The End Of The American Cyber Empire

American specialists in history and foreign policy love predicting the end of things.  The most famous example was Francis Fukuyama whose book the “End of History” was touted as showing the rather benign capitalist, democratic way forward following the fall of the Soviet Empire.  Unfortunately, no one told Osama Bin Laden, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, etc., about it.  Or, at least, they weren’t paying attention in class in the few elite institutions which crank out US foreign policy “experts” who hope someday to sitting around negotiating tables in Paris talking grand political strategies – none of that ugly economic, cyber stuff for them.

In the fine tradition of such broad predictions, allow me to announce The End of the American Cyber Empire. As for evidence, I give you this week’s reveal that the Russians have penetrated just about every web link in America and Facebook/Google now under formal Federal investigation for malignant trade practices (with Amazon in the wings.)

For the first part, what can I say about the Russians?  As a spy, I say well done you.  You’ve have accomplished your goal of undermining the entire low intensity conflict “battlefield” of the American cyber system. 

As a U.S. citizen and taxpayer, I am outraged.  The good news is we have an initial job for the new National Cyber Director to figure out. 

The bad news – which is the real point here – is that tens of billions of dollars of security have been spent on cyber security public and private. Thousands of security personnel added. Bureaucracy like the new agency at DHS – The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – with Security in the name twice.  Public/Private partnerships and other cliches of outreach. Massive changes in protocols and additional safety measures mandated and put in place. Innumerable warnings for other relatively smaller break ins were issues (Remember that little OMB one.) And we still get "skunked" – by what is reported to be an insider mistake.

Once again man triumphs over machine. And all our experts can do is say – well, we saw it coming and the Russians had a new way of doing it.  So, let me ask the question: what do we pay you guys for?

Meanwhile, three quarters of the bulwark of the new American Cyber Age (FANG) is now under federal scrutiny and legal action.  Facebook/Alphabet (Google)/Amazon – not Netflix which has escaped for now thanks to a heavily competitive market; though seeming unlimited resources – are all accused of stifling competition or unfair trading practices.

It’s not like they didn’t get warned either.  However, the hubris they have shown regarding the effectiveness of D.C. to do anything (save Amazon with a politically savvy Jeff Bezos at the helm) has been nothing less than breathtaking. 

 I am afraid Silicon Valley is going to discover an ancient truth that their Robber Baron ancestors also discovered – D.C. makes laws that you have to follow, taxes you have to pay, elected officials you have to answer to, and laws by the ton.  Oh yes, we have lawyers too.  An entire department filled with nothing but lawyers.  That you pay for with your tax money.  A Funny thing.  No borders nor boundaries is an illusion.  Welcome to the United States.

So where does this leave the incoming Biden Administration?  Well, worldwide we are declining in influence fast.  Our share of the world’s internet population is 280 million out of five billion users and the other nation state users are balkanizing fast regarding rules of the road like privacy and information “control.”  Our cyber security has proven to be say “flawed.”  And the major players in the first wave of App giants are monopolists which are going to be tough to breakup given their structure.

None of these issues is easily solved because they are wicked problems – the very people causing the problems are trying to solve the problem.  My condolences to the first National Cyber Director.  You have a nasty job on your hands.  We cannot rebuild the American Cyber Empire.  But we need to think hard about what is to replace it.

 Ronald Marks is Term Visiting Professor, George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government. He is President of ZPN Cyber & National Security Strategies

You Might Also Read:

The Rise and Fall Of America’s Unregulated Internet:

 

« Russian Hackers Have Stolen US Secrets
Tech Support Scams Steal Millions »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

NordLayer

NordLayer

NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses — from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security. 

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout enables cyber security professionals to reduce cyber risk to their organization with proactive security solutions, providing immediate improvement in security posture and ROI.

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Our Supplier Directory lists 6,000+ specialist cyber security service providers in 128 countries worldwide. IS YOUR ORGANISATION LISTED?

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

Alert Logic

Alert Logic

Alert Logic has more than a decade of experience pioneering and refining cloud solutions that are secure, flexible and designed to work with hosting and cloud service providers.

InfoWatch

InfoWatch

InfoWatch solutions allow you to protect data and information assets that are critically important to your business.

Masergy Communications

Masergy Communications

Masergy delivers hybrid networking, managed security and cloud communication solutions to enterprises around the globe.

Claroty

Claroty

Claroty was conceived to secure and optimize OT networks that run the world’s most critical infrastructures.

AGAT Software

AGAT Software

AGAT Software is an innovative security provider specializing in external access authentication and data protection solutions.

Center for Strategic Cyberspace & International Studies (CSCIS)

Center for Strategic Cyberspace & International Studies (CSCIS)

CSCIS seeks to advance global cyberspace security and prosperity by providing strategic insights for cyberspace and policy solutions to decision makers.

DCIT

DCIT

DCIT is a specialist in providing comprehensive consulting and auditing services in the field of information technology, PROVYS development software and security system AuditSquare.

Ataya & Partners

Ataya & Partners

Ataya & Partners is a consulting company that delivers data protection, cybersecurity and IT & Digital governance services.

Dathena

Dathena

Dathena is a company developing data governance software based on machine learning algorithms.

Crypto Valley Association

Crypto Valley Association

Crypto Valley Association is an independent, government-supported association established to build the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem.

GV

GV

GV provides venture capital funding to bold new companies in the fields of life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cyber security and agriculture.

Informatics International

Informatics International

Informatics is a leading ICT provider in Sri Lanka, providing cutting-edge software & infrastructure solutions and services including cyber security.

Pyxsoft PowerWAF

Pyxsoft PowerWAF

Pyxsoft PowerWAF responds to the problem of business cybersecurity. We protect our clients' websites and data against attacks and exploitation of all kinds of vulnerabilities.

Brightsolid

Brightsolid

Brightsolid are experts in Hybrid Cloud. We design, build and manage secure, scalable cloud environments that meet customers’ business ambitions.

Quartz Network

Quartz Network

Quartz Network is a curated community for change-makers, up-and-comers, and professionals who are ready to grow, adapt, and thrive.

Approov

Approov

Approov provides a comprehensive runtime security solution for mobile apps and their APIs, unified across iOS and Android.