Cover image for @WAR : the rise of the military-Internet complex
@WAR : the rise of the military-Internet complex
Harris, Shane.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 263 pages ; 24 cm
The United States military now views cyberspace as the "fifth domain" of warfare, alongside land, air, sea, and space. The Pentagon, the National Security Agency, and the CIA field teams of hackers who launch cyber strikes against enemy targets--and amass staggering quantities of personal information on all of us. These same virtual warriors, along with a growing band of private-sector counterparts, are charged with defending us against the vast array of criminals, terrorists, and foreign governments who attack us with ever-increasing frequency and effectiveness. Journalist Shane Harris infiltrates the frontlines of this fifth domain, explaining how and why government agencies are joining with tech giants like Google and Microsoft to collect huge amounts of information and launch private cyber wars. The military has also formed a new alliance with tech and finance companies to patrol cyberspace, and Harris offers a penetrating and unnerving view of this partnership. Finally, he details the welter of opportunities and threats that the mushrooming "military-Internet complex" poses for our personal freedoms, our economic security, and the future of our nation.--From publisher description.
General Note:
"An Eamon Dolan Book."
The first cyber war -- RTRG -- Building the cyber army -- The internet is a battlefield -- The enemy among us -- The mercenaries -- Cops become spies -- "Another Manhattan Project" -- Buckshot Yankee -- The secret sauce -- The corporate counterstrike -- Spring awakening -- The business of defense -- At the dawn.
Format :


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Material Type
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U163 .H37 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
U163 .H37 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
U163 .H37 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
U163 .H37 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A surprising, page-turning account of how the wars of the future are already being fought today

The United States military currently views cyberspace as the "fifth domain" of warfare (alongside land, air, sea, and space), and the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and the CIA all field teams of hackers who can, and do, launch computer virus strikes against enemy targets. In fact, as @WAR shows, U.S. hackers were crucial to our victory in Iraq. Shane Harris delves into the frontlines of America's new cyber war. As recent revelations have shown, government agencies are joining with tech giants like Google and Facebook to collect vast amounts of information. The military has also formed a new alliance with tech and finance companies to patrol cyberspace, and Harris offers a deeper glimpse into this partnership than we have ever seen before. Finally, Harris explains whatthe new cybersecurity regime means for all of us, who spend our daily lives bound to the Internet -- and are vulnerable to its dangers.

Author Notes

Foreign Policy senior writer and New America Foundation fellow SHANE HARRIS is the award-winning author of The Watchers: The Rise of America ' s Surveillance State. His work has also appeared in the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal , and elsewhere.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

It seems as if nearly every day brings new reports about groups hacking into vital government networks or criminals stealing personal information. There are also concerns about the government's collection of data. This fluid state of cybercrime and cyberwarfare, with government-sanctioned hackers launching cyberattacks at enemies, is a significant issue for the nation's economy and security. Taking a cue from President Eisenhower's Farewell Address of January 1961, journalist Harris (Foreign Policy magazine) reveals how the military and law enforcement branches have not only established agencies to work in this specialized field but have also gotten private companies to do much of the development and data gathering. There is a real concern that these companies, whose resources are definitely needed, are not well supervised by the government and may end up influencing operations more for financial gain than security reasons. The writing seems to reflect tensions between a need to discuss and counter a national security threat and disgust that so much of this is being done secretly and with private businesses. The research resources consist of articles, books, and government publications, supplemented by many interviews with experts in this subject. This book complements the author's previous work, The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State. VERDICT Cybercrime and warfare is a hot topic for the general public as well as students and faculty, so this should be considered for all readers. [See Prepub Alert, 5/12/14.]-Daniel Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The bottom line is that the next war will be fought as much in cyberspace as in any other space, maybe even more. Cyberspace has already become the "fifth domain" of warfare, in addition to land, air, sea, and space. The NSA, CIA, and Pentagon have assembled groups of hackers to launch cyber strikes on enemy targets and have collected huge amounts of information on everybody (enemies and friends). This practice yields significant successes, such as thwarting attacks on US (and US allies') forces in Iraq. That is good news. But journalist/author Harris (senior correspondent, The Daily Beast; The Watchers, 2010) suggests that government alone cannot cope with the pace of technology, so government agencies have teamed up with technology giants to create a "military-Internet complex." This is only the beginning. What is the impact on personal freedom, economic security, and the future of the nation? Anonymity and collective security are incompatible in cyberspace. Can citizens trust government alone to balance the two? According to the author, "the NSA has in many respects made the Internet less safe." He concludes that "only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of ... defense with ... peaceful methods and goals" so "security and liberty may prosper together." Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. --Haim Levkowitz, University of Massachusetts



