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Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat

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This firsthand account of the fight to protect America from foreign hackers warns of the unprecedented danger that awaits us in the era of the internet of things, unless we can change our technology culture. With each passing year, the internet-linked attacks on America's interests have grown in both frequency and severity. We've seen North Korea's retaliatory hack of Sony This firsthand account of the fight to protect America from foreign hackers warns of the unprecedented danger that awaits us in the era of the internet of things, unless we can change our technology culture. With each passing year, the internet-linked attacks on America's interests have grown in both frequency and severity. We've seen North Korea's retaliatory hack of Sony Pictures, China's large-scale industrial espionage against American companies, Russia's 2016 propaganda campaign, and quite a lot more. The cyber war is upon us. As the former Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller, John Carlin has spent 15 years on the frontlines of America's ongoing cyber war with its enemies. In this dramatic book, he tells the story of his years-long secret battle to keep America safe, and warns us of the perils that await us as we embrace the latest digital novelties -- smart appliances, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars -- with little regard for how our enemies might compromise them. The potential targets for our enemies are multiplying: our electrical grid, our companies, our information sources, our satellites. As each sector of the economy goes digital, a new vulnerability is exposed. The Internet of Broken Things makes the urgent case that we need to start innovating more responsibly. As a fleet of web-connected cars and pacemakers rolls off the assembly lines, the potential for danger is overwhelming. We must see and correct these flaws before our enemies exploit them.


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This firsthand account of the fight to protect America from foreign hackers warns of the unprecedented danger that awaits us in the era of the internet of things, unless we can change our technology culture. With each passing year, the internet-linked attacks on America's interests have grown in both frequency and severity. We've seen North Korea's retaliatory hack of Sony This firsthand account of the fight to protect America from foreign hackers warns of the unprecedented danger that awaits us in the era of the internet of things, unless we can change our technology culture. With each passing year, the internet-linked attacks on America's interests have grown in both frequency and severity. We've seen North Korea's retaliatory hack of Sony Pictures, China's large-scale industrial espionage against American companies, Russia's 2016 propaganda campaign, and quite a lot more. The cyber war is upon us. As the former Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller, John Carlin has spent 15 years on the frontlines of America's ongoing cyber war with its enemies. In this dramatic book, he tells the story of his years-long secret battle to keep America safe, and warns us of the perils that await us as we embrace the latest digital novelties -- smart appliances, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars -- with little regard for how our enemies might compromise them. The potential targets for our enemies are multiplying: our electrical grid, our companies, our information sources, our satellites. As each sector of the economy goes digital, a new vulnerability is exposed. The Internet of Broken Things makes the urgent case that we need to start innovating more responsibly. As a fleet of web-connected cars and pacemakers rolls off the assembly lines, the potential for danger is overwhelming. We must see and correct these flaws before our enemies exploit them.

