A chilling and revelatory appraisal of the new faces of espionage and warfare on the digital battleground
Shortly after 9/11, Joel Brenner entered the inner sanctum of American espionage, first as the inspector general of the National Security Agency, then as the head of counterintelligence for the director of National Intelligence. He saw at close range the battleground on which adversaries are attacking us: cyberspace.
Like the rest of us, governments and corporations inhabit “glass houses,” all but transparent to a new generation of spies who operate remotely from such places as China, the Middle East, Russia, and even France. In this urgent wake-up call, Brenner draws on his extraordinary background to show what we can—and cannot—do to prevent cyber spies and hackers from compromising our security and stealing our latest technology.
Brenner, a former inspector general for the National Security Agency, raises the alarm about inadequately addressed threats and vulnerabilities to computer and communications systems. He offers a comprehensive seven-point program to deal with what he calls "a new kind of espionage," which would require cooperation from all sectors of government and a change in attitude from the private sector. In his assessment, the problem is the convergence of threats targeting the government as much as the private sector, and civilians as much as military security institutions. Using case studies, he shows that this results in attacks on privacy and personal information instead of just secrets of governmental organizations. Brenner mentions the work of criminal gangs, as well as intelligence services, to discuss where responsibility lies and how to prove a crime occurred. This problem has been addressed by administrations unsuccessfully since the 1980s and Brenner believes more needs to be done soon. This alarming account by an expert is worthy of serious attention from policy makers and average readers alike.