Cyber Power: Which Nations Will Emerge as the Cyber Powers of the 21st Century?
Meet the Panel
- Frank J. Cilluffo, Associate VP and Director, GWU
- Robert N. Rose, Executive Vice President, Thomson Reuters
- Frank Kramer, Author, Cyberpower and National Security
- Ambassador David Gross, Partner, Wiley Rein
- Kristin M. Lord, Vice President and Director, Center for a New American Security
About Our Panel
Aired January 3, 2011
Read Our Expert Commentary
Associate with 25 years of Internet routing and DNS operations experience.
Cyberspace is an emergent realm, which can be thought of as the intersection of a communications mesh and the objects and entities that use that mesh to exchange information. Control of cyberspace is by its very nature, not something that can be extended beyond the locus of control of any given participating entity in cyberspace. Cyber power relates to at least two aspects of cyberspace: the ability to have a unique identity and to have that unique identity projected into the communications mesh in a verifiable manor.
In the older Internet context, using IP addresses as the labels for both identity and location in the mesh was true for the network itself. The entities participating in the Internet have additional labels that create their unique identity which is their domain name plus email address. These two, plus an originating IP address are the basis for much of the existing forensic work in auditing activities on the Internet. While useable and useful, these methods of creating and maintaining adequate identities fall short particularly with the current use of address remapping or network address translation (NAT). Even domain names are falling prey to ambiguity as DNS hijacking and redirection are becoming more common and accepted in cyberspace.
These trends in the cyberspace ecosystem coupled with the augmentation of two new classes of participants, argue for a change in thinking about unique identities in cyberspace. Once class of participants in cyberspace are synthetic entities. Examples exist from the earliest days of the Internet with the addition of corporate entities in the domain name space. More recently, nation states are coming to the fore and asserting their unique identities in cyberspace. The second class of participants in cyberspace are machines, sensors and actuators which comprise what is called the Internet of Things (IoT). A third class has been identified and is an area of active research; the content or data driven network (ICN) that tracks data elements as first class entities in cyberspace.
The apparent, common thread across all these classes of entities in the cyber domain is the use of crypto hashes as the foundational element for their unique identity. For some, this is seen in the evolution of Certificate Authorities (CA), while in others we see the rise of crypto hashes used in Radio Frequency Identity (RFID) tags. The value of a common suite of globally usable crypto engines and algorithms to create and use strong crypto for creating usable unique identities for all participants in the cyber domain cannot be understated. If cyberspace is expected to become a common, global platform for information sharing, there have to be common rules.
The strongest players in cyberspace, who will wield the most influence and gain the most in cyber power will be those who can build consensus around the use of globally accepted unique identities based on strong crypto hashes that are locally controlled.Read more and comment