From My Reading Chair – Dark Territory, The Secret History of Cyber War

If this book doesn’t convince you NOT to buy a refrigerator connected to the internet, I don’t know what will!

First, thank you for your understanding as I took a break last week to practice some self-love and put family obligations first. From the bottom of my heart, again thank you.

Dark Territory is the book that got me interested in non-fiction again. I picked it up after a webinar suggested it and read it over the summer of 2016. Dark Territory is the history of Cyber Warfare in America from President Ronald Reagan thru Obama. Fred Kaplan painted a vivid story of the impacts of cyber in modern warfare and did you know, if it hadn’t been for the movie War Games, this tale would look different?

That’s right; President Reagan started this off after watching a Matthew Broderick movie and asking his high-level officials if what he had seen could happen.

His advisors told him it was much worse.

“Greene realized-as had several others who’d journeyed down this path before him-the flip side of the equation: what we could do to them, they could do to us.” – page 43

This book brings to light the political and armed forces players. Kaplan keeps you on the edge of your seat – this book would’ve read fast for me, but I kept highlighting phrases to use in my audit reports!

Of course, I geeked out when he covered the development of the Stuxnet virus. The development of which saw a first as it began with President Bush (the second one) and released to the victim under Obama. A first for a cyber effort – it stayed alive between two presidents. Stuxnet was a cyber initiative that crossed party lines.

The book ends with another movie impacting national security – the Sony breach that linked to the film, The Interview. Kaplan’s tale makes me think the public doesn’t have the full story; although, I believe you may feel like me in that we had a close call.

Over a movie.


One of my favorite stories was about the term “dark territory.” I may be biased as Robert Gates is from Kansas. And it’s a railroad term, and my grandfather was an engineer for the Union Pacific.

“It was a phrase from Gates’s childhood in Kansas, where his grandfather worked for nearly fifty years as a stationmaster on the Santa Fe Railroad. ‘Dark territory’ was the industry’s term for a stretch of rail track that was uncontrolled by signals. To Gates, it was the perfect parallel to cyberspace, except that this new territory was much vaster and the danger was greater, because the engineers were unknown, the trains were invisible, and a crash could cause far more damage.” – page 272

Now, while you may not have the same switch back to 1970’s era refrigerators reaction, but you will want to read this book. I consider it a must-read for anyone in the IT field. Cyber is now a staple of public policy – it is one with not only implications for our public, but the global community.

I don’t have this on my Goodreads yet, but this one is a five out of five stars for sure and a book worth a purchase. If non-fiction is typically not your genre to read, this is an excellent introduction to that realm.

And seriously, reconsider that refrigerator purchase.


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