REVIEW - The Basics of Cyber Warfare - Understanding the Fundamentals of Cyber Warfare in Theory and Practice


The Basics of Cyber Warfare

Understanding the Fundamentals of Cyber Warfare in Theory and Practice


Steve Winterfeld, Jason Andress


Syngress Press (2012)




Alan Lenton


April 2014



Reviewed: January 2014

Cyber Warfare is one of the two really hot topics in the US Military-Industrial establishment (the other is drone aircraft, in case you are wondering), and this book is for those who wish to get in on the ground floor. With the reduction in budgets (actually, budget increases), all the armed forces are casting around for new justifications for larger shares of the pie, and all have set up their own ‘cyber-commands’. This book is firmly rooted in that milieu.

Needless to say, you won’t find a reasoned analysis of the subject, or even a justification for it, in this book. The section headed ‘Cyber War – Hype or Reality’ occupies less than one page in a 150 page tract. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what its conclusion was! What this book does do, and does very well, is to provide the senior management of companies wishing to become part of this highly lucrative business with the jargon and enough of a basic understanding to not make fools of themselves.

Along the way it provides the largest selection of military bureaucratic acronyms I’ve ever come across – in just one page it introduces the reader to TTPs, InfoSec, Net Centric Warfare, IA, CNO, CNE, CNA, CND (Computer Network Defense – not Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament!), and IO... And that’s just the start. I read the book with a kind of warped fascination. This stuff would make a great basis for a game about cyber-warfare, but would provide little of use for most people in IT, or even IT security.

Oh, and one comment for the publisher, the days when it was acceptable to use bad photocopies of leaflets (in this case an old Verisign leaflet) as an aid to understanding are long since past!

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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