The United States is being bombarded with cyber-attacks. From the surge in ransomware groups targeting critical infrastructure to nation states compromising the software supply chain and corporate email servers, malicious cyber activities have reached an all-time high. Russia attracts the most attention, but China is vastly more sophisticated. They have a common interest in exploiting the openness of the Internet and social media—and our democracy—to erode confidence in our institutions and to exacerbate our societal rifts to prevent us from mounting an effective response. Halting this digital aggression will require Americans to undertake sweeping changes in how we educate, organize and protect ourselves and to ask difficult questions about how vulnerable our largest technology giants are.
If we are waiting for a “Cyber 9/11” or a “Cyber Pearl Harbor,” we are misunderstanding how our adversaries wage cyber warfare. This is a timely and critically important book. No other book has analyzed the threat of cyber warfare with the depth and knowledge brought to the subject by the authors.
It has now become a cliché to argue that a “whole of government” or “whole of society” response is necessary to respond to this crisis, but that concept has never been more important. It will take many years and billions of dollars to even begin to secure our IT systems and prevent the slow rot that is destroying America. Using language that the layman can understand, we wish to educate Americans about what has happened and inspire them to seek solutions.
McLaughlin is the former Senior Counterintelligence Advisor for United States Cyber Command, where he was responsible for the coordination of all Department of Defense counterintelligence operations in cyberspace. He was at the heart of the Pentagon’s efforts, for example, to prevent Russia from using cyberattacks to disrupt Ukraine’s economy. In this role, he was also in charge of overseeing counterintelligence support to every U.S. military offensive and defensive cyberspace operation worldwide. Prior to rising to this position, he spent a career conducting clandestine operations and sensitive activities across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His vantage of the changing face of modern warfare is that of both a shadow warrior on the front lines and a trusted advisor to the military’s senior-most commanders. He is now a cybersecurity attorney in Washington, D.C. and currently serves as a Research Affiliate at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), where he leads a team in evaluating Department of Defense policies and federal regulations to enable the integration of government and private sector cyberspace capabilities to provide for national defense
Bill Holstein was based in Hong Kong and Beijing for United Press International and has been following U.S.-China relations for more than 40 years. He also has specialized in covering technology since joining U.S. News & World Report in 1996. He has worked for or written for Business Week, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Fortune and other top publications.