Ransomware known as WannaCry, a.k.a. WannaDecyptor and WannaCrypt, could have inflicted untold damage throughout the world and extorted billions for its creators. Thanks to the timely curiosity of an unidentified cybersecurity researcher known as MelwareTech, the threat from the current version of this ransomware was disarmed before it could spread even farther. With the damage mounting, the cyberattack has infected, at least, the computers of 200,000 individuals and 100,000 organizations in 150 countries. This threat to the global economy and the engine of modern life that is the Internet has reaffirmed the need for proper cybergovernance.
Although the looming threat posed by the weaknesses within the world’s cyber infrastructure is well-known, this particular story of ransomware does have an especially disconcerting twist. Those responsible for the ransomware had actually utilized a stolen NSA tool. America’s national security apparatus, as well as those of other nations, allegedly develop these tools to secure their homelands from national security threats. Not only has the NSA’s gamble to invest in these types of unsecured weapons of mass destruction raised concerns of national security overreach, it has endangered the American Peoples and the other Peoples of the world.
The WannaCry malware was so indiscriminate, like most malware, that it targeted the U.K.'s National Health Service. While emergency patients did have to be diverted, the outcome could have imperiled the lives of many more individuals. The world will blame the NSA while the NSA will point the finger at the malware’s creators and Bitcoin exchanges, which allow hostage takers to anonymously collect the money they have extorted from targets. Others will blame IT Administrators for their failures. Although the NSA and the responsible cybercriminal are to blame for this incident and all of the damage done, the broader failure rests in the hands of the world’s governments and the internet culture.
Cyber issues can be serious national security threats, but they can also be economic and social issues. Net Neutrality, for example, is more of an economic and civil liberties issue than a national security issue, but attempts to address it suffer from the same problems as efforts to address cybersecurity. The Trump Administration’s proposed Net Neutrality rules, which upsurge the widely supported Obama Administration’s rules, exemplifies unresponsive governance and a mild form of corruption, because the rules favor the special interests of ISPs over the broader public interests of equal access.
The Trump New Neutrality rules are, however, born out of a widely held view that the internet is solely a private concern and government should not intrude. The problem is that the internet is a cyberland of anarchy where powerful actors, including cybercriminals, unscrupulous businesses, and predatory governments can do as they please. Because there is a lack of proper governance and a lack of government protected cyberliberties in the cyberworld, average users are under constant threat. They are threatened by cybercriminals as well as the governments and security forces supposed to protect the Peoples of the world.
When it comes to domestically controlled issues, such as Net Neutrality and national security overreach, national governments must act. Global cybersecurity threats require world leaders to come together in order to overcome the threat of cyberwarfare, so they can unite and turn their attention to cybersecurity threats. They must come together to protect the privacy rights and security of the world’s population. If they do not, the world will continue to see escalating cyberattacks that do more and more damage more and more often.
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