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Cyber War Will Not Take Place Paperback – 11 Apr 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (11 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849042802
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849042802
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'In a new book, provocatively titled Cyber War Will Not Take Place, Rid argues that what we have seen so far in the cyber realm can t properly be classified as war at all. And, he and his allies suggest, in thinking of it that way, we re creating new international hazards and diverting attention from changes that might actually keep us safe. Rid represents one pole of an emerging debate, as the world's policy establishment grapples with how to think about virtual attacks. One side believes that to downplay them is dangerously naive that this latest weapon of war has to be treated with the same seriousness as conventional arms, even nuclear weapons. An international effort is now underway to codify international rules of war as they apply to cyberattacks, placing them on a continuum with conventional warfare. Rid s side of this debate, which includes both experts on cybersecurity and those given the task of designing the new weapons for cyberspace, argues that although the threat is real, in overstating it we re helping create a new kind of global risk. Framing cyberattacks as acts of war has already fueled escalation, as countries like Iran and China invest in their own offensive cyberwarfare capabilities. And the military's enthusiastic embrace of this new theater of war, stoked by public fear, could have dangerous consequences.' ----Boston Globe

'In Cyber War Will Not Take Place, Thomas Rid throws a well-timed bucket of cold water on an increasingly alarmist debate. Just as strategic bombing never fulfilled its promise, and even air power at its apogee -- Kosovo in 1999, or Libya two years ago -- only worked with old-fashioned boots on the ground, Rid argues that the promise of cyber war is equally illusory. . . What Rid does, with great skill, is to pivot the discussion away from cyber war and towards cyber weapons.' ----Financial Times

'Thomas Rid is a German-born academic, now at King s College London. He is one of Britain's leading authorities on, and sceptics about, cyber-warfare. His provocatively titled book attacks the hype and mystique about sabotage, espionage, subversion and other mischief on the internet. He agrees that these present urgent security problems. But he dislikes talk of warfare and the militarisation of the debate about dangers in cyberspace. Computer code can do lots of things, but it is not a weapon of war. He criticises the American air force for using a lobbying gimmick with talk of cyber as a fifth domain of warfare, after land, sea, air and space.' ----The Economist

About the Author

Thomas Rid is Reader in War Studies at King's College London. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cogent, balanced, incredibly well informed and thought through.

Thomas Rid's work is both timely and up to date, including comment on, and analysis of, the APT1 report release by Mandiant in February 2013.

Rid helpfully classifies Cyber Attacks in to three sub-types: Subversion, Sabotage and Espionage. He provides a helpful framework for consideration and analysis of such attacks, and blows away many cobwebs and much of the lazy thinking that has become associated with the notion of 'Cyber War'. He also draws attention to the absence of violence (a pre-requisite for War as defined by Clausewitz) in almost all Cyber Attacks.

Of course the flaw in the book is also that it is predicated on Clausewitz's early 19th Century definition of war. Can't help but think he would define it differently were he alive today.....

As Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones has commented regarding the title of the book " I do so hope he's correct". And as Brendan Behan famously said "hope for the best, and prepare for the worst".

Required reading for all Information Security Professionals......
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Format: Paperback
This book is timely. Debates around the offensive use of cyber power are being spoken of commonly, but without being anchored in any kind of definition as to what is and isn't war. This book is cogent. It explains, in chapters on Weapons, Subversion, Espionage and Sabotage the kinds of effects that are commonly called 'Cyber War'. And it is contextualised in the history of war studies, which means so-called Cyber War is located in relation to what we intuitively understand to be war. And in this - war being the power to cause violence, hurt and effect the human body - there is a bridge to be traversed between the actual effects of cyber weapons, and the metaphor of war.

The book reads well. Individual chapters hold up on their own terms as articles on each theme. The most essential chapters, to my reading, were the first two, and the last. Those wishing for a summary of the argument, I would direct you here.

Well done, Dr Rid. I hope this book provokes the debate it deserves. As ever, what lay persons may read as a debate on mere semantics by academics can have real world impact. Unless we know and understand what constitutes an 'act of war' in the cyber realm, future generations of policy makers and lawyers will be left grappling in the dark for appropriate responses.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Starting with Clausewitz's definition of an act of war, this book assesses how effective software can be at either waging war in its own right, assisting more conventional arms in warlike action or in committing the war-related acts of sabotage, espionage and subversion. Its scope leaves no aspect of its subject or the participants untouched, be it the states who sponsor weaponised software, those who oppose the state or those who seek to thwart either of the first two.

The book contains many examples from the first days of the internet up to the modern day, but none are given any more prominence or detail than is required to support the main text. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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