Battlefield Cyber: How China and Russia Are Undermining Our Democracy and National Security

Prometheus. Aug. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781633889019. $28.95. POL SCI
Former U.S. Cyber Command Senior Counterintelligence Advisor McLaughlin and veteran international correspondent Holstein (A Grand Strategy) provide a solid overview of the scope and success of the United States’ primary cyber adversaries, along with a partial remedy to confront a troubling situation. The authors say the threat runs from predatory Moscow-sponsored ransomware to highly sophisticated Chinese penetration of U.S. defense industries. The authors conclude that “the Chinese are winning,” owing to superior espionage resources and American exposure, but the book doesn’t include counterarguments. The book explains that the authors’ findings emerge from dependence on Chinese markets, firms animated by profits before principles, and ineffective policy responses. Asymmetric laws demand U.S. cyber source codes as a price for doing business in China. The authors maintain that Russian and Chinese agents egregiously disseminate misinformation through social media without constraint or reciprocity. Executive vigilance and legislation such as the CHIPS and Science Act, intended to promote the U.S. semiconductor industry, are among the many responses the authors endorse. Their recommendations for legislative, bureaucratic, and personnel reforms are convincing and valuable, but again, there are no counterpoints.
VERDICT Still, the confirmed successes of Chinese and Russian cyberwarfare make this book a gripping and highly recommended read.
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