Books by a Former CIA Spy
Confessions of a CIA Spy:
The Art of Human Hacking
In this explosive book, former intelligence officer Peter Warmka unveils detailed methodologies that he and other threat actors use to breach the security of their targets, whether they’re high-profile individuals or entire organizations.
Whether you want to learn more about the intricate methods threat actors can use to access sensitive information on your organization or want to be able to spot the ways a social engineer might manipulate you in person or online, this book will change the way you think about that innocuous email in your inbox or that unusual interaction with an eager stranger.
Praise for Confessions of a CIA Spy
"A must-read for anyone who wants to protect themselves and their organizations from falling prey to manipulation tactics used by the world's savviest social engineers."
-- Michael Hayden, retired four-star general USAF, former Director of NSA and Director of the CIA, Principal at the Chertoff Group, author of New York Times bestseller Playing to the Edge and The Assault on Intelligence.
“Peter Warmka had an amazing career in the CIA and continues to use his expertise in the private sector. His new book Confessions of a CIA Spy: The Art of Human Hacking is the best guide I have seen on the new battleground of espionage. Cyber, social engineering, and human hacking have become the name of the game. You owe it to yourself to read this book to protect yourself and your organization from some highly sophisticated and devious attacks.”
--James Olson, former Chief of CIA Counterintelligence, and the author of To Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence.
“You get what you negotiate’ is a popular business phrase. However, in today’s Wild West of cyber insecurity, a retired CIA officer offers sobering counter counsel: What you have, they are coming after. From decades of recruiting spies, Peter Warmka knows how to steal secrets, or more accurately, how to persuade people to give up their secrets. Confessions of a CIA Spy describes successful collection techniques, tricks if you will, that are used to steal far more than government classified material. These are subtle, crafted maneuvers which, to the uninitiated, appear like normal behavior, but are the very tools used to compromise your company’s data and deplete your bank account. Readable, eye-opening and based on a deep knowledge of espionage tradecraft, Confessions of a CIA Spy reveals the playbook of those who prey on the unsuspecting. Warmka’s work arms the reader with an awareness of the attacker’s game plan. As a result, you win, they lose.”
--Robert Wallace, Author of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to al-Qeeda and executive producer of the Netflix series, SPYCRAFT.
“Peter Warmka provides a unique and very valuable perspective for companies and individuals on how to avoid cyber crimes. As a former CIA operative with deep experience penetrating the computer defenses of formidable adversaries, Peter is now on the other side of the equation, helping companies to learn from his experiences and to better protect themselves and their companies from cyber attacks.”
--Kevin Hulbert, former CIA Senior Executive, Member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, President of XK Group
“In Confessions of a CIA Spy, Peter Warmka reveals espionage strategies that are used by nation states, criminal groups and multinational corporations every day to collect intelligence and/or steal secrets. The companies that choose to bury their head in the sand, believing that espionage is merely the purview of a country’s intelligence service, are not only wrong but place themselves at the mercy of unethical actors that could cost them millions of dollars. Readers of Peter’s book will not only understand how to prevent others from stealing their engineering secrets, market strategies and other proprietary data, it will demonstrate how to collect the information they need to have the competitive edge. Peter’s mastery of his craft and his gifts as a communicator has made him a sought-after trainer, and one that I not only trust, but highly recommend to all those interested in harnessing the power and efficacy of this proven methodology.”
--Michele Rigby Assad, former CIA Intelligence Officer, Consultant/Trainer, and Author of Breaking Cover: My Secret Life in the CIA and What it Taught Me About What’s Worth Fighting For
"A very thorough and detailed account of the nature of the threats facing organizations today, from criminal organizations, malicious insiders and nation state actors. Peter delves deep into the sophistication that accompanies some of these adversaries who have in their sights the sensitive information housed within both corporations and governmental entities. Based upon his own experience in breaching security infrastructure, Peter offers insights to organizations about mitigation strategies. A great read."
"Confessions of a CIA Spy - The Art of Human Hacking comes from a CIA career spy whose lifetime of experiences led him to form the Counterintelligence Institute, which addresses security and intelligence issues in individual and company lives.
As such, readers might expect a series of spy stories from this book, but it offers so much more. Herein lies the opportunity to understand the presence, effects, and processes of disinformation, hacking, and other intelligence hacks in daily citizens' lives. Confessions of a CIA Spy excels in identifying these problems and how to overcome them.
Information is a powerful tool. It can be successfully managed or artfully mismanaged, and the latter can be compromised more easily in this era than at any other point in human history.
Confessions of a CIA Spy reviews this process, and is especially powerful in its assessments of organizational security and implementing protections to address situations which at first might not seem to pose opportunities for disaster: 'While an entity may aggressively use social media to help promote their products and services, an unintended consequence can be the leakage of information, which can be invaluable to social engineers. This exposure results in the creation of vulnerabilities for the organization. Company employees will often upload photos or videos of themselves in the workplace to social media sites, providing social engineers with insight into their physical workspaces.'
The insights on how social engineers and information gatherers often don't even have to produce a bona fide hack to gain access to company data and details is positively frightening--as well as enlightening.
By understanding the extent and processes of hackers and how 'social engineers' manipulate both loopholes and emotions, companies and individuals who look to improve their security measures will find the many layers of hacking approaches intriguing. This will allow them to uncover gaps in company safety processes which they may not have considered previously, going beyond the usual emphasis on cybersecurity firewalls: 'The social engineer may place pressure upon the target by implying that refusing to assist will be seen by others as socially unacceptable...These influence techniques can be used in a variety of situations, including brief one-time interactions with a target.' The wide-ranging, authority-backed discussions of various forms of hacking make Confessions of a CIA Spy - The Art of Human Hacking a key acquisition. While those who wanted true-life spy stories may be disappointed, ultimately, the focus on the extent of human hacking operations is both invaluable and intriguing, exposing scenarios of vulnerability that many will not have thought of before.
No cybersecurity or social issues collection should be without Confessions of a CIA Spy."
--D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review