Contradictions are seen in cybersecurity mainly through the governments inability to provide resources for and stress the importance of well-developed cyber security systems and ethical responses to breaches. Although there has been a dramatic increase in cyber-attacks on small businesses, many of the resources and standards that the DOD has tried to implement are still far beyond the reach of smaller companies. They fail to underline the importance of cybersecurity and provide little to no assistance to these smaller businesses. Rather than provide guidance and resources, the DOD is primarily relying on vendors to meet the needs of these smaller companies. With the increasing threat of cyber-attacks, what will the government do to strengthen the security of these businesses that hold importance in the country but also contain vast amounts of private consumer data. Similarly, despite the trend and concern of attacks on telecom companies, there has not been an in-depth assessment of how large telecom companies here in the United States like Verizon and AT&T would respond to large attacks in critical times. As we have seen in the Russia and Ukraine conflict, telecom is one of the most heavily targeted resources and will continue to be in future global conflicts. The United States government, although being concerned about this possibility, has done little to no in depth research with these companies to address these possibilities.
In terms of anti-trust, there is a clear contradiction in that despite the growing concern of monopolies in big tech, healthcare, and financial institutions there is little to none being done to regulate industries in terms of anti-trust. In big tech, companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta are still allowed to collect vast amounts of data on individuals and sell it to third parties which continues these big companies to heavily regulate what an individual can and cannot see on the internet. In healthcare, we continue to see loopholes through current anti-trust laws with hospital mergers that can increase prices for those seeking medical attention. In financial institutions, we can see clear monopolistic tendencies in big credit companies like Mastercard and Visa by blocking transactions that involve another debit card network.
Another contradiction in terms of political radicalization that is apparent is the clear emboldening of radicals by government officials. Although during and shortly after the insurrection on January 6th every politician condemned the extremists who stormed the capital, about 51% of Republican officials still adamantly deny and condemn the results of the 2020 election claiming it was rigged or accrediting Joe Biden’s victory to widespread voter fraud. Moreover, they have taken actions to block the committee that intended to investigate the events that occurred on January 6th. Although they are not directly condoning the violent attacks by radicals, they most definitely are emboldening those by implying that their actions were justified and that the 2020 election was indeed illegitimate. Similarly, officials that were investigated for their actions during the insurrection or those that still make false claims that the elections were stolen are still being allowed to run for office in upcoming elections despite the threat they impose. By not shutting down these false claims and continuing to support this narrative, the GOP is actively emboldening these groups that wish to gain control through violent action. With the growing concern of domestic terrorism, there is a contradiction between what government officials say and what they allow to spread throughout the nation.
A turning point that has greatly sparked interest in cybersecurity and cyberwarfare is the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and the development of cyberwarfare within the short time the conflict has been taking place. Previously in major global conflicts, we were unable to grasp the key role that cyber dominance could play in global conflict. With DDoS attacks being carried out in Ukraine against telecom companies and other various attacks on vital communication systems, the world is observing what this looks like in real situations and analyzing how their capability compares to the rest of the world. Although the United States is the greatest power in cyberspace, other major global powers are greatly competitive and even out rank the United States in certain categories of cyberwarfare. Similarly, companies are taking notice to the exponential increase in cyber attacks given that they are becoming more intricate and frequent and analyzing their ability to defend their networks.
A development within the scope of anti-trust has been the emergence of lifestyle products versus traditional household products. Companies like Amazon and Google are creating their own version of every essential product or soon to be essential product and making it so that there is little to no room for other companies to have a share within the market space. Often, they make it so that their products only work within their own product network, making it so that if a consumer wants to use one product, they must also purchase another. The emergence of lifestyle products is not exactly a new concept, however, with big tech companies able to control so much personal data it is become cause for concern.
A significant turning point in terms of political radicalization would be the insurrection at the capitol on January 6, 2021. After the event, the normalization of political radicalization and the emboldening of specific radical groups has significantly spread across the country, mainly through misinformation online. Along with these trends online, government officials are quietly emboldening these groups.
Emerging practices within cybersecurity and cyberwarfare would consist of AI implementation within cyber systems. As attacks become more advanced and creative, a counter to this has been utilizing machine learning to detect and counter irregularities within networks faster and more efficiently. From a cyberwarfare standpoint, the government has invested heavily into utilizing AI both in physical defense systems as well as cyber defense networks.
Practice that could be disruptive within anti-trust we believe will most likely come in the form of regulation. Within all the sectors of anti-trust that we have covered, there is a growing push for some sort of government intervention especially within healthcare and big-tech. Although this may prove difficult with emerging technologies, we believe that at some point there will be some sort of government agency created to prevent monopolies within healthcare, big-tech, and financial institutions.
Practices that could disrupt in terms of political radicalization could be a potential push for actual government regulation of misinformation and preventing it from being spread online or through media. This becomes increasingly difficult as conflicts with the first amendment often arise when discussing this topic, but the country is beginning to see what the dangers of misinformation look like and call for some sort of repercussions for those who spread misinformation. Social media companies have already tried to do their own forms of regulation with false information flags, fact checkers, and removing false content from their network, however, this has proven to be minimally effective, and many are pushing for some sort of government regulation.
Overall, in policy, government, and security, one of the more apparent trends we have observed is the ability to manipulate the overall lack of regulation to benefit. We see this in essentially all our subtopics in different ways. In cybersecurity and cyberwarfare, there is little to no barrier to entry in the field and there is a vast discrepancy between larger and smaller companies and similarly countries with fantastic cyber capability and those with lesser. In terms of anti-trust, large companies such as Google, Meta, and Amazon have taken advantage of the lack of regulation and are beginning to monopolize within all industries. Hospitals also have found a way to partner with each other despite the incentives to keep medicine from being monopolizing. In terms of political radicalization, because there are no real laws regulating misinformation, it has become easier for individuals to fast track into becoming radicalized online.
Within cybersecurity and cyberwarfare, the most unprecedented and groundbreaking advancement is the implementation of artificial intelligence into both cyber defense systems and physical defense systems. As advancements in AI continue, governments and businesses are implementing more and more machine learning into the products, services, and systems that they make. This has and will continue to be a major disruption in the field as the understanding of AI becomes more sophisticated. AI can be utilized in incredibly diverse ways and the possibilities are essentially endless.
Rarities in the cybersecurity and cyberwarfare field consist of attacks on both telecom companies and small independent companies in cyber space. As we have observed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the attacks on telecom company Kyivstar have shown the future trajectory of war and how even civilian companies and resources could be attacked in future conflicts. Smaller companies that have significantly less resources in cyber security have also been attacked at an exponential rate compared to years before. As technology continues to improve and hackers become more developed, we believe that these trends will continue.
In terms of political radicalization, a notable “black swan” event would the insurrection at the capitol. This event was fueled by misinformation and was spread all throughout social media. It showed the world how much misinformation can do and how easily people can be radicalized in such a short period of time. Events following this showed how intertwined high government officials are with radicalism and how social media can be used to spark radicalism on an incredibly large scale.