Sunday, February 21, 2021

“This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race” by Nicole Perlroth, preview

 

Army 

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race” is almost too encyclopedic to be the warning it should be.  Author Nicole Perlroth has worked for years as a security reporter for the New York Times.  This 491—page opus looks like the career output. The publisher is Bloomsbury, with hardcover ISBN 078-1-63557-605-4.  There is an Author’s Note, Prologue, seven parts, 23 chapters, an Epilogue, Acknowledgements, Endnotes, and Index.  The Prologue adds 27 Roman-numbered pages.  A Prologue or Introduction is part of the book and should be numbered as such.  The Prologue chronicles Ukraine’s power outages at the hands of the Russians, where the Russians were showing off what they could do.

The New York Times has a short review by Jonathan Tepperman Feb. 9, 2021, “The most serious security risks facing the United States”, link.

The basic premise is that the United States drew first blood by using cyber as a weapon itself, most notably with the Stuxnet worm against Iran, to interfere with its getting nuclear weapons. 

The biggest controversies are zero-day vulnerabilities – those that hackers can exploit with immediate effect on existing systems, and a strategy called Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP), a system of weapons for the government to keep in its arsenal. 

In the meantime, we have seen all kinds of counter attacks, of Sony Pictures by North Korea over a movie at the end of 2014, leading to the ongoing hack of the Solar Winds contractor firm.  Recently, there was a hack in Florida at the time of the Super Bowl trying to poison a water supply.

The warnings in Ted Koppel’s “Lights Out” (Nov 10, 2015) seem grim indeed.

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