After finishing Countdown to Zero Day, I saw another book about cyberwarfare was available for review and requested it as well. Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, written by Ted Koppel, is a look into how our nation is prepared for a cyberattack with a focus on taking down the power grid (spoiler alert: we’re not prepared). The subtitle is the three facets of such an attack that Koppel investigates.
The section “A Cyberattack” takes a look at the ways the US could be targeted by enemies. For me, this was basically old news. The government doesn’t want to do anything because nothing’s happened yet. Companies aren’t convinced it’s a big enough threat to invest. While this chapter is important to establish context, if you follow this sort of thing even casually there’s nothing new here.
We move on to “A Nation Unprepared.” The shortest section of them all, this goes into what the government is prepared for. It leads well into “Surviving the Aftermath” which explores how the government would react, and how individual communities would react. Which sounds useful, but I find myself going “why do I care?” They’re looking at rural america as well as the Mormon community.
At first glance, Lights Out is a well written book for someone who isn’t aware of this particular threat. But, there’s some really concerning language in here about what the government should have control over. Koppel often touches on giving up privacy in exchange for more security throughout the book. He says “If we insist too adamantly on protecting privacy, we’ll sacrifice both free enterprise and security.” This tone throughout the book made me uncomfortable and a little angry. As such, I cannot in good faith recommend this to you.
Disclaimer: I received Lights Out for free from Blogging For Books for review purposes.