Broker Check

Our Cyber Problems - And Possible Solutions

January 18, 2021

Ronald Marks, visiting professor of policy and government at George Mason University, has written in Cyber Security Intelligence about the cyber problems facing president-elect Biden. Marks calls it a "wicked problem" because the people trying to solve it are themselves part of the problem. Here is a summary of his views (with some comments):

  • There are multiple players and their attempts to build a cyber defense have turned into an "electronic Maginot Line" as shown by the SolarWinds hack. While Marks supports restoring the National Security Council's and State Department's cyber roles, the most important position is the newly created National Cyber Director. This person must be in charge with a clearly defined role. (The director should be a cyber security professional, not a political appointee.)
  • The cyber world has become balkanized and a battlefield. We must have international agreements that balance internet freedom with protection for personal information. The low impact cyber war waged by Russia and China must be met with "arms control" for cyber space.
  • The controversial Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act providing website publishers immunity for third party content must be killed or modified. (The line should be drawn at advocacy of, and preparation for violence. This is worse than shouting "fire" in a crowded theater; it's throwing a torch into that theater.)
  • In reviewing the SolarWinds "debacle", form a commission that will offer solutions not just assign blame.                                                                                       

Marks' final advice to the new administration: work fast in an organized fashion. The world today runs at cyber speed.