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Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,953 ratings  ·  202 reviews
Author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Against All Enemies, former presidential advisor and counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke sounds a timely and chilling warning about America’s vulnerability in a terrifying new international conflict—Cyber War! Every concerned American should read this startling and explosive book that offers an insider’s view of White House ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2010)
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,953 ratings  ·  202 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 defe
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
11811 (Eleven)
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Minimal substance. This could have been 20 pages long with the same amount of information. It must have taken a tremendous amount of effort to page-stuff this piece of crap to the distance of a mere 300 pages. I expected more from someone with Clarke's experience.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nerd-stuff
(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
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
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
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
John Brown
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Tin Wee
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
I read this for class.

I find the writing easy to follow and I really like that aspect. However, this book should be - quoting from previous reviewer - "taken with a big grain of salt". I appreciate that Clarke&Knake warn us of the risk of cyberwar and the vulnerability of current system, but is it really as bad as it is? The book emphasizes on the external threats and the slow understanding of US Government in responding to these threats. As a foreigner, I couldn't help but ask: "If countri
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rick Howard
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Blog (Terebrate) review of this book:

Executive Summary:

I recommend this book. It is essential to the cyber warrior who needs to understand the historical context around the evolution of defending any nation in cyber space. For international policy makers, it is a good place to start for a real discussion about substantive policies that the international community should consider. For the commercial security folks, read this book if you want insight into how government po
Earl Lee Ludd
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cyberwar is terrific book despite its age, and that says a lot.

Clarke forms a fantastic (both literally and figuratively) narrative that's gripping throughout the first half of the book, but slowly fades towards the second, as it becomes inundated with redundancies.

The book is beginning to show its age, too. With the advent of newer books, movies, and podcasts such as "Countdown to Zero Day", and "Malicious Life", Cyberwar, first published 8 years ago and probably written well in advance, might
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I gave this three stars because I love the topic, but not so much the author. I listed strengths and weaknesses (my opinion) of the book.

Strengths: For being written in 2010, the book was probably ahead of it's time, and is relevant today. It detailed our domestic vulnerability to cyber attacks and raised serious concerns about our ability to function (emergency services and military readiness) should the "unthinkable" happen. Since the "unthinkable" continues to happen from a domestic terroris
Javier HG
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Con las acusaciones de los EE.UU respecto a las intrusiones de Rusia en los servidores del Partido Demócrata, leer este libro viene que ni pintado. Aunque se escribió en 2010 la mayor parte de lo que describe sigue de actualidad ya que todavía no se ha solucionado. Su principal autor (Richard Clarke) sabe de lo que habla: trabajó en temas de defensa desde principios de la década de los 70 del siglo pasado y llegó a ser jefe antiterrorista de la Casa Blanca con Bill Clinton y George Bush (fue esp ...more
Glen Stott
Cyber war takes many forms – Bot computers to crash websites for instance. US Air Force & Navy have taken the potential for cyber war seriously for many years. The Army is somewhat behind. However, all effort in the potential of cyber war has been focused on offense. Because of the nature of cyber warfare and the speed at which it can be implemented, the most important thing to win is a strong defense. It seems that anything that is connected to the internet is vulnerable to cyber-attack.

I f
Wanda Keith
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many have said that this book written in 2010 by Richard Clarke was ahead of it's time. I have to disagree. By the time this book was written there had already been cyber attacks such as Israel on Syria who was allowing North Korea to build a nuclear plant in it's country. There had also been smaller attacks on various countries by other "wired" countries. This book does cite another book that was written in 1999, 'Unrestricted Warfare', which truly was ahead of it's time. In comparing the two b ...more
Sukanta Hazra
A good overview of potentially the greatest threat to nation states today, one that is often ignored and relegated to the domain of science-fiction. Covered both the challenges and also the politics around it with the viewpoint of USA. The book isn't technical in nature but provides an intro to computer networks and the vulnerable points. One thing that stood out, especially in context of North Korea, is how being a technologically backward country may actually be an advantage when it comes to C ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for information on the cyber war.  Because I've read Richard Clarke before I chose this book even though it is dated, 2010.  It provides technical explanations, historical events and analysis. Look over the glossary terms to determine if you will understand this book.
I have a small background in computer science so while understanding the subject I admit fatigue a little past half way through.
Clarke provides solutions for the problems outlined but they are not easy nor cheap.
The si
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides a very nice introduction to cyber warfare. The US is considered the best at this type of warfare but unfortunately it is by far the most vulnerable. Any device that is tied to the web is subject to attack. This is the "internet of things" (IoT) As US manufacturers get more and more devices on the net this vulnerability increases. Many power grids in the US are on the net controlling computer access to them is not only the ability to shut them down but also the ability to destr ...more
Clarke, former presidential advisor with a background in nuclear war explains the dangers of cyber attack and what the US as a country should be doing.

Why I started this book: It's on the professional reading list and my library had an audio copy.

Why I finished it: Books like this have an obvious shelf-life and at 5 years, this is past it. Not only has the terminology moved on from cyber war to cyber attack, Clarke repeats himself endlessly. Seriously this book could should have been cut by 1/4
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm only giving this book 3 stars for a split reason: the information provided in the book would have gotten 5 stars, but the organization of the book is off. While an excellent starting point for those interested in the subject, due to Clarke and Knake's clear description of key terminology and events, it is best read in conjunction with the bevy of articles that have come out since 2015 on cyberwar. These include almost anything from wired, ars technica, or Krebs, but more importantly Kim Zett ...more
Wouter Nauta
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read it some tike ago, guess now it will be somewhat outdated. I really like Richard's style, you can feel he had greatbpower and was still down to earth. Gives an accurate and somewhat prescient view on the already on-going war - dnc hack by Russia.

Could have been more detailed, then again, I guess I shouldn't expect to learn hackers skills in a popular book :-D.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Technical aspects were light at times, but gave good insights to the current (circa 09-ish) state of the U.S's posture in regards to "Cyber". Creating smart power grids smart traffic systems, smart cars, smart food delivery systems and automating most industries creates targets in a new type of war.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though it is a little dated now, in 2018, the information the authors put into this book is still relevant today.
A must read for anyone involved with any aspect of cyber security, cyber war or related fields.
Dushan Hanuska
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I had this book on my shelf for some time. It has a special sentimental value to me. It was the last book my friend was reading and left unfinished because he lost his fight with cancer. Buddy, I finished this book for you!
Eddie Massey
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very thorough analysis of cyberware policies and strategies. Unlike similiar books, the author s don't give an ABC guide to what cyberware is, but a framework for analyzing national and international policy considerations for preventing unintended escalations.
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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
“I have been taught by senior national security officials for decades never to bring them a problem without also suggesting a solution.” 1 likes
“the generators on most subgrids spin at 60 Megahertz.” 0 likes
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