Japan’s Cyber Security May Be in the Hands of Patriotic Geeks

It’s clear that much of the warfare that takes place between competing countries occurs not only on real battle grounds, but also in cyberspace. Motohiro Tsuchiya, a professor at the Keio University, believes that the best way for a country to ensure an efficient cyber defense is by trying to attract patriotic geeks on its side.

The problem is that states usually don’t have the necessary funds to hire skilled security professionals, and even if they manage to get their attention, without a long term commitment not much can be accomplished.

“Even if the government succeeds in employing them, it would be vulnerable unless it keeps them committed long enough - think about the risk of them being hired by adversary forces after their stint in the government! Success hinges on whether the government can secure patriotic geeks,” Tsuchiya wrote in a commentary for AJISS.

The individuals involved in cyberattacks can be divided into three main categories: ones with too much time on their hands, ones who operate with profit in mind, and others who conduct test attacks with the purpose of finding security holes.

Japan was one of the first countries to consider a national cyber security strategy, but since 2005, when the measures were introduced, a lot of improvements had to be made, especially after seeing that the US and South Korea were targeted by attacks in 2009.

“The attacker has the upper hand in cyber war. The defender must be prepared for an attack that could come from anywhere, at any moment,” he added.

“There are even cases in which defenders are not aware that they are under attack. Unless the government secures experts who can detect a cyber-attack at an early stage and take effective measures, national defense will be rendered fragile.”

Tsuchiya concludes that in the era where technology and communications play such an important part in the tasks performed by national organizations, reliable cyber experts are a necessity.


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