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Wanted: A National Definition of Cyberspace

October 27, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Securing cyberspace first requires knowing exactly what it is. That may seem logical, but the nation still lacks a precise definition of cyberspace, and that definition may be vital to make necessary changes in that realm. Marcus H. Sachs, executive director of government affairs for national security and cyber policy, Verizon, told the Wednesday morning panel audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2010 that cyberspace is the one basic operational environment that is man-made. Land, sea and air cannot be altered substantially; however, people built cyberspace and people can alter it to suit their needs. Unfortunately, he said, people seem all too willing just to accept cyberspace as it is without addressing their concerns. "Fundamentally, the network's core is rotten. It's optimized for criminal activities," Sachs said, adding that this was not the intent of the network designers in the 1970s. "We must rethink what we want the network to be, and we must get past these old protocols," he offered. "We need to write the rules. Right now, our adversaries are writing the rules."

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