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  • Robert Stines

The New Frontier - CyberSpace

You probably can't define it and even scholars disagree on what it means, but we all operate in "cyberspace."

At first, cyberspace was limited to communication (think email), then e-commerce, but it has now expanded to a critical component of our everyday lives. We depend on systems that operate autonomously to manage simple tasks such as making reservations, automatic bill pay, and electronic tolls.

We rely on these systems to handle complex operations like making trades on the stock market, managing flight plans, and navigating satellites.

We file taxes and purchase consumer products over the internet.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and personal email accounts live in the "cloud." Federal and state courts require legal documents to be filed electronically.

Yes, your personal financial information, health information, and legal issues are in cyberspace.

Cyberspace is deeply entrenched into our daily lives and is becoming the nervous system of our economy.

Cyberspace is also a combat zone. Defense ministers have formally recognized cyberspace as a domain of warfare, which is an acknowledgment that modern battles are waged not only in air, sea and land, but also on computer networks. T

he U.S. has long operated quietly in cyberspace, using it to collect information, disrupt enemy networks and aid conventional military missions. Other nations have expanded their use of cyberspying and cyberattacks in an attempt to defeat the American military machine.

Like any start-up business where technology and the internet can allow a small company to compete with and disrupt major institutions, so too can less equipped nations or dissidents compete with the U.S. military in cyberspace. All that is needed is a computer, internet connection, and know how (all relatively cheap).

When an unmanned aerial vehicle is flown over the Middle East by pilots sitting in a room in Nevada and terrorist groups have the ability to hack into that UAV, we start to understand why our military leaders are concerned about security in cyberspace.

It is because we operate in cyberspace that we have to understand cybersecurity.

People secure their important documents and belongings, but fail to appreciate that some of their most sensitive personal information is floating in cyberspace ready for the plucking. As we are pulled into the information age, and cyberspace is more than just virtual reality, we have to increase our cyber awareness.


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