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Developing Robust Security Measures to Protect Critical Infrastructure Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 17th, 2022

The rapid advancement of technologies in the field of information and communications is increasing reliance on cyberspace. However, as many organizations explore the opportunities brought about by digitalization, they have to assess and confront the resulting security risks (Mukhopadhyay et al., 2019). As stated by Dinger and Wade (2019), there have been reports of major breaches that expose the privacy of millions of individuals. Contrary to the assumption of many, hacking occurs in not only computers, but also in critical infrastructures, including train networks, water treatment plants, and electronic resources (Bialas, 2016). Security measures and principles need to be put in place to prevent hostile attacks by network predators. This research proposal aims to investigate the strategies that firms use to mitigate identity theft by hackers and enhance security in their infrastructure.

Research Topic

Cyber theft comprises all activities carried out to obtain people’s information, such as credit card numbers, and then using that data for other misdeeds such as purchases of illicit products or identity theft. The modern age is becoming dangerous due to organized crimes that have developed mechanisms to sell wide-scale distribution of stolen data (Lavorgna, 2019). Carding forum websites now specialize in providing information about their victims. Thus, hackers have a ready market that motivates their unethical behavior. The topic of this research proposal is investigating the strategies used by organizations to combat identity theft by hackers and enhance cybersecurity in critical infrastructure.

Research Description

This research proposal is concerned with strategic prevention of cyber theft and protection of critical infrastructures. The context for this study will be organizations which have digitalized their documentations. Although many researchers have investigated the topic of cybercrimes, there is still a gap in understanding ways to deal with such threats. Thus, this proposal will merge different strategies by different organizations to develop a comprehensive best practice which companies can use to enhance privacy in their networks. A qualitative research methodology will be applied to gather and analyze the data collected from interviewing security system administrators in selected organizations.

Preliminary Literature Review

In writing a research proposal, it is crucial to survey previous studies and their findings. The selection criteria for the articles in this review include having a related topic and publications within the last ten years. Therefore, this section will focus on discussing, comparing, and contrasting past projects on cyber theft. First, theoretical framework for the current work will be discussed in brief. The consecutive subsections will then expound more on different issues in online networks.

Theoretical Underpinning: Actor-Network Theory

This theory has its roots in scientific and technological studies with primary focus on the digital transfer process. According to Oliveira et al. (2019), the ANT’s primary proponents are Bruno Latour, John Law, and Michael Callon. This model holds that universal transmission of data is necessary for modern society as it results in economic growth. The other assumption is that no fixed definition can be universally applied to all industrial context. Regarding the role of humans in the cyber space, ANT uses the principles of performativity, relationality, and urgency (Grommé, 2018). The prepositions are relevant in understanding breaches which make hackers successful.

Issues in Cyber Theft

Privacy violation is a primary challenge for all criminal activities in the cyberspace. The online identity thieves can use credit cards illegally or take over another person’s identity entirely while successfully evading apprehension by police. In 2017 online crimes resulted in more than 600 billion dollars globally (McAfee, 2018). Such crimes inflict privacy issues on an individual and result in systemic harm which can destroy the critical infrastructure of a nation (de Souza et al., 2020). Many stakeholders in the online network stand the risk of being affected by a single breach.

Leakages Facilitating Cybercrime

To understand the factors which make it possible for network violations, it is essential first to understand various trespass forms in digital infrastructures. Hacking involves all trespass activities such as unlawful appropriation, embezzlement, espionage, and plagiarism (Carpenter et al., 2020). Sham websites are the other common offense characterized by phone communications. Also, spoofers commit violations on the internet by forging email addresses to trick people into releasing sensitive data (Levitin et al., 2018). Other offenders include information brokers, spyware, and chatroom boards.

