Term Paper: Security Information Is the Power

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[. . .] Many such enterprises constitute parts of critical infrastructure and susceptible to attacks both for the data and power. (Cyberspace threats and vulnerabilities; How secure are your information systems)

Thirdly, forming of organizations of critical sectors or infrastructures in the sphere of economy, government or academics is positively viewed for counteracting the vulnerability of cyber attacks. Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) created by such sectors for tracking cyber attacks sharing information on trends, identification of vulnerable factors and practices to counteract. This collaboration is also noticed to have produced shared institutions and mechanisms that resulted in vulnerabilities and cyber threats. Fourthly, some vulnerability are also viewed as national rather than limited to individual enterprises. Some key factors like threat to the protocols and routers used in internet, vulnerability of software and hardware products used nationwide, lack of trained personnel in cyber security are designated as the problems of national concern and needs coordinated approach. (Cyberspace threats and vulnerabilities; How secure are your information systems)

Finally, the vulnerability is considered as global. Internet is the network of networks spread beyond the national boundaries and its smooth operation is ensured by internationally shared standards. Susceptibility of the computers of one continent to the threats of cyber attacks has profound influence on the computers of another continent. It is therefore essential to entail international cooperation in addressing the issues of cyber security and sharing of information thereof. Warnings have been put forth by the Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center that the incidents of cyber attacks are growing day by day at increasing rate and the matter of more concern is increase in numbers of vulnerabilities of the cyber attacks susceptible for exploitations by the attackers. Installations of network security devices are seen as panacea to counter act the vulnerabilities. (Cyberspace threats and vulnerabilities; How secure are your information systems)

However, it has been noticed that failures of the devices occur without its appropriate operation and without its regular updates and regular patching thus necessitating good security practices rather than its mere installation. The incidents of cyber attacks on home computers and computers of individual small enterprisers are common in United States that inflict lot of damages to the victims. This is used as a parameter to estimate the loss of relative damages at national level cyber attacks. The cyber attack in States is imminent in view of the prevailing conditions intending potential adversaries, wide availability of the means of cyber attack and existence of numerous and well-known vulnerabilities of the national information system.

Even though the efficacy of no single strategies can be viewed as complete solution for protecting the cyber space relentless efforts on the part of the Government for managing the risk and minimizing the inflicted damage is necessitated as a solution to the problem. The United States has seen identification of the potential risks in this regard by a Presidential Commission during 1997. First national plan addressing the problem was introduced during 2000. President Bush in the year 2001 prioritized the cyber security through an Executive Order and during 2002 all the federal cyber security agencies were consolidated and strengthened to constitute the proposed Department of Homeland Security. (Cyberspace threats and vulnerabilities; How secure are your information systems)

The cyberspace in United States constituted the nervous system of the critical physical infrastructures in key sectors such as agriculture, food, water, public health, emergency services, government, defense industrial base, information and telecommunication, energy, transportation, banking and finance, chemicals and hazardous materials, and postal and shipping. In view of this it is of utmost importance to ensure healthy functioning of the cyberspace, comprising of millions and millions of interconnected computers in order to ensure smooth functioning of the economy as well as national security. As the implementing component of the National Strategy for Homeland Security, the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace is devised in the post September, 11th 2001, era in order to complement the National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets. (The National Strategy to Secure Cyber Space)

The strategy advanced with the prime objective of engaging and empowering every American the freedom from the danger of threats to the cyberspace under their ownership, operation, control and interaction. Securing the cyberspace posed serious strategic challenges necessitating collaborative effort from the government-federal, state and local as well as from private and sectors and American people. Since ownership of most of the key infrastructure and cyber space is vested with the private sectors and the technological support to the cyberspace is continuously being evolved from the private sectors being supplemented by the academic innovations, voluntary participations of government, industry, academia and non-governmental agency has been urged in the strategy for cyber security.

As an initiation of the process the development of the Strategy began with solicitations of views from public as well as private sectors. Comments of individuals and institutions were solicited by the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board after releasing the draft Strategy during September, 2002. The initiation of the strategy development process in this manner ensured nationwide awareness on the importance of the issue of cyber security, imbibing the feeling on every American of having a direct role in its development and ensuring their commitment to it. The Department of Homeland Security consisting of the agencies active in the line of cyber security was approved by the Congress empowering to undertake new missions to prevent and protect against cyber attacks. (The National Strategy to Secure Cyber Space)

Later, Congress passed the Cyber Security Research and Development Act with an objective of a multi-year effort for creation of secured technology for cyberspace and expansion of research and development in the field of cyber security as well as improving the skills of the personnel engaged in cyber security. The prime objective of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace is to generate awareness among the individuals and organizations nationwide about the need of cyber security and appropriate action in the direction of ensuring a secured cyberspace, implementation of regular processes for identification and counteraction of the cyber vulnerabilities. The strategy revolves around prioritization of five national agenda in the direction of ensuring cyber security necessitating voluntary participation of individuals and organizations nationwide.

The importance of quick identification, sharing of the information and prescribing method for the remedy is considered as the first priority under the Strategy for mitigation of the effects of cyber attacks. The strategy envisaged establishment of a National Cyberspace Security Response System involving public and private organizations devoted to analyzing, watching, warning, and diffusing information thereby facilitating remedial and restoration efforts. The National Cyberspace Security Response System is viewed as a collaborative architecture of private and public organizations under the coordination of the Department of Homeland Security with a view to analyzing, warning, managing incidents of national significance, promoting continuity in information systems of government as well as private sector infrastructures, expanding sharing of information across the organizations ensuring cyberspace security. (The National Strategy to Secure Cyber Space)

Involvement of the private sector Information Sharing and Analysis Centers is emphasized to fulfill the objective. A program for reduction of national cyberspace security threat and vulnerability constituted the second priority of the Strategy. The strategy urged for coordinated national efforts by government and private sectors in the direction of identification of the critical cyber vulnerability inherent in the information systems and explores their remedies in form of sharing of best practices, evaluation and implementation of new technologies, etc. Pursuing of a three part effort such as reduction of threats and dissuade malicious attackers through effective programs identifying and punishing them; identification and remediation of the existing vulnerabilities anticipated to inflict damages to the key infrastructures; and developing new systems with less vulnerability and evaluating the new technologies on the basis of its vulnerability, is the prime objective of the third agenda of the strategy. Attacks on cyberspace are considered as crimes and deserves similar prosecution as that of physical crimes.

However, the objective of threat reduction is something more than mere prosecution. Lessons learned from the cyber attacks on private sector organization need to be taken as a framework for future agenda in mastering the skills for counteracting the cyber attacks evaluating the present available tools for counteracting the attacks. The strategy under this agenda includes enhancement of law enforcement capabilities for preventing and prosecuting the malicious attackers; secure the mechanisms of the Internet by improving the security and resilience of key Internet Protocols, promoting improved Internet Routing, improving management of security of the Internet infrastructure; fostering of trusted Digital Control Systems and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems; Reduction and remediation of software vulnerabilities; understanding Infrastructure interdependency and improving physical security of cyber systems and telecommunications; prioritization of federal research and development agenda in the field of securing cyberspace; evaluation and securing the emerging technologies vulnerable to the cyber attacks, etc. (The National Strategy to Secure Cyber Space)

The Third Agenda under the strategy aims at providing a national cyberspace security Awareness and Training Program.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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