File Name: cybersecurity and cyberwar what everyone needs to know writer.zip
The year saw a number of headline news stories featuring a variety of different actors and sectors, but all with their roots in the same place: the cyber world.
The year saw a number of headline news stories featuring a variety of different actors and sectors, but all with their roots in the same place: the cyber world. The US federal government launched the website healthcare. Conspirators who hacked into the systems of Nasdaq, Visa, and J. The breadth and high-level nature of cybersecurity incidents that took place just in the past year indicates the increasing importance of cybersecurity issues.
Yet, as P. Singer and Allan Friedman point out in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know , released January 3 rd , policymakers and members of the public alike know little about the nature and seriousness of these threats. In Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, Singer and Friedman attempt to fill this worrisome knowledge gap.
In the first section of the book the authors briefly explain the basics of the Internet, from IP addresses to email. They also provide a history of the development of the Internet, as well as an overview of its international governance organizations.
Their historical discussion points to a number of problems that will become important to preventing and regulating cyberwar and cyber crime.
Despite the potentially dry, and certainly basic, subject matter, this section is written in an interesting, engaging, and sometimes humorous way that will be of interest both to beginners and to those with IT expertise who want to have a better understanding of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats.
The second section, Why it Matters, begins with a discussion of terms and definitions. While this might seem mundane or even redundant, it points to several concrete and deeply worrying problems surrounding cybersecurity.
While cybersecurity generally refers to phenomena that involve the same set of tools and techniques, there is a massive variety in the actors and activities involved. In other words, we have much further to go in developing a deep understanding of the issues comprised by this term. Such multifaceted terminology is also troubling because, as the authors point out, even when governments want to collaborate on cybersecurity issues, a lack of common vocabulary to discuss and understand them makes such collaboration even more difficult.
This section is both helpful and informative, providing real-life examples of threats and actors that animate the discussion and make it more accessible across different levels of expertise. Their short section on the hactivist group Anonymous is particularly interesting Your view of Anonymous and its activities may depend on where you stand—are they engaging in a new form of the time-honored practice of civil disobedience, or are they merely petty criminals?
As complex, important, and worrisome as these issues are, however, the authors note that the overarching message is that we need to take the hyperbole often associated with commentary about cybersecurity with a very large grain of salt. Letting our fears of immanent catastrophe get the better of us will lead to policies that are sub-par, and even destructive in their own right. The authors address how this could be achieved in the final section of the book, titled What Can We Do?
This section is the most interesting portion of the book from a policy perspective, detailing policy frameworks and proposals for building a more secure Internet communications infrastructure. Rather than focusing on building solutions for very specific cybersecurity problems on an ad hoc basis, we should focus on building systems that are resilient, and therefore capable of resisting a variety of different types of threats.
This must include tracking metrics to guide long-term organizational planning and investment, as well as war game-type exercises, with outsiders attempting to break into cyber defenses in order to discover insecure areas, amongst other techniques and best practices One framework Singer and Friedman propose is based on the public health system in the US, a non-hierarchical network that is in part centered around the Centers for Disease Control CDC.
Rather than directing activities, the CDC provides research and acts as a coordinating hub for other state, international, and non-state actors in the public health system.
Such an organization could also serve as a kind of epistemic community for the cyber world, acting as a sort of neutral middleman in intensely political environments Such policy recommendations for future systems of cybersecurity and Internet will be particularly interesting to scholars of IR and global governance, providing a number of compelling possibilities for future research into a field that is relatively understudied and under-theorized.
The only readers that may be disappointed with Cybersecurity and Cyberwar are those who already have a deeper knowledge of cybersecurity. Because the book is written at a fairly basic level, readers who are already immersed in these issues will not get as much out of it as beginners with little knowledge of cybersecurity issues. However, readers with a higher level of expertise might still glean something useful: IT experts in network security, for example, could skip the first two sections and focus on the policy proposals of the third, while policymakers already familiar with cybersecurity-related policy might gain more from the technical discussions of the first section.
The book may also be useful in pedagogical settings, as the authors have provided a number of innovative resources for classroom use, including a dedicated website with discussion questions and even an accompanying song playlist!
The easy-to-read style, sprinkled with colloquial language, humor, and anecdotes, will make the book particularly engaging to students the authors have also made part of the text available for preview for professors interested in teaching it on CourseSmart. While scholars and students of IR will find the book to be a helpful reference for learning about and building a deeper understanding of cybersecurity issues, these readers may be left wanting more on the international security implications, and related policy recommendations, of the issues raised by the authors.
The second section, Why It Matters, does include a short but fascinating look at the foreign policy implications of cybersecurity, from cyberterrorism to Internet access as a human right and the ethics of cyber weapons. However, this section may leave readers searching for a more in-depth discussion of foreign policy implications, for example, more concrete policy proposals about what the US Department of Defense should be doing to ramp up protections against inter-state cyber war, or how and whether the State Department should promote Internet freedom as a human right.
Other recent books that provide more detailed discussions of cyberwar and concrete foreign policy proposals include Richard A. However, it is worth noting that the former has been criticized for its hyperbolic and even fear-mongering tone. Perhaps this will be their next project. Perhaps most importantly, this book will be a significant contribution to building a deeper understanding and a common base of knowledge around cybersecurity issues.
This, in turn, may serve as a foundation for enabling policymakers, scholars, and citizens to begin building a crucial dialogue and much-needed conversation around how to approach, understand, and deal with the important policy implications of cybersecurity and cyberwar. This is a cross-post from e-International Relations.
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Note: This article, which was originally published in February , has been updated to include new recommendations from additional IT and cyber security industry experts. While all of these things together sound like the makings of a best-selling fiction novel, the cyber security industry — and all of the threats and dangers that exist within it — is all too real. Good cyber security books share insights gained from real-world situations and examples that we can learn from as professionals.
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