Understanding the Cyber Space

Cyberspace refers to the virtual environment that is created by computer and other information communication technology (ICT) networks (Nye,2010). It contains many resources that are shared among   computer users. The complexity of the cyberspace increases as more inventions in the field of information technology (IT) are made.   Access to internet connectivity has increased substantially that is allowing many stakeholders to interact with the cyberspace.   Cyberspace contains resources such as emails, social media websites, graphics, and graphic, video, and audio media contents. The Cyberspace raises some security issues necessitating the national security enterprise to understand it.

The current state of the cyberspace is defined by some factors.   Enhanced internet connectivity has an impact on the cyberspace. The internet allows people from different corners of the world to communicate and share cyberspace resources without meeting physically (Zhang, 2013). Unlike the physical space where people meet physically when exchanging resources, the internet, and other networks allow people to overcome the distance barrier when interacting. The increasing investment in establishing the ICT infrastructure has to a great extent influenced the current shape of the cyberspace. The government and the private sector have been investing heavily in establishing the ICT infrastructure.    As a result, internet connectivity has increased substantially in both developed and developing country. The internet has proved to be a necessity making it important for governments to focus on ensuring citizen has access to affordable and reliable internet connection. The role of the private sector in connecting people to the internet cannot be ignored.  Entrepreneurs have exploited the business opportunity of providing people with internet access at a fee that has led to the establishment of large internet service providing enterprises.

Apart from the internet, the evolution of computing devices has defined today’s cyberspace. Much reliable computing devices have been developed that are enhancing people’s participation in the cyberspace(Zhang, 2013).  The evolution of computers has to a great extent influenced the cyberspace. The fourth and the fifth generation computers have enormous capacities that improving people’s participation in the cyberspace. The modern computers have relatively high speed and large memory capacities that increase the user’s capacity to   participate in the cyberspace.  The development of portable computers that have internal power storage influenced the cyberspace since it supports mobile computing. Participants in cyberspace can move from one place to the other without compromising the quality of engaging in the cyberspace.  Other mobile computing devices such as tablets and smartphones have been invented making it easy for people to utilize the cyberspace resources. The two devices have enhanced flexibility in surfing the net that has consequently increased participation of individuals in the cyberspace.

Computer literacy has to a great extent shaped today’s cyberspace.  The ability of people to interact with computers and other ICT facilities has been increasing. Computer literacy is pegged on the general literacy since illiterate people lack the capacity to comprehend and utilize the enormous resources provided by the cyberspace. The level of literacy has been increasing across the globe that is also increasing the ability to use computers and other networking devices. As a result, people’s engagement in the cyberspace has increased drastically.   The knowledge about the cyberspace varies among the users. Some users have advanced knowledge enabling them to engage the cyberspace better than others (Barnard-Wills & Ashenden, 2012). Cyberspace knowledge is acquired through experience as well as formal learning.

Reason why the National Security Enterprise should pay attention Cyber Space

The national security enterprise is comprised of units that collaborate in maintaining national security (George   et al., 2011).These units include the Federal Bureau of Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security (George  & Rishikof, 2010). Each of these departments plays a crucial role in enhancing national security. The Cyberspace presents different security threats that demand the attention of the national security enterprise. Cyber crime is increasing as more and more people continue to engage the cyberspace.  The common forms of cybercrime include cyber fraud, cyber terrorism, data espionage, hacking, and cyber bullying.  Each of these crimes is of critical importance to the national security enterprise. There are some specific factors that contribute to the increasing level of cyber crime that require the attention of the national security enterprise.

Cyberspace knowledge imbalance increases cyber crime rate. Some cyberspace participants have advanced knowledge about the technical issues in the cyberspace (Gotved,2006).  Such people may use their advanced skills to harm other participants with relatively lower knowledge. For instance, computer experts can exploit loopholes in networks to have unauthorized access to confidential information from unsuspecting cyber participants.  It is the responsibility of the security agencies to provide security to the participants of the cyberspace making it necessary for the national security enterprise to be concerned about the dynamics of the cyberspace.

The increasing transactions in the cyberspace necessitate the participation of the national security enterprise to ensure cyber fraud is prevented. Businesses are adopting e-commerce systems that enable them to transact with their customers who are physically way. E-commerce is a business model that involves sellers and buyers meeting and carrying out transactions electronically. The payment is done electronically while trade commodities are delivered electronically or physically. Digital products can be delivered electronically that implies that the cyberspace is characterized by the exchange of digital products and money between buyers and sellers (Stech et al.,2011).    The national security enterprise is charged with the responsibility of protecting private property from theft and destruction. The same case applies   to the cyberspace assets. However, confronting fraud in the cyberspace is more complex that in the physical space. The fact that intangible assets and invisible people are involved in the cyberspace makes it difficult to enforce the law.

The ability to remain anonymous after committing a crime is encouraging cyber crime (Park et al.,2009)..   The internet enables the cybercrime perpetrators to remain anonymous after committing a crime. This anonymity makes it difficult for the law enforcers to identify the culprits. Protecting cyber crime victims is only possible when the national security enterprise can identify the perpetrators and prevent them from committing a crime.

The sophistication of terrorism has led to the increasing level of cyber crime.  Terrorist groups are using the cyberspace to commit or to support the commission of terrorist activities. Popular terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are using the cyberspace resources to recruit and coordinate operations.  As a result, the security agencies are experiencing difficulties when combating terrorist activities.  ISIS conducts recruitment through the internet and also uses social media tools such as YouTube, Facebook, and tweeter for communication.

It is clear the cyberspace will continue to raise serious security threats that need to be addressed by the national security enterprises. Security agencies should pay attention to the cyberspace to enable them to identify cyber security issues thus coming up with adequate ways of addressing them. The national security enterprise can only address the cyber security threats after understanding the underlying trends and causative factors. It is essential to comprehend the cyberspace and its resources so as to identify the potential security threats that stem from the engagement of individuals and groups in the cyberspace.   Paying attention to the cyberspace would enable the security agencies to identify threats and address them on a timely basis.

There are some views that object the involvement of the national security enterprise in the cyberspace. The involvement would imply that people’s freedom to access and convey information will be curtailed.   Security agencies are keen on ensuring information that threatens stability is eliminated in the cyberspace.  Such an engagement is damaging to the rights of individuals participating in the cyberspace. Also, the increased involvement of the national security enterprise in cyberspace can violate the confidentiality of some participants.

In conclusion, cyberspace   poses serious security threats that demand the attention of the national security enterprise.  The level of cybercrime is on the rise due to some specific factors. It is, therefore, important for the security agencies to closely monitor the cyberspace to identify ways of addressing security challenges.

References

George, R. Z., Rishikof, H., & Georgetown University. (2011). The national security enterprise: Navigating the labyrinth. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

George, R. Z., & Rishikof, H. (2010). The National Security Enterprise: Navigating the Labyrinth. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

Barnard-Wills, D., & Ashenden, D. (2012). Securing Virtual Space: Cyber War, Cyber Terror, and Risk. Space and Culture15(2), 110-123.

Zhang, L. (2013). A Chinese perspective on cyber war. International Review of the Red Cross94(886), 801-807.

Nye, J. S. (2010). Cyber Power. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, (May), 1-31.

Park, H., Cho, S., & Kwon, H. C. (2009). Cyber forensics ontology for cyber criminal investigation. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering , 8, pp. 160-165.

Stech, F., Heckman, K. E., Hilliard, P., & Ballo, J. R. (2011). Scientometrics of deception, counter-deception, and deception detection in cyber-space.PsychNology Journal9(2), 79-112.

 

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