One of the factors which make cybercrimes possible is the ease of accessibility of private information online, such as in social media accounts or unauthorized employees can easily access. Such recklessness can result in identity theft, which may be difficult to notice until there is a significant systemic issue (Ratten, 2019). Similarly, physical attacks on computers and other infrastructure are likely to occur when there are no boundaries and restrictions to allow only a few people to access crucial technologies (Elhabashy et al., 2019). Also, most of the breaches occur between people who are close and share some information (Bossong & Wagner, 2017). For example, a close relative can easily guess the password and access information without raising suspicion.

Risk Management Strategies

Many organizations have policies strategies which ensure the protection of critical infrastructure. Projects involving private-public partnerships are at more risk, given their complexity and many stakeholders, hence the need for protective policies (He et al., 2017). Firms need to establish information security objectives which are measurable and have specific objectives. The first strategy is to provide supportive resources to all people on the Internet of things to ensure their digital systems are secure (Halima et al., 2018). When individuals are safe then there will be no breach on other devices.

There should also be operational planning, regular evaluations, and continuous improvement of the network. Computer scientists are already establishing data analytics techniques which can autonomously monitor the network and detect irregularities (Patterson et al., 2017). As stated by Hu et al. (2017), when systems are regularly updated, the hackers will find it hard to find a breach, and even if they succeed in committing a trespass, it will be noted early. Also, installing antivirus and antimalware on critical infrastructures helps detect, shut-down, and report any attempts to breach the data (Vučković et al., 2018). Firms should also use guards, such as complex passwords, limit access, and apply Compstat principles on their sensitive infrastructures. Such measures will make it hard for hackers to interfere with critical infrastructures.

Research Thesis/Claim

Digitalization is important for organizations as it promotes faster communication, cloud for storage of mass data and enhances competitiveness. For example, after COVID 19 many industries resolved to using digital means of communication as employees worked from home. However, the reports indicate that cybercrime is becoming more rampant and costly for companies. This study claims that the efforts of an individual firm cannot stop cybercrime. The involvement of all stakeholders such as that of the workers, customers and business partners is needed to mitigate identity thieves to make the digital sphere more secure than it was before COVID 19.

Research Questions

  • How can individuals within an organization handle issues of identity theft to minimize risk to the stakeholder?

Objective/Aims of Research

  • To establish how individuals within an organization can handle issues of identity theft to minimize risk to other stakeholders

Significance and Benefit of Research

The current study will have practical application to all organizations which are using digitalized information communication systems. Findings from the research will be used to tighten security measures for critical infrastructure. Specifically, the proposal provides unique and more comprehensive ways of preventing cybercrimes. The implication is that individuals and enterprises enjoy the benefits resulting from Internet of things without worrying about data.

The other benefit of this study is in the academic sphere since it complements the existing intelligence about cyber theft. Students will find the information on this topic valuable for learning about modern-day information technology. Similarly, researchers can use the information from this paper to identify gaps in the literature and further explore them to make storage and transfer of digital data effective. Besides, suggestions for areas which need investigations will be provided to guide other scholars.

Deliveries: An Outline of Planned Arguments /Evidence

  • Internet connectivity for multiple devices as is the case of Internet of things can be prone to systemic breach that takes long to be detected. For example, Cisco has approximately 50 billion objects that are connected (Louchez & Rosner, 2016).
  • Hackers are becoming more strategic and sophisticated when planning and executing cyber theft; hence, more dangerous.
  • The current security measures are not sufficient to protect the physical infrastructure and private data from cyber thieves.
  • Companies should take the threat of cyber security seriously so that policy makers can draft laws that will ensure hacking is reported and investigated by the legal authorities such as police.

Methodology

Gathering data in search of the responses to the research question is a crucial part of any study. The information can be collected from primary sources using interviews, observation, questionnaires, or secondary sources (Mallette & Duke, 2020). A qualitative methodological approach will be used to ensure that in-depth information on a phenomenon is collected from the respondents (Strokes, 2017). All the ethical considerations suggested by Ballin (2020), such as confidentiality, anonymity, and putting the interest of the participants first, will be observed. The objective is to enhance the efficacy of the study.

