Cyber War Will Not Take Place

ISBN 13: 9781849042802

Cyber War Will Not Take Place

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9781849042802: Cyber War Will Not Take Place

"Cyber war is coming," announced a land-mark RAND report in 1993. In 2005, the U.S. Air Force boasted it would now fly, fight, and win in cyberspace, the "fifth domain" of warfare. This book takes stock, twenty years on: is cyber war really coming? Has war indeed entered the fifth domain?

Cyber War Will Not Take Place cuts through the hype and takes a fresh look at cyber security. Thomas Rid argues that the focus on war and winning distracts from the real challenge of cyberspace: non-violent confrontation that may rival or even replace violence in surprising ways.

The threat consists of three different vectors: espionage, sabotage, and subversion. The author traces the most significant hacks and attacks, exploring the full spectrum of case studies from the shadowy world of computer espionage and weaponised code. With a mix of technical detail and rigorous political analysis, the book explores some key questions: What are cyber weapons? How have they changed the meaning of violence? How likely and how dangerous is crowd-sourced subversive activity? Why has there never been a lethal cyber attack against a country's critical infrastructure? How serious is the threat of "pure" cyber espionage, of exfiltrating data without infiltrating humans first? And who is most vulnerable: which countries, industries, individuals?

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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.


"Cyber War Will Not Take Place throws a well-timed bucket of cold water on an increasingly alarmist debate. EL What Rid does, with great skill, is to pivot the discussion away from cyber war and towards cyber weapons." -- Financial Times

"Thomas Rid 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. Rid agrees that these present urgent security problems but he dislikes talk of 'warfare' and the militarization of the debate about dangers in cyberspace. Computer code can do lots of things, but it is not a weapon of war.' -- The Economist

"This book provides a thorough and timely analysis of cyber conflict and makes a reasonable case to temper the dialogue around cyber war." -- International Affairs

"This book will be welcomed by all those who have struggled to get the measure of the "cyber-war" threat. As Thomas Rid takes on the digital doomsters he also provides a comprehensive, authoritative and sophisticated analysis of the strategic quandaries created by the new technologies." -- Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies, King's College London and author of Strategy: A History

'Rid stands as a useful voice among the Cassandras and Chicken Littles who warn of the impending cyber apocalypse. He bridges the divide between law and technology, and serves as the standard bearer for those hoping to lead the cyber-war debate out of what he calls the 'realm of myth and fairytale' into rational, empirical discussion." -- Sydney Morning Herald

"A stimulating read for anyone interested in the field of security studies, EL Cyber War Will Not Take Place has the tech language that academics from the field would expect it to have, but the author also manages to explain the background knowledge to lay readers in an understandable and often humorous fashion. Each of his points is accompanied by several real-life cybercrime examples, ranging from the infamous Stuxnet attack to operation Titan rain in 2003, when Chinese hackers attacked US military and governmental computer systems.' -- Journal for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies

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