Tags: arizona | cyberwarfare | range | second amendment

Arizona's New Cyberwarfare 'Range' Is Necessary and Patriotic

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Monday, 08 Jan 2018 05:23 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I spend most of my time in this column writing about international geopolitics, and the balance of cyberwarfare threats on a global stage. Today, I want to do something different, and look at some heartening news from Arizona that allows us to focus our attention back on more everyday matters.

A couple of days ago, a local newspaper in Arizona reported that a local citizen has set up a cyberwarfare “range,” which allows members of the public to come along and try their hand at hacking.

I can’t believe, in truth, that this concept did not occur before. The U.S. undoubtedly has one of the best-prepared citizenries in the world when/if it ever came to defending our country against a conventional military threat.

In no small part, this is due to our large, extremely motivated, and well-informed gun community. On any night of the week, up and down the country, you can find hundreds of thousands of Americans at their local gun range, firing off a few rounds from their trusty 1911 pistol, brand new Glock, or even zeroing the sight on their AR-15.

Firing off a few rounds down the range is certainly fun, but it also has a serious side. In a sense, a session on the shooting range is preparation for potentially life-threatening situations. Millions of Americans use gun ranges to improve their self-defence skills: why not do the same for our cyber security skills?

The Cyberwarfare Range

The new range in Arizona was designed to fix a local problem, but it could have national consequences. Brett Scott, who set up the range, correctly notes that there is a huge skills gap when it comes to cyber security, and that there are many more positions available than trained individuals able to take them.

It is open to all, he says, whether you are young, old, wealthy, or poor. It offers guidance and training on how to protect yourself from cyber threats, allowing the public to learn cyber security skills in a practical manner.

The advantages of this model are legion. It allows those who want to get into cyber security an easy way of beginning their training. For small companies who cannot afford their own cyber security training programs, the range presents the opportunity to train employees at a fraction of the cost of traditional courses.

It’s not just businesses and professionals who will benefit, though. More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of cybersecurity in their everyday lives, and education and training in this area is of paramount importance.

The new cyber warfare range therefore offers training in some everyday methods for reducing the possibility, and the impact, of cyberattacks. There was a 32 percent increase in the number of hacked sites in 2016, and so by simulating similar attacks the range should allow people to better protect themselves.

Hopefully, the range can also offer a degree of “future-proofing,” helping Americans to understand new technologies as they arise, and therefore allowing them to protect themselves from new and arising threats. The current boom in bitcoin usage offers an excellent example of this. Whilst hundreds of thousands of Americans have invested in blockchain technologies over the past year, how many of them actually understand the underlying technology, and the potential security weaknesses of it?

A Well-Organized Militia

This is why the idea of a cyberwarfare “range” is such a good one. Though I spent most of my time worrying about the capabilities of nation states, it is often individuals and companies, rather than the military, that are the primary victims of cyberwarfare.

By training the populace in these techniques, we might be able to create a populace who know as much about VPNs as they do about pancake holsters, and this knowledge is by far the best defence against cyber threats.

In a more philosophical sense, the idea of a cyberwarfare “range” is useful because it reminds of us our personal responsibilities as Americans: to form part of the Second Amendment’s “well-organized militia,” and to defend our country against both outside aggression and tyranny, whether this comes from the barrel of a gun or a DOS attack.

Of course, if you don’t want to think about such philosophical matters, using a cyberwarfare range to try out a few hacking techniques is also fun, and if ranges like this become more widespread, this might be the ultimate reason. Nevertheless, we should not forget that those weekly sessions on the range, whether shooting a pistol or hacking passwords, also serve a more serious purpose.

Sam Bocetta is a defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, a defense analyst, and a freelance journalist. He specializes in finding radical — and often heretical — solutions to "impossible"​ ballistics problems. Through Lakeview Capital, he also cultivates funding for projects — usually naval, defense, and UAV startups. He writes about naval engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, marine ops, program management, defense contracting, export control, international commerce, patents, InfoSec, cryptography, cyberwarfare, and cyberdefense. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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SamBocetta
A couple of days ago, a local newspaper in Arizona reported that a local citizen has set up a cyberwarfare “range,” which allows members of the public to come along and try their hand at hacking.
arizona, cyberwarfare, range, second amendment
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2018-23-08
Monday, 08 Jan 2018 05:23 PM
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