Proactive cyber defence
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Proactive cyber defense or active cyber defense (ACD) means acting in anticipation to oppose an attack against computers and networks. Proactive cyber defense will most often require additional cybersecurity from internet service providers.
Some of the reasons for a proactive defense strategy are about cost and choice. Making choices after an attack are difficult and costly. Proactive defense is key to mitigating operational risk.
In the fifth century, B.C., Sun Tzu advocated "foreknowledge" or predictive analysis as part of a winning strategy. He warned that planners must have a precise understanding of the active threat and not "remain ignorant of the enemy's condition". The thread of proactive defense is spun throughout his teachings.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was likely the first to use of the term proactive in his 1946 book Man's Search for Meaning to distinguish the act of taking responsibility for one's own circumstances rather than attributing one's condition to external factors.
Later in 1982, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) used "proactive" as a contrary concept to "reactive" in assessing risk. In the framework of risk management "proactive" meant taking initiative by acting rather than reacting to threat events. Conversely "reactive" measures respond to a stimulus or past events rather than predicting the event. In military science, then and now considers defense is the science-art of thwarting an attack. Furthermore, doctrine poses that if a party attacks an enemy who is about to attack this could be called active-defense. Defense is also a euphemism for war but does not carry the negative connotation of an offensive war. Usage in this way has broadened the term to include most military issues including offensive, which is implicitly referred to as active-defense. Politically the concept of national self-defense to counter a war of aggression refers to a defensive war involving pre-emptive offensive strikes and is one possible criterion in the 'Just War Theory'. Proactive defense has moved beyond theory. It has been put into practice in theatres of operation.
In 1989 Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, published by Free Press, transformed the meaning "to act before a situation becomes a source of confrontation or crisis". Since then, "proactive" has been placed in opposition to the words "reactive" or "passive".
Cyber is derived from "Cybernetics", a word originally coined by a group of scientists led by Norbert Wiener and made popular by Wiener's book of 1948, Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Cyberspace typically refers to the vast and growing logical domain composed of public and private networks; independently managed networks linked together through the lingua franca of the Internet, the Internet Protocol (IP). The definition of Cyberspace has been extended to include all network-space which at some point, through some path, may have eventual access to the public internet. Under this definition, cyberspace becomes virtually every networked device in the world, which is not devoid of a network interface entirely. There is no air-gap anymore between networks.
The origins of cyber defense undoubtedly evolved from the original purpose of the Internet which was to harden military networks against the threat of a nuclear strike. Later cyber defense was coveted by the tenets of information warfare and information operations.
The rapid evolution of information warfare operations doctrine in the 1990s embraced a proactive preemptive cyber defence strategy.
"Information Warfare is an emergent reality that comes from a self-organization process that has never seen before. The problem is that we talk about it using terms that have well known connotations. And it is difficult to talk about something completely new using words that bring with them specific understanding and expectancies. The early period of the automobile faced a similar situation. At one time it was called a "horseless carriage" as this was the only way to define its essential quality. The car is more than a carriage without a horse. This is the dilemma we face when we discuss Information Warfare. The danger is that the uses of familiar words misrepresent and mask the true extend of the revolution that will have to take place if we are to be able to retain a military capacity in a new physical, social and cognitive space." - Dr. Garigue, 1994.
The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace was published in February 2003 to outline an initial framework for both organizing and prioritizing efforts to secure the cyberspace. It highlighted the necessity for public private partnerships. Proactive threads include the call to deter malicious activity and prevent cyber attacks against America's critical infrastructures.
The notion of "proactive defense" has a rich history. The hype of "Proactive cyber defense" reached its zenith around 1994. This period was marked by intense "hype" discussions under the auspices of Information Warfare. Much of the current doctrine related to proactive cyber defense was fully developed by 1995. A number of programs were initiated then, and advanced to full operation by 2005 including those of hostile states. Meanwhile, the public discussions diminished until the most recent resurgence in proactive cyber defense 2004-2008. Now most of the discussions around proactive defense in the literature are much less "proactive" than the earlier discussions in 1994 or existing operational programs. 'Proactive' is often used to hype marketing of security products or programs, in much the same way that "extreme" or "quality" adjectives have been misused.
The hype-cycle of discussion reached its peak in 1994. Present-day proactive cyber defense strategy was conceived within the context of the rich discussion that preceded it, existing doctrine and real proactive cyber defense programs that have evolved globally over the past decade. Robert John Garigue, a computational epistemologist and father of information warfare in Canada, published Information Warfare, Developing a Conceptual Framework. This was a landmark document in 1994 and genesis for proactive cyber defensive theory in Canada.
The Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) worked with private companies and government networks to plug security holes before they can be exploited in cyberattacks and was merged with its offensive counterpart, the Signals Intelligence Directorate in 2016. In 2013 a presidential advisory committee recommended that the US Government should increase the use of encryption, and urge US companies to do so, in order to better protect data. In 2016 senior DoD officials said that the Defense Department supports strong encryption to protect military capabilities and US economic security and competitiveness.
The NSA was criticized for buying up and stockpiling zero-day vulnerabilities, keeping them secret and developing mainly offensive capabilities instead of defensive measures and helping patch vulnerabilities.
Proactive pre-emptive operations
"Effective cyber defenses ideally prevent an incident from taking place. Any other approach is simply reactive. FedCIRC, the NIPC, the NSIRC, the Department of Defense and industry components realize that the best [action] is a pre-emptive and proactive approach." - Sallie McDonald, the Assistant Commissioner for the Office Of Information Assurance and Critical Infrastructure Protection, Federal Technology Service and General Services Administration; in offering testimony about the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and the Federal Computer Incident Response Center or FedCIRC; before The Subcommittee on Terrorism Technology and Government Information Committee on Judiciary and the United States Senate on July 25, 2001.
The notion of a Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group (P2OG) emerged from a report of the Defense Science Board (DSB), 2002 briefing. The briefing was reported by Dan Dupont in Inside the Pentagon on September 26, 2002, and was also discussed by William M. Arkin in the Los Angeles Times on October 27, 2002. The Los Angeles Times has subsequently quoted U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld revealing the creation of the "Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group". The mission of the P2OG is reportedly to conduct Aggressive, Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations to interdiction and disruption the threat using: Psychological operations, Managed Information Dissemination, Precision Targeting, Information Warfare Operations, and SIGINT... The proactive defence strategy is meant to improves information collection by stimulating reactions of the threat agents, provide strike options and to enhance operational preparation of the real or virtual battle space. The P2OG has been recommended to be constituted of "one hundred 'highly specialized people with unique technical and intelligence skills such as information operations, PSYOPS, network attack, covert activities, SIGINT, HUMINT, SOF, influence warfare/deception operations and to report to the National Security Council with an annual budget of $100 million". The group would be overseen by the White House's deputy national security adviser and would carry out missions coordinated by the secretary of defense or the CIA director. "The proposal is the latest sign of a new assertiveness by the Defense Department in intelligence matters, and an indication that the cutting edge of intelligence reform is not to be found in Congress but behind closed doors in the Pentagon." - Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. DoD doctrinally would initiate a 'pre-emptive' attack on the basis of evidence that an enemy attack is imminent. Proactive measures, according to DoD are those actions taken directly against the preventive stage of an attack by the enemy.
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