30 review for Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    If this was the only book I've read on cyber war or cybersecurity, I would probably give the book 2 or 3 stars. However, since this book primarily rehashed events better described in other books (e.g., Dark Territory, Countdown to Zero Day), I gave it one star. Additionally, he spent hours trying to establish his personal virtue. It was weird, I don't think I have seen an author ever devote so much space to his own integrity. For example, he wrote that he chose his career in government because h If this was the only book I've read on cyber war or cybersecurity, I would probably give the book 2 or 3 stars. However, since this book primarily rehashed events better described in other books (e.g., Dark Territory, Countdown to Zero Day), I gave it one star. Additionally, he spent hours trying to establish his personal virtue. It was weird, I don't think I have seen an author ever devote so much space to his own integrity. For example, he wrote that he chose his career in government because he read about George Washington. He chose the field of law because of the crime problems in NYC during his childhood. He repeatedly stated that the FBI and Justice Department employees are impartial arbiters of fairness. The ratio of self promotion to interesting material was tilted way to far in the wrong direction.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    John P. Carlin, for those not in the know, is the former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, who's high ranking access put him in the legalistic forefront of cyber-warfare. Dawn of the Code War unlike other outings in the budding digital true-crime and digital security (such as Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter, Worm: The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier, or Kill Chain: Drone John P. Carlin, for those not in the know, is the former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, who's high ranking access put him in the legalistic forefront of cyber-warfare. Dawn of the Code War unlike other outings in the budding digital true-crime and digital security (such as Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter, Worm: The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier, or Kill Chain: Drones and The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn a) provides a bird's eye view of the nation-state world of digital espionage, as opposed to a more nuts-and-bolts technical approach. There's a bit of dissonance that follows the book that arises, and not in a narrative sense. Carlin is clear, breaking down chapters by history and then by perpetrators: China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. This is where the book excels, using incident-by-incident reports, often backed by senior official quotes or news stories, with special attention dedicated to the Office of Personnel Management hack by China, the Solar World hack by China, and finally the Sony hack by North Korea. It's an impressive index of nation-state hacks by foreign adversaries and especially damning of China, using industrial espionage to commit wholesale intellectual property theft of dizzying array of American companies, be it the obvious targets in tech sector companies to even paint chemical formulas. Americans are quaintly aware that we're being screwed with by China but sadly unaware of how, and thus the angst arises in the immaturity we see today. Carlin sees China as an adversary but a rational actor, and he's very correct. The names dropped are names plucked from our current headlines, Robert Mueller and James Comey both make appearances. Mueller is portrayed as laser-focused, intelligent, forward-thinking, as well as imposing, and to be feared. The dissonance arises as Carlin's lack of technicality often makes exploits seem absurdly easy, such as incorrectly citing PLA Unit 61398, aka, The Comment Crew, used HTML comments to secretly hijack web browsers, which isn't technically how the attack vector worked and often Carlin skips any real vector other than the most base routes, explaining if the hack used a phishing scheme vs. a hacking tool. For most readers, I suspect that this isn't as important. It would slow it down the book if Carlin gave more technical explanations but it'd also help quell the smoke-and-mirrors image of hacking that most people have. Hacks aren't magic, which Carlin assures us but often makes it feel like they are. The worst is the mixed messaging that Carlin portrays, drawing ire for Edward Snowden, making cheap shots at him for hiding in Hong Kong and later Russia (failing to mention Obama's extreme stance towards leakers), and upset that the US was viewed as the bad guy in the wake of the Snowden leaks. I feel it necessary to recount what we learned from Snowden as we have wholesale hoarding of zero-day exploits, mass metadata aggregation of its own citizens via both Stellar Wind and EvilOlive, collection of data via backdoors on major tech firms, NSA hacking China's military, British and US taps on FiOS lines, mass surveillance of our allies (such as Germany ), NSA warrantless database breaching of US-based companies, cellphone hacking, cellphone stingrays (false cellphone towers for signal triangulation), weakening RSA's encryption by paying for a back door, inception of hardware such as routers and switches and flashed with hacked firmware, mass archiving of faces for facial recognition and so on. Portraying the US as an innocent bystander is absurd, and our current positions destabilize security. Unlike other forms of warfare, an unpatched hack is a missile that can be fired back. Hoarding zero-day exploits for our own use is like not patching a hole in the wall because you like the ventilation it provides because it is currently summer. There's also no guarantee that someone else isn't sitting on the same exploit either. Most of his positions are well-intentioned and well-informed, but I couldn't shake the fact Carlin wants to have his cake and eat it too. That said, Carlin's vantage comes from that of the FBI, and not the NSA and the FBI's approach to security is far more palatable. His answer to responding to nation-state hacks isn't cloak and daggers hacking responses but publically acknowledging hacks, and clearly pinning the blame at the aggressor, and retaliating in numerous ways, including sanctions. The level of transparency he advocates a breath of fresh air. The most enlightened moments come when he argues for NATO like approach to nation-state hacking. The cynical minded will probably have questions how this would affect the current zeal that the US, UK, Australia, and others have for hacking its allies. Also, interestingly, Carlin mostly skips Stuxnet and the US involvement, there's a tacit acknowledgment that it happened but sadly not much else. I guess we're still mum on owning the centrifuge hacks. Lastly, Carlin fails to criticize any parties who are obstructionist to national security squarely. He touches on the Russian interference in the US elections, and the position both Obama and Biden were placed in but gives the slightest criticism of Mitch Mcconnell for outright blocking and denying Russian hacking. It's bile-inducing to see the cynical, short-term, small-minded, morally bankrupt, sleazy, shitbaggery of the likes of Mcconnel who's attitude lingers somewhere between corrupt to treasonness. He also mentions in passing Trump's refusal to use a secure phone, instead opting to use Twitter from his out-of-date iPhone, another action that's worthy of a heap-load of scorn, placing our national security in jeopardy just because Donald is too lazy or too intellectually incapable of grasping the problem to take action. Either prospect shows someone unfit for the position. In the end, the book is informative and certainly an excellent addition to growing books about hacking. Kim Zetter's Countdown to Zero Day remains the high water mark, far scarier but Carlin isn't far behind. I applaud Carlin for taking the time to give a glancing peak from a high level governmental operator's perspective.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A really, really long time ago, before the Internet (children are gasping!) there was the WELL (the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) started by Stuart Brand and cohorts. You connected your PC with a modem to some server somewhere and could discuss things, for the first time, with people all across the country with different views. There was a discussion of child rearing which I participated in. A woman in California (of course) said she was not going to apply for a Social Security Number for her bab A really, really long time ago, before the Internet (children are gasping!) there was the WELL (the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) started by Stuart Brand and cohorts. You connected your PC with a modem to some server somewhere and could discuss things, for the first time, with people all across the country with different views. There was a discussion of child rearing which I participated in. A woman in California (of course) said she was not going to apply for a Social Security Number for her baby. “There’s no way in the world I’m going to let bureaucrats in Washington enslave my baby.” I responded that I actually worked for the Federal Government and I could assure her without reservation that there were exactly zero people at Social Security interested in enslaving her baby. She didn’t buy it, and her response was, predictably, “Of course you would say that.” I bring this up because one of the things I really liked about this book is the view into the thoughts and decisions of the very real people who were (and still are) on the front lines of fighting cyber crime and espionage. The book is dense and wonky, but worth the effort. A lot of the wonky has to do with organizing and focusing the bureaucracy and government leaders. But the problems of cyber crime were really unlike anything anybody had faced in the past. For example, how do you assign a value to something that can be stolen when the owner still has possession? That doesn’t happen in the physical world. In another way, this book was a walk down memory lane for me. As an IT professional at a government agency, we were the victims of attacks and had one view of the FBI’s reaction, but none of the behind-the-scenes information included in this book. We were in a constant battle between our responsibility to maintain some semblance of security and our users’ demands for increasingly open communications and remote access. And despite the level of computer expertise of our staff, they would still do stupid things like click on “sexy screensaver” and infect every computer with a virus. Another story: Just a really long time ago, there was an article in the Washington Post about how the Federal Government was finally going to protect their computers from hackers. I responded that as a security professional, I was obliged to state that what was reported was impossible. There was no way that any computer connected to the Internet was secure from garden-variety hackers, much less nation-state sponsored attacks. The reporter responded asking if I was willing to go on record with that statement. At the time I was still a Federal employee so there was no way I was going to contradict my bosses, particularly since what I had stated was surely obvious to any computer security professional. So, in some ways, I find this book refreshing and vindicating. Finally, someone in an important position is stating the obvious, although I think his last chapter is overly optimistic. Everybody should read this book. I know it’s not an easy read, but as the author states, this is a discussion we must have, and there are a lot of interesting dilemmas described. My favorite story in the book involves the leaks of Edward Snowden. The author can’t believe that amidst all the millions lost to cyber crime and billions lost to cyber espionage that the country was facing, public opinion could only focus on the idea that NSA might be spying on American citizens. Indeed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bob Sharpe

    Disappointing effort. Infused with values judgements. Would have been so much better had the author stuck to the facts and let the reader decide. It is clear that he was too closely associated with the cybercrime fighting efforts of the US government to see the issue clearly and that translates to less value for the reader. For example, there's nary a peep about the fact that the US government through various agencies engages in the exact same activities that he finds so distasteful when used ag Disappointing effort. Infused with values judgements. Would have been so much better had the author stuck to the facts and let the reader decide. It is clear that he was too closely associated with the cybercrime fighting efforts of the US government to see the issue clearly and that translates to less value for the reader. For example, there's nary a peep about the fact that the US government through various agencies engages in the exact same activities that he finds so distasteful when used against his team. The description of Edward Snowden is particularly telling. In whose world is it okay to break into your neighbor's house while at the same time not okay when your neighbor breaks into yours? Unfortunately, Carlin has no interest in any of that. He's a little too invested in the righteousness and nobility of his cause. It was all just a little too sanctimonious for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Overall, Dawn of the Code War is an honest, clear-eyed description of the issues of cybersecurity in our nation and world. With tech continually ruling our everyday lives, Carlin gives us some essential questions to think about. He references several times how amazing it is that so many fictional plots have now become reality. This book is great for true crime fans looking to educate themselves on the current state of our war in cyberspace, a war that has no boundaries. For the full review: https Overall, Dawn of the Code War is an honest, clear-eyed description of the issues of cybersecurity in our nation and world. With tech continually ruling our everyday lives, Carlin gives us some essential questions to think about. He references several times how amazing it is that so many fictional plots have now become reality. This book is great for true crime fans looking to educate themselves on the current state of our war in cyberspace, a war that has no boundaries. For the full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/10/05/da... For all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog

