Cybersecurity Book Review: Cyber Spies
Cybersecurity History from a British Perspective
I recently listened to Cyber Spies, by Gordon Corera as an audiobook.
Did you know that prior to the prevalence of NSA spying, the British were intercepting much of the world’s communications? How about the fact that a French spy first alerted the US that Russia stole plans for an American military plane?
Do you know the story of the secret recipe for a prized Chinese tea that was stolen by India in an early form of corporate espionage? Perhaps this event kicked off rounds of retaliation that spread into cyberspace. The book doesn’t say this but it made me wonder. Are you aware of how the Chinese government uses their citizens around the world to gather information (though these citizens likely do not consider themselves spies)?
Learn how the United States became one of the primary countries performing espionage in the world and executed the likely the first cyber-weapon. For a great read on that topic check out Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter. Hear a summary of the story of The Cuckoo’s Egg by Cliff Stoll and how it fits into the larger cybersecurity picture as governments started to understand the impact of spying and espionage.
I write bout the trade-offs in decision-making around cyber-spying and encryption in my book explaining cybersecurity fundamentals in this time of all things cloud. I mention the fact that the US government was involved with a Swiss vendor selling products later used to intercept communications. I also got a quote from a former US Air Force lieutenant general who feels that US cyber spying saved American lives.
Understanding the history of cybersecurity helps underscore why it is so important, beyond protecting financial information. That is also one of the points in the first chapter of my book, where I try to explain cybersecurity at an executive level so anyone can understand the basics. These basics are distilled from years of experience and thousands of dollars in cybersecurity training into the simplest terms I could muster, backed with stories and 40 pages of references for those who want to dive deeper.
Cyber Spies walks the reader through many historical events to gain perspective of where it all started to where we are now today. The book covers many aspects of international spying, the players, the Huawei debate, and the Russian cyberattacks like the recent SolarWinds hack. For an in-depth look at Russian hacking, check out the other book I reviewed, Sandworm. Another interesting read on the topic of Russian spam, one of the issues that got me into cybersecurity, is Spam Nation by Brian Krebs.
Cyber Spies informs the reader about the different cyber espionage tactics used around the world and for what purpose. Along with blatant spying, the author delves into murky topics related to privacy and data collection. Learn the history and decision-making surrounding governments are collecting data purportedly for law enforcement and how vendors are undertaking mass collection of data for marketing purposes.
If you are a cybersecurity junkie like me you’ll enjoy reading Cyber Spies to get a British perspective of cybersecurity history and issues. The author, Gordon Corera, is the BBC’s security correspondent and specializes in computer technology.
Cyberspies: The Secret History of Surveillance, Hacking, and Digital Espionage
Amazon.com: Cyberspies: The Secret History of Surveillance, Hacking, and Digital Espionage (Audible Audio Edition)…
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