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Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld

Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld [Kindle Edition]

Jeffrey Carr
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

What people are saying about Inside Cyber Warfare

"The necessary handbook for the 21st century."

--Lewis Shepherd, Chief Tech Officer and Senior Fellow, Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments

"A must-read for policy makers and leaders who need to understand the big-picture landscape of cyber war."

--Jim Stogdill, CTO, Mission Services Accenture

You may have heard about "cyber warfare" in the news, but do you really know what it is? This book provides fascinating and disturbing details on how nations, groups, and individuals throughout the world are using the Internet as an attack platform to gain military, political, and economic advantages over their adversaries. You'll learn how sophisticated hackers working on behalf of states or organized crime patiently play a high-stakes game that could target anyone, regardless of affiliation or nationality.

Inside Cyber Warfare goes beyond the headlines of attention-grabbing DDoS attacks and takes a deep look inside multiple cyber-conflicts that occurred from 2002 through summer 2009.

  • Learn how cyber attacks are waged in open conflicts, including recent hostilities between Russia and Georgia, and Israel and Palestine
  • Discover why Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, Vkontakte, and other sites on the social web are mined by the intelligence services of many nations
  • Read about China's commitment to penetrate the networks of its technologically superior adversaries as a matter of national survival
  • Find out why many attacks originate from servers in the United States, and who's responsible
  • Learn how hackers are "weaponizing" malware to attack vulnerabilities at the application level

About the Author

Jeffrey Carr (CEO, Taia Global, Inc.) is the author of "Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld" (O'Reilly Media 2009) and the founder and CEO of Taia Global, Inc., a boutique security consulting firm for Global 2000 companies. His book has been endorsed by General Chilton, former Commander USSTRATCOM and he has had the privilege of speaking at the US Army War College, Air Force Institute of Technology, Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Study Group and at over 60 conferences and seminars. His firm provides specialized cybersecurity services to a select group of companies and their executives in the defense, technology, and communication sectors world-wide.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1961 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (7 Dec 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043D2DLE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #514,740 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Relevant and contains good information 30 April 2011
This book is aimed at the policy makers and people setting direction in future approaches to cyber. A quote from page 170 related to Chinese cyber policy "losers in IW [information war] will not just be those with backward technology. They will also be those who lack command thinking and the ability to apply strategies".

This is exactly the same scope as the similarly titled Cyber War by Clark and Knake. Both books cover similar ground. This book is slightly more factual in explaining what has happened in cyberspace, providing examples covering many significant events from the last 10 years.

The beginning chapters focus on explaining cyber warfare and giving the background to current legislation. This can be very dry to read. I liked the suggested use of a 7 box model for assessing the importance of a specific attack. On page 151 there is a good overview of a zero day attack. This is frequently the living nightmare of network defence. This section in itself is worth reading.

I find this book repeats itself a fair bit and once you understand we are being attacked daily we really don't need to keep discussing it. The investigations into Russian and Chinese CNE activities are interesting. They do not go on to compare or suggest any positives or negatives of these approaches.

Towards the end of the book it starts to get more far out and wackey. Suggesting switching to Red Hat Linux operating systems, where did that come from? The comment that annoyed me most was in discussions of active defence techniques. "States that wish to avoid being the targets of active defence can easily do so; all they must do is fulfil their duty to prevent cyber attack". This is such an inaccurate statement because of the word "easily".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Light and Over-Hyped 25 Feb 2010
By Dave - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book trying to further my understanding of Cyber Warfare and how it has become integral force multiplier/enabler in today's digital battlefield. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that this book was basically a regurgitation of what is available on the Internet with a little "googling". The book itself is tiresome to read and feels like you are just trying to weed through so much "chaff" as you attempt to find something compelling to take away. Granted, I think if you have done no initial reading on the subject and it is totally new to you- this book may be a good primer. Seriously though, if you are a student that wants to gain a better understanding of how cyberspace plays a role in a geo-political strategic context- this is not the book for you. If Jeffrey Carr is an expert in Cyber Warfare- he needs to way up the ante on another book and make it more than just a conglomeration of articles that are pretty much freely available on the Internet.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted 16 Feb 2012
By Michael - Published on
Jeffrey Carr makes a living out of advising others on cyber security. It is unlikely that he'll be short of work in if only half is of what he writes about in this 300 page book is true.