  6. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Carlin was the head of Justice Department’s National Security Division. He has written a very important book. He traced the development of law enforcement against cyber crimes. In the beginning there were no laws, so much so that the Justice Department did not know what to charge a young university hacker with. Then hackers from Iran, Syria, Russia, China and North Korea started to use phishing emails to plant malware that can do Distributed Denial of Service Attacks, spy on users’ keystrokes, s Carlin was the head of Justice Department’s National Security Division. He has written a very important book. He traced the development of law enforcement against cyber crimes. In the beginning there were no laws, so much so that the Justice Department did not know what to charge a young university hacker with. Then hackers from Iran, Syria, Russia, China and North Korea started to use phishing emails to plant malware that can do Distributed Denial of Service Attacks, spy on users’ keystrokes, steak information, take over the system, and wipe the computer drives clean. Each country has its own particularities: 1. Iranian hackers attacks banks and other companies. 2. Russian hackers steal money from financial institutions using DDoS attacks as a distraction, while emptying out money from user accounts and take money out through mules or more recently across untraceable international accounts. They sometimes work for the government to also do spying on the side, in return for government non-interference. More recently of course they used social media to influence American election in 2016. 3. North Korean hackers were elites of the top schools and hacked Sony accounts and threatened theatres with harm if they screen the satirical ‘The Interview’. And the theatres were cowed and succumbed to their threats. They had help from China. 4. China had army hacker units which had been hacking American commercial accounts to steal trade secrets for a long time. It was all a risk-benefit weighed move. There were simply no downside before. That was until the Justice Department gathered enough evidence to formally indict the criminals and made it public. Then Obama and the government applied pressure on Xi and the Chinese government and then it arrested some hackers and indeed the commercial hacking stopped. The book revealed that the FBI has the ability to trace criminals and profile them. Hackers are human beings and sometimes re-use the same username and passwords for work and leisure so that government agents know exactly who they are, what they like to eat and do in their leisure. For example, a Chinese government hacker will work in Beijing office hours... Carlin was dismayed that IT security used to be seen as a technical issue. He emphasised that it should be seen as a security issue. He worked with Robert Mueller closely when he was FBI director and admired the man. Agents have been killed in Iran and China after secret communication websites were found using Google, for example. He said all of us must resist phishing attempts, companies must insist on 2-factor authentication, and CEOs and government leaders must make cyber security a priority. America must keep innovation or else it is going to lose given that China has sent a moon probe to the dark side of the moon, and built its own location network with texts, and build its rail gun warships. A solid 5 star book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Overly long (I listened to the audio version and chapter 1 starts on the third disc) and repetitive, this book is an interesting overview of the history of cybercrime in the U.S. the epilogue is the most interesting and frightening portion, and could honestly be read as a stand-alone chapter.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sami Eerola

    Very informative and frightening book about the new age of asymmetrical cyber war fare and espionage. The book is very well written and explains fluently all the IT jargon, so the reader does not need to be well versed in computing and internet to understand this book. The only problem is the clear pro US and its intelligence establishment. FBI, CIA and NSA are framed as the good guys that newer did nothing wrong and only the enemy's of US are dishonest and immoral. If you can pass the clear prop Very informative and frightening book about the new age of asymmetrical cyber war fare and espionage. The book is very well written and explains fluently all the IT jargon, so the reader does not need to be well versed in computing and internet to understand this book. The only problem is the clear pro US and its intelligence establishment. FBI, CIA and NSA are framed as the good guys that newer did nothing wrong and only the enemy's of US are dishonest and immoral. If you can pass the clear propaganda and double standards, this book gives a great overview of how cyber warfare is already happening between US and its enemy's. Because even if US is a rouge state that does not care about international law, the hacking accounts made by China and Russia in this book are true. The author is impartial in US interior politics, so this is not a book written by a partisan Democrat, even if the author clearly shows that the current GOP does not care if their candidate won with the help of Russian disinformation campaign.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    An interesting view of the history of battling cyberthreats from a former government insider.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sean Lynn

    The wolves are at the door, and we're in a house made out of straw. This is the analogy former Assistant Attorney General for National Security and author John P. Carlin uses to describe the United States and its allies, in this new age of online crime and warfare. Carlin explains how the internet's original open and accessible design led to it's present insecurity. He recounts cases cyber crime and espionage from rudimentary attacks and scams in the 1980s and 90s, to the increasingly complex and The wolves are at the door, and we're in a house made out of straw. This is the analogy former Assistant Attorney General for National Security and author John P. Carlin uses to describe the United States and its allies, in this new age of online crime and warfare. Carlin explains how the internet's original open and accessible design led to it's present insecurity. He recounts cases cyber crime and espionage from rudimentary attacks and scams in the 1980s and 90s, to the increasingly complex and damaging threats we face today. The Code War is part history, part memoir, and part call to action. He wants us to be aware of the potential risks that adversarial nation and individual present, as well as to encourage us to tell our elected officials that we need to make cyber security a priority.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rick Presley

