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Net Politics

CFR experts investigate the impact of information and communication technologies on security, privacy, and international affairs.

Cyber Conflict After Stuxnet

by Adam Segal Monday, June 27, 2016
CFR Cyber Net Politics Crossing the Rubicon Julius Caesar and the Crossing of the Rubicon by Francesco Granacci (1469-1543). (Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum).

The Cyber Conflict Studies Association (CCSA) recently published Cyber Conflict After Stuxnet: Essays from the Other Bank of the Rubicon. Stuxnet, of course, was the name given to the malware that was designed to damage the centrifuges at Natanz and thus slow down Iran’s nuclear program. The ability of digital code to produce physical effect had long been predicted and had been produced under controlled circumstances.With Stuxnet, it had happened “in the wild.” The Rubicon in the subtitle is a reference to a quote from General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and CIA, on the new era of international relations and national security that was emerging after the attack became publicly known: Read more »

California’s Gangs Go Digital and Global

by Guest Blogger Wednesday, June 22, 2016
CFR Cyber Net Politics A gang member looks on as he attends a mass at the prison of Izalco ion El Salvador in 2012. (Ulises Rodriguez/Reuters).

Robert Muggah is co-founder and research director of the SecDev Foundation and the Igarapé Institute. He is co-editor of a new volume entitled Open Empowerment: From Digital Protest to Cyberwar that focuses on the evolution of digital crime in the Americas. Julian Way is a lead analyst at the SecDev Group and research fellow at the SecDev Foundation. 

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Cybersecurity in the Health Sector: Mounting Problems, Uncertain Politics

by David Fidler Monday, June 20, 2016
A doctor observes a screen showing a graphical representation of the heart of a woman undergoing a whole-body scan. (Desmond Boylan/Reuters) A doctor observes a screen showing a graphical representation of the heart of a woman undergoing a whole-body scan. (Desmond Boylan/Reuters)

Recent ransomware attacks on hospitals elevated awareness of cyber threats health care providers face. The attacks forced hospitals to engage in technological regression by relying on hard-copy records and revealed aspects of the health sector that make cybersecurity difficult. These episodes also highlighted ways in which the health sector reflects problems experienced across the U.S. cybersecurity ecosystem. Improving health-sector cybersecurity requires addressing unique sector features and integrating the sector into efforts to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity generally. However, concerns about health-sector cybersecurity have intensified just as the politics of U.S. cybersecurity face uncertainty.

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The Orlando Massacre and the Conundrum of Online Radicalization

by David Fidler Thursday, June 16, 2016
Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce offers a prayer for victims of the Orlando shooting, in Fort Pierce, Florida on June 12, 2016. (Joe Skipper/Reuters) Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce offers a prayer for victims of the Orlando shooting, in Fort Pierce, Florida on June 12, 2016. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

After the terrorist attack in Orlando, President Obama stated “the killer took in extremist information and propaganda over the Internet.” FBI Director James Comey said Omar Mateen’s radicalization occurred in part through online activities. These statements reinforce what we already knew—online activities feature in extremist radicalization. We have a weaker grasp on what role extremist information on the internet plays in any given individual’s radicalization and whether strategies to address online aspects of radicalization are working. What we presently know about Mateen’s journey to committing the worst mass shooting in U.S. history provides little guidance on these questions. Nor is it clear additional information will change this reality.

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The White House Exaggerates the Benefits of the TPP to the Open Internet

by Guest Blogger Wednesday, June 8, 2016
CFR Cyber Net Politics TPP The Obama administration's promotional materials of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) boast about its impact on keeping data flowing across borders. (Office of the United States Trade Representative).

Susan Aaronson is research professor of international affairs at George Washington University, and GWU cross-disciplinary scholar. Valeriya Denisova is a research assistant at GWU and a recent graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs.

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