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Shadow Brokers Hacker Group and Cyber Security Industry Essay


Potential Threat to the National Security Agency

Cyberattacks aimed at hacking and abducting strategically important information of the National Security Agency (N.S.A.) are a potential threat to the integrity of the country’s entire defence complex. Apart from the degree of significance of the stolen data, an insufficiently reliable security system is the reason for concern. The possibility of hacker access to the Agency resources opens up many opportunities for opponents, including the ways to develop plans for a successful attack. All these factors determine the need to analyse specific risks of threats and the ways to deal with them.

Targeted Search for Important Information

It is logical to assume that a group of hackers working to discredit the N.S.A. and seize valuable data leads an intentional cyberwar. The possibilities of modern technologies prove that even such a reliable system as the Agency’s internal database can be hacked, and, as practice shows, the attempt can be very cynical. According to Sanger (2016), the original program code used by the group of hackers caused the leakage of any data that were later sold at auctions for much money. It allows saying that cybercriminals are deliberately looking for ways to find certain valuable information in order to extract it from the database and expose it as a lot. Consequently, the implication for the Agency can mean that many cranking governments may be aware of the significant aspects of American politics and its government leaders’ purposes. Moreover, the quality of hackers’ work leaves little doubt that professional work was prepared, and the goals were determined in advance. Therefore, in order to prevent the recurrence of such attacks, the N.S.A. needs to strengthen the security system of particularly essential information to eliminate its diversion.

Lack of Opportunity to Rely on the Existing System

In order for the data protection system to work properly, it is necessary to ensure that all firewalls are able to withstand external attacks and prevent unauthorised persons from accessing databases. However, the previous program showed its insolvency and vulnerability, which calls for the creation of a new advanced system by the Agency. In case the representatives of the N.A.S. information department does not establish the work of their protective mechanism, other scandals on the basis of data leakage may occur. As van Der Walt (2017) notes, the need to protect virtual information has never been as relevant as it is today since, judging by experience, the cases of theft of valuable information are often encountered. Therefore, the N.S.A. may be involuntarily involved in other sound cases of hacker attacks if the Agency’s representatives do not take urgent measures to protect their resources.

The threat for the Agency calls for the development of innovative ways to keep the information of national importance and the creation of advanced mechanisms for repelling threats. For these purposes, the N.S.A. needs to periodically check the software for protection and test the system in time to identify potentially vulnerable sectors. The threat can be eliminated, but for this purpose, specialists of the National Agency need to carry out intensive work and achieve complete data protection in order to avoid their leakage. Therefore, new technologies should be taken into account, and the experience of professional staff will be useful to develop an enhanced and relevant mechanism that allows the N.S.A. to prevent dangerous hacker attacks and information theft.

The Need for Developing a Unique and Innovative Protection System

In case the National Agency does not attempt to achieve the maximum degree of protection and does not begin to develop a new security system, scandals related to the data security can be repeated. Modern professionals of cyber attacks are able to access even the most classified databases. Moreover, according to Solenberger (2017), absolutely any software can be attacked, starting from the Windows operating system and ending with top-secret programs containing the information of national importance. Hackers are not stopped by complex passwords and encryption systems, and it is useless to rely solely on the reliability of this or that protection method if it has already been hacked once.

The Agency can hire highly qualified specialists working in the field of creating advanced cybersecurity and providing protection to the cloud and other virtual resources. As Segal (2017) remarks, in any large company where information is a valuable resource, only modern means of preventing attacks should be used for the secrecy of all the data not to be completely fictitious. In such a structural unit as the N.S.A., ensuring the protection of state secrets should not only become a necessity but an integral part of the work process. If the representatives of the Agency can ensure the creation of an appropriate firewall and achieve the complete security of its system, it will put an end to the scandals associated with data theft. Otherwise, regular attempts to steal information will be committed, which in the end will eventually lead to people’s discontent with the national security system. All cases of cyber-attacks are made public. Therefore, it is in the interests of civil servants to secure the complete protection of information held in their department.

