Cyber War Will Not Take Place

Rid, T. Cyber War Will Not Take Place, London: Hurst/Oxford University Press (2013) 256p 

‘This book will be welcomed by all those who have struggled to get the measure of the “cyber war” threat. As Thomas Rid takes on the digital doomsters he also provides a comprehensive, authoritative and sophisticated analysis of the strategic quandaries created by new technologies.’
Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies, King’s College London and author of Strategy: A History

‘Thomas Rid provides an unusually level-headed view of where we are in the cyber arms race. This book nips in the bud the loose talk of cyber war and illustrates what’s really happening. Anyone involved in building defences against future attacks should read this book first.’
Mikko Hypponen, virus analyst and Chief Research Officer, F-Secure 

‘We’re in the early years of a cyber war arms race, one fuelled both by fear and ignorance. This book is a cogent counterpoint to both the doomsayers and profiteers, and should be required reading for anyone concerned about our national security policy in cyberspace.’
Bruce Schneier, security guru and author of Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Thrive

‘With news of cyber war, terrorism and espionage seemingly everywhere, separating hype from reality is not always easy. Many agencies and companies stand to gain by inflating cyber security fears. Thomas Rid takes a razor to the evidence and carefully dissects the evolution of conflict and espionage in the cyber age. The result is a compelling and authoritative take on war and strategy in cyberspace, one that will surely be seminal in this area for years to come.’
Ronald J. Deibert, Citizen Lab Director, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto and author of Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace |

‘Cyber war is coming,’ announced a landmark RAND report in 1993. In 2005, the U.S. Air Force boasted it would now fly, fight, and win in cyberspace, the ‘fifth domain’ of warfare. This book takes stock, twenty years on: is cyber war really coming? Has war indeed entered the fifth domain?

Cyber War Will Not Take Place cuts through the hype and takes a fresh look at cyber security. Thomas Rid argues that the focus on war and winning distracts from the real challenge of cyberspace: non-violent confrontation that may rival or even replace violence in surprising ways.

The threat consists of three different vectors: espionage, sabotage, and subversion. The author traces the most significant hacks and attacks, exploring the full spectrum of case studies from the shadowy world of computer espionage and weaponised code. With a mix of technical detail and rigorous political analysis, the book explores some key questions: What are cyber weapons? How have they changed the meaning of violence? How likely and how dangerous is crowd-sourced subversive activity? Why has there never been a lethal cyber attack against a country’s critical infrastructure? How serious is the threat of ‘pure’ cyber espionage, of exfiltrating data without infiltrating humans first? And who is most vulnerable: which countries, industries, individuals?

(Cover in high resolution)

Coverage (selection)

“Cyberwar and Peace,” Excerpt in Foreign Affairs, December 2013

In Japanese
In German
In French

“Digital Destruction,” Fincancial Times, 10 May 2013

“Digital Doomsters,” The Economist, 27 June 2013

“Cyberspace is not a Combat Zone,” The Globe and Mail, 6 July 2013

“Is Cyberwar Really War?” Boston Globe, 15 September 2013

“The fanciful world of cyber warfare,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 September 2013

International Affairs, 90, 1, 2014, p. 203-204

The RUSI Journal, December 2013, p. 106-107

Survival, September/October 2013, p. 221-223

Politique Étrangère, 3/2013, 196-97

“La guerra cyber non avrà luogo,”, 7 August 2014

H-Diplo, 10 October 2013

Schneier on Security, 25 October 2013

“Cyber war is mostly bunk,”, 16 August 2013

Interview, 2.34 mins, BBC Today, Radio 4, 13 March 2013