Synopses & Reviews
Cyberspace is all around us. We depend on it for everything we do. We have reengineered our business, governance, and social relations around a planetary network unlike any before it. But there are dangers looming, and malign forces are threatening to transform this extraordinary domain.
In Black Code, Ronald J. Deibert, a leading expert on digital technology, security, and human rights, lifts the lid on cyberspace and shows what’s at stake for Internet users and citizens. As cyberspace develops in unprecedented ways, powerful agents are scrambling for control. Predatory cyber criminal gangs such as Koobface have made social media their stalking ground. The discovery of Stuxnet, a computer worm reportedly developed by Israel and the United States and aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, showed that state cyberwar is now a very real possibility. Governments and corporations are in collusion and are setting the rules of the road behind closed doors.
This is not the way it was supposed to be. The Internet’s original promise of a global commons of shared knowledge and communications is now under threat.
Drawing on the first-hand experiences of one of the most important protagonists in the battle — the Citizen Lab and its global network of frontline researchers, who have spent more than a decade cracking cyber espionage rings and uncovering attacks on citizens and NGOs worldwide — Black Code takes readers on a fascinating journey into the battle for cyberspace. Thought-provoking, compelling, and sometimes frightening, it is a wakeup call to citizens who have come to take the Internet for granted. Cyberspace is ours, it is what we make of it, Deibert argues, and we need to act now before it slips through our grasp.
"black code": the obscure areas of the communications spaces that we live in where power is exercised, unbeknownst to the average user.
In 2009, Deibert and his team uncovered a major Chinese cyber-espionage ring. The group had vacuumed minutes of the Indian National Security Secretariat as efficiently as taking minutes during the meeting itself. Deibert and his team also discovered that the confidential information of dozens of ministries of foreign affairs, international organizations, and private firms, including some in Canada, were being pilfered. Most recently, his group has discovered that some major Syrian websites are being hosted in Canada.
Selected recent media for the author of Black Code:
"Canadian software helps Syrian activists avoid web censors," Toronto Star, March 2, 2012
"Canada has a responsibility to do more to protect the Web," National Post, February 11, 2012
Syrian Websites, Metro Morning with Matt Galloway, November 17, 2011
"Struggling with Cyber Security," National Post, February 18, 2011
"Canada Hit by Cyberattack from Computers in China," New York Times, February 17, 2011
"Egypt Cuts Off Most Cell Service," New York Times, January 28, 2011
"In a Span of Minutes, Egypt Goes Off-Line," Globe and Mail, January 28, 2011
"Busting Egypt's Web Blackout," CBC News, January 28, 2011
"The Post Cablegate Era," op-ed by Ron Deibert, New York Times, December 9, 2010
One of the world's leading internet experts takes readers into the shadowy realm of cyberspace and cybersecurity, revealing how it has transformed our world and the new rules we will need to adopt in order to survive.
In the twenty-first century, most of us experience a highly dynamic and interactive communications ecosystem that only two decades ago would have been the stuff of science fiction. It is difficult to imagine a world without instant access and 24/7 connectivity. We have reengineered our business, governance, and social relations around a planetary network unlike any that has come before. And, as with any social transformation, there have been unintended consequences.
In Black Code, Ron Deibert examines the profound effect that cyberspace is having on the relationship between citizens and states, on the private and public spheres, and on domestic and international affairs. Cyberspace has brought us a world of do-it-yourself signals intelligence, he argues, and WikiLeaks is only a symptom of a much larger phenomenon to which governments, businesses, and individuals will have to get accustomed. Our lives have been turned inside out by a digital world of our own spinning.
Fast-paced, revealing, and sometimes terrifying, Black Code takes readers into the shadowy realm of cybersecurity, offering insight into the very future of cyberspace and revealing what new rules and norms we will need to adopt in order to survive in this new environment.
About the Author
RONALD J. DEIBERT is professor of Political Science and Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, an interdisciplinary research and development “hothouse” working at the intersection of the Internet, global security, and human rights. He is a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and the Information Warfare Monitor, which uncovered the GhostNet cyberespionage network of over 2,500 infected computers in 103 countries. Deibert’s work has received frontpage coverage in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, International Herald Tribune, and New York Times. He lives in Toronto with his family.