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Security Today - Magic or just a throwback to a 1960's episode of Star Trek?

Stealing a quote from Arthur C. Clarke: “Any technology, sufficiently developed, is indistinguishable from magic”. Some people would certainly consider security these days as magic. Okay, so much for that reference, but what does Star Trek have to do with government and security, my typical topics. Star Trek, although mostly about exploration sure seemed to have a bit of a “Space Military” characteristic to it. Isn’t that what the Star Fleet was all about? (no offense intended, Capt. Kirk.)

Lately, I’ve been doing some research for a paper on the integration of physical and logical security (I did an initial paper that you can see here: Click on "The Necessity of Security") and it dawned on me how very similar the technology of today is to the science fiction of the 1960’s, or in Mr. Clarke’s case, magic. So here is a synopsis of some of my observations. I’m sure there are more; please feel free to reply with what I’ve missed or your own favorites.

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Objective - Net Superiority

I’ve had some recent discussions with colleagues in the armed forces regarding cyber security and how they consider “cyber” to be the fourth warfighting domain along with land, air, and sea. They describe how cyber has its own terrain made up of computing resources. As I further thought through this concept I saw a striking resemblance between the network and air warfare. To elaborate on this thought I must first set the context around the concept of air supremacy.

There are probably many different variations of the definition of air supremacy but let’s just use “the degree of air superiority wherein the opposing air force is incapable of effective interference” for the purpose of this blog.  I borrowed this definition from NATO.  There are two key words in the definition, “degree” and "effective." Prior to achieving supremacy one must first move from parity, through superiority to eventually supremacy. Air parity is the lowest degree in which a force can control the skies above friendly units. In other words, prevention of opposing air assets from overwhelming land, air, and sea units. Read More »

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Connected Kids can be Safe Online

Let’s face it; today’s kids are more connected than ever before.  In fact, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children between the ages of 8-18 spend more than 7 ½ hours a day with those electronic devices, not including the hour and a half they spend texting, or the small amount (30 min) they actually talk on the cell phone.

And these kids are truly digital natives. To them, online access is ubiquitous and expected.  Internet access is everywhere and like oxygen  - they rely on it, crave it. Whether they tweet, text, update statuses, post pictures, chat and video chat, kids are using their devices to connect, to explore, to share, and yes, to learn.  In fact, a new study has shown that users of social networking sites (SNS) such as Twitter and Facebook, are better off socially, are more trusting of other people and are more civically engaged. Even in classrooms today, teachers have found that using technology has increased their student’s motivation, provided new outlets for student’s creativity, and helped the teachers become better organized. (Read more)

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EastWest Institute’s Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit

On June 1-2, I will be participating in the EastWest Institute’s (EWI) second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center in London, and I'm very excited about the prospects for this event.

EastWest Institute is a global, action-oriented, “think-and-do” tank founded in 1980. Its goals are to mobilize leading business and government leaders to address cross-border cybersecurity challenges; set new models for private-public-sector leadership in addressing high-priority security threats and vulnerabilities; and to make advances on the most pressing issues in global management of critical information infrastructure with breakthrough international collaboration.

I'm particularly energized about this year's session, as I anticipate we will continue and expand upon the dialogue initiated at last year's inaugural summit in Dallas. I'm proud to have participated in that event, along with other government, business, and civil society leaders from around the world who came together to collaborate on ways to assure the security of the world's digital infrastructure.

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National Town Hall on Cybersecurity

May 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm PST

Cyberspace has emerged as the “fourth commons” after sea, air, and space in the defense world, and a broad variety of private and public networks make up the critical infrastructure that enables governments to provide essential services. The network has become both a platform for innovation and a mission-critical resource for the civilian, defense, and intelligence operations of governments. - Cisco’s Don Proctor, SVP - Office of the CEO

The growing number of attacks on our cyber networks has become, in President Obama's words, "one of the most serious economic and national security threats our nation faces."  Addressing these issues means working across the government, partnering with the private sector, and empowering the general public to create a safe, secure, and resilient cyber environment, and promote cybersecurity knowledge and innovation.

If you are, or want to be part of this effort, please join us at the National Town Hall on Cybersecurity, a provocative on-line discussion, May 24th at 1:00 PM ET.

It’s free, and you can register here.

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