Keep calm and follow this new strategy for cyber security

Technology 10 Mar 2021 Contributor
Today's Focus
cyber security
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The twenty-first century is all about computers and the internet. The rapid worldwide expansion of the internet sees frequent data theft and misuse by hackers which cost countries and companies a great deal. Usually, hackers send spam or virus to disrupt security measures. Then they take control of the data stored in the specific servers. Now, who doesn’t know that the most valuable thing in the twenty-first century is – data!

When a government-run or sponsored website gets hacked, the cyber security experts of that country launch search operations to find the hackers. Following the general trend, they target the so-called enemy countries usually. A team of researchers from MIT, the University of Chicago, and the North-Western University point out this trend to be a harmful one in their recent studies. Their new model on how to retaliate after a cyber attack just got published in the American Political Science Review journal.

Cyber security: The negative feedbacks of a quick retaliation

With the advancement of technology, today’s hackers are so able that most of the time it is very difficult to locate them. All the websites have some specific addresses or post box which are known as IP address. Hackers generally mask their IP addresses and this makes them hard to find. For example, a team of Russian hackers disrupted the internet and television services during the winter Olympics in 2018, held in South Korea. As the hackers used North Korean IP addresses, the retaliation scenario got messy.

On one occasion, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn told, “Whereas a missile comes with a return address, a computer virus generally does not.” For this, to locate the hackers or to find the source of the virus they send is a very very difficult job and retaliation with very limited information has significant chances to backfire. MIT economist Alexander Wolitzky, associated with this study, puts in, “If we always target Russia or China for every cyber attack, then some other country gets automatic impunity on attacking.”

What does this new model suggest?

Citing some recent cyber-attacks and retaliation strategies from few countries in this study, the researchers showed that a quick retaliation made the situation worst in most of the cases. Referring to those, Wolitzky said, “It is not good to have an attacking plan with a little information.” He actually emphasized acquiring more and more information on the hackers and their source and if the data points to a country with absolute confidence, then and then only one should think about retaliating. Sometimes this also does not help if one collects data keeping a plan of attack from the beginning as it blinds or biases the collected data. According to the researchers, this model could be applied to many fields along with cyber security problems.

For example, let us assume that a number of factories dump their waste into a river. Now if only one of them is targeted then this would encourage the rest to continue polluting the river. The researchers think that this model can open a new door in strategizing foreign policy as the matter of national security nowadays is very much associated with cyber security.