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The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  34 reviews
No single invention of the last half century has changed the way we live now as much as the Internet. Alexander Klimburg was a member of the generation for whom it was a utopian ideal turned reality: a place where ideas, information, and knowledge could be shared and new freedoms found and enjoyed. Two decades later, the future isn't so bright any more: increasingly, the ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Penguin Press
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11811 (Eleven)
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Here's the jist. Enemies take down our connectivity unless we preemptively take it down ourselves. Either way, everyone loses. The future is bleak and we are all fucked.

Recommended to fans of apocalyptic nonfiction. This is almost better than the Terminator films.
Eustacia Tan
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book feels like something that I might have been made to read in one of my tutorials, which is probably why I requested it from Netgalley.

The Darkening Web is basically a book that explains the various aspects of cyberspace and why we are all vulnerable. Seriously, if this doesn't make you paranoid and/or give up on privacy on the internet, you probably haven't read this.

This book covers the basics of cyber security, hackers, the US's history and stance on cyber security, cyber attacks by
Tadas Talaikis
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This book's rating's hacked :-D
A really interesting book - not sure I understood all of it, but lots of research, info and opinions in these pages. The author seemed very knowledgable and offered up some (albeit very grandiose) ways of dealing with cyber security/crime...etc.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
There were some bright spots. He's excellent when evaluating the complicated relationship between Russian government and non-government entities, discussing China's recent drawdown, describing differences in technique for known actors, and especially when theorizing about motivations for each actor's posture. But it took him a looong time to get there ... it felt like there was more background and buildup than thesis, most of which will already be familiar to those in the field.

Some passages
Ailith Twinning
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, 2019
Quite interesting, but this guy's zealotry vis-a-vis "Liberal Democracies", "The West", "International Law" and the US -- while treating China and Russia as aberrant and evil is just. . . just. . .depressing.

"The US would never break International Law and commit an act of war or otherwise a cyberattack worthy as Cassus Beli to a foreign power, it would undermine Democracy! And at any rate, if we did do something like that, like we did in WWII, it would be purely in extremis and never normal at
Jul 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: computer, politics, 2017
As interesting as the first half of this book was, so tediously dull was the second, and so ridiculous the author's solutions, yet this was perfectly understandable as the author boasts numerous times about his employment by various states and supranational organisations. The absolute lowest point was exemplified by the following quote: "Mandatory decryption orders may be the best and safest way to deal with the conundrum of encryption and legal access."
Fred P
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Klimburg brings extensive knowledge of military cyberwarfare to promote his thesis that our leaders don't fully understand the implications of current cyber-policy. Grappling with the terms used to describe cybersecurity and information warfare (including the "cyber" prefix), Klimburg suggests new terminology and new policy that de-emphasizes political propaganda and the equation of militarism with cyber-nationalism. He promotes civil society solutions to internet problems, describing in detail ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Senate Intelligence Committee, Facebook
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is very dense reading - sentences are often 3 lines long or longer and it probably averages somewhere around 2 paragraphs per page. Thirty pages in I put it down in favor of Countdown to Zero Day which seemed to have significant overlap and was much more readable. (It was very good. I’m glad I read it.) Then I tried this one again to see whether I wanted to finish it or give up on it. It turned out to be more dissimilar than I thought it would be.

The Darkening Web is written from the
Joseph Carrabis
Oct 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
The Darkening Web may be an interesting/entertaining read for people unfamiliar with the material. I started working on DARPA back in the late 1960s-early 1970s at Lincoln Labs so have some familiarity with the history.
This book didn't do it for me. Lots of angst, lots of anxiety, lots of "oh my gosh, there are monsters under the bed" and not much "and here's what you/we/us can do about it".
One of my challenges with such content (anything, really) is "Don't tell me there's a problem
This isn't a book for people with a casual interest in cybersecurity. Nor is it a book for cybersecurity people who are focused on technology. This book is for people who are wonkish about public policy.

