The internet has dramatically changed how people operate in today’s society. Hugely important business and personal financial management systems are dependent on the internet. Personal data is virtually stored and used for financial transactions (Brenner, 2). In addition, it seems that half of the world’s populations utilize the internet for social fulfillment via various social media platforms (Qualman). In a free for all-system that functions like a secondary society, but with little order and the capacity of anonymity, it should be no surprise that a criminal element runs rampant on the inter webs. Some threats are targeted against governments, others target individual citizens, often wreaking financial or personal devastation. The cyber threat against individuals is far greater to the nation than to those against the state, or government institutions.
Cyber attacks against government institutions are not any less of a reality than those against individuals. However, attacks against the state or government havelittle effect on the nation, becausewhat constitutes the nation is individual persons in community more so than the state governing apparatus. According to the Global Policy Forum, a nation is “a large group of people with strong bonds of identity – an ‘imagined community,’ a tribe on a grand scale. The nation may have a claim to statehood or self-rule, but it does not necessarily enjoy a state of its own.” This implies that the governing state is not inherently connected to the nation, nor does it align with the shared identity of its citizens.
The numerous government shutdowns that have occurred in the last decade over congressional budget disputes, have shown that there occurs little interruption to the common inhabitants’ life when government services are halted. Images in Damascus, Syria a nation at war, show the citizens going about their daily lives with relative norm. Most cyber attacks are conducted by criminal enterprises that are more likely to cause significant detriment to citizens personally, rather than physical harm resulting from attacks on government infrastructure (Filshtinsky, 2). Most of the civic uproar from government disruption seems to be mental reactions caused by public obsession with civic affairs.
Unfortunately, our government does not react to cyber threats against the nation, in the same way that it does against attacks against the state. Thus, it the government works to protect, preserve, and expand its power at the expense of actual harm done to the people under its governance. The state does not however shy away from taking advantage of elevated fears after terror attacks, to become a cyber menace itself as it uses tragedy as pretext to expand its powers and revoke privacy rights. When this is well timed, it works quite well as evidenced by shortly after the Boston bombings when polls suggested that Americans were willing to endure less privacy in exchange for higher security (Lander & Sussman, 1).
The government is not what makes up the nation, and although the cyber threats against both the government and the nation are comparable, the real threat against the nation is that which targets the nation’s individuals, both personally and financially. The government however does not do much to protect the members of the nation, rather it exerts most of its effort against cyber threats against attacks that would threaten its own institutions. When it does portray an interest in helping its citizens, it is usually merely a pretext for being a cyber menace itself, violating the privacy of the citizenry.
Sources Cited Page
Alexander, Keith B, et al. “Defending America in Cyberspace.” The National Interest, Nov. 2013.
Brenner, Joel F. “Eyes Wide Shut: The Growing Threat of Cyber Attacks on Industrial Control Systems.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 69, no. 5, 2013, pp. 15–20., doi:10.1177/0096340213501372.
Filshtinskiy, Stas. “Cybercrime, Cyberweapons, Cyber Wars.” Communications of the ACM, vol. 56, no. 6, 2013, p. 28., doi:10.1145/2461256.2461266.
Landler, Mark, and Dalia Sussman. “Poll Finds Strong Acceptance for Public Surveillance.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Apr. 2013, www.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/us/poll-finds-strong-acceptance-for-public-surveillance.html.
Paul, James. “What Is a ‘Nation’?” What Is a “Nation”?, .
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