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The Perfect Weapon


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From Russia's tampering with the US election to the WannaCry hack that temporarily crippled Britain's NHS, cyber-attacks have the potential to wreak global devastation.

About the Author

David E. Sanger is the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and bestselling author of The Inheritance. He has been a member of two teams that won the Pulitzer Prize and has received numerous awards for coverage of the presidency and national security policy. He also teaches national security policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


'In his new book, The Perfect Weapon, Sanger offers a panoramic view of the rapidly evolving world of cyber-conflict. He covers incidents from the covert U.S. cyber-campaign to sabotage Iran's nuclear program (a story we know about largely because of Sanger's diligent reporting) to Edward Snowden's epic heist of National Security Agency data. And yes, there's also plenty of background on Russia's active measures during the 2016 campaign. But there's also a wealth of gripping material on stories that have probably been missed by the broader public ... It all adds up to a persuasive argument for the truth of the book's title.' -Christian Caryl, The Washington Post `[The Perfect Weapon is] an important - and deeply sobering - new book about cyberwarfare.' -Nicholas Kristof, New York Times `An encyclopedic account of policy-relevant happenings in the cyberworld ... the most comprehensive, readable source of information and insight about the policy quandaries that modern information technology and its destructive potential have spawned.' -Paul R. Pillar, The New York Times `Anyone who doubts cyber's unintended consequences should read David Sanger's new book The Perfect Weapon. Sanger, a reporter for The New York Times, has been a dogged and diligent observer of cybersecurity issues for years. His book is a readable account of what went wrong.' -Robert Samuelson, The Washington Post `A reader finishes this book fully understanding why cyberwar has moved rapidly to the top of America's official list of national security threats.' -David Von Drehle, The Washington Post `In a chilling new book, The Perfect Weapon, David Sanger details how more than 30 nations have developed effective cyber forces.' -Financial Times `[Sanger] writes with persuasiveness and authority.' -The Telegraph `This encyclopedic account by a Times correspondent traces the rapid rise of cyberwarfare capabilities and warns that ideas about how to control them are only beginning to emerge.' -The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice) `You may not have realised it but we are at war. A world war. And it's not clear who's winning or who will ultimately win, but the battleground is vast - cyberspace ... David E. Sanger sums up where we are and where we could be heading.' -Jon Wise, Weekend Sport `[A] sobering new book.' -John Naughton, The Observer `The book's greatest strength is in how Sanger captures the complexities of cyber weapons and cyber operations to illustrate the internal dynamics of the Obama administration as it grappled with these emerging capabilities ... It is well reported, well sourced, and his access provides insights into what many of the key players were thinking at the time and in the years since their tenure ended ... For lay readers, The Perfect Weapon is a great one-volume precis on recent cyber war.' -Joshua Huminski, The Diplomatic Courier `Computer and cyber warfare is a burgeoning mode of conflict that poses serious threats to the United States, Pulitzer-winning New York Times correspondent Sanger (Confront and Conceal) argues in this perhaps overly worried investigation. Sanger gives a lucid account of national programs for digital espionage and warfare, but it's not always clear that the various technologies described hold much danger; for example, he doesn't make a strong case that Russian spoofing of social media accounts really undermines American democracy. Readers could use a more thorough exploration of the limitations of supposedly perfect digital weapons.' -Publishers Weekly `The Perfect Weapon may be one of the most important, if chilling, books you'll read this year.' -The Saturday Age `The greatest virtue of Sanger's writing is that it is clear-headed and morally grounded, not in any way breathless or apocalyptic.' -Paul Monk, Weekend Australian `Sanger, The New York Times' security correspondent, has catalogued the recent history of cyber warfare, how it needs to be confronted and the intensely complex policy issues that arise. This is the last word in the modern world of cyber warfare - until artificial intelligence takes over.' -Mercury `Sanger, The New York Times' security correspondent, has catalogued the recent history of how cyber warfare has developed, how it needs to be confronted, and the intensely complex policy issues that arise.' -Courier Mail Praise for The Inheritance: `[Sanger is] a shrewd and insightful strategic thinker.' -Gary J. Bass, The New York Times

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