For Liberal Democracies To Survive, Cybersecurity Is Now A Necessary Condition
While it is now abundantly clear from the Mueller 2/16/18 indictment and other sources that Russia has moved aggressively to wage a “cold” cyber war against Western liberal democracies since the 2014 overthrow of the Ukrainian government with its “active measures” propaganda campaigns and other efforts, the necessary political consensus as to the steps required to preserve Western liberal democracies has only just begun to develop. In the U.S., these efforts are being stymied by the persistent denial by a compromised President Trump who has abandoned his duty to protect the political order by, among other things, failing to direct the National Security Agency (NSA) to commence effective countermeasures to Russian cyber intrusions and allowing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to not spend any of the $120mm that was authorized to counteract election interference. Hard to not view these developments as anything other than a deliberate dereliction of duty by the current U.S. administration. With U.S. midterm elections set for November 2018, it is a foregone conclusion that Russian “active measures” will only intensify. As such, Congressional action will be too late. Meanwhile, the recent elections in Italy provided a highly divided populist outcome and there are important elections set for the Netherlands (3/21/18) and Hungary (4/8/18), all of which will have significant bearing on the functioning of the European Union. It is encouraging to see fiscal resources being increasingly allocated to defend against “cold” cyber war. The recent 2018 federal budget in Canada allocated close to C$1bn to improve cybersecurity measures over the next 5 years. The bottom line is that cybersecurity is now a necessary condition that must be met in order to ensure the survival of liberal democracies (See “Is The Election Really Hackable?“)
With Cybersecurity Failures Increasing, New Paradigm Is Clearly Necessary
One of the primary reasons supporting the success to date of Russia (and other state actors) in the “cold” cyber war is that individual information is so poorly protected. As such, it is easy to establish online identities with information that is either stolen or fraudulent. It used to be that on the internet, no one knew if you were a dog. Today, the challenge is to know who is not a fraud. Our Western financial institutions have established frameworks to combat fraud through which they know their customers (“KYC”) so as to combat money laundering (“AML”) and other illegal activities. Liberal democracies in Asia such as South Korea and Japan have established practices that make identity theft and election interference more difficult. If “cold” cyber war is to be stopped, individual information must be better protected, something the current cybersecurity infrastructure fails to do as made abundantly clear by the 2017 Equifax hacking and other similar events.
With growing conviction, one may reasonably state that the existing cybersecurity paradigm is broken and profits only the IT vendors who argue that fixes can be found. The expected advent of quantum computing will only lead to a further unravelling of the existing cybersecurity paradigm. To this end, it is important to consider that in order to secure personal information and protect our daily communications, policy makers need to consider the desirability of moving towards a quantum encryption cybersecurity paradigm. With this shift, the security of personal identities and related information will be materially enhanced, a state that will serve to preserve the integrity of both political systems, such as liberal democracy, and commerce alike. In this regard, we would draw attention to efforts presently underway by Quantum1Net, a start-up company that will launch quantum encryption services in 2018. A better cybersecurity paradigm is rising, one based on quantum computing principles, and our society needs to move towards it.
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