In a New York Times op-ed today, “Defend America One Laptop At A Time,” Harvard Law Professor (and former director of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel) Jack Goldsmith argues that the everyday computer user can play a key part in the nation’s cyber security initiative. Cyber security is seen as an increasingly vital piece of the the U.S.’s homeland security portfolio, and I have been focusing on finding ways that citizens (in addition to government and private industry) can contribute. Goldsmith, who is currently working on a book on cyber security, says the public’s computers are a vulnerable front for potential attackers. As he writes:
“Our digital security problems start with ordinary computer users who do not take security seriously. Their computers can be infiltrated and used as vehicles for attacks on military or corporate systems. They are also often the first place that adversaries go to steal credentials or identify targets as a prelude to larger attacks.
President Obama has recognized the need to educate the public about computer security. The government should jump-start this education by mandating minimum computer security standards and by requiring Internet service providers to deny or delay Internet access to computers that fall below these standards, or that are sending spam or suspicious multiple computer probes into the network.”
This is a subject I will be continuing to follow, and I’ll be interviewing Goldsmith to discuss it further sometime soon.