The Hacked World Order – The Next War May Be A Click Away: Book Review by Jeff Ostrowski, Institutional Investor
If the world’s powers ever face off in another war, it’s likely to be fought not with tanks and ground troops but with malware and phony tweets. Such is the premise of The Hacked World Order: How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age, an intriguing study coming out next week by Adam Segal, a China expert and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The militaries of the U.S., China and Russia are fully engaged in online warfare, and Germany, Brazil and Israel also are unholstering their own virtual sidearms. Meanwhile, the world’s powers see cyberspace as the next military frontier. They’re ramping up their investments in online spying and high-tech sabotage. Despite cuts to overall defense spending in the U.S., Segal notes, the Pentagon has boosted its budget to improve its cyberarsenal. “The conflict in cyberspace will only become more belligerent, the stakes more consequential,” he writes.
This new era of virtual warfare threatens to make international relations ever more ambiguous. When geopolitical disputes were settled the old-fashioned way, soldiers wore uniforms advertising their allegiances. But in a cyberwar, no one is quite certain if they’re under attack or who’s responsible.
Segal points to numerous cases of cyberattacks of murky provenance. The Islamic State was first blamed for a 2015 hack against a French TV station, but further investigation revealed that perhaps the true aggressor was Russia. A 2014 online onslaught against U.S. banks might have been launched by Russia retaliating against U.S. sanctions — or it might not have been.
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The Hacked World Order – Description
For more than three hundred years, the world wrestled with conflicts that arose between nation-states. Nation-states wielded military force, financial pressure, and diplomatic persuasion to create “world order.” Even after the end of the Cold War, the elements comprising world order remained essentially unchanged.
But 2012 marked a transformation in geopolitics and the tactics of both the established powers and smaller entities looking to challenge the international community. That year, the US government revealed its involvement in Operation “Olympic Games,” a mission aimed at disrupting the Iranian nuclear program through cyberattacks; Russia and China conducted massive cyber-espionage operations; and the world split over the governance of the Internet. Cyberspace became a battlefield.
Cyber conflict is hard to track, often delivered by proxies, and has outcomes that are hard to gauge. It demands that the rules of engagement be completely reworked and all the old niceties of diplomacy be recast. Many of the critical resources of statecraft are now in the hands of the private sector, giant technology companies in particular. In this new world order, cybersecurity expert Adam Segal reveals, power has been well and truly hacked.
The Hacked World Order – Review
“Segal examines numerous instances of cyberwar, some of which may come as news to readers…Netizens and white-hat programmers will be familiar with Segal’s arguments, but most policymakers will not—and they deserve wide discussion.”—Kirkus Reviews