recommended reading

'Stand your cyberground' law: A novel proposal for digital security

With the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), we're in a political tug-of-war over who should lead the security of our digital borders: should it be a civilian organization such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or a military organization such as the Department of Defense (DoD)? I want to suggest a third option that government need not be involved--a solution that would avoid very difficult issues related to international humanitarian law (IHL) and therefore reduce the risk of an accidental cyberwar or worse. This option models itself on the (admittedly controversial) "Stand Your Ground" law that's rooted in our basic right to self-defense, and it authorizes counter-cyberattacks by private companies, which have been the main victims of harmful cyberactivities by foreign actors to date.

First, as a nation of law, we may not be ready yet for government to lead cyberdefense against foreign adversaries. To do so would trigger serious and unresolved issues with IHL, also known as the laws of war which include Geneva and Hague Conventions as well as binding rules established by the International Committee of the Red Cross. For instance, IHL requires that we take care in distinguishing combatants (such as military personnel) from noncombatants (such as most civilians) when we use force. Yet containing any cyberattack to lawful military targets is perhaps impossible today; even the Stuxnet worm against Iranian nuclear facilities has infected more than 100,000 private, civilian computers worldwide, including in the US. Any cyberattack would likely go through civilian infrastructure; for example, the Internet is not owned by the military, in the case where that's the delivery channel for the attack. If civilian programmers were to be involved--let's say the government enlists the help of Google or Microsoft employees in designing a cyberweapon--then those computer scientists and engineers may transform into legitimate targets for retaliation in either a cyber or kinetic (i.e., bullets or bombs) war.
 
Read the full story at The Atlantic

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.