Crowdsourcing National Cybersecurity?

When a project is just too big or too complex, the crowd can play an important role, and according to an article by The Washington Post, national cybersecurity might just be the type of project in need of a crowd.

According to the article, cyber networks are best viewed as an asset that we all have a shared responsibility to protect.  When thinking of the cyber world in that light, the core ideas from Silicon Valley, “crowdsourcing, open source software, social networking, and the creative commons” make sense.

A number of venture capitalists have already applied these ideas to fund companies that recruit “white hat hackers” that are then available for a fee to find and repair any security risks in client networks.  But can the same crowdsourcing idea work for national cybersecurity?

The article addresses the pros and cons of applying this concept for national cybersecurity.  One positive would be the free and transparent sharing of computer code used to detect cyber threats between the government and private sector.  Additionally, open sourcing of cyber defense would allow for an increase in the number of “white hat hacker” recruits.  Most importantly, crowdsourcing for national cybersecurity would lead to the crowdsourcing of intelligence threats, which is essential given that one organization or agency seems to no longer have the capability to deal with all the threats emergency in cyberspace.

However, the article also discussed the negatives to this approach.  Crowdsourcing would open the door to government cyber defenses being infiltrated by the enemy, and once inside the enemy could download the code, reverse engineer it, and then use it to insert “Trojan Horses” intended for military targets.  Another issue would be the cut in potential recruits due to the backlash from the NSA spying scandal.  While “white hat hackers” may be willing to help companies like Sony, they may not be as willing to join forces with the NSA.

Weighing the pros and cons, is crowdsourcing America’s cybersecurity an idea so crazy it might just work?  Well, that’s the title of the article by The Washington Post.  Read the full article by clicking here.


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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. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. 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. 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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