Black Code

Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

Cyberspace is all around us. We depend on it for everything we do. We have reengineered our business, governance, and social relations around a planetary network unlike any before it. But there are dangers looming, and malign forces are threatening to transform this extraordinary domain.

In Black Code, Ronald J. Deibert, a leading expert on digital technology, security, and human rights, lifts the lid on cyberspace and shows what’s at stake for Internet users and citizens. As cyberspace develops in unprecedented ways, powerful agents are scrambling for control. Predatory cyber criminal gangs such as Koobface have made social media their stalking ground. The discovery of Stuxnet, a computer worm reportedly developed by Israel and the United States and aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, showed that state cyberwar is now a very real possibility. Governments and corporations are in collusion and are setting the rules of the road behind closed doors.

This is not the way it was supposed to be. The Internet’s original promise of a global commons of shared knowledge and communications is now under threat.

Drawing on the first-hand experiences of one of the most important protagonists in the battle — the Citizen Lab and its global network of frontline researchers, who have spent more than a decade cracking cyber espionage rings and uncovering attacks on citizens and NGOs worldwide — Black Code takes readers on a fascinating journey into the battle for cyberspace. Thought-provoking, compelling, and sometimes frightening, it is a wakeup call to citizens who have come to take the Internet for granted. Cyberspace is ours, it is what we make of it, Deibert argues, and we need to act now before it slips through our grasp.

Reviews

Black Code is terrifying. It effortlessly chronicles threats ranging from individual privacy to national security…[highlighting] the shadowy, lucrative war online, behind closed doors and in the halls of power, which threatens to control, censor, and spy on us, or worse.”
National Post
 
“Gripping and absolutely terrifying… . Black Code is a manifesto for the 21st-century form of network stewardship, a sense of shared responsibility toward our vital electronic water supply. It is a timely rallying cry, and sorely needed.”
—Cory Doctorow, Globe and Mail

“Ron Deibert is an excellent guide to the fascinating and disturbing world of cyber security.”
—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard, and author of The Future of Power
 
“For more than a decade, Ron Deibert’s Citizen Lab has been at the forefront of decoding actions both crude and subtle to disrupt Internet access and usage. A path from the Dalai Lama’s hacked laptop to a worldwide espionage ring is but one tale of many of the Lab’s singular exploits – now gathered here in this compelling volume that chronicles the ongoing wars amidst the Internet’s rise.”
—Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, and author of The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It
 
“At a time when autocrats, criminal gangs and others are trying to control and pervert the use of cyberspace, Ron Deibert’s Black Code rings like a fire-bell in the night, warning us that the price of a new global commons of shared knowledge and connectivity is vigilance in defense of free expression and the rule of law. Anyone who cares about the future of democracy needs to read this timely and most important book.”
—Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy

Black Code stimulated my thinking about the potential for making the Internet a much safer place.”
—Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer