Practically every aspect of life now takes place in cyberspace in addition to in the traditional world we know. While at first blush that generally may sound like a good thing, warfare now also takes place online as part of real conflicts, and not just in the realm of computer games.
U.S. Strategy; Sectors at Risk
As The Wall Street Journal has reported, U.S. military planning considers cyberattacks to constitute acts of war, just like traditional acts of war. Accordingly, cyberwarfare currently is part of U.S. military strategy, not only as part of cyber defense, but also as a platform for attacks. And prominent American lawmakers have been warning that the threat of a major attack on U.S. telecommunications and computer networks is greatly on the rise.
U.S. intelligence officials even have indicated that cyberwarfare, for the first time, is considered a larger threat than Al Qaeda and standard acts of terrorism. This is not altogether surprising, given that President Barack Obama has declared America’s digital infrastructure to be a strategic national asset.
A number of critical sectors of the U.S. economy are at risk from cyberwarfare. These sectors include banking and finance, transportation, manufacturing, medical, education, and government — all of which are dependent on computers and online communications and information for their daily operations.
The United Nations was born in the aftermath of the atrocities committed leading up to World War II. The United Nations Charter is plain in its support for the development of international human rights protection.
The most fundamental human right is the right not to be killed by another human being.
Indeed, Article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for example, provides: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”
World War I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” And the League of Nations and the subsequent United Nations were designed to keep countries at peace. But unfortunately, wars are still part of the international landscape, including the emerging threat of cyberwarfare.
As the UN prepares to celebrate its 69th anniversary October 24, let’s take a look at how it and the League of Nations have tried — and often failed — to prevent conflict between nations. Continue reading
The fact that states and nations do not line up neatly on the geographical global map continues to create international problems.
Under the Montevideo Convention of 1933, a state is defined as “an entity that has a defined territory and a permanent population under the control of its own government, and that engages in or has the capacity to engage in, formal relations with other such entities.”
There is no minimum size for a state. Monaco, which is only 1.5 square kilometers, is a state. The Vatican, with a population of only about 300 people, also is considered a state. Continue reading
The world is becoming a much smaller place given international transportation, multinational corporations, and Internet communications that know no geographic boundaries. With more frequent and heightened dealings with people across the globe, there necessarily are increased international disputes that require resolution.
So, one might think that there is a global court in place to deal with such disputes, right? We do have the International Court of Justice (aka the World Court or the ICJ). But can the World Court get the job done in terms of resolving the vast majority of international disputes?
Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “no.” Continue reading
Big, small or in-between? When dealing with tech, it seems that there are preferences, and fortunately there options currently.
Long, long ago and far away, back in the disco days of the 1970s, the only available computer to me was a massive, computer punchcard-eating behemoth that appeared to take up the entire basement of my college library. While it was a floor-to-ceiling piece of junk by today’s standards, size was not an issue — because if you wanted to work on a computer, that was the only game in town. I declined.
Since the beginning of time, unfortunately, some people have been intent on causing harm to others for their own benefit. This, of course, has been true with respect to Internet conduct. Indeed, we now live in a world in which the “black hats” are actively hacking and causing other problems in cyberspace, while the “white hats” are trying to combat these efforts.
Cybercrime is not confined within the borders of sovereign states. What happens on the Internet goes beyond national borders. After all, we are dealing with the World Wide Web. Accordingly, cybercrime has international implications.
It just is not realistically possible for countries to be isolationist in this current era. Indeed, the entire world is interconnected by the Internet and other technologies.
Consider this fact that shows how the world is becoming smaller as we group together even more closely: 3,000 years ago there were about 600,000 independent world communities; now there are fewer than 200 such communities.
And when a disease breaks out like Ebola in Africa, with our means of transportation, such a disease can show up and infect people in distant other places.
Gone are the days when some companies may decide to take lightly the responsibility to safeguard private data. Indeed, many companies have been very earnest in complying with U.S. privacy rules when it comes to sensitive data such as health and financial information.
But how are U.S. companies doing when it comes to protecting European data? Not so well, according to a recent complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Thumb drives, keyboards, and mice, oh my! That’s right, these USB devices now may be the latest “lions, tigers, and bears” to fear in our high-tech world.
According to a recent Reuters article, such USB devices possibly can be compromised to hack into personal computers in a previously unknown form of attack that supposedly can side-step current security precautions.
As reported by Reuters, Karsten Nohl, a chief scientist at SR Labs in Berlin, has stated that hackers potentially can load software onto very small and inexpensive chips that control the functions of USB devices, but which presently do not have “built-in shields” that would prevent tampering with the devices’ operative code.