The Humble Bundle recently launched a Cyber Warfare book bundle. The bundle contained 24 books but Cyber Warfare – Truth, Tactics, and Strategies by Dr. Chase Cunningham intrigued me so I decided to pick this book as my next read. It was published in February 2020 by Packt Publishing. This is not the only book on this subject. Other books on my reading list include Inside Cyber Warfare by Jeffrey Carr (O’Reilly), The Art of Cyberwarfare by Jon DiMaggio (No Starch Press) and Cyberjutsu by Ben McCarty (No Starch Press).
The book is divided into ten chapters and the author has re-enforced two messages multiple times throughout the book. First, perimeter security is dead and second, kill the password. While I don’t agree with the author’s view of these two security controls but I get the philosophy behind his thinking. The traditional way of looking at cybersecurity will no longer work. Organizations need to take a holistic view of their infrastructure and implement overlapping security controls for it’s protection (aka defense in depth).
The book can be divided in to four sections:
- Evolution of cyber warfare – This section encompasses first two chapters of the book. In these chapters, the author covers a brief history of cyber warfare and why traditional controls like perimeter security and passwords fail.
- Emerging attack vectors for modern cyber warfare – This section encompasses chapters three to six. I found this section to be the most interesting and informative part of the book. Here the author discusses how technologies like drones, deep fakes, artificial intelligence, machine learning, social media, mobile ransomware etc. are emerging as new attack vectors of the modern warcraft.
- Cyber warfare defense – This section encompasses chapters seven to nine. It primarily covers strategies, tools and controls to defend against cyber attacks. Here the author has also drawn a parallel between a physical war and a cyber war by using Iraq-USA war as an example. Tools mentioned by the author include Infection Monkey and SNAP_R. Controls include micro-segmentation, software-defined networks, software-defined data centers, application whitelisting and multi-factor authentication. In this section, the author also advocates user surveillance as means of intelligence collection (another view I don’t agree with).
- Survivability and Impacts – This section encompasses chapter ten. In this section, the author states five laws to survive a cyber attack. These laws are distilled version of the content of previous chapters. At the end, the author has covered impacts (some actual, some potential) of a full-blown cyber war between nations.
- I liked the section on emerging attack vectors for modern cyber warfare. It was thought-provoking.
- I got to learn about new tools such as Infection Monkey and technologies such as heartbeat-based authentication.
- It presents a multi-dimensional view of cyber warfare (technical attacks, influence attacks, misinformation attacks, deep fakes based attacks etc.).
- It is good for senior executives, leaders and cyber security professionals in general.
Not so salient Features
- Perimeter security is dead, kill the password and users are stupid is the resounding theme across the book.
- It takes an idealistic view of implementing security controls.
- Author’s arguments involving technical controls needs more research.
- Except for chapters three to six, I won’t recommend it to readers who are technically well-versed in cybersecurity.
My rating 3.0 / 5.0
Other book reviews
- Practical Threat Intelligence and Data-driven threat hunting by Valentina Costa-Gazcón
- Hacking APIs by Corey Ball
- Pentesting Azure Applications by Matt Burrough
- Penetration Testing Azure for Ethical Hackers by David Okeyode, Karl Fosaaen
- Red Team Development and Operations by Joe Vest and James Tubberville
- Container Security by Liz Rice
- Web Application Security by Andrew Hoffman
Uday Mittal is a cybersecurity professional with rich working experience working with various industries including telecom, publishing, consulting and finance. He holds internationally recognized certifications such as CRTP, OSCE, OSCP, CISSP, CISA, CISM, CRISC among others. He speaks on cybersecurity awareness, offensive security research etc. and has authored various articles on topics related to cyber security and software development for a leading magazine on open source software.