Kevin Newmeyer teaches Cybersecurity in National Security
“If something has value – economic, military, political – then it has national security implications. The greater the value, the higher the risk.” Associate Dean Dr. David J. Hennessy
Since its somewhat clouded emergence between the Second World War and the 1960s, and from the 1980s onward, the term “cyber” has come to dominate discourse in several fields. Cyber is routinely affixed to almost every word as modern lives become increasingly digitally connected. A recent Google search yielded 323 million hits on the topic in less than a second.
Today, people carry in their pockets the computing capacity of the world’s most powerful supercomputer from thirty years ago. Yet governments and businesses around the world remain challenged to develop and implement the policies needed to protect their systems and data.
News headlines highlight that cyberattacks are constantly evolving. Attacks have moved from simple website defacement to complex espionage and ransomware extortion. Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm first discovered in 2010, showed that cyber tools could be used to cause not only data corruption but actual physical damage. The cyber hack of Sony Pictures in late 2014 showed how simple social engineering could be used to gain access to a company’s intellectual assets as well to generate political responses. The United States Office of Personnel Management data breach exposed the sensitive personal information of more than 20 million individuals with security clearances, and we recently learned that Equifax failed to protect the credit and personal information of 143 million people. Furthermore, Yahoo has admitted that all 3 billion of its accounts were compromised.
Many of these harmful cyber activities could have been prevented by implementing well-known security best practices of program patching, limited account privileges, and multi-factor authentication.
Mobile technologies have also enabled explosive growth in the number of people accessing the web. Internet Live Stats (www.interentlivestats.com) estimates about 40 percent of the world’s population—more than 3.7 billion people—are using the Internet to access more than 1.2 billion webpages. In 1995, it was less than 1 percent.
Google aspires to expand Internet access and its market to the remaining 4.5 billion people without access by using high altitude balloons (Geier, 2015). If only a fraction of those individuals come online via Project Loon, Google will receive billions in annual revenue and significantly expand the reach of the digital world. How would low-cost Internet access deep in the Amazon rainforest or in Sub-Saharan Africa alter the global economy or security situation? Do we have a set of laws to govern and regulate the continued expansion and impact of potentially limitless access by citizens throughout the world?
These are but a small sample of the issues involved in the realm of cyberspace, cybersecurity, and cyber defense. The definitions, norms of behavior, and the possibilities for activities good and bad are still being developed. As we become more globally connected, bringing computing power to every corner of the world, we also become more vulnerable. National security practitioners must understand these vulnerabilities and strategically plan how to combat them. Cyber defense depends on leadership involvement, user education, rigorous application of best practices, and constant vigilance.
Read other posts in Cybersecurity | Posted on December 15, 2017.
About Dr. Kevin P. Newmeyer
Expertise: Cybersecurity Public Service
Dr. Kevin P. Newmeyer has successfully held a variety of positions in the military, government, academia, international civil service, and the private sector. Dr. Newmeyer is an adjunct professor in the School of Public Service at Excelsior College He also serves as a member of the Public Interest Commitment Dispute Resolution Panel for the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).His research focuses on international policy issues in cybersecurity. Dr. Newmeyer is fluent in Spanish and is a frequent commentator on cyber policy issues to diverse audiences and media outlets.
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