    If one were to ask a partisan hack to write a self-adulatory account of the cyber war our country is currently engaging, this would be the book. Carlin is unabashedly self-promoting and yet does so in such a way that one despairs of ever finding not just an honest man in Washington, but a competent one. His litany of successes can be inscribed on a postage stamp with plenty of room for footnotes and acknowledgements. This book does an interesting job of laying out the history of cyber warfare fro If one were to ask a partisan hack to write a self-adulatory account of the cyber war our country is currently engaging, this would be the book. Carlin is unabashedly self-promoting and yet does so in such a way that one despairs of ever finding not just an honest man in Washington, but a competent one. His litany of successes can be inscribed on a postage stamp with plenty of room for footnotes and acknowledgements. This book does an interesting job of laying out the history of cyber warfare from a government insider tasked with an impossible job - protecting nincompoops in the government from their own idiocy. The history of attacks is interesting and frightening largely because there appears to be no one tasked with overseeing our defense in this area. And those that are making an effort appear to be woefully inadequate at the job, if this book is to be believed. The best thing about this book is that it rips the band-aid off those who thought our government adequate to the task of securing America's financial and security interests. In part, I blame the hyper-partisanship of Washington and this book is clear and convincing evidence that the problem is going to continue and that we will go down in flames before anyone is willing to cross the aisle and present a united front. Here's just one example of this Mueller Fanboy's glaring bias. He talks about the Russian attempt to influence the 2016 election and closes with a stern warning that Trump refuses to use a government cell phone, preferring the convenience and (supposed) insecurity of using his own phone. This, right after the section describing in horrible detail the Government's Office of Personnel Management hack that had released even the author's two-year-old daughter's SSN along with the sensitive information of thousands of government employees including troops and fingerprints of undercover agents. Meanwhile, he makes no mention of Hillary Clinton's use of a private server and it being hacked by the Russians even though the chapter was ostensibly about Russian hacking of the elections. Partisan much? I give this book 3 stars, not for what it or the author says, but because if one knows what is really going on, this is a clear indication of how bad things are in DC. Trump's hard line with China appears to be warranted, yet that came up nowhere in this book. The securing of our borders seems like a smart move given the number of hackers who are entering our computer systems from American soil, but that wasn't even hinted at. I could go on with all the stuff NOT mentioned in this book, but the scariest part of the book is the stuff that IS mentioned. He trumpets some successes as if bailing a few gallons of water out of the ocean are proof that our efforts to stem the tide are succeeding. His documentation of Federal incompetence and inadequacy has convinced me that no one inside the beltline has a clue how to do a good job of securing the country. Seriously. Read this book. It's a chilling indictment of the Mueller and Comey years at the FBI and offers little hope that things will get better.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gurvan

    The first person narrative is a little bit disappointing for such a book. Having opinions is nice but coloring facts with them is another matter... Apart from that which pushes me to substract one star from the rating, the book is thoroughly enjoyable, Informative and interesting... Chilling also, but that is the price to pay for some freedoms...

  13. 4 out of 5

    SSQ

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Recent publication trends involving cyber subjects summarize the past two decades’ activity with shaded perspectives about motivation and intent. John Carlin in Dawn of the Code War, with Garrett Graff’s assistance, covers much-discussed activities from a Department of Justice (DOJ) perspective including Carlin’s multiyear role as chief of staff for FBI director Robert Mueller. These depictions offer some expanded views while failing to substantially improve upon similar works including Rise of Recent publication trends involving cyber subjects summarize the past two decades’ activity with shaded perspectives about motivation and intent. John Carlin in Dawn of the Code War, with Garrett Graff’s assistance, covers much-discussed activities from a Department of Justice (DOJ) perspective including Carlin’s multiyear role as chief of staff for FBI director Robert Mueller. These depictions offer some expanded views while failing to substantially improve upon similar works including Rise of the Machines by Thomas Rid, Cyberspies by Gordon Corera, or Dark Territory by Fred Kaplan. These other works formulate unique cyberspace perspectives while Code War focuses almost exclusively on DOJ dealings with other agencies during and after cyber events. For example, the Qassam Cyber Fighters section merely relates investigatory actions from the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, and National Security Agency rather than any efforts or collaboration originating from Carlin. This book is an excellent place to start for those new to the global cyber commons and cyberattacks against the United States, although those with greater familiarity can skip this work. As mentioned, Dawn of the Code War loosely follows John Carlin’s exposure as a Justice Department agent and leader for multiple cyber events, including espionage, attack, and influence operations. Each chapter—beginning with his initial 2004 exposure—describes one to two years of an experience between the United States and adversary cyber actors as well as any eventual mitigation. The work explores three primary mitigation policies advanced by the DOJ: demonstrating clearly where US cyberspace laws create boundaries, supporting the US private sector through its actions, and communicating to foreign adversaries that continued espionage and attacks are unacceptable. Every chapter attempts to advocate those tenets to some degree, forging a policy path as well as norm expectations for those unfamiliar with US cyber operations. Each instance reveals individuals Carlin knows and when he worked with them during their time with the Justice Department. Eight central stories advance as single chapters that begin with China recruiting human intelligence agents to conduct economic espionage through multiyear campaigns based on obtaining corporate positions and physically transferring documents to today’s current cyber practices. During his time with Robert Muller, Carlin may have shaped cases like those against GameOver Zeus’s criminal activities and China’s attacks on the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and even exerted some influence investigating Russia’s 2016 presidential election interference. Each chapter’s single primary case includes subordinate attacks and activities that build an overall picture for the selected time frame. The work addresses how President Bush’s cyber initiative could have formed the groundwork to advance cybersecurity before being abandoned by the Obama administration for a fresh cyber start. The Obama administration’s reliance on being more naturally tech-savvy than previous regimes probably delayed more stringent cyber approaches against cyber adversaries. Actions against the Iranian Qassam Cyber Fighters’ US bank campaign and Russian hacktivist actions in Ukraine took years to pursue and fully develop, and Carlin successfully highlights administrative difficulties in obtaining clear attribution or building any federal consensus about retaliatory actions when pursuing federal criminal cases. Particularly noteworthy are the expanded insights into foreign attacks against US private companies with Iran’s destructive Sands Casino attack and North Korea’s multiple Sony attacks during 2014. Each chapter has some additional coverage for recent attacks, with the best overall chapter tying the Target and TJ Maxx credit card attacks to Anthem’s data exfiltration before exploring the subsequent larger attacks against the federal government’s OPM. The OPM attack describes three separate Chinese-attributed cyberattacks that, in Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s opinion, impacted central cybersecurity tenets by undermining the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of federal data involved in verifying US federal employees' financial, personal, and security clearance files (361). The three OPM attacks, months apart, each targeted different network systems. OPM’s recovery process eventually discovered one piece of installed malware per device, and no attack was discovered until three weeks after the last. Carlin clearly shows that despite the US government’s own cybersecurity focus during the relevant time periods, federal agencies failed to meet their own standards for commercial industry. A 90-day cyber-defense improvement sprint in 2015 resulted in only 15 of 29 agencies meeting basic cyber security requirements (365). After 10 years of Carlin’s assistance directing policy and legally pursuing adversaries, evidence indicated that barely 50 percent of federal agencies complied with even the most basic preventative measures. There is some new material about US actions against foreign cyberattacks, but uncovering Carlin’s own role was difficult. His appearance seems perfunctory and based on personal connections rather than contributing activity. For example, the Russian-oriented “Slavik” chapter does not include a single action by Carlin. The standard for authors recounting personal actions in their government service—if not a full biography—should be compilations similar to Juan Zarate’s Treasury’s War (2013), describing the Department of Treasury’s counterterrorist financial actions. Carlin does possess considerable personal knowledge as a recently departed federal official, though the text fails to convey any sense of urgency or immediacy that he feels toward these struggles from his own experience. The overall conclusion makes a perfunctory mention of a “Code War,” the need for increased training, and carrying American values onto the Internet, all good ideas but lacking connection to earlier material. Carlin’s text offers some learning, but any emphasis on the Justice Department’s unique influences unfortunately are absent. Overall, Dawn of the Code War provides an adequate introduction to the last decade’s cyber activity, especially those in the Gray Zone of not-war, faced by the United States. Cyberspace novices will get a substantial grounding while more advanced readers may find some interesting nuances about previously studied attacks. Carlin and Graff manage to advance the field somewhat with compiling significant information under a single cover to create a worthwhile stop. The text jumps somewhat chronologically but not to such an extent as to make following the material difficult. Long for an individual account at 400-plus pages, the book reads quickly. I found the material mildly entertaining and beneficial overall. While this work is not my first suggestion to pursue for a cyber history, I recommend that new cyber students add it to their bookshelf and more experienced students consider Code War for their backlog. An improvement would be a future work from Carlin depicting his own experiences in greater detail. Dr. Mark T. Peters II, USAF, Retired

