‘Cyber war is coming,’ announced a land- mark RAND report in 1993. In 2005, the U.S. Air Force boasted it would now fly, fight, and win in cyberspace, the ‘fifth domain’ of war- fare. This book takes stock, twenty years on: is cyber war really coming? Has war indeed entered the fifth domain? Cyber War Will Not Take Place cuts through the hype and takes a fresh look at cyber security. Thomas Rid argues that the focus on war and winning distracts from the real challenge of cyberspace: non-violent confrontation that may rival or even replace violence in surprising ways. The threat consists of three different vectors: espionage, sabotage, and subversion. The author traces the most significant hacks and attacks, exploring the full spectrum of case studies from the shadowy world of computer espionage and weaponised code. With a mix of technical detail and rigorous political analysis, the book explores some key ques- tions: What are cyber weapons? How have they changed the meaning of violence? How likely and how dangerous is crowd-sourced subversive activity? Why has there never been a lethal cyber attack against a country’s critical infrastructure? How serious is the threat of ‘pure’ cyber espionage, of exfiltrating data without infiltrating humans first? And who is most vulnerable: which countries, industries, individuals?
Thank heavens, a proper, qualified academic to give voice to what dozens of us have been saying for years :-).