If you are looking for a clear and comprehensive guide to how communications have been intercepted, from cable-cutting in the First World War to bulk data collection exposed by Ed Snowden, this is it.
What good timing for this book. Gordon Corera’s book takes us through the labyrinth of cyber-espionage. It concerns a psychosis of control, whereby the digitization of spying infests every cranny of our lives.
A century-spanning history of cyberespionage and the tools that have made it possible. Touching on the NSA, encryption, Chinese censorship, and the emergence of sophisticated hackers, the book will pique readers interested in the geopolitical ramifications of surveillance and the complex relationship between security and privacy in our post-9/11, post-Snowden world.
An exhaustive account by the BBC's security correspondent.
There are many stories densely packed throughout Cyberspies. The book successfully zig zags through different countries, laws, and politics while maintaining its central theme.”
A sweeping history of spying, surveillance and subversion in the digital world. Exhaustively reported and thoroughly annotated.
BBC security correspondent Corera’s dense and comprehensive history of electronic and computer espionage includes many hitherto secret tales from the world of communication intelligence. Corera (The Art of Betrayal) examines the close cooperation between the British and American government intelligence agencies from the days of Bletchley Park during WWII, when the alliance began, to its current standing at the center of political debate on questions of national security and global enterprise. The narrative is focused on people and events, with perhaps too-scant descriptions of methods and hardware. Gordon discusses the role of computers and the Internet in the ever-changing balance between the conflicting needs of personal and corporate privacy and the fight against external enemies: first the Soviet Union, and now global terrorism. The world of hackers and their motives and methods, and the uses of hacking as an aid and a threat to cybersecurity, are examined in fascinating detail, illustrated with alarming anecdotes. The discussion of Stuxnet—the sophisticated attack on Iranian centrifuges—and its aftermath is compelling, as Corera’s chilling conclusion contextualizes it as the first of a continuing and increasingly sophisticated form of international, sometimes state-sponsored digital warfare. Agent: Georgina Capel, Georgina Capel Associates (U.K.). (July)
Corera (The Art of Betrayal), a security correspondent for BBC News, traces electronic espionage from World War II to the present, focusing on the UK and the United States, with Russia and China as their primary adversaries. He explores how England and America's differing policies on commercial enterprises, domestic surveillance, and transparency have influenced their tactics and capabilities through the Cold War to modern threats of terrorism. Espionage no longer focuses on code breaking but has become a matter of sifting through big data to find patterns in the traffic of code as important as the contents of its message. Sophisticated encryption became public, where it abets criminals and protects dissidents. An increasingly networked world means that cyberspies can wreak physical and financial havoc on critical infrastructure systems. Though Corera concentrates on the actions of governments, he covers not only classic espionage for military or diplomacy purposes but also corporate espionage, especially in jurisdictions with state-owned companies. A comparable analysis of recent history can be found in Adam Segal's The Hacked World Order. VERDICT Corera's illuminating summary of cyberespionage's development and potential effects on modern statecraft, war, commerce, and everyday liberties will appeal to all readers interested in those topics.—Wade M. Lee, Univ. of Toledo Lib.
The history of cyberespionage, combining "related stories like encryption and code-breaking [and] the rise of the computer industry and its complex relationship with the secret world."In 1944, the first programmable electronic computer began operation in Britain's Bletchley Park. Built to decipher German codes, it performed brilliantly. Computers remain essential to espionage and other dubious activities, writes BBC security correspondent Corera (The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6: Life and Death in the British Secret Service, 2013, etc.) in this engrossing history of the dark side of the information revolution. By the end of the Cold War, technical advances enabled hackers and spies to steal "data at rest" inside a computer rather than struggle to intercept "data in motion" traveling from one place to another. In response, and also to detect the activity of terrorists, security organizations such as the National Security Agency sweep up immense quantities of information, including that of their own citizens, and filter it for suspicious activity. No one designed operating systems for security. In the 1980s, when experts discovered how easily hackers could penetrate computers, they began designing patches, firewalls, and other defenses. However, "it was not possible to retrofit security," so no system is immune to intrusion, theft, and damage. Some attacks, such as the Stuxnet virus, which destroyed Iran's uranium centrifuges, resemble acts of war, and there is no doubt that in future wars, "alongside tanks, missiles, and guns there would be viruses, worms, logic bombs, trapdoors and Trojan horses." This book was originally published in England, so Americans will encounter unfamiliar acronyms and an emphasis on Britain's experience, but Corera casts his net widely and makes it clear that America is the leader in the battle, as well as the most vulnerable. A convincing argument that the most secure way to communicate is via snail mail.