ONE The First Cyber War Bob Stasio never planned to become a cyber warrior. After he graduated high school, Stasio enrolled at the University at Buffalo and entered the ROTC program. He majored in mathematical physics, studying mind-bending theories of quantum mechanics and partial differential equations. The university, eager to graduate students steeped in the hard sciences, waived the major components of his core curriculum requirements, including English. Stasio never wrote a paper in his entire college career. Stasio arrived at Fort Lewis, Washington, in 2004, when he was twenty-two years old. His new brigade intelligence officer took one look at the second lieutenant's résumé, saw the background in math and physics, and told Stasio, "You're going to the SIGINT platoon." SIGINT, or signals intelligence, is the capture and analysis of electronic communications. Like all branches of intelligence, it's a blend of science and art, but it's heavy on the science. The brigade intelligence officer had worked at the National Security Agency and recognized that Stasio's physics training would come in handy, because so much of SIGINT involves the technical collection of radio signals, fiber-optic transmissions, and Internet packets. Stasio's military training in college focused on how to use a rifle and lead a squad. But he had spent six months learning the basics of intelligence gathering and analysis at the army's intelligence school at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. When he came to Fort Lewis, Stasio was assigned to a Stryker brigade, a mechanized force designed to be light on its feet, capable of deploying into combat in just a few days. It was Stasio's job to locate the enemy on the battlefield by tracking his communications signals. And he was also supposed to divine his adversary's intentions by eavesdropping on the orders a commander gave to troops, or listening for the air strike that a platoon leader was calling in from behind the lines. Stasio would join the Fourth Brigade, Second Infantry Division, "the Raiders," and deploy to Iraq. He'd be working with a team of linguists, who would be essential, since Stasio didn't speak Arabic. But when it came time to meet them, Stasio started to worry: nearly all of the linguists spoke only English and Korean. The army had designed its signals intelligence system for the Cold War. Thousands of troops still served on the Korean Peninsula. They were still trained in how to fight a land battle with North Korean forces, in which the physics of SIGINT--locating tanks and troops--would be central to the mission. But the Raiders were going off to fight a network of Iraqi insurgents, volunteer jihadists, and terrorists. These guys didn't drive tanks. They didn't organize themselves according to a military hierarchy. And of course, they didn't speak Korean. Stasio decided that his intelligence training would be mostly useless in Iraq, where the US occupation was coming unglued. Army casualties were mounting, the result of a well-orchestrated campaign of roadside bombings by insurgents. The soldiers who didn't die in these attacks were coming home with limbs missing, or with severe brain injuries that would impair them physically and emotionally for the rest of their lives. SIGINT wasn't preventing these attacks. Indeed, it was hardly being used at all. In October 2004 the military's top signals intelligence officer estimated that as much as 90 percent of all information in Iraq was being supplied by a network of human spies and informants--and they weren't helping the Americans reduce the bombing attacks and insurgent strikes. Stasio read as much as he could about insurgencies, noting in particular how they organized themselves using a network model, with many independent nodes of people working in teams, separate from a central controller. This was the opposite design of a vertical, military bureaucracy, with orders filtering down from the top through several layers of officers. In principle, the intelligence discipline in which Stasio was trained should still work. He was expected to locate his enemy using electronic signals and figure out his next move. But the tools the army had supplied to do this were ill suited to the shadowy, urban battlefields of Iraq. The Raiders used a collection "platform" known as the Prophet system, a rugged truck affixed with a tall, roof-mounted radio antenna about the size of a streetlamp. The older officers in the brigade liked the Prophet because it told them what enemy forces were in their immediate area of operations. It was a tactical device, and they controlled it, driving it to wherever they wanted to collect intelligence. But the Prophet was designed to collect radio waves, and on a wide-open and relatively flat area of battle. Stasio knew that the enemy fighters in Iraq were communicating using cell phones and e-mail and through videos they'd posted on the Internet. They were moving in small groups through the dense concrete maze of Baghdad and other crowded Iraqi cities. The Prophet wasn't the most useful tool. Indeed, when Stasio finally got to Iraq, he saw that the military