The Darkening Web
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The Darkening Web

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"A chilling but well-informed and readable tour of cyber interdependence. Anyone interested in our growing global vulnerabilities should read this book.” —Joseph S. Nye, Jr., author of The Future of Power No single invention of the last half century has changed the way we live now as much as the Internet. Alexander Klimburg was a member of the generation for whom it was a utopian ideal turned reality: a place where ideas, information, and knowledge could be shared and new freedoms found and enjoyed. Two decades later, the future isn’t so bright any more: increasingly, the Internet is used as a weapon and a means of domination by states eager to exploit or curtail global connectivity in order to further their national interests.   Klimburg is a leading voice in the conversation on the implications of this dangerous shift, and in The Darkening Web, he explains why we underestimate the consequences of states’ ambitions to project power in cyberspace at our peril: Not only have hacking and cyber operations fundamentally changed the nature of political conflict—ensnaring states in a struggle to maintain a precarious peace that could rapidly collapse into all-out war—but the rise of covert influencing and information warfare has enabled these same global powers to create and disseminate their own distorted versions of reality in which anything is possible. At stake are not only our personal data or the electrical grid, but the Internet as we know it today—and with it the very existence of open and democratic societies.   Blending anecdote with argument, Klimburg brings us face-to-face with the range of threats the struggle for cyberspace presents, from an apocalyptic scenario of debilitated civilian infrastructure to a 1984-like erosion of privacy and freedom of expression. Focusing on different approaches to cyber-conflict in the US, Russia and China, he reveals the extent to which the battle for control of the Internet is as complex and perilous as the one surrounding nuclear weapons during the Cold War—and quite possibly as dangerous for humanity as a whole. Authoritative, thought-provoking, and compellingly argued, The Darkening Web makes clear that the debate about the different aspirations for cyberspace is nothing short of a war over our global values.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 32mm | 538g
  • Prentice Hall Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0735223882
  • 9780735223882
  • 260,050

Review Text

"Klimburg's book is a plea for cyber-sanity, but it is also a chilling read."-The Sunday Times (UK) "It's this type of worldwide cyber-chaos-the type that could down airplanes, turn off respirators and plunge millions into darkness-that Alexander Klimburg warns of in The Darkening Web. . . . Klimburg's warnings regarding Russian cyber-aspirations. . . are on the money."-The New Scientist "A quietly horrifying new book. . . . The Darkening Web eventually accumulates the picture of an impending apocalypse, an utterly unwinnable war in which the world's few good guys. . . are outgunned, outspent, and outmaneuvered at every stage of what Klimburg refers to as the great cyber game."-The Christian Science Monitor "An extraordinarily informative and accessible examination of the threats to physical infrastructure, privacy and the free flow of information posed by the struggle for control of cyberspace. Ripped from yesterday's-and tomorrow's-headlines, The Darkening Web shines a spotlight on a vitally important and little understood threat."-The Tulsa World "The Darkening Web provides a sweeping yet nuanced overview of how we got to where we are online, with ample backstory... A thoughtful framework for assessing developments in this fast-moving area...Ultimately, Klimburg concludes, the battle for a free Internet 'is nothing less than the struggle for the heart of modern democratic society.'"-Nature "Exhaustively researched. . . . A complex, fascinating book. . . . Indispensable reading for anyone keen to understand what lies ahead as cyberspace displaces conventional battlefields as the preferred venue for resolving conflict."-The Toronto Star "A dark but riveting account of how competition between nations threatens the future of the Internet. Klimburg provides a broad overview of the technical and political underpinnings of the Internet and reveals how many of them are being eroded by short-sightedness and national pride. A must-read."-Jeff Moss, founder of Black Hat and DEF CON conferences "A compelling and authoritative book that will shape the conversation about the intersection of the Internet and foreign policy."-Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath "At a time of rising focus on threats to the internet, Alexander Klimburg introduces much needed clarity and precision into such concepts as cyber war and information security. This book is indispensable-not only for national security officials formulating policies on cyber conflict, cyber crime and cyber governance, but for any reader seeking a strong grounding in this critically important material and what it means for our global future."-Michael Chertoff, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security "Alexander Klimburg provides a chilling but well-informed and readable tour of cyber interdependence. Anyone interested in our growing global vulnerabilities should read this book."-Joseph S. Nye, Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and author of The Future of Power "Klimburg is exceedingly qualified to write about cyberspace as a new field of war. . . . The dark side of cyberspace is a daunting subject, but Klimburg's narrative is very accessible, and frankly, this is all far too important to ignore."-Booklist "A very frightening book. . . . Reading it is well worth the effort. Recommended for anyone interested in international affairs."-Library Journal "An excellent primer on cyberwarfare. . . . A chilling portrait of the emergence of cyberspace as a domain for political conflict."-Publishers Weekly "Klimburg delivers an urgent warning that civil libertarians and cybernauts alike will want to heed." - Kirkus Reviewsshow more

