplace will somehow take care of these problems while we sleep, you are dreaming.
Raj Agrawal
Fiction being sold as non-fiction. Much of history of how cyberwarfare supported conventional war is embellished, and the credibility of the current threat is overstated -- perhaps all to support the author's argument. I'm all for a better means of defense, as well as an effective way to hold other cyber networks at risk, but the available accesses and intelligence are not available, as well as the ability to control collateral damage and cross-border effects. Additionally, there remains no way ...more
John Brown
I recently reviewed America The Vulnerable which explained how exposed we are as individuals, corporations, and a country to cyber crime, cyber espionage (both state and corporate), and cyber attacks. Of all the cyber threats we face as individuals and a nation, the least likely is an all out cyber war. But just because it’s less likely that doesn’t mean the threat isn’t real. Especially since cyber warfare has been in use since the 1990′s. We used cyber weapons openly in the gulf war in 2003, k ...more
James
Infuriating and alarming, more so than ever in light of recent (early 2013) news about the Chinese government's hacking into the computer networks of major western media organizations, defense contractors, military organizations, and infrastructure controls; our own cyber-attacks on the Iranian nuke program are also worrisome, although they may have been the least of the available evils and better than either letting Iran develop nuclear weapons or watching Israel start a war to prevent it, beca ...more
Tin Wee
Book does a good analysis of a new age of warfare where secrets can be stolen and significant damage to a country's infrastructure just by accessing computers. It identifies sectors which required significant cyber defence upgrades namely power, major ISPs and the military. Scary. What was disappointing was the proposed solutions which emphasized inter-state agreements - at the same time acknowledging that the US cannot put in those controls advocated! Also, the current threat comes from non-st ...more
Ilian Bambekov
There is something about this title that just makes you want to turn away from reading it, perhaps even get rid of it. However if you are an enthusiastic and curious reader like me, you might as well grab ahold and let your brain run free in the interconnected network of operations that are open, decentralized, and largely unencrypted, and learn the many flaws that encircle the everyday use of your computer, as well as the threats on the international level.
Clarke and Knake’s interpretation on c
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Andrew Updegrove
May 03, 2014 Andrew Updegrove rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in cyber security, international diplomacy or government
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 ec
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Justin Time
The biggest downside to this book is its old (2009) pre-Snowden and pre-Leon Panetta's work on this issue. The biggest upside to this book is its old and pre-Snowden. You can see that the media really portrays this issue terribly, and some of the so called "Snowden leaks" were here in this book all along and really old news (albeit not the most controversial).

Also getting an inside perspective of three different white house administrations was really great. However, the book also didn't cite a l
...more
erjan k.
This book is pretty interesting, some examples on cyberwarfare cases were presented, what china and russia are capable of doing.

Keyloggers can read and save everything I type, put into a file and send it to hackers juts like I did for this review.

Electric grid, pipelines, airports all use software. The book mentions 'logic bombs' - special code that gives deadly instructions to trains to go full stop, airplanes control surfaces to dive, electric power grid to release huge jolt of electricity int
...more
Wes
Not going to lie, this book was kind of disturbing.

I like computers, I use computers, understand that I have no privacy in this brave, new world, and like to think that I am pretty aware regarding the current state of the internet. This book showed me just how little I know about the cyber world. According to the author, the US is RIPE for a cyber attack that will make films like Live Free or Die Hard look like a Nostradamus prediction. It is really kind of heavy stuff, that covers the simplici
...more
Jack
While it reads something out of a thriller at times (which he states in the introduction that it was his intention to write something accessible to the general public), his accuracy is pretty close. True, some minor facts may not be fully correct, such as labeling Excel as a ‘database software’, but he writes appropriately in the more important technical aspects: DDOS attacks, ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks to sniff packets, ‘buffer overflows’ to run applications with full access, and trojans for k ...more
Wally
Cyber War is an interesting and unsettling read. The authors lay out the threat to national security by foreign hackers or "cyber warriors" and what must be done about it. The book begins by explaining how the Internet functions. It's an education on how information gets from one place to another and how our infrastructure has become dependent on computers. It also reveals how vulnerable the United States is to cyber attacks from foreign countries; not only militarily, but economically. For inst ...more
William
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 80s, the military dominance of the United States has been without peer. Although challenged by asymmetrical responses in armed conflicts, such as local insurgents using gorilla tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan, the greatest threat to the relative safety and security enjoyed by this country is its shared and open development of the Internet, which is the foundation of cyberspace. Our dependence on and vulnerabilities in cyberspace is discussed with rem ...more
Tom Nixon
I decided to do some reading about cyber warfare after I had written 160,000 words of a draft novel and realized that one of my main characters was a hacker and I knew nothing about either hacking or any concepts of cyber war. So being a good wannabe writer, I did some searching, found a book on the subject and did my homework.