Consequences of Public Discontent

The financing of state programs is carried out at the expense of the budget, which, in its turn, is replenished due to taxpayers. In case the citizens of the country see that their money is spent ineffectively, and the state suffers enormous losses because of the inability to resist cyber threats from outside, it can lead to massive dissatisfaction with the existing government. As Rid and Buchanan (2015) note, professionals working in the field of protecting essential information from virtual attacks should have a number of skills, including a competent time distribution, the understanding of limitations and potential problems, and some other attainments. The absence of such specialists in the state security system is a cause for concern of not only senior management officials but also ordinary citizens who have the right to expect an effective distribution of their tax payments.

The country’s security system can be seriously affected if there are not enough funds to invest in its development. In order to create a modern and fully protected program in a virtual space, much money is required since such work is highly valued. According to Dwyer (2018), some encryption codes created by qualified specialists can have the highest level of protection. Nevertheless, the services of such specialists cost much, and the N.S.A. will have to pay money to ensure that their database is completely protected from threats. As Payne, Abegaz, and Antonia (2016) claim, the search for professionals can be conducted everywhere, even in colleges because not deserts but the level of training plays a significant role. If adequate protection is provided, the population will be able to believe in the effectiveness of the Agency’s work and its desire to correct made mistakes.

Confronting Growing Pressure

The threat to the security of data stored in the N.S.A. classified databases provokes a wide public response, especially when the facts of hacking become known and constantly discussed in the media space. Accordingly, the representatives of the Agency need to continually resist growing pressure and not to react to provocations of those who intentionally discredit the state board. In order to avoid condemnation and to organise work, the N.S.A. establishes public-private relationships and defines strategies for further development (Carr 2016). Such a measure enables the Agency to find partners in the activities to protect data from cyber-attacks and successfully resist any manifestations of public discontent.

The ownership of the N.S.A. is determined by the status that this Agency has at the state level. Responsibility for the safety of important information, as Toch et al. (2018) claim, completely lies on the representatives of the authorities, and in case of hacking of the secret system, they will be responsible for a specific cyber attack. Such pressure is an incentive to create an advanced system of protection against hacker threats. The Agency has ample opportunities to use the latest developments in the technical field and introduce appropriate technologies. Fleming, Qualkenbush, and Chapa (2017) mention a secret war that is being waged against the United States in order to disrupt the integrity of the country and extract valuable data. To successfully resist these attacks, the corresponding software should be developed and implemented. Increasing pressure caused by repeated cases of data leakage calls for urgent measures to be taken to ensure the security of the US secret data.

Financial Implications for the N.S.A.

From a financial point of view, the need to develop and implement a new security program that provides safety for the US secret data certainly requires substantial monetary investment. The government should ensure that the new system meets modern standards of protection against cyber attacks. Strategic budget planning that should be carried out before introducing the program may include a one-time payment to create the appropriate firewall, as well as further investments in improving and updating the system. According to Vogel (2016), the continual emergence of novelties in the computer sphere explains the need to close all possible security gaps that inevitably arise. It also requires financial investments, therefore, costs are significant.

If costs are unavoidable, a special fund can be created in order to keep money and use them to develop a cybersecurity system. Chang, Zhong, and Grabosky (2018) give an example of such a measure as citizen co-production when people are attracted to help the authorities control the level of security of the virtual space. It, in its turn, allows monitoring the social sector of the Internet, controlling people’s activities. Also, according to Voskoboiniсov and Melnyk (2018), technological progress and the continuous appearance of novelties in the information technology market are an incentive for attracting experienced professionals who can provide their assistance in securing essential data. Certainly, all these factors require financial investments. Nevertheless, in case of successful work, all the spent funds will pay off soon, and the N.S.A. will manage to protect its resources from cyber attacks.

Ethical Implications for the N.S.A.