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ailith Twinning

    I want to say it takes a special kind of asshole to come off as the bad guy against these kind of opponents -- but it really doesn't, just a carelessly arrogant assumption of one's own righteous aims, and a willful ignorance to the consequences of that mindset. Rather, books like this feel like what those opponents would write if the tables were turned - but, that's how people are, they are the products of their environments, shaken by chance encounters with people and books and faiths and momen I want to say it takes a special kind of asshole to come off as the bad guy against these kind of opponents -- but it really doesn't, just a carelessly arrogant assumption of one's own righteous aims, and a willful ignorance to the consequences of that mindset. Rather, books like this feel like what those opponents would write if the tables were turned - but, that's how people are, they are the products of their environments, shaken by chance encounters with people and books and faiths and moments of suffering and joy. Out the other end can come everything from the calm mind, resigned to the manner of the world, and delighted by the beauty it holds, to the mind swallowed in hysterical agony, numbing the edge with drugs and anger and music and protest, or anything at all, really, the stuffy office brute, desperately clinging to his manhood against the assaults of a society that demands he prove his manhood, while simultaneously seeking to make him a slave, or the woman working at Wal~Mart in her 30s, playing video games, smoking pot on the weekends, and not really thinking much of anything, if she can help it, because the world is exhausting, and she can't fix it. I don't hate you, Carlin. But, I wish your good intentions had been applied to something that actually was good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven Rider

    While interesting at times, overall this was a bit of a drag. As a tech enthusiast, I thought I would like this, but it was more for "America is the Best!" peeps.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Doninaz

    This book’s title is revealing. The phrase “Code War” contains a reference to the “Cold War,” another non-shooting struggle. The word “Dawn” implies that this struggle is in its early stages. In fact, as I was finishing this book, a newspaper headline caught my eye: “Chinese and Iranian Hackers Renew their Attacks on U.S. Companies.” The article reinforced my central observation: as this book unfolded, it transitioned from a historical account to current events. Where the book ends, just pick up This book’s title is revealing. The phrase “Code War” contains a reference to the “Cold War,” another non-shooting struggle. The word “Dawn” implies that this struggle is in its early stages. In fact, as I was finishing this book, a newspaper headline caught my eye: “Chinese and Iranian Hackers Renew their Attacks on U.S. Companies.” The article reinforced my central observation: as this book unfolded, it transitioned from a historical account to current events. Where the book ends, just pick up the paper. Author Carlin’s government legal experience influences the book’s viewpoint. His accounting of the progression of cyberthreats is very good. From my career in computer security and system analysis, I found his portrayals accurate as I recalled them. Carlin traced the evolution of espionage investigations from Cold War spycraft through counterterrorism, to cyber counterintelligence. He began this book with a recollection of the foundations and origins of the hacker ethic. He depicted the morphing of this phenomenon from a pastime into a swarm of security threats. But, the intrigues of cyberintelligence paled against the complexities of big government. As a rule, the development of legal procedures lags advancements in technology. But in the cyber age, this gap needed to be quickly closed. Prosecutions were an especially challenging area. Knowing generally who was responsible is far from legally proving guilt. The smoking gun (or fingers on the keyboard) needed to be tied to a criminal. Who, where, and when needed to be established. Carlin struggled to coalesce the multiple organizations that had a piece of this puzzle, and to add the missing pieces. A barrier to cooperation was the relationship between government and the private sector. Companies were reticent to divulge attacks and vulnerabilities due to competitive pressures and fear of denigration. But, as companies learned that threats were shared and that government organizations could help, they became more cooperative. As I wearied from the procession of government organizations and acronyms, the book’s focus snapped back to the attacks. In 2014, in response to a film that derided their leader, North Korea’s hacking of Sony Pictures was a “wake up call” in which a nation state had attacked and damaged a private company inside the U.S. In a following action, North Korea threatened to harm U.S theater chains and movie attendees, thus impinging on artists’ and viewers’ constitutional rights. After 2014, the frequency of attacks seemed to accelerate. Attackers turned to private health insurers (Anthem) to steal sensitive personal information. They also attacked the database of the federal government’s personal department, the Office of Personal Management. Over 20 million personnel records were taken, including fingerprints which could be used to uniquely identify secret agents. But, resistance was taking hold. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) was formed to help intelligence organizations reach agreement on cyberthreat attribution. In 2015, sanctions were levied against the North Korean intelligence agency and its facilitating companies. The closing chapters described more cyber events that produced destructive results: the 2016 elections, efforts of the Syrian Electronic Army, and ISIS recruitment. The final chapter identified future challenges and prescribed steps to be taken. Carlin’s recommendations were thoughtful and reflective of his background. This book is packed with security events that will bring you nearly up-to-date. Recollections are not pretty, so grit your teeth and dig in. The sources are credible. The information is worth knowing. And, the story continues.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is a very in depth, in-your-face look at all facets of cybercrime, and how it evolved over the past three decades. What is especially chilling in this book is that Carlin shows that the Internet is not a place for security, but one of convenience. Once the Internet was open for business, banks, stores, and yes, government agencies came online. However, he tells war stories of fighting in the trenches against enemy states on a virtual battlefield where anything can happen anywhere, and at an This is a very in depth, in-your-face look at all facets of cybercrime, and how it evolved over the past three decades. What is especially chilling in this book is that Carlin shows that the Internet is not a place for security, but one of convenience. Once the Internet was open for business, banks, stores, and yes, government agencies came online. However, he tells war stories of fighting in the trenches against enemy states on a virtual battlefield where anything can happen anywhere, and at anytime. The convenience of being online has faded from being a fad and one of global chaos. He points out very clearly that with cyberspace, it is much harder getting a warrant and much harder to trace who the perp is. In real life, physical crime solvers use DNA, fingerprinting, forensics, and a multitude of other methods to uncover dark cold cases. With cybercrimes, they are fast and can spread rapidly without warning. Carlin points out that if the US wants to be strong in intelligence and security, it has to invest in getting more professional watchdogs and sleuths that can think out the mindset of the cyber criminals. There are too many in many sectors and businesses of the US--business, law, entertainment that do not fully understand the breadth of harm that a simple DDos attack or worm can do to a company. His analogy of businesses leaving stuff unprotected online is spot on: "They leave the inner vault unlocked, and lock the front door". He makes a solid case for multi-level encryption. While this book is a bit long-winded, it is a story well told. What Carlin is saying is that people have to be even more careful what they do online than what they do offline. One keystroke can wipe out a whole network, if the right security is not in place. many other countries have trained cyber soldiers on the front lines, ready to attack at any moment. Many people still believe the falsehood that one can do anything online anonymously. That fallacy died more than twenty years ago. When databases are breached by a simple code, NOTHING is safe, Carlin warns.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pj

