Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekly Roundup


Jane Kone said...’s article on the militarization of cyperspace was particularly interesting to me because I have just recently studied militarization from a justice and peace perspective. From this point of view, I was taught that militarization has unnecessarily seeped into almost all aspects of everyday life without society being aware. Although the latter may be a biased observation, this article made it evident to me that although militarization is more prominent than society thinks, it is virtually nonexistent in the realm of cybperspace--where it is actually necessary. Homeland security expert, Paul Kurtz, advocates collaboration between intelligence gatherers, law enforcement, and security experts which makes me think back to the exercise we did today in class and how impossible collaboration was, even in simulation. Therefore, even if the Obama administration reevaluates the nation’s cybersecurity, what changes will prove successful? Is the nation ready to truly consider cypersecurity a top priority, even eight years after 9/11? Unfortunately, I do not know the current status of the Obama administration’s conclusions, but this article stood out to me mainly because it openly acknowledged the difficulty in determining attribution and rightfully proclaimed the priority of militarizing cyperspace as tracing back attacks.
Kurtz ultimately stated that if the “U.S. cyberinfrastructure were to be attacked or knocked offline … there is no structure in place to get it back online,” and regardless of whether I agree with militarization or not, the prospect of losing the Internet is a battle worth fighting for.

Jessica said...

Does al-Qaeda want to bring down the internet? Definitely not. Not only would an Internet attack not have the desired effect of terrifying enemies and inspiring followers but taking down the internet would in fact be detrimental to terrorist efforts. The Internet has become a primary resource for terrorist groups. It provides access to large and diverse audiences enabling widespread recruitment efforts. It allows communicative anonymity through the use of proxy servers, and coding methods such as encryption and stenography. The Internet also allows the rapid flow of information and a presence at a low cost. Most importantly, the internet provides a place to display and spread propaganda quickly, easily, and effectively. As the article states, the Internet also provides “Cyber War tools that even the poorly educated terrorist computer user could operate.” So does al-Qaeda want to bring down the internet? No because that would diminish their most important source of information gathering and distribution. For now at least, the terrorist groups seem to be sticking to attacks that affect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of information already on the internet. Their purpose is to control information, not destroy it.