REVIEW: “Surviving Cyberwar”, Richard Stiennon

BKSRCYWR.RVW   20110325

“Surviving Cyberwar”, Richard Stiennon, 2010, 978-1-60590-688-1
%A   Richard Stiennon
%C   4501 Forbes Blvd, #200, Lanham, MD   20706
%D   2010
%G   978-1-60590-688-1 1-60590-674-3
%I   Government Institutes/Scarecrow Press/Rowman & Littlefield Publ.
%O   800-462-6420
%O   Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P   180 p.
%T   “Surviving Cyberwar”

The introduction is the customarily (for books on currently “hot” topics) vague warning that there is danger out there.

Chapter one, according to the title, is supposed to talk about the “Titan Rain” attacks.  In reality it concentrates on Shawn Carpenter and his personal problems, and says very little either about details of the technology, or ideas for defence.  China, and various activities in espionage (and diplomatic disagreements with the US), is the topic of chapter two.  (One story is not about China.)  Although entitled “Countering Cyber Espionage,” chapter three is just about security tools and malware.  Chapter four lists random aspects of, and attacks on, email.  The Pentagon is dealt with, in similarly haphazard fashion, in chapter five.

A few wars, or tense “situations,” are mentioned in chapter six, along with some possibly related computer involvement.  Chapter seven titularly promises DDoS defence, but mostly just talks about distributed denial of service attacks, along with a mention of the error of using BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) as a routing protocol.  Aspects of social networking, mostly in support of activism, are noted in chapter eight.  Chapter nine is a not-very-useful account of the Estonian cyber-attack of 2007, ten briefly mentions some others in eastern Europe, and eleven mentions the Georgian attack.  There is a rambling dissertation on war and various computer security problems in chapter twelve.  Chapter thirteen appears to be an attempt to provide some structure to the concept of cyberwar, but establishes very little of any significance.  Preparations, by some nations, for cyberwarfare are mentioned in chapter fourteen.  Most of the detail is for the US, and there isn’t much even for them.  A final chapter says that the existence of cyberwarfare could cause troubles for lots of people.

The content and writing is rambling and disorganized.  This reads more like a collection of fifteen lengthy, but not terribly well researched, magazine articles than an actual book.  There are many more informative resources, such as Dorothy Dennings’ “Information Warfare and Security” (cf. BKINWRSC.RVW) (which, despite predating this work by a dozen years, still manages to present more useful information).  Stiennon does not add anything substantial to the literature on this topic.

copyright, Robert M. Slade   2011     BKSRCYWR.RVW   20110325