Welcome to Course 1 in CS4950, Homeland Security and Cybersecruity. In this course we examine the origins of homeland security and its co0nnection with cybersecurity. Homeland security is about safeguarding the United States from domestic catastrophic destruction. Catastrophic destruction comes in two forms: natural and manmade.
For most of history the manmade variety came in the form of warfare and required the combined resources of a nation state. All that changed March 20th, 1995. On that date, members of a quasi-religious cult in Japan attacked the Tokyo subway system using Sarin gas. It was the first deployment of a weapon of mass destruction my a non-state actor. The power of destruction once reserved to nation states was now available to small groups, even individuals. The incident was a wake up call for governments around the world. Defense establishments designed to keep rogue states in check were practically useless against non-state actors. Overnight, the number of potential enemies multiplied a hundred, maybe even a thousand-fold. In response to the Tokyo Subway Attacks, the United States took measures to protect itself from WMD attack by non-state actors. Those measures were still being enacted when the nation was attacked on 9/11. On September 11, 2001, nineteen hijackers inflicted as much damage as the Imperial Japanese Navy on December 7, 1941. The investigating 9/11 Commission noted the attacks for their “surpassing disproportion”. The hijackers had achieved WMD effects without using WMD. They did this by subverting the nation’s transportation infrastructure, turning passenger jets into guided missiles. Again, the security implications were profound. Non-state actors seeking to inflict domestic catastrophic destruction did not need to import, fabricate, or acquire WMD as the nation was surrounded by the means of its own destruction in the form of critical infrastructure. The vulnerability of critical infrastructure had not gone unnoticed. Again, in response to the Tokyo Subway attacks, which themselves had been an attack on Japanese infrastructure, President Clinton in 1996 commissioned a panel to investigate the threat to United States’ infrastructure. The panel replied in 1997 that there was no immediate threat to US infrastructure, but they were concerned with the growing risk of cyber attack. The same cyber physical systems that fueled the explosive growth of the Internet were being incorporated into Industrial Control Systems that underpinned much of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The panel noted that the knowledge and skills necessary to mount a cyber attack on the nation’s infrastructure was growing. As a result of this observation, President Clinton in 1998 ordered the protection of US critical infrastructure, especially from cyber attack. Following 9/11, critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity were designated core missions in the 2002 Homeland Security Act establishing the new Department of Homeland Security. They remain core missions to this day, but many don’t see the connection. The connection is this: cybersecurity is essential to critical infrastructure protection, which is essential to homeland security, which is about safeguarding the United States from domestic catastrophic destruction. I look forward to working with you in the coming lessons. Best wishes and good luck!
Course 1 of 4 in the Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Specialization.
Who is this class for: This course was designed for learners who currently work in the cybersecurity career field, are interested in working in the cybersecurity career field, or are just curious about the topic. While there are no specific prerequisites for this course, it does assume some common understanding about computers and the Internet. Similarly, while this is mostly a non-technical course, it does require analytical and problem-solving skills on the part of the learner. This course provides a general overview of cybersecurity as it relates to critical infrastructure protection and homeland security. In addition to examining various cybersecurity policies as they apply to the water, electricity, aviation, and Internet infrastructures, this course relates those practices to the broader mission of critical infrastructure protection identifying “who’s who and what do they do”. This course seeks to demonstrate the intimate relationship between homeland security and cybersecurity. If you are ready to pry open that Pandora’s box, then this course is for you. I look forward to seeing you in the lectures. Cheers!
Module 1: Domestic Catastrophic Destruction
Homeland security is about safeguarding the United States from domestic catastrophic destruction. Domestic catastrophic destruction comes in two forms: natural and manmade. For most of history, the manmade variety came in the form of warfare and required the combined resources of a nation state. In this module we examine two pivotal incidents that changed that calculus, and demonstrated how destruction once reserved to the power of nation states was wrested by non-state actors.
Module 2: HS & DHS
This module tackles the question “what is homeland security”, and offers a working definition to help guide the student to understanding. It also looks at the mission of the Department of Homeland Security as it relates to “Safeguarding the United States from Domestic Catastrophic Destruction”. Also included in this module is course exam #1. Good luck!
Graded: Exam 1
Module 3: Safeguarding Against Domestic Catastrophic Destruction
Manmade domestic catastrophic destruction comes in two known forms: 1) weapons of mass destruction, and 2) subverting critical infrastructure. This module looks at the nation’s overall strategy for countering WMD, and protecting critical infrastructure.
Module 4: Homeland Security and Cybersecurity
As stated previously, homeland security is connected to cybersecurity through critical infrastructure protection. How this insight came about and what is meant by “cybersecurity” are the focus of attention in this module. Also included in this module is course exam #2 and related project assignment. Good luck!
Graded: Exam 2
Graded: Making the Business Case
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