Tag Archives: protection

A Different Plan for Federal Cybersecurity?

In the United States today, if someone were to ask a hundred people at random about what the country’s biggest concern for protecting the country, many might answer “cybersecurity.” For years, the United States has fought to protect itself against the cybernetic threats, but all of that could change after a recent policy change.

Is the United States safe from a massive cyberattack?  Photo from news.fiu.edu
Is the United States safe from a massive cyber-attack? Photo from news.fiu.edu

The U.S. federal government has more power to go on the offense against foreign foes under a new strategy that was signed on Thursday by President Donald Trump.

John Bolton, the national security adviser to President Trump gave no details about what types of operations or who they would go after as that information is classified but he did state to numerous news outlets that “We will respond offensively as well as defensively.”

The plan also gives direction to agencies to review and update defenses against cyber-attacks and to also have federal government work with state and local level governments, as well as private companies to improve the usual defense against cyberwarfare.

Bolton also stated that adversaries should know that the U.S. is going to be doing much more on the offense side of things.

This change in foreign and federal government policy ends the Obama policy which was at first classified but became public due to leaks from Edward Snowden. The policy had stated that the military was required to consult with the State Department, intelligence community and other agencies before even starting a cyberattack.

The new Trump policy would most likely assume that the military has much more rein when it comes to launching an attack.

In past years, the U.S. has accused China of hacking into the personal flies of the government and Russia for influencing the 2016 election using many different digital methods. The Russian scandal even has a current investigation going on that involves Trump and his supposed involvement.

Either way, the big concern for the country is what Bolton said here, “the United States and its allies are under attack every day in cyberspace.”

The forgotten war that nobody talks about or mentions has just gotten even more attention.

FEMA to Conduct a “Presidential Alert” Test on September 20

For many years now, most people have known that eventually, we would see a “presidential alert” test. Now, FEMA has set the tentative date of September 20th to conduct the test.

Before anyone can ask about “opting out of the texts,” the answer is no. Also, you won’t be seeing a ton of messages from the president like some people suggest you will. The alerts are only for emergencies, such as the U.S. being attacked by terrorists or other countries.  The test messages will not only be sent to your phone but also be shared on television and radio.

The text that will be sent to you is basically like the messages you saw on TV when you were young but much quieter (if your sound is off) and convenient for you and your ears.

This testing of the alert system is not the first test that has been done, but it is the first to be done nationwide on mostly everyone’s phone. The systems that will be used are the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alerts system (WEA). WEA is used locally to alert the public in the event of an AMBER alert or dangerous weather conditions.

The system was under fire back in January when residents of Hawaii were warned of an upcoming missile strike. One problem: there were no missiles, and the alert was a result of a combination of human error and a poorly designed computer interface.

The alerts were established in 2006 under the president at the time, George W. Bush. This was done so the White House could send out alerts to the general public if needed. The messages could be sent out at the president’s discretion but most experts and reporters have downplayed the chances of the system being misused.

photo from theverge.com
photo from theverge.com

NSA surveillance: protection or violation?

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) claims that the “NSA/CSS exists to protect the Nation”.

In 2013, a federal U.S. judge ruled that the National Security Agency phone surveillance program was lawful. The agency, however, is known to break the law on a large scale and lie about it.

If you’ve never heard the name Edward Snowden uttered in any political debate or in the news, you should probably learn the importance of his name. Edward Snowden is a former Intelligence Community officer and has been called anywhere from a hero, a whistleblower, a patriot, or a traitor. In May 2013, he revealed documents that provided a look into the NSA and its secret mass surveillance programs and capabilities.

The documents disclosed that the NSA was operating without public oversight and outside the limits of the US Constitution. Snowden was charged with theft of government property, and two charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. The revelations that Snowden divulged led to attention around the world on privacy intrusions and digital security, and now the issue is a global debate.

In an interview with The Guardian, Edward Snowden said, “I don’t want to live in a world where everything I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity and love or friendship is recorded.”

Do any of us wants to live in a society that does these things? And even further with no hint of probable cause, and no sham of due process. The NSA has been thoughtlessly and carelessly forcing violence against freedom, ever since the agency was founded on November 4, 1952.

“To live with the benefits of technology, should we also have to deal with the consequences as well?” Graphic from quickmeme.com

The NSA surveillance that invades our privacy because of “national security” was a complete secret before Edward Snowden blew the “freedom” whistle. The phone surveillance violates the fourth amendment in respect to Americans’ privacy rights, and it also violates our natural sense of personal privacy.

Concerning these issues, the government is the one in violation of the laws and should be held accountable, right? But Edward Snowden was the one who was charged and seen as the traitor and as the criminal, for doing the right thing and letting us know that we’re being watched. The government is just hiding its own abusive power, and saving themselves.

To live with the benefits of technology, should we also have to deal with the consequences as well?

Benjamin Franklin, a radical defender of freedom once said, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” This quote has been used by anti-war protestors, and for protests against the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.

The quote has many variations, and has been taken out of context multiple times and is originally “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” However, despite the lack of context and the more-modern form of the quote, believe that Benjamin Franklin would agree with what the quote has been modernized to illustrate.

SGA initiatives: Improving student safety

This past week’s Student Government Association survey focused on campus safety. Although safety doesn’t seem to be a major concern for many students, most would still like to see a strengthening of safety measures taken, particularly at night or during the weekends. One of the issues that student government wishes to address is the poor lighting situation in certain areas of campus. Many students believe it’s unsafe.

Continue reading SGA initiatives: Improving student safety

Daily sun protection: Options and tips

As the temperatures rise and the hems of our sleeves gradually recede, we will witness more students sunbathing on the Heth lawn. Girls will sport their new itty bitty bikinis while shirtless boys pass a football under the radiating sun. After a long hibernation under the heavy layers of fabric, more and more skin will eagerly break free, searching for the warm rays of the sun.

Spring can be an exciting time of the year. As more skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, sun protectants become more important. Bombarded by the media, people are generally aware that excessive exposures to ultraviolet rays are dangerous, and that tanning practices have harmful effects on the skin. Unfortunately, people are uninformed about the importance of daily sun protection. I don’t think enough people wear sun protectants regularly, or don’t reapply protection after a span of time (as directed on most such products). Continue reading Daily sun protection: Options and tips