Discussion Questions: For this weekâ€™s discussion, first select one of the six challenges found on page 28 of DHSâ€™ 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. Regarding your selected risk: What consequences are faced at the national level if this threat is not adequately addressed, in both a general sense, as well as related to our nation’s critical infrastructure? In addition, do you believe this risk is being adequately addressed at present? Why or why not?
Instructions: Fully utilize the materials that have been provided to you in order to support your response. Your initial post should be at least 350 words. Please respond to at least two other students. Responses should be a minimum of 150 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another studentâ€™s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.
Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas. While proper APA is not required, attribution to sources that informed your posting should be included. Refer to the grading rubric for additional details concerning grading criteria.
Please keep the students responses from sounding harsh. Keep it classy my friend!
Student Reponse #1 Widen
For this weekâ€™s discussion, first select one of the six challenges found on page 28 of DHSâ€™ 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. Regarding your selected risk: What consequences are faced at the national level if this threat is not adequately addressed, in both a general sense, as well as related to our nation’s critical infrastructure? In addition, do you believe this risk is being adequately addressed at present? Why or why not?
The strategic threat that I chose this week was cyber threats. Cyber attacks are primarily concerning because of the mental and physical damage they create. A cyber attack is not one that simply occurs and then dissipates in a short timeframe. There is a long-lasting effect of fear in individuals directly influenced by the issue. The act feels extremely invasive by the intruders and is quite concerning. Additionally, the recovery of national critical infrastructure can take weeks, months, and even years to clean up and replace after cyber attacks.
The energy sector is exceptionally vulnerable to a terrorist attack because of the sheer mass of hackers attempting to break-in. At the present time, not U.S. electrical utility is known to have issues with cyberattacks in the past. However, there are roughly a million attempted hacks every day on the energy sector. The hacking attempts range from a run-of-the-mill to sophisticated hackers trying to access controls in the sector (Sobczak, 2019).
The reality of the situation is particularly frightening because if American’s loose power and energy in their everyday lives it could cause mass chaos. Once phones and laptops lose battery, communication will fall and the country or affected cities can potentially start on a downward spiral of the disorder. All criminal behavior would rise at night and Americans would be at serious risk. Furthermore, all other national critical infrastructure would shut down because it runs off of the energy sector. The depth of the energy sector is incredible and without the nation or cities affected would surely lack stability.
There is encouraging news though when cyberattacks are on the rise, defensive operations are as well. There are new tools that are increasing the availability to monitor networks in real-time as well as discover them. Power companies were some of the first organizations to respond to the ongoing cyber threat as early as 2007. The energy sector is not playing a new game and with the help of a new strategy and increased cyber protection, there is hope in securing the energy sector. (Greenwood, 2019).
Greenwood, M. (2019). Engineering. Retrieved from Electric Power Sector Is Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks: Report : https://www.engineering.com/AdvancedManufacturing/…
Sobczak, B. (2019). E&E News. Retrieved from Experts assess damage after first cyberattack on U.S. grid: https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060281821
Student Response #2 Sommer
I chose the basic cyber threat to discuss its risk related to consequences affecting a general homeland attack as well as an attack on our critical infrastructure. The class I finished up prior to this one was Cyber Warfareâ€¦WOW! I took it to get myself a bit savvier on anything cyber because I knew nothing. I was floored at all the vulnerabilities out there in cyberspace and I knew how much the world depended on cyber but I had no idea how easily penetrable it was. If cyber security were not taken seriously and adequately secured, the impact would be devastating. Considering the fact that everything in life has become dependent on computers and the critical infrastructure assets tie into each other in one way or another; a cyber-attack on any one of them could potential damage or destroy multiple layers of critical infrastructure. Generally speaking, hackers have the ability to overwhelm systems leading them to crash, demonstrating the ability to control and do more damage if they wanted; groups called hacktivists have abilities to protest through cyber and flash images or propaganda across computer screens. Cyber terrorists are founded from foreign governments or state-sponsored to infiltrate software and firewalls seeking intelligence or military information. Lastly, something I never even thought about was the fact that parts and equipment can be manufactured with malicious software so if the US purchases a foreign part for a confidentially designed aircraft, they could potentially give the foreign government control over the aircraft or even have foreign controlled kill-switches implanted on weaponry and radar. SCARY!
I do believe the cyber risk is being properly addressed because evolved risks are being identified and procedures are being updated. One example is in Sept 2018; President Trump signed the National Security Presidential Memorandum 13 that replaced Obamaâ€™s Presidential Policy Directive 20, rerouting the approval authority for offensive and defensive cyber operations to the DoD instead of the National Security Council, this took a lot of slow, coordinating time out of the mix and sped things up. Additionally, in the same month, the Trump Administration published the first National Cyber Strategy in 15 years. This strategy remains open-source and it prioritizes the four pillars of protection and the means by which to get there.
HLSS303 I001 Sum 19: Lessons. â€œWEEK 4: Critical Infrastructure (National Level).â€ American Public University System. 2019.
White House (2018). â€œNational Cyber Strategy.â€