Klimburg makes several interesting observations about the current state of public policy regarding cybersecurity. He also makes some interesting contingent predictions. But at times I found him using speculation to support some of the technical points in support of his arguments. Other times I
Alexis Bauer Kolak
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, terryifying, and most of all, understandable. Klimburg's book provides a solid grounding for those new (oblivious?) to the threats that pervade our new cyber-political landscape, and the delicate line being walked every day to balance the freedoms that makes the internet amazing and the risks it poses to everyone. You will want to think twice every time you pick up your phone to access the Web after you finish this.
Dorian Box
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well-researched and (mostly) interestingly told tale of cyberspace hacking and espionage. I say "mostly" because it does get quite technical, which is a good thing for those who are familiar with internet protocols, infrastructure and the like, but may be a bit too difficult for regular readers to navigate. I consider this to be more of an academic text, and in that realm I would give it five stars rather than four.
Matthew Liu-Picchietti
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's good. There is a lot of tech language that I do not understand but the basic concept is clear. It is especially scary considering the anti-intellectual, anti-science twit that sometimes occupies the White House. Thankfully I am not interesting enough, nor rich enough to worry about cyber crimes on a personal level, but the national and global probabilities are not good.

Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book's introduction on the structure and history of the Internet seemed too long and contained a lot of unnecessary details, with a lot of review for those in the field. It got interesting when Klimburg began discussing geopolitics with its relation to cyber, especially the discussions on Russia and China. Overall, this book was very educational, albeit slightly depressing.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am surprised this book is rated as low as it is. Perhaps the readers are not attuned to what I've experienced and learned. This may be the best cyber book I've read from a geopolitical standpoint. The core message is about the dangers to liberal democracies of the rise of an Internet increasingly marked by state informational conflict. It certainly includes some technical information as well.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good overview of the history of the Internet with additional information about security issues. Not a huge amount of new information if you work in IT, but it is a good overview with some interesting details for someone not particularly familiar with the issues and history of the web and the 'net.

Well-researched and thorough, worth listening to/reading.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
The levels of sycophancy in this book are simply vomit inducing. Who are you? Unless you're on the government payroll there's something wrong with you. I assume this book is just an elaborate job application for your nearest authoritarian government, or as you would call it: the leaders of the free world. You are a bad person.
Blaine Morrow
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
Klimburg provides a well-organized, clear, and informative introduction to the "cyber security" field, along with up-to-date summaries of the dangers posed by the most prolific operators. There are recommendations (a bit weak) for policy changes and future directions. One glaring defect is the lack of graphs and tables, which the author even occasionally references.
M Plot
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
To me, a casual reader, this book is very academic, perhaps too much so. That being said, the author's mastery of the subject and perceived sincerity and integrity compelled me to read on. Again from the casual reader point of view, despite the fact that at times the writing was a slog littered with acronyms, over all I thought the time reading this book was well spent.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of all the books and articles I’ve read on cyber issues, this one is the most authoritative and clear-headed. I hope the author will continue to write on this vital topic.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: geek-stuff
Not a super captivating read, but it did give me a lot of information and education related to the politics of the web.
Tina Miller
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not an easy read, but very readable. The concepts are explained well. The history is accurate and the speculation reasonable and thought provoking.
Jenna Lynn
Dec 19, 2017 rated it liked it
There was some useful info, but it was just too academic for me. And I also didn’t really care for the last 20-30 pages of his policy recommendations. I was over it by then.
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Politics of the Internet and Cybersecurity and the main players (Russia, China, USA).
Timothy Carter
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great resource while writing Blooming Barter. It gave me a better insight into the dark web.
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Damn this book is good.
Nathan Gilliatt
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The biggest problem with this book is that so much of what was written as warning has been overtaken by events. The author acknowledges this in the epilogue, which notes that most of the book was written in 2015-16.
Domenic Conte
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
The book needed better editing. It was a long read. It could have been about 100 pages shorter if the author didn't repeat the same sentences. There was many times I said to myself, "I just read this."
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just shows that a well-written and researched non-fiction book can be scarier than the best horror fiction.
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