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Cybersecurity

Computer Keyboard -USA-Focus.org

And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Jesus Christ)

FOUNDING FATHERS’ PERSPECTIVE

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”   (Abraham Lincoln)

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.”  (John Adams)

FACTS

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (John Adams)

◊ Cyber Attack (definition):  “An attempt to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorized access to a computer, computer system, or electronic communications network.”  Dictionary.com

◊ A nationwide, sustained cyber attack could have a “debilitating impact.” Our police, military, and atomic weapons could not be directed; our roads and airports would gridlock in every major city; banks would close and hospitals could not operate; our power grids would stop functioning, cellphones would not work, and we would shortly run out of food and drinking water. 17 of our 24 major federal agencies have inadequate security measures in place. GAO.com

◊ The Pentagon and the National Nuclear Security Administration, who control our military and our nuclear weapons, receive a total of 20 million attempted hacks of their operations per day.  Nextgov.com, 3/8/13

◊ In the seven years of President Obama’s presidency, his administration has added a total of 8.7 million jobs to the US economy. In that same seven year period, US cybercrime has caused a total loss of 3.5 million jobs.  CNN Money, 11/6/15  McAfee.com “What’s the Harm”

◊  Cybercrime costs the US $100 billion/year. This equals the combined amount spent annually by the Federal government on education, social security, unemployment, and labor.  Wall St. Journal, 7/22/13 , National Priorities Project

◊ 55% of the 81 million annual cyber attacks on U.S. businesses, the attacks that do the most damage, are maliciously done by inside employees, not by people working outside the country.  Security Intelligence, 6/1/1

◊ The number of people and businesses who are digitally extorted (having their computer files or photos stolen and then having to pay hackers a ransom to get them back) increased by over 100% last year. CNN Money

◊ Some hackers make more than $80,000 per month through theft and ransoms. BusinessInsider.com

◊ Most hackers are either criminal gangs doing it to make money, or geo-political groups doing it to get military or economic power over another country. BusinessInsider.com

◊ China commits 41% of the world’s cybercrime.  The US is second at 10%. Wired.co.uk

◊ Many schools are teaching their students HOW to be hackers, believing it to be useful and harmless and a way to stop the bad hackers. Slate.com

SUMMARY

A lack of cybersecurity in America is potentially the greatest threat to our future; and we are most at risk from the actions of our own citizens. As individuals or groups, hackers are difficult to locate and stop, and their activity is greatly increasing. Few federal regulations exist regarding cybersecurity, and most of those target specific businesses only. Punishment for convicted hackers has become more severe, but not severe enough to be a significant deterrent.  Public and private efforts to stop hacking virtually ignore the moral foundation of the problem, and focus almost exclusively on developing defensive technology which has proven to only be a temporary solution.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

◊  Tougher laws – Penalties for convicted hackers should be comparable to other crimes that endanger millions of individuals and national security, and should include provisions for asset seizure.

◊  Better communication –  Government at all levels should establish Cybersecurity Departments to inform the public and work with private businesses regarding the extent and seriousness of this problem.  They should keep the public abreast of new technology developments, and share current best practices for protecting their information.

Ongoing, preventive advertising campaigns targeting the moral foundation of this issue – Use ongoing multi-media ads of great seriousness to awaken the public to the moral imperatives of this issue, i.e., hacking is wrong: it is stealing and cheating; it destroys our economy and people’s lives; is disgraceful, not “cool,” and could dismantle our nation.

◊  Emphasis in Education – Require all schools receiving government funding to teach not just the serious social disruption caused by cybercrime, but also the moral wrongfulness of this activity, echoing the message of the nationwide ad campaign (see above).  Teaching children how to hack computers without strongly instilling the moral responsibility and disastrous results of misusing this skill, would exponentially worsen the current cybersecurity situation.

Brief #5A – June 6, 2016

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