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Cyber Warfare: Techniques, Tactics and Tools for Security Practitioners

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    The First Comprehensive Book on the Subject

    The authors, Steve Winterfield and Jason Andress, cover everything you will want to consider when thinking about how to use cyberspace to conduct warfare operations. The primary concepts have been bouncing around US military circles for over a decade but they have never been collected into one tome before. Clarke and Knake's book, "Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do about It," discusses how weak the US network defenses are and offers suggestions about how to improve. Carr's book, "Inside Cyber Warfare: Maping the Cyber Underworld," presents threat examples and nation state capabilities. Libicki's book, "Cyberdeterrence and Cybrewar," attacks cyberwar from a policy viewpoint and does not really address operational considerations. Stiennon's book, "Surviving Cyberwar," is a good place to start if you are new to the subject and is almost a prerequisite for this book.

    Full Disclosure: One of the authors, Steve Winterfield, used to work for me when he and I were both in the US Army wrestling with all of these ideas right after 9/11. I ran the Army Computer Emergency Response Team (ACERT) and Steve ran the Army's Southern Regional CERT (RCERT South). He and I have been friends ever since and he even quoted me in one of the back chapters.

    Although the content has been around for a while, it is striking how little the main concepts have changed. In a world where new innovations completely alter the popular culture every eighteen months, the idea that Cyber Warfare's operational principals remain static year after year is counter-intuitive. After reading through the various issues within though, you begin to understand the glacial pace. These difficult concepts spawn intractable problems and the authors do a good job of explaining them.

    The first three chapters are my favorites. Winterfield and Andress do a good job of wrapping their heads around entangled concepts like the definition of cyber warfare, the look of a cyber battle space and the current doctrine's ideas about cyber warfare from the perspective of various nations. It is fascinating.

    In the middle of the book, the authors take on the task of describing the Computer Network Operations (CNO) Spectrum; a spectrum that ranges from the very passive form of Computer Network Defense (CND) through the more active forms of Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) and Computer Network Attack (CNA). It is indeed a spectrum too because the delineation between where CND, CNE and CNA start and stop is not always clean and precise. There is overlap. And somewhere along that same spectrum is where law enforcement organizations and counter-intelligence groups operate. You can get lost fairly quickly without a guide and the authors provide that function admirably. The only thing missing from these chapters is a nice diagram that encapsulates the concept.

    Along the way the reader gets a coherent primer on the legal issues surrounding Cyber Warfare, the ethics that apply, what it takes to be a cyber warrior and a small glimpse over the horizon about what the future of Cyber Warfare might bring. In the end, Winterfield and Andress get high marks for encapsulating this complex material into an easy-to-understand manual; a foundational document that most military cyber warriors should have at their fingertips and a book that should reside on the shelf of anybody interested in the topic.

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    Great Read

    While you may or may not agree with the idea that there is an ongoing cyber war, this book provides interesting insights into the topic. One of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed was the military perspective that is highlighted on the various cyber warfare topics. This combined with the addition of the technical aspects provided a nice mix of rhetoric and techniques not found in many books on the subject today. This book gives a good overview of the cyber warfare landscape.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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