Conclusion

The use of digital communication, storage, and transfer of data via online means are now common, thanks to the Internet of things. Such advancements have also brought the challenge of cyber theft, which may involve stealing private data or physical tampering with critical infrastructures. Many organizations have fallen victims to hackers due to insufficient strategies to combat online criminals. The study will have practical implications for firms and recommendations to future researchers. In gathering and analyzing data, the qualitative methodology will be used while adhering to all ethical recommendations.

References

Ballin, E. H. (2020). Advanced introduction to legal research methods. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Bialas, A. (2016). . Sustainability, 8(3), 240.

Bossong, R., & Wagner, B. (2017). . Crime, Law and Social Change, 67(3), 265-288.

Carpenter, S., Zhu, F., Zeng, M., & Shreeves, M. (2017). . International Journal of Human- Computer Interaction, 33(3), 215–228.

de Souza, M. A., Pereira José L.R, Alves, G. de O., de Oliveira Bráulio C, Melo, I. D., & Garcia, P. A. N. (2020). Electric Power Systems Research, 182.

Dinger, M., & Wade, J. T. (2019). . The Coastal Business Journal, 17(1), 1-25. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from

Elhabashy, A. E., Wells, L. J., Camelio, J. A., & Woodall, W. H. (2019). . Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, 30(6), 2489-2504.

Grommé, F. (2018). . Technology and Culture, 59(1), 201-202.

Halima, I. K., Islam, S., & Mohammad, A. R. (2018). . Applied Sciences, 8(6).

He, M., Devine, L., & Zhuang, J. (2018). . Risk Analysis, 38(2), 215–225.

Hu, Z., Gnatyuk, V., Sydorenko, V., Odarchenko, R., & Gnatyuk, S. (2017). Method for cyberincidents network-centric monitoring in critical information infrastructure. , 9(6), 30.

Lavorgna, A. (2019). Trends in Organized Crime, 22(4), 357–374.

Levitin, G., Xing, L., & Huang, H.-Z. (2018). . Risk Analysis, 39(4), 846–858.

Louchez, A., & Rosner, G. L. (2016). Internet of things security – The case for systemic resilience. FierceElectronics. Web.

Mallette, M. H., & Duke, N. K. (2020). Literacy research methodologies (3rd ed.). Guilford Publications.

McAfee. (2018). .

Mukhopadhyay, A., Chatterjee, S., Bagchi, K. K., Kirs, P. J., & Shukla, G. K. (2019). Information Systems Frontiers, 21(5), 997–1018.

Oliveira Garcia, M., Gava, R., Tonelli, D. F., & Valéria da Glória, P. B. (2019). . Journal of Innovation Management, 6(4), 49-72.

Patterson, N., Hobbs, M., & Zhu, T. (2017). . Information and Computer Security, 25(4), 358-381.

Ratten, V. (2019). The effect of cybercrime on open innovation policies in technology firms. Information Technology & People, 32(5), 1301–1317. Web.

Strokes, P. (2017). Research methods. Macmillan International Higher Education

Vučković, Z., Vukmirović, D., Milenković, M. J., Ristić, S., & Prljić, K. (2018). . Physica a: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications, 511, 331–335.

Appendix A

Structure/Outline of Research Project

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Contextual definition of terms

Research questions and objectives

Justification of the study

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

Theoretical Underpinning

Issues in Cyber Theft

Leakages Enabling Cyber Theft

Risk Management Strategies

Risk Management Strategies

CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY

Research Method and Design

Data collection Procedure

Reliability and validity

Ethical Consideration

Limitations of the Study

CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

Appendix B

Project Plan

Project Timetable

Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar April May
Search library databases for sources
Draft of literature review
Finalize the literature review
IRB approval and consent
Data collection
Analysis of findings and discussions
Completion and submission of literature review
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