Review quote

“Klimburg’s book is a plea for cyber-sanity, but it is also a chilling read.”—The Sunday Times (UK)   “It’s this type of worldwide cyber-chaos—the type that could down airplanes, turn off respirators and plunge millions into darkness—that Alexander Klimburg warns of in The Darkening Web. . . . Klimburg’s warnings regarding Russian cyber-aspirations. . . are on the money.”—The New Scientist “A quietly horrifying new book. . . . The Darkening Web eventually accumulates the picture of an impending apocalypse, an utterly unwinnable war in which the world’s few good guys. . . are outgunned, outspent, and outmaneuvered at every stage of what Klimburg refers to as the great cyber game.”—The Christian Science Monitor   “An extraordinarily informative and accessible examination of the threats to physical infrastructure, privacy and the free flow of information posed by the struggle for control of cyberspace. Ripped from yesterday’s—and tomorrow’s—headlines, The Darkening Web shines a spotlight on a vitally important and little understood threat.”—The Tulsa World “The Darkening Web provides a sweeping yet nuanced overview of how we got to where we are online, with ample backstory… A thoughtful framework for assessing developments in this fast-moving area…Ultimately, Klimburg concludes, the battle for a free Internet ‘is nothing less than the struggle for the heart of modern democratic society.’”—Nature  “Exhaustively researched. . . . A complex, fascinating book. . . . Indispensable reading for anyone keen to understand what lies ahead as cyberspace displaces conventional battlefields as the preferred venue for resolving conflict.”—The Toronto Star “A dark but riveting account of how competition between nations threatens the future of the Internet. Klimburg provides a broad overview of the technical and political underpinnings of the Internet and reveals how many of them are being eroded by short-sightedness and national pride. A must-read.”—Jeff Moss, founder of Black Hat and DEF CON conferences “A compelling and authoritative book that will shape the conversation about the intersection of the Internet and foreign policy.”—Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath “At a time of rising focus on threats to the internet, Alexander Klimburg introduces much needed clarity and precision into such concepts as cyber war and information security. This book is indispensable—not only for national security officials formulating policies on cyber conflict, cyber crime and cyber governance, but for any reader seeking a strong grounding in this critically important material and what it means for our global future.”—Michael Chertoff, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security “Alexander Klimburg provides a chilling but well-informed and readable tour of cyber interdependence. Anyone interested in our growing global vulnerabilities should read this book.”—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and author of The Future of Power “Klimburg is exceedingly qualified to write about cyberspace as a new field of war. . . . The dark side of cyberspace is a daunting subject, but Klimburg’s narrative is very accessible, and frankly, this is all far too important to ignore.”—Booklist  “A very frightening book. . . . Reading it is well worth the effort. Recommended for anyone interested in international affairs.”—Library Journal “An excellent primer on cyberwarfare. . . . A chilling portrait of the emergence of cyberspace as a domain for political conflict.”—Publishers Weekly “Klimburg delivers an urgent warning that civil libertarians and cybernauts alike will want to heed.” – Kirkus Reviewsshow more

About Alexander Klimburg

Alexander Klimburg is a program director at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and an associate and former fellow at the Belfer Center of the Harvard Kennedy School. He has acted as an advisor to a number of governments and international organizations on cybersecurity strategy and internet governance, and has participated in various national, international, NATO and EU policy groups. He splits his time between Boston, Vienna and The Hague. From the Hardcover edition.show more