Academic journal article American University Business Law Review

Fiddling on the Roof: Recent Developments in Cybersecurity

Academic journal article American University Business Law Review

Fiddling on the Roof: Recent Developments in Cybersecurity

Article excerpt


[Y]ou might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. -Fiddler on the Roof 1

For today's CEOs and corporate boards of directors, trying to capture the benefits of new technology while tackling emerging cybersecurity challenges is a delicate balance akin to fiddling on the roof. This Article outlines recent developments in ".com" cybersecurity and their implications for corporate cybersecurity. Section I summarizes how information technologies have revolutionized the functioning of global economies, societies, and governments. Section II discusses the U.S. selfregulatory approach to ".com" cybersecurity and the long-standing challenge of securing critical infrastructure ("CI") networks. Sections III??V discuss technology trends, the cyberthreat landscape, and legislative developments affecting cybersecurity, respectively. Specifically, Section III outlines three technological trends that pose cybersecurity challenges: explosive growth in mobile technology; migration to cloud computing; and increasing pervasiveness of social networks. Section IV examines the increasingly complex global cyberthreat landscape, including the problems of cybercrime, cyberespionage, and cyberwarfare. Section V discusses recent congressional and executive action on cybersecurity, including the ongoing congressional debate over cybersecurity legislation. Finally, Sections VI and VII describe private sector cybersecurity challenges and opportunities, including the potential for the private sector to shiftthe longstanding ".com" cybersecurity debate in Washington toward a more holistic strategy that encompasses not only vulnerability mitigation, but also deterrence.


It has been said that "[c]yberspace touches practically everything and everyone."2 With over two billion people relying on the Internet3 for a wide variety of economic,4 social,5 and political interactions,6 cyberspace- the "globally-interconnected digital information and communications infrastructure"7-is nothing short of essential to modern life.

Information technologies ("IT") have revolutionized the functioning of economies, societies, and governments around the globe. First, by any measure, IT has transformed the way we conduct business. IT has fundamentally changed the relationship between businesses and consumers, allowing not only for improved market differentiation and personalization of services, but also for the transformation of marketing through social media.8 Internally, IT has driven business efficiency through the automation and/or reorganization of business processes, such as invoicing, recordkeeping, and supply chain management;9 big data analytics;10 and the adoption of electronic payment solutions.11 Moreover, the deployment of telecommunications technologies (e.g., videoconferencing) and collaborative software has reduced unnecessary business travel and improved collaboration across borders and time zones.

Second, IT has transformed societies. We work, shop,12 and socialize13 online. We embrace information technology's promise of improved healthcare (e.g., through personalized medicine,14 telemedicine,15 healthrelated mobile applications,16 and big data analytics17), greater democratization,18 and improved quality of life for ourselves as individuals and as societies.19

Third, at the nation-state level, governments increasingly rely on IT solutions to provide cheaper, more efficient delivery of government services through e-government initiatives;20 to manage their own supply chains;21 to facilitate online voting;22 and to carry out essential government functions, such as national defense.23

Finally, at the international level, the growing global reliance on cyberspace has implications for established governance models,24 alliances,25 international stability,26 and warfare.27

As we work to realize the extraordinary promise of cyberspace, we face

an extraordinary challenge. …

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