intelligence units that had come before him were using the Prophet not to collect signals but to transport food and other supplies around the base. There was another reason the old-timers liked the Prophet--it was theirs. They could drive it wherever they wanted. They had control over the collection and analysis of intelligence. Stasio thought that his more senior officers generally distrusted intel that came from back in the States, frequently from Washington, DC, and the national intelligence agencies such as the CIA and the NSA, which, from the battlefield, looked like big, lumbering bureaucracies filled with software engineers and computer geeks who were too removed from the on-the-ground tactical needs of forces in Iraq. But Stasio knew the national agencies, and in particular the NSA, had something he needed: data. Namely, servers full of electronic communications and signals collected by the agency's listening posts around the world. Stasio thought that if he could tap into SIGINT from Iraq, he might be able to understand something about the size and shape of the insurgent networks by piecing together their communications records. This was painstaking work, and it would require hours sitting in front of a computer, probably in some air-conditioned trailer, not driving a Prophet through dusty streets. Stasio was a fan of the HBO series The Wire, and he was particularly fond of one character, Lester, who uncovers a network of drug dealers in Baltimore by tracking their cell phone calls. Stasio wanted to do the same thing in Iraq. He pleaded with his brigade intelligence officer at Fort Lewis: instead of sending him out to the rifle range to practice infantry techniques and study the bulky Prophet, let him and a few of his fellow intelligence officers spend time in the state-of-the-art intelligence facility on the base, learning how to use software for diagramming networks and digesting Internet and cell phone traffic. These tools had been largely overlooked by tactical military intelligence units, Stasio argued. But they could be enormously helpful in Iraq. The officer agreed. Stasio and a fellow lieutenant devised their own training regimen, which hinged on a concept called "reachback." The idea was that in the field, small military intelligence units would set up their own computers and local networks, but they would reach back to the massive databases at the NSA and other agencies that were collecting useful intel from across the entire spectrum of military and intelligence operations, including satellite images, tips from informants, summaries of interrogations of captured fighters, even political forecasts produced by CIA analysts. To Stasio, no single piece of data was insignificant. But a single piece on its own was of little use. The information had to be "fused" into a nuanced picture. For someone who grew up using many different modes of communication--phone, e-mail, text messaging--on many different devices, this method of intelligence analysis was intuitive. Stasio and the members of his platoon trained for two and a half years before they finally headed out to Iraq. He took four of the Korean linguists in his platoon and sent them to a one-year crash course in Arabic. He didn't need them to be fluent, but with some language proficiency they could work with local translators to write intelligence reports. The rest of the linguists he sent to learn intelligence analysis. Stasio arrived in Iraq in April 2007--without the Prophet in tow--as part of a new "surge" of American troops. He might have wondered if they arrived too late. Stasio and his team found US forces under relentless assault from insurgents, roadside bombers, and mortar attacks. Iraq was collapsing amid an escalating civil war. Foreign fighters were pouring into the country from neighboring Syria and Iran, and a ruthless terrorist network, known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, ran a brutal campaign of attacks against US and coalition forces, the Iraqi government, and Iraqi Shiites--fellow Muslims and innocent civilians. The terror group aimed to break the back of the fledgling government with a theocratic dictatorship. Maybe, Stasio thought to himself, I should have spent more time learning to fire my rifle. But he didn't know--couldn't have known--that his ideas about intelligence-supported warfare were about to be tested on a massive scale. US forces were going to attack their enemy in a way they'd never attempted. And Stasio would be on the frontlines. Excerpted from @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex by Shane Harris All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

A Note on Sourcesp. ix
Prologuep. xii
Part I
1 The First Cyber Warp. 3
2 RTRGp. 25
3 Building the Cyber Armyp. 39
4 The Internet is a Battlefieldp. 69
5 The Enemy Among Usp. 83
6 The Mercenariesp. 103
7 Cops Become Spiesp. 123
Part II
8 "Another Manhattan Project"p. 139
9 Buckshot Yankeep. 146
10 The Secret Saucep. 153
11 The Corporate Counterstrikep. 171
12 Spring Awakeningp. 187
13 The Business of Defensep. 198
14 At The Dawnp. 216
Acknowledgmentsp. 229
Notesp. 233
Indexp. 252