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As cybercrime surges, cybersecurity 'quarterback' CISA seeks to mold election integrity debate

The increase in cyberattacks in the U.S. is directly attributable to the country's "poor leadership," according to cybercrime expert C. Jordan Howell.

Published: February 10, 2023 1:46pm

Updated: February 15, 2023 5:41pm

Amid continuing vulnerability of U.S. defenses against surging cybercrime, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) — which touts itself as the "quarterback for the federal cybersecurity team" — has sought to carve itself a role as stealth arbiter of domestic political debate about election security through a network of corporate and nonprofit information control surrogates.

If cybercrime was measured as a country, it "would be the world's third-largest economy," according to Steve Morgan, the editor-in-chief of Cybercrime Magazine.

In 2015, Morgan noted, cybercrime cost $3.5 trillion annually. By 2025, it is estimated to be worth $10.5 trillion.

Last year, global cyberattacks increased by 38%, according to Check Point Research. The U.S. is the second-most targeted country in the world, behind only the U.K., according to a recent report by AAG IT. 

Amid the surge in cybercrime, the U.S. is sorely lacking the defense systems needed to combat increasingly sophisticated attacks. In 2022, for instance, U.S. healthcare facilities experienced an 86% increase in attacks compared to the previous year. Food and beverage industries have also experienced an increase in cyber assaults. Similarly, the financial sector is extremely vulnerable to attack.

Compounding the inadequacy of defense systems, the U.S. also lacks enough cybersecurity professionals to "protect our most important and private information, from bank accounts to sensitive military communications," according to experts at CyberSeek. This "dangerous shortage of cybersecurity workers," they warn, "puts our digital privacy and infrastructure at risk."

The increase in cyberattacks in the U.S. is directly attributable to the country's "poor leadership," according to C. Jordan Howell, a cybercrime expert at the University of South Florida. "Our current cybersecurity strategies," he told Just the News, "are reactive in nature: This is costly, ineffective, and does nothing to prevent attacks." 

The U.S. struggle even to define terms like "cybercrime" makes "investigation and prosecution problematic, if not impossible," Howell added, warning the country will continue to be targeted by opportunistic cybercriminals until "our politicians and policy makers understand the fundamentals of cyberspace." 

The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is, according to its website, responsible for leading the nation's "strategic and unified work" to strengthen security and "protect critical services."  

The "quarterback for the federal cybersecurity team," CISA was designed to  protect and defend the United States from cyberattacks. Amid growing U.S. vulnerability to surging, increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, however, CISA has plunged headlong into domestic political disputes about election security efforts. 

The agency was instrumental in assembling a network of nonprofit "disinformation" monitors to flag online content questioning the credibility of the 2020 election for censorship by Big Tech "content moderation" specialists employing a range of techniques ranging from "visibility filtering" to account suspensions. 

The information control consortium was conceived as a mechanism for CISA and other federal security and law enforcement agencies to shape the contours of public debate through ostensibly independent surrogates without leaving fingerprints, thereby evading accountability for curtailing First Amendment rights of those dissenting from a centrally approved party line on election rules dovetailing with Democratic Party preferences.

Meanwhile, as Howell and other experts have noted, the task of protecting the U.S. from a wide range of cyberattacks has been woefully neglected. The U.S. must transition from a reactive model to a proactive model "in which cybersecurity solutions are driven by innovations in cyber-intelligence and theories of human behavior," said Howell. Only then, he stressed, once we "understand the threat landscape," can the country "develop evidence-based policies and procedures to identify and deter cyber-criminals who pose a threat to U.S. assets." 

Failing that, he concluded, the U.S. will remain on its current trajectory, with "cyber-criminals, domestic and foreign, continually outmaneuvering the USA government and their corporate partners" and "taxpayers and everyday Internet users asked to pay the tab."

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