Rethinking Cybersecurity – A Comprehensive Approach | Center for Strategic and International Studies

James Lewis, who spoke on our campus (Syracuse University) last year, released the text of a speech he gave on September 20, 2011 entitled Rethinking Cybersecurity – A Comprehensive Approach.  While there certainly are some points with which I disagree, his analysis and recommended approach are an important contribution.

He offers an interesting analogy of cyberspace being like a condominium:

Cyberspace is not a commons. Cyberspace is an artificial construct, a term we use as an easy way to describe the collection of networks and devices that connect computers. Some owns all these networks and devices and all are subject to the control of some national government. This is not a commons. A better way to think of the internet is as a condominium, where many owners share a common structure, but this condominium has few rules and a weak governing board. (page 2-3)

In summary, he asserts that viewing cyber through the lenses of three concepts will make the tasks for achieving cybersecurity  clearer, and he then proposes a strategy of five elements.  The three concepts are:

  • “the immediate problems are crime, economic espionage, and the risk of offensive military action;
  • “the primary malicious actors in cyberspace are national governments, some of whom sponsor hackers and cybercriminals as a proxies, irregular forces they can use for intelligence or military advantage;
  • cybersecurity is a national security and law enforcement problem where primary responsibility falls upon governments.” (page 4, emphasis added)

The five elements of his proposed strategy are:

  • “ISP responsibility for consumers,
  • “breach notification,
  • “regulation of critical infrastructure,
  • “active defense,
  • “international cooperation.” (page 4)

His notion for active defense requires packet inspection – that is, “reading” the data as it passes “peering points” – and will be, I expect, highly controversial.  Lewis acknowledges that active defense would “raise major privacy concerns.”  Despite calling for “ISP responsibility for consumers,” Lewis makes a strong argument that “governments must play a leading role” (p. 7).  He asserts: “The real issues for cybersecurity turned out to be state-sponsored espionage and crime and the growth of offensive military capabilities, issues best dealt with by governments” (p.1).

I believe that he is absolutely correct that governments will continue to extend their sovereignty into cyberspace.  Governments will find the ability to affect the conduct of actors in cyberspace to be essential for their national security.  Perhaps the Westphalian state system ultimately is doomed, but nation states will do everything possible to defend themselves in cyber space before abdicating their power, responsibilities, and sovereignty.

The webpage of the Center for Strategic and International Studies about Dr. Lewis’s speech can be found at this link: Rethinking Cybersecurity – A Comprehensive Approach | Center for Strategic and International Studies.  The link directly to the text of the speech is: http://csis.org/files/publication/110920_Japan_speech_2011.pdf .

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Authors

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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