Demonstrators in Berlin protested the controversial US surveillance program PRISM during Barack Obama’s October 2013 visit. Source: Mike Herbst (licensed under Creative Commons).

The democratized innovations of today’s hacker era have a dark side: democratized destruction, underwritten by advanced information technologies, and spread by highly empowered individuals with very undemocratic intent. The breadth, pace, diffusion, and potential for concealment of these advances may be creating new vulnerabilities for the same technologically advanced societies that spawned them. Fortunately, the United States and its allies have substantial experience with this mode of innovation and unique resources for developing countermeasures.

In “Democratized Destruction: Global Security in the Hacker Era,” Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security Nonresident Senior Fellow James Hasik and Lieutenant Colonel Mark Revor, a 2013–2014 Marine Corps fellow at the Atlantic Council, recommend three courses of action:

  • leveraging capital investments with low marginal cost extensions;
  • monitoring the global progress of open innovation; and
  • supporting domestic grassroots developments in information-intensive systems.