    Received this book incorrectly from Amazon, but I decided to read it! Not normally a book I would choose, but it was EYE OPENING! Virus, malware, bots, worms, OH MY! I feel I'm a pretty tech savvy user...take advantage of all the securities, have difficult passwords, use two-step authenticity....but this about the battle on a greater level, although those things are important! John Carlin (former Assistant Attorney General for National Security) explained the history from the '80s when the comput Received this book incorrectly from Amazon, but I decided to read it! Not normally a book I would choose, but it was EYE OPENING! Virus, malware, bots, worms, OH MY! I feel I'm a pretty tech savvy user...take advantage of all the securities, have difficult passwords, use two-step authenticity....but this about the battle on a greater level, although those things are important! John Carlin (former Assistant Attorney General for National Security) explained the history from the '80s when the computers were coming out to the '90s when computers were beginning to be used by everyday people and how the main player hackers began their quest to disrupt and how the government approached the issue (or not). The book progressed through the years with more serious hacks and ultimately how the hackers disrupted last election in the U.S....what's next? 2020? Countries aren't fighting with guns, they are fighting with hacking espionage. Things are getting blurred. Stealing secrets for economic gains....gains to the point of excelling past the United States. Some of the governmental hacks will surprise you. For one example, Iranian government took over the computer system that controls a water dam in a small town in New York. The only reason it didn't work was the actual mechanism to open it was taken off system for maintenance! Our government, as a culture, is reactive instead of proactive. Dinosaur systems compared to the private sector's quickly pressing on for advanced protections. How far we go to 'control' without losing freedoms....especially with those that we are in Code War with namely Iran, Russia, China which are certainly not about freedoms for their people? So, are we losing ground? Are indictments and sanctions enough? Just a lovely book to read through the pandemic! -insert sarcastic tone- One star less ONLY because at times the book felt like a copy and paste...with numerous notes. Not sure how it could have been written differently as proof in the bibs made it creditable, so that is only about my reading comfort. Otherwise, I'm glad I read it and may venture on to to others with the same topic!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    Former CHIP program coordinator, assistant AG for national security, and FBI chief of staff John Carlin has written, with this book, an erudite historical document, a data-driven piece of analysis, and a cogent policy-piece on where our country's role will and should be in the ongoing, "Code War." Beginning with the infancy of the internet and world wide web, Carlin deftly summarizes the emergence of hackers and our justice system's snail-paced response at dealing with what would later be termed Former CHIP program coordinator, assistant AG for national security, and FBI chief of staff John Carlin has written, with this book, an erudite historical document, a data-driven piece of analysis, and a cogent policy-piece on where our country's role will and should be in the ongoing, "Code War." Beginning with the infancy of the internet and world wide web, Carlin deftly summarizes the emergence of hackers and our justice system's snail-paced response at dealing with what would later be termed their illegal activity. The transformation of some of this crowd into hacktivists (hackers with a certain political or sociocultural agenda) is an interesting one and something that persists to this day. It is in the section on the emergence of state sponsored digital theft and hacking that we are faced with the sheer ineptitude of our government's ability to adapt and respond. While currently, the notion of a nation-state engaging in cyber-theft and espionage is a household idea, especially when thinking of Russia, China, and North Korea, the ridiculous glacial pace at which this was realized by our government agencies is worrying. Though there is some consolation offered by the redistribution or resources to allow for this investigation at the FBI and elsewhere, it boggles the mind to think that the best minds in our government couldn't see this coming and actually anticipate, as opposed to always responding and investigating after the fact. Carlin's epilogue is masterful, and a more coherent and forceful exposition on the way forward for the US as a people and for the US governmental agencies involved, you are unlikely to find. This is fascinating stuff about a genuine war in which we are partaking as a nation - broadly, and individually. Not only is it in our own personal best interests to ensure our online information remains safe from the individual and small collective groups determined to steal but also that our country is aware of, anticipating, counter-acting, and documenting the outright theft of intellectual property being perpetrated as we speak.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul Jerimy

