America the Vulnerable

Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare

By Joel Brenner
(Penguin Press HC, The, Hardcover, 9781594203138, 320pp.)

Publication Date: September 29, 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc

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Description

Now available in a new edition entitled GLASS HOUSES: Privacy, Secrecy, and Cyber Insecurity in a Transparent World.

A former top-level National Security Agency insider goes behind the headlines to explore America's next great battleground: digital security. An urgent wake-up call that identifies our foes; unveils their methods; and charts the dire consequences for government, business, and individuals.

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 our adversaries are now attacking us-cyberspace. We are at the mercy of a new generation of spies who operate remotely from China, the Middle East, Russia, even France, among many other places. These operatives have already shown their ability to penetrate our power plants, steal our latest submarine technology, rob our banks, and invade the Pentagon's secret communications systems.

Incidents like the WikiLeaks posting of secret U.S. State Department cables hint at the urgency of this problem, but they hardly reveal its extent or its danger. Our government and corporations are a "glass house," all but transparent to our adversaries. Counterfeit computer chips have found their way into our fighter aircraft; the Chinese stole a new radar system that the navy spent billions to develop; our own soldiers used intentionally corrupted thumb drives to download classified intel from laptops in Iraq. And much more.

Dispatches from the corporate world are just as dire. In 2008, hackers lifted customer files from the Royal Bank of Scotland and used them to withdraw $9 million in half an hour from ATMs in the United States, Britain, and Canada. If that was a traditional heist, it would be counted as one of the largest in history. Worldwide, corporations lose on average $5 million worth of intellectual property apiece annually, and big companies lose many times that.

The structure and culture of the Internet favor spies over governments and corporations, and hackers over privacy, and we've done little to alter that balance. Brenner draws on his extraordinary background to show how to right this imbalance and bring to cyberspace the freedom, accountability, and security we expect elsewhere in our lives.

In America the Vulnerable, Brenner offers a chilling and revelatory appraisal of the new faces of war and espionage-virtual battles with dangerous implications for government, business, and all of us.




About the Author

Joel Brenner is a former senior counsel at the National Security Agency, where he advised on legal and policy issues relating to network security. Previously, he served as the national counterintelligence executive in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and as NSA's inspector general. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.A.), The London School of Economics (Ph.D.), and Harvard Law School (J.D.). Brenner currently practices law in Washington, D.C., specializing in cyber-security and related issues.




Praise For America the Vulnerable

"Cybercrime, espionage, and warfare are among the great challenges of this century, but as Joel Brenner argues, we are woefully ill-prepared to meet them. Drawing on history, law, economics, common sense, and his rare experience in counterintelligence, Brenner deftly describes the problems and offers a series of very practical solutions. This book is both well written and convincing."
--Joseph Nye, author of Soft Power and The Future of Power

"If you have a responsibility for protecting intellectual property, trade secrets and other instruments of successful business; if you are responsible for protecting national information and technology interests then you have a responsibility to read this book. Bring a change of underwear."
--Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist at Google

"America the Vulnerable offers an expert's keen insight into the netherworld of cyberrisk. Rich in facts, stories, and analysis, the book is a clarion call for more effective cyberpolicies and practices in both the government and private sector. America should take heed."
--Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, author of The Art of Intelligence

"Brenner takes us inside the daily battle in the world of cyber espionage, where China and others are stealing American corporations' 'secret sauce.' He shows us the on-going cyber war that the US is losing."
--Richard Clarke, author of Cyber War and Against All Enemies

"Joel Brenner is a quiet hero-a lawyer who, after 9/11, forsook a prosperous life to serve the United States on a different kind of front line: the world of intelligence. He has written a book about cyberspace that will inform his fellow citizens-and should trouble them deeply. Any reader, casually familiar with the hacking and computer mischief that one reads about daily, will nonetheless be appalled at what he learns here about the scope of cyberespionage, crime, and malicious action that has already been directed against private citizens, corporations, and the government. A lucid, scary, and very important book."
--Eliot Cohen, author of Supreme Command and Conquered into Liberty

"Joel Brenner's book should be front and center in the 2012 presidential race. Scarier than a Stephen King novel-only this is nonfiction!"
--David Smick, author of the international bestseller The World Is Curved

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