A Nonstate Strategy for Saving Cyberspace

America’s future, and that of other nations and peoples, will be most secure in the long term with an emphasis on future prosperity unlocked by the Internet.

The problem is that there is no guarantee that the future of the Internet, and the larger entirety of cyberspace, will be as rosy as its past. It is possible, even likely, that the Internet will not remain as resilient, free, secure, and awesome for future generations as it has been for current ones. 

From the Foreword:

Our lives are under attack, but because it happens mostly in the shadows, many people
do not notice, leaving only the experts a chance of defending themselves. As we
continue to blindly connect nearly all aspects of our lives into the foundation of the
Internet for increased convenience, we are also increasing the chances that our day-to-day
livelihood will be greatly disrupted or deleted.

At the personal level, that potential would be heartbreaking: bank accounts, family photos,
music, contacts—all up for grabs. At the government level: public opinion, our nation’s secrets,
our ability to fight wars, our infrastructure that governs everything from highways to space—all
vulnerable and subject to seizure or subversion by our enemies, state and nonstate alike.
I have seen this firsthand. At the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
(ICANN), I was the chief security officer, helping to ensure that the Internet can continue
to provide massive benefits to billions without much government oversight. I also saw the
vulnerabilities of the Internet during the conferences I founded and organized like DEF CON
and Black Hat. The underlying Internet we depend on for our social, cultural, economic, and
individual empowerment is nowhere near secure enough to hold what we are building on
top of it.

For these reasons, this Atlantic Council Strategy Paper that Jason Healey offers, “A Nonstate
Strategy for Saving Cyberspace,” is important. He recognizes that the Internet “may have
surpassed Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press as history’s most transformative invention,”
and therefore must be acknowledged as such and protected. Following his advice—ensuring
that “defense” surpasses “offense” in cyberspace—is the only way to protect the shared
dependencies of the Internet so that it continues to provide great benefit to all people of
the world.

Atlantic Council Strategy Paper No. 8

Visit Resource

Become A CyberGuardian

Protect your community: take the CyberGuardian Pledge, join our email list, get invited to events.

Take the Pledge