If you were to say that using six full-time cyber security institutions and more than 130 laws and regulations wasn’t enough to maintain American cyber security, then in the past two years, by establishing the White House Cybersecurity Office and the National Telecommunications and Network Security Control and Joint Coordination Center, the Obama administration has proven that it is committed to cyber security at the highest levels.
Additionally, the administration is focused on establishing a national cyberspace policy assessment panel that publishes reports every year; fully implementing a national cyber security comprehensive plan in order to meet all types of cyber threats; holding multi-part coordination exercises responding to network threats; and broaching the concept of cyber warfare. The importance with which the Obama administration considers cyber security can be seen in its frequent moves over the past two years for safeguarding.
Cyber Security is a Matter of Vital National Importance to the United States
The main American Internet regulation—the Telecommunications Law—mentions the interests that America needs to guarantee: national security, minors, intellectual property rights and computer security. National security goes without saying, and intellectual property and computer security are directly related to the internet industry’s core interests in America. Minors are the country’s future—their growth is related to the healthy development of society.
However, are these interests mentioned above secure? American cyber security expert Richard Clarke believes the high degree of informatization is, instead, America’s great weakness. Cyber criminals will run wild, and there will be a greater flood of damaging information.
In reality, once the American network system comes under attack, the consequences will be extremely grave. For example, the hacking incident which occurred in America on February 7, 2000 paralyzed eight large websites for 24 to 72 hours, and three days of losses amounted to over $1 billion. In 2005, the banking information of 40 million MasterCard customers, one of America’s largest credit card companies, was obtained by hackers and led to the largest American credit card user information leak case. In May 2006, an incident of data theft occurred at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, involving the personal information of more than 200 million service members, National Guard members and reservists.
According to an American news report, the United States Congress, most government departments, companies and universities, and, in fact, any organization with any links to the Internet and that has information worth stealing and destroying, have all become the targets of hacking attacks. FBI Director Robert Mueller said at a cyber security conference last year: “Some in the industry have likened this to ‘death by a thousand cuts.’ We are bleeding data, intellectual property, information, and source code, bit by bit, and in some cases, terabyte by terabyte.”
In addition, American web sites with extreme images and pornographic content have spread unchecked, induced several incidents of terrorism and adolescent assaults that have led to feelings of societal unrest.
Harvard University professor and founder of the “soft power” theory, Joseph Nye, also wrote in late January of this year in the New York Times that for the United States up until now, the greatest damage has consisted of cyber espionage and various cyber crimes, but, that in the next ten years or so, cyber war and cyber terrorism could become an even greater threat.
The Obama administration is well aware that this is a weakness for America in an Internet age. Obama believes cyber security has already become one of the most severe national economic and national security challenges facing America.
“Strengthening Response” is the U.S. Government’s Only Option
Realistically, as far as maintaining cyber security goes, the U.S. government already has many responsible departments—there are six specialized cyber security agencies: the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team under the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Cyber Command under the Department of Defense, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force under the FBI, the Intelligence Community Incident Response Center under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Cyberspace Security Threat Operations Center under the National Security Agency, and the Defense Cyber Crime Center in the Department of Defense.
Nevertheless, can the intelligence and technology of these organizations be shared? In a crisis, just how will a response be coordinated? The Internet industry is still rapidly developing, the ranks of internet users are growing, and network cases are frequent, which have all made Obama feel that the United States has not yet made full preparations to respond to cyber security challenges.
Consequently, not long after Obama took office, he established the Cyberspace Policy Review panel to thoroughly assess the security situation and response capabilities of the information and communication infrastructure. He then adopted the recommendations offered in the review panel’s Cyberspace Policy Review Report, such as establishing a close relationship with the president’s White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, establishing a White House Cybersecurity Office and coordinating the U.S. federal government’s military and civilian sectors cyber security policies and actions.
In late 2009, the United States set up the National Telecommunications and Cybersecurity Joint Coordinating Center, whose main function is to coordinate and integrate the information of the six specialized cyber security agencies and provide cross-domain network spaces to develop trends, judge capabilities, analyze and report the country’s cyberspace operational status.
During the Obama administration, the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which former President Bush signed, should also be implemented. This plan contains a series of mutually reinforcing policy measures intended to strengthen future cyberspace security by setting up and improving the federal government’s internal network and threat and security awareness. With the cooperation of all government levels and the private sector, the plan will also reduce vulnerability and prevent the ability of invasion. The government also organized coordinated exercises at all levels of the government to deal with cyber attacks.
In combating the crime of internet child pornography, the U.S. federal government will undoubtedly play a leading role. Many departments have established specialized agencies or have launched special projects to combat the crime of child pornography. For example, the Department of Justice funded the establishment of a special task force to combat child pornography and enlisted state and local governments to provide technology, equipment and personnel support.
By introducing laws and regulations, establishing advanced network coordination management agencies, assessing the cyber security situation, formulating a response plan and even holding related exercises, the United States is improving American cyber security and safeguarding national interests.
Originally From Sohu, China
Translated By Howard Segal
19 April 2011
Edited by Nathan Ladd