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We Are All Targets

We Are All Targets

How Renegade Hackers Invented Cyber War and Unleashed an Age of Global Chaos

by Matt Potter


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The incredible, untold origin story of cyberwar and the hackers who unleashed it on the world, tracing their journey from the ashes of the Cold War to the criminal underworld, governments, and even Silicon Valley--while the Pandora's Box they opened changed the world forever

Two years before 9/11, the United States was attacked by an unknown enemy. No advance warning was given, and civilians weren't the target. Instead, tomahawk missiles started missing their targets, US agents were swept up by hostile governments, and America’s enemies seemed to know its every move in advance. The Pentagon was so confused that its distress call simply read: “This shouldn’t be happening.” A new phase of warfare—cyberwar—had arrived. And within two decades, it escaped Pandora's Box, plunging us into a state of total war where every day, countless cyber attacks perpetrated by mercenaries and states are reshaping the world.

After receiving an anonymous email with secret NATO battle plans, journalist Matt Potter embarked on a twenty-year investigation into the origins of cyberwar and how it came to dominate the world. He uncovered its beginnings – worthy of a Bond movie – in the last days of the Cold War, as the US and its allies empowered a generation of Eastern European hackers, only to look away when the Berlin Wall fell, waking up less than a decade later in a new world order. The story winds through Balkan hacking culture, Russia, Silicon Valley, and the Pentagon, following characters like a celebrity hacker with missing fingers who has escaped prison 27 times, FBI agents chasing the first generation of cyber mercenaries in the 90s, and Russian generals obsessed with a Cold War rematch. Never before told, this is the riveting secret history of cyberwar not as governments want it to be – controlled, military-directed, discreet, and sophisticated – but as it really is: anarchic, chaotic, dangerous, and often thrilling.

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