Inside Cyber Warfare (O'Reilly Publishing) is as fascinating as it is worrying.

For example, how do you know who initiated a cyber attack? How do you tell the difference between cyber crime and cyber warfare, and does it matter (it does according to Carr, although the two are often linked). What are the differences between traditional war and cyber war, and what do these mean for things like defensive counter-measures or the traditional legal frameworks that guide war-making?

One of the strengths of this book is that these questions are not pursued in an abstract manner - one of Carr's purposes in writing the book is provide guidance for policy makers dealing with these issues. To that end, he grounds the theory with the practice, drawing on real life experiences to flesh out the discussion.

Are there any negatives to this book? A couple, but nothing too serious. Perhaps necessarily the book makes a lot of use of a small number of examples of cyber warfare - presumably because these examples are well understood by the author and, to date, because there are not that many examples in the public arena. The result is a feeling at times of repetition - a problem the editors probably could probably have managed better.

Ultimately I left the book worried about what Carr sees as a blind spot in the way that governments go about ensuring cyber security for their people. How will our governments respond if all of a sudden our banking systems were compromised, flight controls into our major airports thrown into chaos, and public utilities sent off-line through rogue malware?

They'd no doubt want to blame someone - but whom? Assuming they could track down the source of these events, it is likely that they'd find the malicious code sitting on computers hosted inside their own borders; coded perhaps by hackers from multiple countries; and quite likely arising because of lax security by government, military and private sector agencies. Do you blame the North Koreans, China or Russia, or is it the work of a small network of independent hack-tavists pursuing their own vendettas? Think about this, a cyber attack that threw the US into disarray emanating from computers hosted in the UK, Canada, Australia and the USA itself, and perhaps coded by hackers including some living in those same countries.

The fight against terror moved the front line from between opposing armies, to battles in the streets where people live. Cyber war battles will redefine this terrain once again, with the 'enemy' remaining illusive, potentially to the point where it is not even clear who the enemy is.

This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in matters of cyber life or security. The scary thing was that by the time I'd finished reading this book I had imagined several ways that I could commit cyber war without being caught - not something that I intend to do (obviously) but evidence that this is a field that needs to be more actively understood and debated, not just by 'experts' in the field but by anyone who has an active cyber life.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can cyber-pirates own the world? 11 Feb 2012
By Alexey I. Smirnov - Published on
The main purpose of this book is to investigate whether it is possible to launch a devastating attack without possessing any weapons, by only using an Internet-connected PC. It happened many times in the past that military commanders went on horses to fight with tanks, in which case a large army can fall victim to a small regiment.

From the very beginning, the author makes it very clear that the main threat comes from non-state hacker groups who are indirectly supported by governments. I think those groups are similar to pirates of the medieval ages. They rip off merchants sometimes, but they can be hired to protect trade routes from competing states. As usual, private organizations are much quicker at building up teams with necessary skills, whereas the official government policy is still in its infancy. Also, there is a clear division in what government and non-government organizations do: the informal hacker groups launch attacks, and government agencies try to defend against external threats. The book makes it very clear that this needs to change.

Many governments realized that long time ago, so in the second half of the book the author presents a comprehensive overview of cyber-capabilities of top 20 or so most advanced countries. This is a bit boring to read, as the book provides way too many details on the internal structure of ministries and agencies. But maybe it is a good reference material for professional strategic decision makers. In addition, when analyzing Russia, I think the book attributes too much power to a bunch of oligarchs. Trust me, they are not responsible for cyber-attacks launched from Russia. There are indeed some covert hacker groups which the book fails to identify.

