Posted by Winnie Melda on October 25th, 2018
What measures should Department of Homeland Security take to reduce threats to Cyberspace?
The writer is of the opinion that there are various measures that the Department of Homeland Securities can take to reduce the threat to cyber security. The United States today faces threats from terrorists, state-sponsored hackers, global cyber syndicates and hackers for hire. These actors seek information that is of credible value the nation as well as corporations including state secrets, technology, trade secrets, and ideas. These things are of critical importance to any nation (DHS, 2016). Given the scope of the cyber threat, the department of homeland security agencies should make cybersecurity a top priority. The criticality of US security posture necessitates additional efforts to protect against threats to cyber security. It is necessary that the department works with counterparts to identify and prevent cyber attacks, rather than simply reacting after an event. The failure by the Department of Homeland Security to implement measures exposes the nation’s critical infrastructure to harm by cyber attackers (Cavelty, 2007).
What has led to the discussion?
The underlying cyber infrastructure is susceptible to a broad range of risk arising from cyber threats. Today, there are sophisticated cyber actors and nation-states that have been involved in stealing information from US corporations. These actors have continuously developed capabilities to steal information, disrupt, threaten and destroy the delivery of critical services. Various traditional crimes can now be perpetrated through cyberspace. Such crimes include intellectual property violations, banking and financial fraud, child pornography among other crimes. These crimes have significant economic and human consequences.
Evidently, one of the greatest threats that the Department must defend against is the attack from cyberspace. The need for additional efforts grows dire as communication and information technology continually evolve at a rapid state and rate. On the other hand, State and non-state actors are increasingly investing in cyber-capabilities. The threat posed by cyber attacks affects not only to critical infrastructure systems such as water systems and the power grid to the country’s economy. Already, the US has established the increase in continuing theft of intellectual property from businesses and firms. Intellectual property theft represents a great transfer of wealth in history. The practice not only steals funds from the nation’s economy but also gives prospective adversaries the access to sensitive information on national security. One of the department’s greatest priorities is to protect against and identify cyber attacks and intrusions (Liu & Chen, 2012).
Synopsis of events that led to this argument
The United States have previously recorded attacks from cyber attacked by state and individual actors such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The terrorist attack poses even greater risks to the department and the country. Additionally, criminal organizations and terrorist groups, such as ISIS, continue to build and acquire cyber tools and capabilities that are causing greater harm to the American people. The U.S. government has been enraged over an attack on Personnel in which its computer system is hacked into, and the personal information is stolen from unsuspecting individuals (Cardenas, 2009).
In June 2015, the United States suspected China of the involvement of various cyber attacks right from the beginning. Records relating to federal employees' health were stolen. These records contained information on the family, household situations and personal information of foreign persons in close contact with the government. Data on fingerprints of 5 million was also stolen. The 2015 cyber attack is regarded as one of the most serious in U.S. history. Such an extensive breach not only compromised government employees but could further be used to disclose the identity of spies, probably putting their lives at risk. U.S. reports on China's involvement were characterized by outright denial of China due to the involvement in the attack. The attack highlighted the exposure to cyber attack by government agencies including DHS (DHS, 2016)
In 2016, Department of Homeland Security intelligence reported a likely threat of a cyber attack against the U.S. electrical grid similar to Ukraine’s power grid. Cyberspace is predominantly complex to secure owing to a number of factors. The first factor is the capacity to infiltrate systems from any part of the world. The ability of cyber actors to operate from different parts of the world makes it difficult to track down the criminals. The second factor is the linkage between physical systems, and cyberspace makes it easy to access critical data. The last factor is the difficulty of reducing consequences and vulnerabilities in the complex cyber network. Of increasing concern is the threat to vital infrastructure, which is progressively subject to complicated cyber intrusions that pose additional risks. As information technology develops, it becomes more and more integrated with physical infrastructure operations. Thus, Department of Homeland Security requires additional measures to safeguard against increased risk for its high-consequence information that could disrupt the department’s operations (DHS, 2016). Strengthening the resilience and security of cyberspace is now an important mission for homeland security (Von & Van 2013).
Advantages of measures to reduce Cyberspace threat
Homeland securities analysts and computer scientists can employ their investigative techniques and technical capabilities to fight cyber crime. The department can work side-by-side with State, federal and local partners.
An improvement in cyber security infrastructure is likely to result in more exchange information regarding cyber threats with the private sector through partnership such as the National Cyber Forensics, Domestic Security Alliance Council and Training Alliance.
The process of information share relies on the principles of protecting privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties. The absence of these principles not only influences the overall cyber security infrastructure but also reduces confidence in information shared (Verton & Brownlow, 2003).
Measures necessary to combat cyber security issues
What has been done?
In the meantime, there are various actions that have been undertaken to improve the security infrastructure. DHS in collaboration with FBI on Next Generation Cyber Initiative developed in 2012. The initiative serves as integration, coordination, and information sharing center for various U.S. agencies as well as a few key international allies for cyber threat investigations. The department is also hiring to obtain right talent in terms of human resource personnel in order to effectively combat cyber security issues. However, the department has heard problems with attracting competitive candidates due to lower incentives that characterize most government agents. Additional computer personnel would assist with technical investigations. One of the greatest threats that the Department must defend against is the attack posed by the lack of technical know-how on reducing cyber attacks. The need for additional personnel grows dire as communication and information technology continually evolve at a rapid rate. These actors have continuously developed capabilities to steal information, disrupt, threaten and destroy the delivery of critical services. It is necessary that the department works with counterparts to identify and prevent cyber attacks, rather than simply reacting after an event. The failure by the Department of Homeland Security to implement measures exposes the nation’s critical infrastructure to harm by cyber attackers (Lewis, 2014).
Cardenas, A. A., Sastry, S. & Amin, S. (2008). Secure control: Towards Survivable cyber-physical systems. In The 28th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems Workshops (pp. 495-500). IEEE.
Cardenas, A., Amin, S., Sinopoli, B., Giani, A., Perrig, A., & Sastry, S. (2009). Challenges for securing cyber-physical systems. In Workshop on future directions in cyber-physical systems security (p. 5).
Cavelty, M. D. (2007). Cyber-security: US efforts to secure the information age. Routledge.
DHS (2016). Cybersecurity.
Lewis, T. G. (2014). Homeland Security: Defending a Networked Nation. John Wiley & Sons.
Liu, J., Xiao & Chen, C. L. (2012). Cyber security and privacy issue. Communications Surveys & Tutorials, IEEE, 14(4), 981-997.
Verton, D., & Brownlow, J. (2003). Black ice: The invisible threat of cyber-terrorism. Osborne.
Von Solms, R., & Van Niekerk, J. (2013). From information security to cyber security. computers & security, 38, 97-102.
Like it? Share it!
About the AuthorWinnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
Articles Posted: 364
More by this author