January 10, 2017
A Nonstate Strategy for Saving Cyberspace
By Jason Healey
America’s future, and that of other nations and peoples, will be most secure in the long term with an emphasis on future prosperity unlocked by the Internet.
The problem is that there is no guarantee that the future of the Internet, and the larger entirety of cyberspace, will be as rosy as its past. It is possible, even likely, that the Internet will not remain as resilient, free, secure, and awesome for future generations as it has been for current ones.
As President Barack Obama has said, cyberspace is a lawless “Wild West.” Because the Internet was built on trust, not security, it is easier to attack others online than to defend against those attacks. This is a decades-old trend, dating back to at least the late 1970s. Prosperity for the United States and the global economy is only assured if the United States and like-minded nations, civil society, and other nonstate actors all work toward a goal of making defense easier than attack. This idea of making cyber defense easier than offense can be summed up with a simple formula: D > O.
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