Network security threats

Network security concerns and cyber-terrorism

Network security concerns are on the rise, with modern dangers posing a threat to national security. This can be seen in the modern approach to terrorism known as cyber-terrorism. The term “cyberspace” refers to computer networks built for the purpose of communication. The internet is currently regarded as the most important component of modern cyberspace. Critical infrastructure, such as transportation, telecommunications, banking, finance, and energy distribution, all rely on computer-communication systems and are therefore regarded to be part of cyberspace. Terrorists might devastate a whole nation if they launched a cyber strike on one of these infrastructures. This necessitates the development of an appropriate solution to this national security concern.  Cyber attacks continue to plague the modern society, posing a serious threat to national security. Most recently, there was a global cyber attack that affected 99 different countries. Evidence indicates that it is the largest of its kind. The attacks managed to disrupt operations in America’s FedEx, the Spanish telecom company, Telefonica, and the British healthcare sector (Corderoy and Wires par.8). The individuals responsible managed to gain access to the ‘eternal blue’ code used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to access computers used by terrorists and other enemies (Corderoy and Wires par.12-6). This incident is indicative of the sheer resources and strength possessed by cyber terrorists.

Approaches to address national security concern

There are two main approaches that can be adopted to help address this national security concern. First, passive defence is one of the most preferred and popular solution to the cyber-terrorism problem. Under this approach, the target hardens its defenses, in an attempt at creating computer systems that cannot be penetrated by attackers (Goodman 45). This includes using technologies and products such as bots, anti-virus software, firewalls and intrusion detection software.

Ineffectiveness of passive defense and active defense solution

Recent attacks and the continued rise in cyber warfare have shown that a passive approach is ineffective. This creates a need to implement the active defense solution, which seeks to impose risk and penalty on the attacker. This involves actions such as counter hacking, identification and incarceration of perpetrators of cyber terrorism (Kesan and Hayes 475-6; 45). Unlike the passive approach, this solution works to deter, through detection and disruption. At the same time, it increases the attacker’s costs, hence working to prevent cyber terrorism altogether (Carline 408-9).

Legal concerns and government responsibility

Critics argue that counterstrikes should not be implemented because their legality is questionable (Kesan and Hayes 475). While this may be true, it is worth noting that the approach is already being implemented by the private sector, albeit in a conspicuous manner. At the same time, active defence responsibilities can be placed on the government to eliminate legal issues (Goodman 45). Furthermore, the government can establish standards and laws to regulate active defence, to ensure that people’s basic rights are protected in the process.

Government roles in implementing active defense

In active defence, all levels of the government will be required to play specific roles. The federal government for instance, will be expected to create laws that provide legitimacy to the cyber terror phenomenon. The executive and legislative branches can work to create policies that criminalize the practice, hence creating a deterrence effect. Current limitations in criminal law will also be addressed, ensuring that the criminal law catches up with developments in technology (Kesan and Hayes 430). The judicial branch will work in close contact with the state and local levels of government to ensure that the laws are enforced (Goodman 53). This includes activities such as the arrest, and prosecution of guilty parties (Carlin 396). All things considered, an active defence provides the most effective solution to cyber terrorism, a chief national security concern, and all levels of the government need to work together to implement it.

Works Cited

Carlin, John P. Detect, Disrupt, Deter: A Whole-of-Government Approach to national Security Cyber Threats. Harvard National Security Journal. 7(2016):391-436.

Corderoy, Julia & Wires. Massive cyber attack creates chaos around the world., May 13, 2017. accessed 10th June, 2017.

Goodman, S. E. Cyberterrorism and security measures. In R. Narasimha, A. Kumar, S.P. Cohen & R. Guenther (eds.) Science and Technology to Counter Terrorism: Proceedings of an Indo-U.S. Workshop (pp.43-54). Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2007.

Kesan, Jay P. & Hayes, Carol M. Mitigative counterstriking: Self-defense and deterrence in cyberspace. Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. 25.2(2012):429-523.

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