As you know, our firm The Sylint Group, Inc., is composed of engineers from the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and other government agencies and have been involved with digital data communications and cyber security since the ‘70’s. In fact the name Sylint is derived from the intelligence community jargon. “Syl” is Greek for “with” or “together” and “int” is used with various prefixes as intelligence community descriptors such as “commint”, “humint”, etc. Sylint is therefore bringing together the disciplines of the intelligence world into Cyber Security and Digital Data Forensics. And of course, it’s sounded like “Silent” and therefore a play on the word.
So, Sylint has a certain developed perspective on what people today are recognizing as cyber security.
Personally, I’ve done everything from programming low orbiter satellites in assembly language as they sped by on their 450 nautical mile orbit, to intercepting digital data communications systems following terrorists across the continents. That’s before digital data became an integral part of each person’s daily life; cell phone messaging, nanny cameras, “world news” on demand, Facebook, Twitter, digital pictures to be shared in an instant. I remember when bleeding edge data storage was performed on a RM05, about the size of a washing machine, with a disk pack about 14” in radius, with 12 platters and 250 Mega Bytes (MB) of storage capability. Today that equals storage for about 10 high resolution photos. In today’s age my SD storage card, which slips into my pocket, holds 128 Giga Bytes (GB) of data. Or, consider my digital photography SD (Secure Data) card with 32GB of storage and wireless communications capability from my camera to my tablet. Data storage and handling has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. But, so has the amount and types of data communicated.
We are connected to each other electronically through communications systems that we don’t understand and to people we don’t know personally, and maybe don’t know that they are connected to us. Our lives bleed out through on-line personal accounts and everyone knows our foibles and sins. Our hard earned money is stolen from our bank accounts by somebody in a mid-eastern country, which we didn’t know existed. And all of this is accomplished using 1’s and 0’s in a nanosecond of time from thousands of miles away.
I notice that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is held a conference titled “Road Ahead to Cybersecurity”. I don’t think that there is a “road ahead” for cybersecurity. There isn’t a road at all! The whole playing field has changed and there are no defined roads in or out.
I firmly believe that we are stuck in a quagmire alongside that “road” to the playing field and it dead ended at the entry to a new age called “the Cyber Information Age”.
We have entered this new age, the Cyber Age, and no one realizes it. A “new age” means that life as we know it has changed dramatically and the forces that shape the economy, world order, international boundaries, social structure, centers of military and political power, level of conflict between countries, and societies moral and ethical foundation are being driven by a new impetus and energy; something called Cyber Information. Cyber information is different than anything that society has dealt with in the past. Cyber information is instantaneously created, changed, modified, reformatted and retransmitted. It’s a lie, half-truth, or fact that is immediately thrown into the world, globally, from unknown sources without vetting, modulation or consideration for its consequences.
Cyber information can be news, control software for a power grid, Programmable Logic Controllers for manufacturing, communications between First Responders, infrastructure support for large buildings, corporate intellectual property, charge card information, a city sewer system, the processor for a pacemaker. Cyber information has created a virtual world and real world that exist side by side, interact with one another, and impact one another.
Cyber information cannot be easily secured, stopped, acknowledged, or controlled. No leadership has arisen that can formulate a means to force the direction of cyber information for the good of society. Rather, just the opposite, forces both immoral and unethical are using cyber information for nefarious purposes because it’s a crime against society which goes unpunished and yields huge rewards.
To address Cyber Security we must first understand that we are in a new age, an age of Cyber Information and what that means for society, business and the world order.
Just a few thoughts for a Monday morning surrounded by ones and zeroes.
RELATED VIDEO: June 14, 2014 AEI Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy conference – After Snowden: The Road Ahead for Cybersecurity