The Fifth Domain

Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats
Narrated by: Marc Cashman
Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
4.5 out of 5 stars (156 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An urgent new warning from two best-selling security experts - and a gripping inside look at how governments, firms, and ordinary citizens can confront and contain the tyrants, hackers, and criminals bent on turning the digital realm into a war zone.

"In the battle raging between offense and defense in cyberspace, Clarke and Knake have some important ideas about how we can avoid cyberwar for our country, prevent cybercrime against our companies, and in doing so, reduce resentment, division, and instability at home and abroad." (Bill Clinton)

There is much to fear in the dark corners of cyberspace. From well-covered stories like the Stuxnet attack which helped slow Iran's nuclear program, to lesser-known tales like EternalBlue, the 2017 cyber battle that closed hospitals in Britain and froze shipping crates in Germany in midair, we have entered an age in which online threats carry real-world consequences. But we do not have to let autocrats and criminals run amok in the digital realm. We now know a great deal about how to make cyberspace far less dangerous - and about how to defend our security, economy, democracy, and privacy from cyber attack.
 

This is a book about the realm in which nobody should ever want to fight a war: the fifth domain, the Pentagon's term for cyberspace. Our guides are two of America's top cybersecurity experts, seasoned practitioners who are as familiar with the White House Situation Room as they are with Fortune 500 boardrooms. Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake offer a vivid, engrossing tour of the often unfamiliar terrain of cyberspace, introducing us to the scientists, executives, and public servants who have learned through hard experience how government agencies and private firms can fend off cyber threats.  

Clarke and Knake take us inside quantum-computing labs racing to develop cyber superweapons; bring us into the boardrooms of the many firms that have been hacked and the few that have not; and walk us through the corridors of the US intelligence community with officials working to defend America's elections from foreign malice. With a focus on solutions over scaremongering, they make a compelling case for "cyber resilience" - building systems that can resist most attacks, raising the costs on cyber criminals and the autocrats who often lurk behind them, and avoiding the trap of overreaction to digital attacks.  

Above all, Clarke and Knake show us how to keep the fifth domain a humming engine of economic growth and human progress by not giving in to those who would turn it into a wasteland of conflict. Backed by decades of high-level experience in the White House and the private sector, The Fifth Domain delivers a riveting, agenda-setting insider look at what works in the struggle to avoid cyberwar.

©2019 Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A sobering but hopeful exploration of defenses against the weaponization of the internet...Clarke and Knake, drawing on interviews with experts, explain cybersecurity’s intricacies in a lucid, engaging manner that avoids the alarmism that often surrounds the subject. The result is a fine survey that will interest policy makers, executives, and ordinary readers alike.” (Publishers Weekly)
 

“Clarke and Knake, both of whom logged time inside the cybersecurity arms of presidential administrations, have much to say about the ways in which governments and companies have tried to make themselves safe from the legions of hackers out there, from your ordinary black hats to agents of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and other entities..... The authors counsel reassuringly [that] as companies finally make the transition to more secure systems of transmission, encryption, and data storage, there is hope that the threats of old will one day be a footnote.... Largely of interest to policymakers and security experts, though with much for the Wired crowd as well.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“In The Fifth Domain, two of America’s top cybersecurity experts reach a surprising and encouraging conclusion: it is within our power to manage cyber threats. Clarke and Knake offer a wealth of practical and achievable ideas for how the US government, American companies, and private citizens can deter and thwart attacks.” (Susan Rice)

What members say

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  • Overall
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Solid at the high level

The thing about cyber security is that's it's very technical. It's not easy to cover such technical details in a book for the general audience, but this does a good job of that.

3 people found this helpful

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If you don’t understand the basics of how serious the cyber threat is, your NEED to read this book.

Far from another doomsday, there’s-no-hope-for-us book, Clarke and Knake have delivered a fantastic and interesting book, suitable for readers both well-versed and wholly unfamiliar with the topic. Written by two thought leaders in the space, this book offers real-world insight into how threats in cyberspace can affect every individual in the United States - both personally and from a national security perspective. What’s more, the authors don’t simply explain the current threat landscape, they offer a comprehensive plan to “solve” the problem - the pursuit of which does not involve blowing up half the world. Hands down, this is the most well-rounded, informative, and hopeful book I’ve read - highly recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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Bad cyberstuff: great survey, fair prescriptions

This book should be considered essential reading in the time period 2020 to 2021 for anyone concerned about the likelihood of a cybercrime and its ability to seriously disrupt our lives. As a survey of the major areas of concern, it is thorough, detailed without getting into too many weeds, and--most importantly--accurate.

Unfortunately, it is weak in its prescriptions. The major problem is the authors' willingness to provide entirely unreasonable solutions to the problems they identify. The federal government is simply not equipped to do the many things they recommend. Companies will cooperate only to the point where their intellectual property would be compromised. Individuals will simply never be careful about clicking on email links. The authors know better and slyly suggest that repeatedly.

Still, it's a must-read for any intelligent layperson who wants to understand the cyber "state of play" in 2019.

1 person found this helpful

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we heard you like cyber.

for the love of ARES ( Joint Task Force ) Read... Listen
i hope we wake up sooner than November 20th 2019...
citizens... geeks... nerds... bakers... teachers... erybody needs to read.

1 person found this helpful

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Focused and with great purpose

While I am sure the vast majority of listeners will be IT-junkies, we should then take the recommendations given here to go out and educate the many others who are not.

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Not too techie

A good overview of the current security position of the nation and our vulnerability to bad internet actors as well as how we are/can protect ourselves. I am not very well versed in the technology but enjoyed it even as it was, in spots, a little too deep for me.

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Excellent Listen!

This book is a fantastic high level view of how cybersecurity needs to be approached by both the public and private sector but in very separate ways. I love the details and solutions offered in this book which start a conversation on a secure framework that is enforced and practical.