Defending the Nation Against Cyber Attack: Information Assurance in the Global Environment   [open pdf - 250KB]

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the words quoted above is that they were written almost at the dawn of the Information Age. Until recently, we as a nation have paid them little heed. The United States, and the rest of the world, continues to charge headlong into the information revolution -- information technology is making profound inroads into the very fabric of our society and our economy as a nation in the global community. In a very real sense, the "Information Superhighway" has become the economic lifeblood of our nation. While leading the world into the Information Age, at the same time the United States has become uniquely dependent on information technology -- computers and the global network that connect them together. This dependency has become a clear and compelling threat to our economic well-being, our public safety, and our national security. Increased protection against cyber attack is founded upon encryption technology -- including digital signatures -- to provide the authentication, integrity, non-repudiation, and privacy/confidentiality services necessary for information assurance. Strong digitalsignature-based authentication used to provide positive access control is perhaps the most powerful tool in protecting against cyber attack. Digital signature also provides for integrity of electronic information and non-repudiation of cyber-transactions. Encryption is applied to desktops, file servers, and across networks to assure the privacy of sensitive government, business, and personal information. Once the almost exclusive province of governments, encryption technology is now widely available in the commercial marketplace, and is a fundamental enabler for information assurance. The economic prosperity that our nation enjoys today is largely founded in the Information Age and in our global leadership in information technology. Our continued leadership and prosperity in the global economy may well hinge on our national commitment to act as leaders in bringing integrity and responsibility -- information assurance -- to the global information environment we have helped to create. The administration has sent a clear message via PDD-63 that the time to act is now, and the NSA is well-positioned and ready to support the charge with our technical know-how. Information superiority in the Information Age is a clear national imperative.

Author:Minihan, Kenneth A.
Publisher:United States. Department of State
Copyright:Public Domain
Media Type:application/pdf
Source:Cyberthreat: Protecting U.S. Information Networks: U.S.Foreign Policy Agenda: An Electronic Journal of the U.S.Department of State, v.3, no.4, p. 5-7
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