‘The struggle for control of the internet is just beginning’ – that is what Nikko Hyppönen, chief research officer for F-Secure, a Finnish-based computer security company believes.

At the start of October US Cybercom, the division of the pentagon created to battle enemies in cyberspace, went operational.

The Pentagon computer network is probed up to six million times a day by groups including 140 different foreign spy networks, according to General Keith Alexander, the commander of US Cybercom.

To defend against this increasing threat to national security US Cybercom needs to do all it can to lift the United States from the vulnerable position it now finds itself in. A cyber-attack on the critical infrastructure of an American city would probably succeed in taking out power, communications and financial services.

However, as Richard Clarke points out, the creation of this military division has been done without a “public debate, media discussion, serious congressional oversight, academic analysis or international dialogue”

As the Financial Times have commented.

‘These moves will lead to a much deeper apparatus of control and monitoring of internet activity by the US.’

It is not just the military that are having to defend against cyber-enemies. Banks are losing out on millions as a result of cyber-crime. One of the responses of  financial organisations is that people need to become more responsible.

HSBC are already refusing to reimburse victims of cyber crime unless they have the correct level of internet security on their computer. In China, the next generation of internet users will have to pass a ‘internet test’ to prove their proficiency before surfing the web.

The Battle of Cyberspace is one that can never really be won and will roll on indefinitely. As criminals up their game with new technologies, the response from the American military (and the military of other countries) will be to increase their power in cyber-space.

What the effects will be can only be imagined.

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