    This novel was a rough read but has some unique insights that make it worth finishing. I personally learned a bit about attacks conducted by the Chinese and Iranian nation states. I had heard of many, but some of the less public ones were interesting to hear about. Unfortunately there is very little in this novel about the technical mechanisms for those attacks. The descriptions are very focused on the politics and history of the events rather than the how. The foreword and introduction were poin This novel was a rough read but has some unique insights that make it worth finishing. I personally learned a bit about attacks conducted by the Chinese and Iranian nation states. I had heard of many, but some of the less public ones were interesting to hear about. Unfortunately there is very little in this novel about the technical mechanisms for those attacks. The descriptions are very focused on the politics and history of the events rather than the how. The foreword and introduction were pointless, rambling, and exceedingly long. I recommend skipping those and starting with chapter 1. Things start to feel a coherent and unique in chapter 2 where Carlin discusses events from the perspective of upper management in fledgling U.S. cyber programs. This perspective is refreshing as its not from the very detached top official and gives some insight into the formation of many U.S. organizations that have matured since his involvement. Starting in the middle of chapter 4, Carlin's bias towards the United States and the integrity of his organizations becomes clear and blatant and at odds with reality in some points. For instance, his argument for why Snowden was bad hinged on sunken costs and the fact that what he did was technically illegal. He was unapologetic about his role in spying on U.S. citizens and keeping the country's cyber program hidden from the public. He posits that it was all legal and necessary because FISSA courts said its all fine. The difficulty in reading this novel was mostly caused by the author doing little to put context around his random anecdotes making it hard to keep track of what he's talking about. There's rarely any dates attributed to events so you can keep track chronologically, nor is there enough information on physical locations to know where in the world or country they're taking place. To make it worse, he will switch topics seemingly at random without ever getting to how the new topic is related to the last or even the chapter at large.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David W. W.

    There's a wealth of material that's both important and alarming in "Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat" by John P. Carlin. Carlin's book covers some of the same material as "Cyber Wars" by Charles Arthur, but with a first person perspective from inside the US legal and political system. "Dawn of the Code War" highlights the serious and fast-evolving extent of the threats posed by cyberhackers around the world - including from vast teams There's a wealth of material that's both important and alarming in "Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat" by John P. Carlin. Carlin's book covers some of the same material as "Cyber Wars" by Charles Arthur, but with a first person perspective from inside the US legal and political system. "Dawn of the Code War" highlights the serious and fast-evolving extent of the threats posed by cyberhackers around the world - including from vast teams operating with state support inside China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. I was personally struck by the calibre, persistence, and accomplishments of one person who features in many of the stories covered in "Dawn of the Code War", namely Robert Mueller, in his role of FBI Director during the time period covered. Mueller evidently knows how to patiently build a winning case! Of particular interest, "Dawn of the Code War" covers not just the technical mechanics of various attacks, but also how various different legal bodies had to rethink how to coordinate their responses. Changing threats require changing alliances and changing operational processes. Whilst I strongly recommend people to read this book, I rate it as slightly less than 5 stars, because there's too much material in places. It's all interesting, but some of it is less interesting to general readers. On the other hand, the reality is that responses to the rising global cyber threat require a lot of patience alongside topnotch technical and legal instruments. There is no "magic bullet" which can be used to slay these threats.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Although I'd read many books on Cyber, this is the first from the FBI perspective. It's a bit long-winded and convoluted, but it contains quite a few interesting insights such as: 1) The many years the FBI spent overcoming the reluctance to attribute and prosecute commercial cyber espionage by the Chinese government. This involved a lot of fear from both private companies and within government on how China would respond, and required new legislation and other tools to be developed in order to exe Although I'd read many books on Cyber, this is the first from the FBI perspective. It's a bit long-winded and convoluted, but it contains quite a few interesting insights such as: 1) The many years the FBI spent overcoming the reluctance to attribute and prosecute commercial cyber espionage by the Chinese government. This involved a lot of fear from both private companies and within government on how China would respond, and required new legislation and other tools to be developed in order to execute. Although there is no mention of Huawei, it provides a good context for the actions we see playing out today. 2) How databases of personal information like US insurer Anthem and the Office of Personnel Management turned out to be critical, because of the way the detailed information could be used for espionage purposes. It suggests why anyone would want to hack a healthcare system like SingHealth. 3) Carlin points to the hack of Sony as the first weaponisation of stolen information, and decries the media for lapping up all the salacious details of the leaked personal emails and helping to fan the crisis; helping instead of condemning the hackers. He opines that this innovated the tactic that the Russians would later build on in their influencing of the US elections, and undermine democracy. It also covers cyber actions by ISIS, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara Taba

    Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security and author of Dawn of the Code War has written a very detailed book about the current state of cybersecurity by tracing the development of law enforcement against cyber crimes. He explains the issues by referencing back to the earlier attacks since 1980’s such as the famous national-scale computer crime committed by Robert T. Morris, the son of NSA scientist. He also speaks greatly about terrorism side of cyber and its historic evolution of Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security and author of Dawn of the Code War has written a very detailed book about the current state of cybersecurity by tracing the development of law enforcement against cyber crimes. He explains the issues by referencing back to the earlier attacks since 1980’s such as the famous national-scale computer crime committed by Robert T. Morris, the son of NSA scientist. He also speaks greatly about terrorism side of cyber and its historic evolution of this effort in the National Security Division and the government. Foreign adversaries such as Iran, China, Russia and North Korea are highlighted as potential threats across the intelligence community. An entire chapter is dedicated to cyber crime activities committed by the Iranian government who have politically have had a turbulent relationship with the U.S since the Iranian revolution in 1979. This 403 page book is an easy for all age groups who want to understand the severity of current cybersecurity and the U.S's involvement along with other allied governments who are gradually working to make improved laws to protect its citizens for adverse circumstances.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dug

    A fantastic overview of state-sponsored digital espionage/warfare and the attempts by the U.S. gov't to counter and constrain it. It was surprising to me that nearly all of them began with simple spear phishing attacks. The book also does a respectable job explaining technical concepts to a general audience. There's a bit of whataboutism at points, for instance in expressing frustration with reactions to Edward Snowden's revelations by comparing the content of the disclosures to the tactics of Ru A fantastic overview of state-sponsored digital espionage/warfare and the attempts by the U.S. gov't to counter and constrain it. It was surprising to me that nearly all of them began with simple spear phishing attacks. The book also does a respectable job explaining technical concepts to a general audience. There's a bit of whataboutism at points, for instance in expressing frustration with reactions to Edward Snowden's revelations by comparing the content of the disclosures to the tactics of Russia, China et al. This tone-deafness is found elsewhere, such as in the author being "chilled" at eavesdropping on a Quds Force leader authorizing and pushing for a targeted bombing within the U.S., given the US gov't record of civilian casualties in carrying out drone strikes on foreign soil. I was impressed by the dominant nonpartisan tone of the book, as well as the sense of patriotism with a near-absence of nationalism (a rare commodity these days). It makes me hope that there are more of the author's kind working quietly behind the scenes.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Good, but... WAY longer than it needed to be. The hundreds of pages where he recounts the history of every major worm, virus, and incident in history in detail is pretty unnecessary. The parts where the author recounts his own first-hand experiences and the part of the DOJ elements where he worked is very interesting. The author's biases are pretty clear, so don't come to this for a balanced view of things. This is an insider's view of what has happened and its implications; this is not the type Good, but... WAY longer than it needed to be. The hundreds of pages where he recounts the history of every major worm, virus, and incident in history in detail is pretty unnecessary. The parts where the author recounts his own first-hand experiences and the part of the DOJ elements where he worked is very interesting. The author's biases are pretty clear, so don't come to this for a balanced view of things. This is an insider's view of what has happened and its implications; this is not the type of account where you expect balance and objectivity. One distracting thing was that it you can clearly feel the segments in which the book was written, and the editor(s) didn't do much to smooth things out into a single work. Also, there are quite a few outright mis-statements and errors (e.g., he discusses the Nidal Hasan shootings at Fort Hood, then later refers to it as the "Fort Hood bombing attack.") Most distracting is the way that the book tells the same background story multiple times, like listening to your chatty co-worker tell the same stories over and over again.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brook

