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Dawn of the Code War

America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat
Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
Length: 16 hrs and 59 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)
Non-member price: $41.73
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Publisher's Summary

The inside story of how America's enemies launched a cyberwar against us - and how we've learned to fight back.

With each passing year, the Internet-linked attacks on America's interests have grown in both frequency and severity. Overmatched by our military, countries like North Korea, China, Iran, and Russia have found us vulnerable in cyberspace. The "Code War" is upon us. 

In this dramatic audiobook, former assistant attorney general John P. Carlin takes listeners to the front lines of a global but little-understood fight as the Justice Department and the FBI chases down hackers, online terrorist recruiters, and spies. Today, as our entire economy goes digital, from banking to manufacturing to transportation, the potential targets for our enemies multiply. 

This firsthand account is both a remarkable untold story and a warning of dangers yet to come.

©2018 John P. Carlin and Garrett M. Graff (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"This book is thrilling, important, and deeply fascinating. Cybersecurity is key to modern life: an imperative for us as a nation and each of us personally. It's about protecting our personal data, our businesses, and our democracy. John Carlin has been on the front lines, defending us against attacks from China, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and criminal gangs. The riveting stories of these secret battles for our digital safety teach us much about what America can - and must - do to protect itself." (Walter Isaacson, New York Times best-selling author of Leonardo Da Vinci)

"John Carlin has written a crucial book - for practitioners and laymen alike - about the evolution, impacts, and implications of the abuses we've all witnessed, and many have personally experienced, in the cyber domain. Cyber is yet another example of the dual-edged nature of technology: huge benefit to mankind on one hand, and the potential for great harm on the other. And, unique to this book, is the historical description of how we have tried to respond to the harmful activities that occur all too frequently in the cyber domain. An interesting read, with vivid detail. John represents a superb amalgam of legal insight and great writing skill. A must read in my view." (James Clapper, New York Times best-selling author and former director of national intelligence)

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  • Robert ONeill
  • 20-10-2018

Master class

Incredibly comprehensive account of the past present and future of cyber security. Well written and understandable to the lay person. This is a seminal work and should be the primary textbook for a required course for decades to come. The topic sounds technical but this transcends cyberspace and affects every one of us. Revelatory and freaking frightening.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael W. Travis
  • 08-01-2019

Exhausting

This book started with the potential for providing an extensive study of the current “Code War.”  For about twenty-percent of the book it did provide some good information and the foundations for fighting the cyber confrontation.  But the book went into an exhausting review of the author's career and the me-me babble along with a not needed review of computer and hacking history that has been touched thousands of times.  If you can do a fast skim to the good parts, or fast forward to it, you can get a little beneficial information.  If you are an above average cyber professional than skip this and get your next certification.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • James Kennedy
  • 22-11-2018

Good Cyber War History Lesson

Good history lesson on cyber warfare and major events. The author seems very knowledgeable and seems like he was a good soldier in the legal battle for justice in a very strange and complex criminal underworld. The previous leadership of the intelligence community and the administration, who were quoted often in this book, failed the American people. Knowing and not taking action is sometimes the worst corruption of all. Using the people’s intelligence for political purposes instead of true justice was described perfectly in this book. Hopefully, the truth of this whole team will be revealed in due time.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • JustAListener
  • 13-02-2019

Not a lot of "americanism"

The one-star reviews that said this book promoted too much americanism almost made me not read it. There is the usual "we are the good guys" rethoric but it's not that bad, and you couldn't expect otherwise from the author's bio.

It's a very interesting account of some of the backstage behind what's going on in cyber warfare, with some of the reasoning behind key geopolitical moves by the U.S. government. In many areas, feels like what a realistic episode of the show "24" would look like.

The reading is excellent, respectful to foreign names, and manageable to be listened at 1.75x with no loss of comprehension.

This is my first audible audiobook and I am completely hooked; much better than spending time listening to podcasts. Thanks a lot to all the people involved in producing this material, superb work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Wanderlusting
  • 14-11-2018

very good info with just a little political bias

overall very good book, eye opening information about China and the amount of technology theft that has gone on over the past couple decades.
great insight into government policy and the attempts to deal with Internet security gets a bit partisan at the end kind of a FBI director Comey fanboy. the author criticizes Trump for using a cell phone but does not mention Hillary Clinton's use of private servers. however most of the book is unbiased and worth the credit.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Philomath
  • 02-12-2018

Cyber war, hackers, and the future of the internet

John P Carlin is a US civil servant he was the Assistant Attorney General (DOJ). He was also chief of staff for FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. It is therefore expected that his narrative is biased to what some might consider American exceptionalism.

Regardless, his experience at the front line of economic, and geopolitical cyber warfare is as good as they come. It is incredible that such little investment has gone into cyber security when the risks are as large as they seem. I am writing this review just as news of a hack on Largest Hotel Group compromised over 500 million customers personal details in a span of 4 years. As with the Sony hack, this is an all too common occurrence lately, even affecting Facebook, Google and many others.

The internets backbone was not built with security in mind, but ease of use. We are finding out the costs of such a free and open network where criminals are always ahead, and the policing and regulation is inherently playing catch-up, and reacting to more and more sophisticated attacks. The realm of what used to be a hacker society is now being used by governments to disrupt rival nations, where no one's hands are clean, and proof is hard to come by.

Whether its a pre-emptive attack on military installations, an economic attack to steal technology, or just vandals and blackhats disrupting the system, we are in the age of technical vulnerability and its up to the individual entities to secure themselves, without much help from government who are lagging behind in the know-how as well as financial support.

This book is extremely informative about the governments role in the cyber realm, where they are and where they should be. It is highly recommended.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Warren
  • 23-03-2019

Chilling but highly informative

Although many may see this story as politically based, but when you stand the claims in the book beside public data already known, it is clearly focused on fact and not PR. The stories are amazing and the proof engaging.

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  • Chris P
  • 22-03-2019

Must read to understand the threats we face today

We hear a lot about terrorists, criminals and governments hacking in the news and this book succinctly breaks down how it all happens and how the U.S. reacts.

It covers ISIS recruitment in the US and Europe, North Koreas hack of Sony, Chinese IP theft, Russian crime and election interference and the Iranian Nasdaq hack.

It's a must read for anyone who wants a better understanding of the threats we face in the 21st century not just as a country, but the risks to individuals from identity theft to having your work lose all its value as hackers steal your companies data.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-03-2019

Starts slow but has good insight

Covers a different point of view on cyberwarfare. From the point of bureaucracy and law enforcement as opposed to security researcher and attribution. First part of book he’s justifying why he’s writing, then becomes a paean to Mueller, but when he finally details Zeus botnet, Sony hacking, OPM hacking and others he really shines. I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions but I really appreciated hearing them and think they are right as part of a wider conversation on the topic of how to handle attacks against critical infrastructure, governments, and private businesses.

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  • Sheldon Kreger
  • 17-03-2019

Urgent and clear.

A very detailed look at the history of US cybersecurity policy, attacks, and countermeasures. Author is highly experienced and very insightful. A must read for anybody in the field.

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  • Rob
  • 10-02-2019

Excellent Book

Fantastic book from John Carlin. Really fascinating insight into the history of the threat America has faced from Cyber Adversaries and the steps taken to combat it. Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this and highly recommended.

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  • Charlie Wilson
  • 14-01-2019

A mediocre book made worse by obvious bias.


The book has a couple of interesting insights but is consistently let down by the author's one sided attempts to explain two sided issues. Unfortunately the author is also completely unable to state facts without inserting a blatant political bias and glosses over a number of vital facts which might negatively impact on his personal opinions.