Computers and their networks have become an essential part of our lives, but concern has been raised over how computers have become dangerous to individuals, organizations, and nations due to cyber-security threats. Each individual has a responsibility to protect him/herself from cybercrime by being cautious on how one utilizes personal information, especially now that people have access to their personal information through smartphones. Most terrorist groups have become experts in gaining access to closely-guarded government networks, which they utilize to gain sensitive information about their perceived enemies. Cybercrime is detrimental, particularly when it involves nations, because it can interfere with a victim nation’s economy, as well as threaten human lives.
Despite increased vulnerability of personal information, I can protect myself against identity theft by keeping sensitive personal data and financial documents safe. I should be careful with what I share through social networks, for instance my address, my birth place, or my birthday, which could authenticate my personal identity. Nowadays, most of online activities such as filing tax returns and checking credit reports are carried out using smartphones (Bishop, 2014). I should ensure that the apps I download come from reputable companies. I should also protect my phone and online accounts by using a strong password that is hard to guess.
Cyber-security threats may be initiated with the authority of governments or can be carried out illegally by secret government agents. For instance, cyber espionage involves the exploitation of computer networks to steal personal information, particularly from large organizations and government agencies, without their knowledge (Brenner, 2014). China is suspiciously known as a global leader in matters of cyber espionage. An appropriate example of cyber espionage is a cyber-attack that was carried out by Russia on Estonia in 2007, where Russia sprang a massive DDoS attack that shut down major websites and interrupted with communication across Estonia (Valerano & Maness, n.d). When cyber espionage is accompanied by warfare, it may be detrimental to the victim nation’s capacity to defend itself, leading to the loss of property and human lives.
On the other hand, nation-state hacking involves a cyber-attack that is authorized by a government to interfere with the targeted governments and gain access to essential data which can have an international significance. Unlike cyber espionage, nation-state hacking does not involve individuals or companies, but rather nations against other nations. Studies have shown that China has been hacking sensitive U.S. economic information, as well as technologies, since 1999 (Brenner, 2014). China’s case may be excused in the U.S. because it involved a crime committed for its own benefit and does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. State-sponsored cyber activities create demoralizing impacts on the attacked country’s national security, as well as its economy.
In conclusion, technology has brought additional problems to human survival. Because of the lack of cyber-security, cybercrime has destroyed individuals, firms, and nations, where secret groups or entire nations engaged in tactics to retrieve sensitive information from their victims. Cyber espionage is considered illegal by most countries, but some governments utilize it to attack governments that do not support them. Cyber-attack activities are harmful to the victim’s country because they expose the country’s security apparatus, as well as the economy. Although fighting cybercrime has been an ongoing struggle, we can win this battle by committing ourselves to using technology appropriately.
Bishop, K. (2014, Nov. 5). Filing your tax return…on your phone? CNBC. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2014/11/05/filing-your-tax-returnon-your-phone.html
Brenner, S. W. (2014). Cyberthreats and the decline of the nation-state. New York, NY: Routledge.
Valerano, B., & Maness, R. (n.d). A theory of cyber espionage for the intelligence community. Retrieved from https://www.usnwc.edu/Academics/Faculty/Derek-Reveron/Workshops/Intelligence,-National-Security-and-War/Documents/Maness.aspx