Cyberjutsu Cover


Cybersecurity for the Modern Ninja
by Ben McCarty
April 2021, 170 pp.
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Download Chapter 13: WORM AGENT

Cyberjutsu presents a practical cybersecurity field guide based on the techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) of the ancient ninja. Author Ben McCarty, a cyber warfare specialist and former NSA developer, analyzes once-secret Japanese scrolls, drawing parallels to modern infosec concepts to provide unique insights on defensive and offensive security. He translates the training methodologies of Japan’s most notorious covert agents—history’s first advanced persistent threat (APT)—into highly effective practices for countering information warfare, espionage, supply-chain attacks, zero-day exploits, and more.

Each chapter examines one TTP in detail—like assessing gaps in a target’s defense, striking where the enemy is negligent, and mastering the art of invisibility—and explains what the concept can teach us about the current cybersecurity landscape. McCarty recommends in-depth mitigations and security controls, mapped to the NIST 800-53 standard, and a “Castle Theory Thought Exercise” that helps you apply the ancient lesson to protect your castle (network) from enemy ninja (cyber threat actors). You’ll discover the effectiveness of ancient social engineering strategies and trap-based security controls; see why mapping your network like an adversary gives you the advantage; and apply lessons from old-world tools, like the “ninja ladder,” to prevent attacks.

Topics also include:

  • Threat modeling, threat intelligence, and targeted controls
  • Countermeasures like network sensors, time-based controls, airgaps, and improved authentication protocols
  • Profiles of insider threats, and ways to recognize them in employees
  • Covert communication TTPs and their implications for malware command and control (C2)
  • Methods for detecting attackers, preventing supply-chain attacks, and defending against zero-day exploits

In this book, you’ll see the astonishing power of ninja information-gathering processes—and how adopting them just might be the key to innovating contemporary cybersecurity models.

Author Bio 

Ben McCarty is a cyber security specialist and former NSA developer. He served in the US Army's Network Warfare Battalion and became the first fully qualified cyber warfare specialist (35Q) in US Army history. He is currently a quantum security researcher in the Washington, DC, area.

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: Mapping Networks
Chapter 2: Guarding with Special Care
Chapter 3: Xenophobic Security
Chapter 4: Identification Challenges
Chapter 5: Double-Sealed Password
Chapter 6: Hours of Infiltration
Chapter 7: Access to Time
Chapter 8:Tools
Chapter 9: Sensors
Chapter 10: Bridges and Ladders
Chapter 11: Locks
Chapter 12: Moon on the Water
Chapter 13: Worm Agent
Chapter 14: Ghost on the Moon
Chapter 15: The Art of the Fireflies
Chapter 16: Live Capture
Chapter 17: Fire Attack
Chapter 18: Covert Communication
Chapter 19: Call Signs
Chapter 20: Light, Noise, and Litter Discipline
Chapter 21: Circumstances of Infiltration
Chapter 22: Zero Days
Chapter 23: Hiring Shinobi
Chapter 24: Guardhouse Behavior
Chapter 25: Zero Suspicion Threat Management
Chapter 26: Shinobi Tradecraft

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View the detailed Table of Contents
View the Index


"As novel as it is illuminating, as it looks deep into the past. . . . [McCarty] provides a remarkably comprehensive tour of his subject, which is especially impressive for such a concise work that’s well under 300 pages. In it, he covers such as topics as mapping networks and authentication, and provides unconventional tips, as well . . . A thoughtful, original, and thorough guide to cybersecurity."
Kirkus Reviews

"Pairs modern information security methods with ancient Japanese traditions, elevating both subjects in order to elucidate elements of the former. . . . an easy resource whose reference material flows well."
Foreword Reviews

"A good quality book."
—Antony Cummins, The Historical Ninjutsu Research Team

"This helpful manual explores the field of cybersecurity, providing tips, tricks, and proven methods to help companies keep online information out of the hands of hackers. . . . Combining philosophical exercises with more concrete plans of action, McCarty blends new and old, complex and simple, to craft this intricate guide."

"Cyberjutsu is an innovative work that is both highly technical and very readable. . . . it’s packed with ideas, tips, and practical techniques for combating cyber threats. As such, the book is likely to prove an invaluable resource for individuals and organizations looking to improve their cybersecurity practices."
—Erin Britton, San Francisco Book Review

"A very well researched and clearly organized book that uses Japanese history quite cleverly to illustrate modern cybersecurity problems, suggesting ways to counter technological invaders and hackers based on techniques used to defend castles against attacks by clever and resourceful ninja."
—Catherine Langrehr, Indie Reader, Starred Review

"The exercises are of a kind that would deeply kindle readers’ interest and spur them on to intense problem-solving activity as well as hands-on experimentation in a naturally appealing manner, particularly if you grew up loving adventure/mystery stories involving castles, kings, and queens. . . . [geeks will] find it highly enjoyable and challenging!"
—Raju Chacko, Reedsy

"May appeal to CEOs in the same way they might turn to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to level up their plan of attack. The book is also a good overview of cybersecurity for students and anyone considering a career in this expanding field. . . . Cyberjutsu, with its knowledge of the past and its applications for the future, is sure to inspire both cybersecurity insiders and the curious."
—Joanna Poncavage, BookTrib

Read this BookTrib Author Spotlight interview with Ben McCarty

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