We, as a nation, are in danger, both domestically and abroad. Yes, from terrorism, but also from cyber attacks and, in some ways, it’s the greater threat.
Instead of a myopic view of foreign policy fixated on ISIL, we should spend time on the current and mounting cyber threat. The Pokemon craze reveals a great deal about the future of daily life and how exposed we will be in it. In a modern culture where we’re on camera nearly every day, and self-surveillance is routine on social media, at what point will the pendulum swing the other way? A tetherless future, where all things are connected and seemingly seamless can be just as alarming as awe-inspiring. The internet of things poses a dangerous and scary potential future of conflict. In the present, cyber attacks are on the rise and computer science is still an emerging space for jobs and foreign affairs. Russia has mounted a great many cyber attacks and seems to be on a constant war footing. North Korea and China have ostensibly waged cyber attacks on our country. The wolf on top of the hill isn’t as hungry as the wolf climbing the hill. There’s no telling what these nation states may or may not do when it comes to cyber attacks, and we need to upgrade our stance on the cyber war. We have already seen the power of cyber attacks on the U.S. A powerful and coordinated attack on financial institutions, and government entities could be devastating to the U.S. Imagine traffic for one day if the average person couldn’t use Waze or google maps.
While the Chinese have arrested the alleged hackers who stole a massive amount of data from the Office of Personnel Management, it seems just as likely this was a state-sponsored attack. The internet is a physical thing, here’s what it looks like around the earth. It’s important to understand that a cyber attack is a real intrusion. We have defensive measures in place for other kinds of attacks; it might be necessary to have the same for our cyber defense. A debate in Congress is underway if CYBERCOM should become a unified combatant command. According to the Military Times, elevating CYBERCOM to a combatant command is necessary for national defense. We are vulnerable to cyber attacks and need to get on par with our adversaries. But, the problem is more complex and deep seeded then upgrading CYBERCOM’s authorities and ability to act. North Korea, Russia, and China are waging a clandestine cyber war. It’s clandestine because it seems to have some deniability, but an open secret, nonetheless. These nations fund civilian hack shops and maintain plausible deniability. We once used similar tactics during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs. If we embraced unconventional warfare and the kind of original and imaginative tactics set forth by the O.S.S., we would be more focused on cyber threats. The indicators of certain cyber war are out there; the NSA warns us that we’re all vulnerable, and we face growing danger of attack by nation states.
Finding information about our national internet security is tough. It’s something we’re not discussing enough in and out of the Government. After the revelations of Edward Snowden there was a peak in interest, but today – no one cares. In the U.S. Government, we have a heavy reliance on PDFs, word documents, excel spreadsheets. Enterprise architecture tools are far more comprehensive. The army’s administrative tracker’s that were set up to track other administrative trackers would vanish, with a fluid system in its place. Enterprise Architecture (EA) is confusing in and of itself, but it is the here and now, and the DOD has not fully embraced it, yet.
In all, the framework we use in the government is not well defined, and we have a lack of engineering architecture across the U.S. Government’s systems and organizations. We are vulnerable. How can we secure something that we can’t describe?
Image courtesy of blog.quartetservice.com
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