Cyber Insecurity


Since the Snowden information leak in 2013, national cyber security has been in the forefront of American minds. If a single anti-establishment agent like Snowden can access millions of compromising files then it is easy to extrapolate that elite Chinese networking and intelligence teams are capable of retrieving virtually anything they want from our vast networks of information. Because many of our military and intelligence operations are contracted to various organizations, the NSA, FBI, and CIA networks are not the only networks that are in dire need of protection. The administration needs to invest resources into protecting all of our assets, not just personal information.

Despite the September agreement between China and the United States that the tenuous partners would refrain from stealing data from each other for economic gain, it is clear that at least one country (probably both) is not taking that deal very seriously. As recently as January there have been suspicions of Chinese computer activity interfering with American robotics firms. This was mostly confirmed when China demonstrated new military tech that was almost exactly identical to recent undisclosed United States technology of similar purpose.

Those incidents are, by no means, isolated.

China regularly hacks corporate American interests. They don’t need to divest resources into cracking the ultra-high security NSA networks because it just isn’t necessary to destabilize the United States economy. Corporate interests are where most of our finances are, ultimately, invested. Agencies like Boeing, Goldman Sachs and various pharmaceutical companies are the beneficiaries of billions of dollars, as well as top secret blueprints for various military prospects.

One of the most important potential breaches of American cyber security though, is the possibility of hacking the Obama administration drones. The current presidency seems intent on placing armed, unmanned drones on the forefront of our military ventures and recent security studies have shown drones to be spectacularly easy to hack, even for the lay person.

The drones that our military has been investing in and developing in recent years are high technology, highly expensive killing machines. If one was launched, and commandeered by an insurgent, there is no telling the kinds of wanton destruction that may be brought to American combat bases. This has already demonstrated to be possible at a long range as the British government, along with our own, has already demonstrated the capabilities to hack Israeli drones and access their on-board cameras.

The NSA, our primary cyber defence organization, plans to merge their hacking defence and offense units this year, against the recommendations of their computer security advisors. The merger is likely to place pressure on the contrary programs to select one option and phase out the other. There have been tensions between the two sides of the organization throughout the last decade beginning when a large computer firm decided to use encryption techniques from the defensive side that the offensive group claimed could be cracked.

When our top security group can’t even agree with itself, there is a serious problem with the structure of our nations protection systems. The leaks in drone protection, and inability to protect secure information is astounding. Hell, even the head of the NSA had his work email hacked by a couple teenagers and released to Wikileaks. If the person with the single highest security clearance in the country can’t even protect his own email, how can we have faith in the system to protect our private information and important documents?

We can’t.

Throughout this entire campaign season, not one candidate has focused on this issue and it is of dire importance. The greatest threat to national security isn’t an extremist with a bomb strapped to his chest, it is a team of intelligent computer users with malicious intent. If I am elected, I promise to bring the real important issues to the forefront and find the real resolutions to them. Voting for Art Drew is voting for a secure America.