Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

Dark Territory

The Secret History of Cyber War

By Fred Kaplan
15-minute read
Audio available
Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan

Dark Territory (2016) takes readers on a tour through some of the lesser known, yet highly influential, moments in the history of cyber warfare. These are the events that shaped US policy on cybercrime, especially as it relates to international diplomacy and political affairs. Cyber warfare may have gotten more sophisticated over the years, but considering what’s at stake, it’s critical we understand it.

  • Readers interested in cyber warfare
  • Historians and futurists
  • Techies and hackers

Fred Kaplan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist. A regular columnist for Slate, he consistently provides in-depth analysis on foreign policy and international politics. He’s also contributed to the New York Times, Scientific American and the Atlantic among other outlets. Kaplan holds a PhD in political science from MIT.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from

Dark Territory

The Secret History of Cyber War

By Fred Kaplan
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan
Synopsis

Dark Territory (2016) takes readers on a tour through some of the lesser known, yet highly influential, moments in the history of cyber warfare. These are the events that shaped US policy on cybercrime, especially as it relates to international diplomacy and political affairs. Cyber warfare may have gotten more sophisticated over the years, but considering what’s at stake, it’s critical we understand it.

Key idea 1 of 9

Communications interception – the field that has recently evolved into cyber warfare – has a rich history.

You might think that the first people to hack into a communication network were, say, a band of pioneering computer experts who used a primitive form of the internet. However, there is a rich history of communications interception that dates back much further.

During the American Civil War, for example, generals knew that their telegraph messages were being intercepted, so they would routinely issue fake orders to send the enemy on a wild goose chase.

And during World War II, American and British cryptographers decoded crucial messages sent by German and Japanese forces – communication interceptions that played a vital role in the Allied victory.

Then we come to the Cold War, the heyday of spies and tapped phone lines, as well as intercepted radio signals and microwave transmissions. Agents on both sides of the Iron Curtain were eager to learn what the other was capable of and intended to do.

When we reach the information age – or, as some call it, the cyber age – we can see how the art of communications interception transformed into a type of warfare.

At this stage, those hacking into communication lines weren’t just trying to listen in and acquire information; they were now prowling through entire computer networks. And while doing so they could erase, block and change information – anything to mislead or slow down an enemy that could be as far away as the other side of the globe. This is cyber warfare.

The advent of the internet played a big role in raising the stakes of communications interception. For the first time, all of the world’s computers – even those containing top secret and classified information – were essentially connected to one big network. Even if the information is encrypted, everyone knows it’s just a matter of time before a program is developed that can break the code.

During the Obama administration, the president was given daily reports on cyber attacks being conducted by nations like China and Russia.

While this is unsettling enough, even more worrisome is the fact that missiles, uranium-enrichment labs and dam valves are all controlled through computers networks. This is why cyber warfare has come to be an integral part of military operations around the world. In 2009, the Obama administration created a cyber-command unit, whose annual budget rose from $2.7 billion to $7 billion in the three years after its establishment.

Key ideas in this title

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.