Cybersecurity and Cyberwar

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar

What Everyone Needs to Know

Oxford UP, 2014 more...

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P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman of the Brookings Institution reveal the mysteries of botnets and shed light on the murky areas of cyberwar and clandestine military operations. They detail fascinating episodes, such as the US-Israeli Stuxnet attack on Iranian nuclear engineers, an infiltration so stealthy the engineers didn’t even know it was happening. And, they tell businesses how to stay alert to their own security. Their other true accomplishment, meanwhile, is maintaining a light, entertaining tone. getAbstract recommends their fascinating study to students, coders, start-ups, historians, strategists, anyone in the military, and business owners and managers seeking insight into the defining security frontier of our time.


Malware Every Second

Cyberattacks and cyberterror are the dirty underbelly of cyberspace. In 2010, the McAfee computer security firm found new malware every 15 minutes. By 2013, it found a new example every second. The principles that make the Internet so powerful make it vulnerable to security threats. The bigger a network, the more useful it is to businesses, consumers, and anyone seeking a large audience or a broad market. Sadly, the bigger a network, also, the less secure it becomes.

The fight against cybercrime can take some unexpected turns. Consider what happened when the FBI nabbed Estonian hackers who created a virus that infected some 570,000 computers. The FBI considered shutting down the scammers’ network, but that would have left hundreds of thousands of victims without Internet access. The FBI set up servers to keep the victims’ computers running.

The Internet provides a low-cost venue for terrorists to reach the masses. For instance, al-Qaeda recruited followers by disseminating videos of Osama bin Laden’s speeches. Often, knowledgeable users can glean valuable tactical data, though sometimes that information ends up in the wrong hands. In 2007...

About the Authors

Peter Warren Singer directs the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. Allan Friedman is research director of Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation.

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