Would a U.S. draft of tech companies help us win a cyberwar?

Computer security
Analyists at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) prepare for Cyber Storm III during a media session at their headquarters in Arlington, VA, September 24, 2010. Cyber Storm III is NCCIC's capstone national-level cybersecurity exercise.

How can the U.S. best protect its communications systems, power grids and manufacturing sector in the event of a serious cyber attack by the likes of China, Russia, North Korea, or even decentralized hacker groups like Anonymous?

One provocative idea: a cyberdraft.

Neal Ungerleider of Fast Company recently wrote about the idea of forced enlistment of American tech companies in the event of war. Excerpt:

There is talk of establishing an American "cyberdraft" in which entire companies could be drafted to defend government and private computer networks in time of war. Talk is theoretical right now, but it could be inching closer to reality. Cyberdrafts of various sorts already operate in Estonia, China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Israel, and elsewhere. The question of the relationship between private Internet security firms and crucial American government and business interests is one of the great unresolved questions of a cybersecurity bill expected during Obama's second term ...

According to research presented at the 2011 International Conference on Cyber Conflict in Tallinn, legal precedent and tools exist for the United States to create a cyberdraft in a wartime situation. In order to mitigate concerns relating to the chain of command and the time-sensitive needs of protecting government and private sector servers, most experts agree that entire companies would have to be "drafted" and switch their entire focus to security-sensitive concerns dictated by government.

Ungerleider will join The Daily Circuit Monday, Nov. 19 to talk about the logistics of a cyberdraft.

John Arquilla, professor and chair of the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Post Graduate School, will also join the discussion.


One afternoon with a Russian cybersecurity icon (Beta Beat)

Why government malware is like James Bond: It's unstoppable (Wired.co.uk)

One man's quest to prove the risk of cyberwar is vastly overstated (Quartz)

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