[techbooks] REVIEW: "Information Warfare and Security", Dorothy Denning
- BKINWRSC.RVW 990212
"Information Warfare and Security", Dorothy Denning, 1999,
%A Dorothy Denning denning@...
%C P.O. Box 520, 26 Prince Andrew Place, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 2T8
%I Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
%O U$34.95/C$52.50 800-822-6339 Fax 617-944-7273 bkexpress@...
%P 522 p.
%T "Information Warfare and Security"
Denning has chosen to take an inclusive approach to the topic of
information warfare, not limiting the material to attacks on
"military" targets. Given the state of physical warfare, this seems
to be quite realistic. It does mean that the book tends to read like
a high level computer security text (small wonder) with an emphasis on
intrusions and the more overt aspects of computer crime.
Part one is a foundation and background for the material to come.
Chapter one looks at the great many information aspects to the Gulf
War and Operation Desert Storm. One of the unusual factors reviewed
is that of propaganda, or "perception management." A theory of
infowar is the intent of chapter two, which outlines players and
positions in a variety of ways. The theory is somewhat weakened for
being strongly dependent upon the idea of the value of the information
being attacked or defended, and this is an area that still requires
work. Another possibly problematic area is the reliance on a "win-
lose" model for data warfare, when there have been numerous instances
of intruders, upon sufficient provocation, being willing to deny
themselves a resource by damaging it, on the basis that the defenders
stand to lose far more. (On the other hand, "bragging rights" seem to
have a lot of value in the computer underground.) More detail on the
players involved, and the possible types of attacks that have
occurred, and might occur, are presented in chapter three.
Part two looks at the specifics of offensive information warfare.
Chapter four is extremely interesting, showing that "open source," or
publicly available information, can and has been used for offensive
and criminal undertakings in a variety of ways. Disinformation is
reviewed in chapter five, including the odd phenomenon of urban
legends and Internet hoaxes. The problem of damage from insiders,
including, finally, a documented case of a salami attack (albeit a
rather clumsy one), is covered in chapter six. Chapter seven
discusses the interception of information and communications in a
variety of ways, and, as a sideline, jamming and alteration. A
variety of methods of computer intrusion are presented in chapter
eight. False identity, both identity theft and outright false, are
examined in chapter nine. The material on viruses and worms, in
chapter ten, is solid, although I was sorry to see that a great many
possibilities for reproductive mayhem that have been discussed over
the years went unmentioned. ("Harlie," Dr. Denning. "When *HARLIE*
Was One.") (Of course, when I sent the first draft, I had, myself,
spelled "Harlie" incorrectly.)
Part three looks at the opposite side, that of defence. Chapter
eleven gives a good background to encryption, but, seemingly,
primarily as a general concept, rather than going into detail on
specific uses for protection. Authentication is dealt with in chapter
twelve, and uses some of the cryptologic background. With monitoring
and detection bracketing chapter thirteen, the section on firewalls
seems just slightly misplaced. Chapter fourteen looks at risk
analysis, planning, and some resources. The final chapter discusses
defence of the nation, and national policy in this regard, with
particular emphasis on the current situation in the US.
The content of this book not only presents a clear picture of a number
of aspects of information warfare, but does so in a very practical
manner, informed by the need to use "real world" examples. In
addition, the anecdotal evidence backing the material makes the book
quite readable and interesting. As a text for a course in information
warfare, it is complete and solidly based. As a reference for
security analysts and practitioners, it is clear and thought-
provoking. For those who may merely have some interest in the topic,
it is engaging and informative.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKINWRSC.RVW 990212
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