Noted policy wonk, counter-terrorism expert, noted detractor of Bush The Younger Richard Clarke joins forces with a younger hipper colleague Robert K Knake to deliver a sl
...more
Dale Lowther
Cyber Warfare: Clarke's what you don't know about the next war that will scare you to your core - a must read!

This is an excellent book written for anyone who is concerned about what might happen to our country/allies if an adversary decides to turn our lights out, take away our PCs, cell phones, electronic toys, destroy our financial systems and our military in less than a day. He provides a detailed background on the state of cyber warfare and then lays out the reasons we should be worried ab
...more
Criticalmick
WARNING: The country which invented the Internet is presently the most vulnerable to an attack from it.

In the 1970’s, the US Defense Department’s Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) laid the groundwork for the Internet. This communications system, initially developed by the military, has over the past 40 years become used by industry, commerce, social networks- almost every aspect of contemporary life. Richard A. Clarke’s Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About
...more
Mark
There's this parable from another time and another place and it goes something like this: don't put all your eggs in one basket.

And there you have the one sentence summation of Clarke's book detailing America's reliance on the Internet to keep our essential civilian infrastructure afloat. What do I mean by "essential"? The little things like finance, transportation, water, energy, food, etc. More than any other country, Clarke argues, the U.S. depends on commands sent over the web to keep our i
...more
Blog on Books
When Richard C. Clarke says there is a looming threat to our national security, you want to take him seriously. After all, it was Clarke who was the leading voice advising the Bush administration about the urgency of the potential attack on the U.S. by Al Quida that resulted in the events of 9/11.

Now, Clarke and co-author Robert K. Knake are onto the next frontline of possible attack – cyberspace. In ‘Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What To Do About It,’ Clarke and Knake outl
...more
Chris DePoy
Clarke and his colleague do an excellent job of explaining online technology and how it could fail. It goes over how much of the United States system still relies on networking created forty or fifty years ago for a handful of college students to talk to each other. That infrastructure wasn’t created for security as much as it was created for the exchange of information. Today, that unsecure system is being used by millions of people, and the Chinese and North Korean governments have already exp ...more
Mark
Overall, I thought it was pretty good but it took me a year to read it. Mostly an issue of competing reading assignments from AWC.

In the book the author is writing to make a point about the dangers of cyber war and posits that the United States is largely unprepared to deal with cyber warfare. He compares the US nuclear strategy with cyber war. In the early days of nuclear weapons the US military largely made nuclear policy. He makes the point that policy on the US nuclear became much more intel
...more
G
So, a year or so ago I needed to read some non-fiction after reading the first two “Game of Thrones” books back to back. 1500 pages of Dragon this, M’lady that… Great stuff but it gets to you. I also wanted something short. After so much dense fantasy, 350 pages of “Cyberwar” seems short. This book came out a few years ago and tries to be a primer on state use of internet attacks and the defense of states from internet attacks. I’m sort of torn about it. It is pitched at folks who have a minimal ...more
Liam
I was really looking forward to reading this book, and really conflicted in my opinions while reading it.

Mr. Clarke clearly knows enough to be dangerous, but I couldn't shake a feeling throughout the book that something about this book was just *wrong*. One one hand it has some insightful commentary on the sticky situations involved with cyberwarfare, and on the other completely lacks a bibliography or references to back up his claims regarding the current state of affairs.

The author's experienc
...more
Chris Bauer
As an IT professional I frequently work with CISOs from a variety of different organizations. This book was recommended as an insightful take on the future of warfare and how electronic communications will play a pivotal role in its development.

The author, Richard A. Clarke, write with an experienced and credible voice. He has a considerable amount of background in the field to be considered an expert and his contacts in the US government provide an interesting context as well.

The book is actual
...more
Vulgrin
Still finishing this one, but I know enough to write a review:

First off, this is an important book for people to read, or at least, get the bullet points from. Our cyber infrastructure is at great risk and at the first sign of hostilities, we could all be without the basics of modern life pretty damn quick. We should all be clamoring for our elected officials to take cyber security as seriously as they do our physical defense - or we should all bone up on our ability to grow our own food and sur
...more
Macy White
This is mainly a book that addresses the real world threat of cyber war and focuses on policy solutions, regulatory steps, and other changes made to the Internet and the security systems (or the lack there of) that are supposed to protect the civilian vital infrastructure.

Clarke draws on a long career of policy experience to come to these conclusions and makes a lot of comparisons to nuclear arms policy. However, I was most interested in the sections of the book that provided 'evidence' for the
...more
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Richard Alan Clarke was a U.S. government employee for 30 years, 1973–2003. He worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National Security Council. President Bill Clinton retained Clarke and in 1998 promoted him to be the National Coordina ...more
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