Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Degree

Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies

Department

Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin

Keywords

Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Domain, Hacking, Critical Infrastructure, Cyber attack, Connectivity

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies

Abstract

Considering the role of advancing technology in the cyber domain, this paper focused on the challenges facing current U.S. cybersecurity policy. The U.S. is confronted by adversaries in cyberspace, and it requires strong policy and strategy to guide the development of offensive and defensive capabilities. These capabilities facilitate the U.S.' ability to defend the homeland. As technology continues to become more pervasive and is integrated into systems that underpin daily, military operational capability for the U.S., the vulnerability to cyber attacks is enhanced. One embodiment of such risk is the "Internet of Things" (IoT), which describes networks of devices that have the capability to connect to the Internet, and as more devices and networks are connected to it, the attack surface of cyber threats also widens. IoT creates vulnerabilities in U.S. critical infrastructure that exists as a result of its connectivity to the Internet through multiple devices. The purpose of this thesis is to assess the challenges to current cybersecurity policy and strategy, and to examine whether or not the U.S. is postured to maintain its technological advantage in the face of emerging cyber threats and risks. Increased connectivity may do two things: first, bolster the resolve of adversaries attempting to capitalize on vulnerabilities; and second, increase opportunities for exploitation of any existing vulnerabilities. The thesis concludes that while the U.S. is taking incremental steps toward creating a more robust cybersecurity policy, these changes are coming too slow, leaving the U.S. increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. Instead, the U.S. needs to not only continue to develop and enhance its partnerships with members of the private sector and international community, but also develop new initiatives that go beyond information sharing.

Copyright

© Erin Canty Zugelder

Campus Only

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