Management Of Cyber Security In The Age Of Information Technology

Crime, a social and economic phenomenon has been with us since the days of antiquity. Over the past couple of years, with the advent of the information revolution, society has witnessed a new form of criminal behavior called cyber attack or Cyberwarfare.

This is the use of computers and the Internet in conducting warfare in cyberspace. It is broadly defined by experts such as Richard Clarke as “actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks for the purposes of causing damage or disruption”.

Cyber attack has been described as the fifth domain of warfare, after land, sea, air and space. One form of cyber attackis cybercrime, generally referred to as any criminal act dealing with computers and computer networks.

This type of crime has been classified into three broad categories-crime against individuals (i.e., the person or his/her property); against organizations (such as companies, corporations, or government establishment); and against society at large.

Examples of crime against individuals or individual property are cyber-stalking, email harassment, email spoofing, defamation, computer vandalism, virus transmission, internet time theft, among others.

Examples of crime against organizations are distribution of pirated software, possession of unauthorized information, and cyber terrorism against the government or governmental organizations. Examples of crime against society are child pornography, financial crimes, sale of illegal articles, online gambling, among others.

In addition to the above-listed categories, there are other manifestations of cybercrime. For example, phishing is a technique that tricks internet users into providing their user names and passwords through emails that appear to come from a legitimate source.

And spear phishing is used to target a specific organization or company to gain access to confidential data. Pharming is another technique used by hackers to redirect traffic from a real website to a fake one in order to steal confidential information.

Through the use of various internet tools such as skype, email, and internet relay chats, perpetrator are able to lure their victims into such virtual spaces, and social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Myspace, etc.), engage them in persuasive dialogue over a period of time, develop false legal documents, and create a situation that convinces their victims to either transfer money or make available their credit card details to the perpetrators.

Today, the concept “Cybers-pace” has emerged to refer to the whole of the physical and logical media that comprise the information and communication system infrastructures. Cyberspace is now an essential part of our culture Thus, we need to understand cybercrime within this broad context of cyberspace.

The emergence of cybercrime and other types of cyber threats is a wake up call for cyber experts to put in place security measures geared toward managing cyberspace.

How do we protect and manage cyberspace for local area networks in corporate and financial institutions; how do we combat cybercrime; how does the threat of cybercrime affect the development and growth of ICT and the related internal security challenges; Fact is, there are no easy answers to the above issues.

Today cyber security has emerged as a discipline to deal with the threats to cyberspace.

In 2009, President Barack Obama declared America’s digital infrastructure to be a “strategic national asset,” and in May 2010 the Pentagon set up its new Cyber Command (Cybercom) to defend American military networks and attack other countries’ systems.

Britain has also set up a cyber-security and “operations centre. Today, most advanced countries have taken steps to move in this direction. For example, countries such as France, Israel and South Korea, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Pakistan have acknowledged their strategic interest in cyberspace as a vehicle to attain positions of economic and political leadership in their geographical scopes of influence.

There is the need for legislation to fight cyber crime. This call for public debate to enable various segments of the society express their opinion on the topic. This will ensure that the legislation captures almost all criminal acts falling under the umbrella of cyber crime.For example, the Indian parliament passed the Information Technology Act in 2000 to control the affairs of the cyberworld.

SaileshkumarZarkar, an IT consultant to the Mumbai Police Cyber crime Cell has outlined what has generally come to be known as the 5P mantra for online security-Precaution, Prevention, Protection, Preservation, Perseverance.

Tough socioeconomic conditions create the right environment for cybercrime to thrive. When people are ideal and have no jobs, they are more likely to engage in risky-gainful ventures like cybercrime. One solution then is to create jobs and opportunities for people, especially the youth, to enable them climb the social ladder through socially approved methods.

Cybercrime could be minimized if the skills and talents of the perpetrators are channeled in the right direction. There is the need to set up incubation centres where young men and women with brilliant ideas can develop projects and be paid for their projects.

If the projects were patented and funded by international bodies including the UNESCO and World Bank, such youths who went into cyber fraud because of money could be helped to desist from those nefarious activities.

There is the need for all major law enforcement units (such as the Bureau of National Investigation, the Police, the Criminal Investigation Department, etc.) to establish cyber crime units and cells in all major cities who’ll work directly with law enforcement.

There should be a conscious effort to equip the identified organizations with the right training and technical tools to enable them fight cyber crime in a coordinated manner. For example, all of them could share a centralized database on cyber crime to enhance their work.

Above all, the establishment of a National Cryptology Centre to manage cyberspace security at the national, regional, and district level will go a long way to deal with the challenges posed by cybercrime.Cyber crime is a global challenge. Thus, international collaboration is needed to deal with the problem. By Dr. Osei K. Darkwa

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