To summarize, the book is thought-provocative and clearly lays out the looming threats. But in my opinion it fails to identify the driving forces of the cyber war. It is not any particular government or that wealthy guy. Cyber war is still a black market, and the author fails to shed some light on this dark side. Or maybe he just does not want to mess up with them. Because of this elusiveness, I only give 4 stars to this book.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 13 Nov 2010
By Matt B - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be very disappointing in many regards. I expect a certain degree of quality in O'Reilly books and this one did not meet it. It's a thin book, and although there is some interesting content, enough to pass a couple of hours of late-night reading, the level of writing is about that of a mediocre Wikipedia article. The style is more appropriate for a blog or uneven journalistic account than a published book. Typos, very obvious ones, abounded throughout the text. The price is exorbitant for such a shallow pass at the subject.

I did not find it to be an intellectually stimulating work, and its best value was in directing me to other resources referenced by the work.

My guess is that the publisher wanted to capitalize off a cool subject, but this fails to attack the subject in any significant way.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a personal intelligence briefing on the highest-end threats 18 Jan 2010
By David J. Bianco - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At the time of this writing, one of the biggest stories in the media is that Google and several other large technology companies were attacked by Chinese hackers. Although this seems to have caught almost everyone by surprise, it's no surprise to those of us in the trenches, responding to these types of incidents every day. "Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld" is by far the best available guide to this highly sophisticated threatscape.

The book's author is Jeffrey Carr, author of the well-known IntelFusion blog ([...]) and founder of Project Grey Goose, both of which provide high quality intelligence analyses on a number of cyberwar-related topics. The book reviews, organizes and expands upon many issues already covered on his blog, but does so in a way that actually adds value. This isn't a retread of old postings; it's an entirely new creation.

I used the term "intelligence analysis", and that's really what this book is: one big dossier on the means, motives, opportunities and identities of some of the major players in the cyber warfare arena. Specifically, this book's focus is on nation-states with known cyberwar capabilities, such as China, Russia and the United States. However, there is also some limited coverage both of other countries (e.g., North Korea) and other actors, such as organized crime.

The first couple of chapters begin by providing some basic background on cyberwar, defining terms, citing recent examples (such as the Russian attacks on Georgian websites in 2008) and discussing the transition from direct action by states to state-sponsored third party actors. This last concept is perhaps the most critical one in the entire book: states rarely do their own dirty work anymore. They tend to work through third parties, which is much less risky because it offers them plausible deniability. This is a major feature of today's cyberwar, and the book does an excellent job explaining why this happens and what the ramifications are for the victims of these attacks. This is a critical theme that carries through much of the rest of the book.

Chapters 3 and 4 focus more on the legalities of cyber warfare, definitions and relevant treaties. In fact, Chapter 4 (Responding to International Cyber Attacks as Acts of War) is one of the standout sections of the book. Written by guest author Lt. Cdr. Matthew Sklerov, USN, this chapter draws on numerous examples of case law and legal opinions to make a compelling case that the best defense against a cyberwar is to actively identify the aggressor and to attack them right back. Readers conditioned to think of legal arguments as dry and boring are in for a real treat, as this is quite a fascinating read.

The next several chapters establish a framework for performing intelligence investigations into the sources and motives behind cyber attacks, then explore several fruitful mechanisms for performing this research, such as by performing reconnaissance on relevant hacker forums, building social network graphs and the ever-popular "follow the money" approach. In doing so, Carr often shows how these mechanisms are really double-edged swords, providing as much or more benefit to the adversary as to the investigator. You can find some of this material elsewhere (Hacking: The Next Generation (Animal Guide) has quite a lot to say about social networks, for example), but in context with the rest of the book, these chapters still work quite well.

Finally, the last few chapters explore the role of cyberwar at the national level. Carr discusses and gives examples of relevant military doctrine from Russia, China and the US, showing how each nation views the key questions from different perspectives. Chapter 13 (Advice for Policy Makers from the Field) is particularly interesting, as three prominent experts each tackle one controversial cyberwar issue and give advice directly to policy makers, using this book as a sort of open letter.

"Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld" is the best book I've seen for those of us charged with defending against the highest-end threats to information security. It provides a comprehensive intelligence briefing on actors, capabilities, motivations and possible responses to acts of cyberwar. I highly recommend this for government, military and corporate readers who are responsible for either securing their own networks or for setting security policy. The threat is real, and these groups are active. Inside Cyber Warfare is the guide you need to help you understand the context in which your organization operates on the modern battlefield.
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