From the point of view of the ethical question, the Agency’s inability to resist regular hacker attacks is a serious factor that allows doubting the competence of its employees. If the N.S.A. cannot provide its secret information with reliable protection, it reflects the US government is not the most favourable light. Cavelty (2014) claims that the dilemma faced by government officials affects the complex choice between eliminating system vulnerabilities and finding potential threats. In case the Agency in practice proves its worth and will be able to provide conclusive evidence of the involvement of specific hacker groups in performed attacks, it will increase people’s confidence and help to restore lost credibility.

Additional attention should be paid to cooperation with partner companies. The N.S.A. is a large agency operating at the state level. In case this unit does not cope with its duties and is regularly involved in various scandals caused by hacker attacks, it can cause concern among other government agencies. According to Knowles et al. (2015), security management cannot affect only one branch. Regardless of whether virtual data or some other sector is threatened, protection should work at all levels. It is in this way possible to earn the trust of citizens and at the same time protect valuable data from the threat of theft and hacking.

Conclusion

The threat of cyber attacks on valuable data stored in the N.S.A. necessitates the creation of a modern and reliable system of protection against hacker threats. Citizens’ discontent can be caused by constant scandals in which the Agency is involved. In order to resist public condemnation, it is required for the N.S.A. to take urgent measures to develop and implement an effective program. The assistance of qualified staff specialists is necessary since the competence of the current staff of the department is questioned. The financial and ethical implications for the Agency can be expressed, and all the conclusions are that urgent measures should be taken to detect the source of the threat and eliminate it.

Reference List

Carr, M 2016, ‘Public-private partnerships in national cyber-security strategies’, International Affairs, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 43-62.

Cavelty, MD 2014, ‘Breaking the cyber-security dilemma: aligning security needs and removing vulnerabilities’, Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 701-715.

Chang, LYC, Zhong, LY & Grabosky, PN 2018, ‘Citizen co-production of cyber security: self-help, vigilantes, and cybercrime’, Regulation & Governance, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 101-114.

Dwyer, AC 2018, ‘The NHS cyber-attack: a look at the complex environmental conditions of WannaCry’, RAD Magazine, vol. 44, no. 512, pp. 25-26.

Fleming, TC, Qualkenbush, EL & Chapa, AM 2017, ‘The secret war against the United States: the top threat to national security and the American dream cyber and asymmetrical hybrid warfare an urgent call to action’, The Cyber Defense Review, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 25-32.

Knowles, W, Prince, D, Hutchison, D, Disso, JFP & Jones, K 2015, ‘A survey of cyber security management in industrial control systems’, International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection, vol. 9, pp. 52-80.

Payne, BR, Abegaz, T & Antonia, K 2016, ‘Planning and implementing a successful NSA-NSF GenCyber summer cyber academy’, Journal of Cybersecurity Education, Research and Practice, vol. 2016, no. 2, pp. 3-16.

Rid, T & Buchanan, B 2015, ‘Attributing cyber attacks’, Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 38, no. 1-2, pp. 4-37.

Sanger, DE 2016, The New York Times, Web.

Segal, A 2017, ‘Bridging the cyberspace gap’, Prism: A Journal of the Center for Complex Operations, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 66-77.

Solenberger, P 2017, ‘What goes around comes around: NSA’s cyberwarfare blowback’, Against the Current, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 7-9.

Toch, E, Bettini, C, Shmueli, E, Radaelli, L, Lanzi, A, Riboni, D & Lepri, B 2018, ‘The privacy implications of cyber security systems: a technological survey’, ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR), vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 36-45.

van Der Walt, C 2017, ‘The impact of nation-state hacking on commercial cyber-security’, Computer Fraud & Security, vol. 2017, no. 4, pp. 5-10.

Vogel, R 2016, ‘Closing the cybersecurity skills gap’, Salus Journal, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 32-46.

Voskoboiniсov, S & Melnyk, S 2018, ‘Cyber security in the modern sociation and improvement of preparation of future factors in the field of competent approach’, Social Work and Education, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 103-112.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Shadow Brokers Hacker Group and Cyber Security Industry." November 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/shadow-brokers-hacker-group-and-cyber-security-industry/.

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