    Better than spy thrillers I've read, but actual real-time events. This book's explainations covering events in the time frame spanning pre-Bush to Trump presidencies helped me comprehend the sheer mess our current news system is with an 'Oh! NOW I know what wasn't being said, and why it mattered'... but never a moment of boredom. We listened to this gem of a book during a grueling 20 hour drive, and it kept us 'at the edge of our seats' and awake the entire time. Now that we are home, we will be Better than spy thrillers I've read, but actual real-time events. This book's explainations covering events in the time frame spanning pre-Bush to Trump presidencies helped me comprehend the sheer mess our current news system is with an 'Oh! NOW I know what wasn't being said, and why it mattered'... but never a moment of boredom. We listened to this gem of a book during a grueling 20 hour drive, and it kept us 'at the edge of our seats' and awake the entire time. Now that we are home, we will be re-evaluating our own passwords, computers and other pertinent to this book issues. Can't believe that our tiny little life choices might influence national security. I was sheerly fascinated by this read. While I think this is a 'five -star book'... I save that rating for books that alter significantly how I live and this book is more a 'real-time' chronicle of the unsung heroes behind computers and the newest face of inter-country struggles. Just wow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    3.5 Stars. This is the first of a handful of network security related books on my TBR list. After reading a few reviews of this book, I decided to read it first because a few reviewers mentioned that a lot of it was repeat information from books they had already read that focused more on specific incidents. So I decided to use this book as a quick overview of the big picture of cyber warfare. It was well written with only a few instances of repetitiveness that I noticed. However, the intro sectio 3.5 Stars. This is the first of a handful of network security related books on my TBR list. After reading a few reviews of this book, I decided to read it first because a few reviewers mentioned that a lot of it was repeat information from books they had already read that focused more on specific incidents. So I decided to use this book as a quick overview of the big picture of cyber warfare. It was well written with only a few instances of repetitiveness that I noticed. However, the intro sections of this book were total overkill for anyone with a basic understanding of the history of cyber warfare. I would advise anyone with that basic understanding to skip ahead to Chapter 1 (on page 65 for the HC version) and start there. If I had read this after books with more focused analysis of certain instances, I can see how this would feel like a rehash, but for me it was pretty informative without ever feeling boring (once I got to Chapter 1).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    As stated in the forward, former US Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin sets out in this book to "tell the story of the beginning of America's "Code War," how criminals, terrorists, and spies made themselves at home on a global network that was never designed with safety and security in mind--and how the US government, prosecutors, the FBI, and our international allies have spent a quarter century playing catch-up." This he does, in great detail, over the next 400 pages. As stated in the forward, former US Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin sets out in this book to "tell the story of the beginning of America's "Code War," how criminals, terrorists, and spies made themselves at home on a global network that was never designed with safety and security in mind--and how the US government, prosecutors, the FBI, and our international allies have spent a quarter century playing catch-up." This he does, in great detail, over the next 400 pages. "Dawn of the Code War" is a thorough and accessible book on the US's investigative and legislative response to cyber attacks. Since Carlin left his government position in 2016 and many events in this sphere are ongoing and develop rapidly, the attacks described sort of necessarily end around that year. An informative and interesting book, it does not do much to instill confidence in US cybersecurity efforts (despite the undeniable hard work of Carlin and his colleagues).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin Oujo

    3.5ish stars. This book couldn’t quite decide if it was a book about cyber crime or a memoir. This had an overall disjointed effect, and some of the sections rambled quite a bit, and parts were rather repetitive. That said, it is very packed with information on the major cyber crime issues of the last few decades. It is written from the perspective of someone who spent their entire career in the FBI, so it really is very focused on the law enforcement specific aspects of cyber crime, including t 3.5ish stars. This book couldn’t quite decide if it was a book about cyber crime or a memoir. This had an overall disjointed effect, and some of the sections rambled quite a bit, and parts were rather repetitive. That said, it is very packed with information on the major cyber crime issues of the last few decades. It is written from the perspective of someone who spent their entire career in the FBI, so it really is very focused on the law enforcement specific aspects of cyber crime, including the difficulty of prosecution and the tension between law enforcement and intelligence. I did learn a lot from hearing about the individual cases. I particularly appreciated how the book dove into very great detail about China’s cyber theft of U.S. intellectual property. While I’m generally familiar with this issue, this books went into great detail on this subject.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steven R.

    This was a terrific recap of the history of hacking from its curious beginnings to the modern-day privateering and the yet-to-be-declared cyberwar. Hearing the behind-the-scenes stories, the maturation of the FBI, and the skills presented by the United States in uncovering the origins of attacks and prosecuting those attacks was outstanding. I couldn’t help to notice some underlying political motivation though, which was disappointing. I did appreciate the factual statements about administrations This was a terrific recap of the history of hacking from its curious beginnings to the modern-day privateering and the yet-to-be-declared cyberwar. Hearing the behind-the-scenes stories, the maturation of the FBI, and the skills presented by the United States in uncovering the origins of attacks and prosecuting those attacks was outstanding. I couldn’t help to notice some underlying political motivation though, which was disappointing. I did appreciate the factual statements about administrations, leaders, and their approach to this dilemma, but I do wish it hadn’t come across so jaded to me. Admittedly, that might have been my interpretation more than the reality. Overall, this is a great book that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the cyberwar and how we got here.

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