Base

Things I write on this blog are:

Technology | Politics | Cyber security | Strategy & warfare

Introduction

Cyber security is all over the news and it’s here to stay. Learning more about cyber security can look like a daunting task. This has to do with many different reasons. However,  I think one the main reason relates to the problem of definition.

A commonly used definition of cyber security will look something like: “measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack”[1]

Or: “Cyber-security is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. It’s also known as information technology security or electronic information security.”[2]

These definitions are to me too narrow. Therefore, I look more towards definitions used by academic institutions such as: “computing-based discipline involving technology, people, information, and processes to enable assured operations.  It involves the creation, operation, analysis, and testing of secure computer systems. It is an interdisciplinary course of study, including aspects of law, policy, human factors, ethics, and risk management in the context of adversaries.”[3]

By accepting a broader definition like this, it does not become easier to fully understand cyber security (I think no one can) but I do believe it can provide a deeper appreciation for the issues and solutions that we as individuals and a society have to face.

Then, by first zooming out and look at cyber security from a broad as possible perspective one can zoom in and narrow down the focus on a particular issue and solution.

As a political scientist and military strategic scholar, my personal interest for cyber security was triggered by an increasing knowledge and understanding about cyber security and how it was going to affect national security, politics and international relations. I was narrowing down my focus on this particular area of cyber security. However, by zooming out, I quickly realized that I had much more to learn in different areas such a cryptography, hardware security, network security, security engineering, and programming. Furthermore, I needed to get my hands dirty and start learning how to use the command line, Kali Linux, configuring Raspberry Pi’s and soldering.

This blog will contain bits and bytes of random thoughts, blogs, articles, references to other interesting material in order for me to keep track of my development and motivation to keep learning cool new exciting stuff.


[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cybersecurity

[2] https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/what-is-cyber-security

[3] https://cybered.hosting.acm.org/wp/

Chronicle

Buying political power through Facebook: Weapons-grade communication tactics to influence democratic elections, the new normal

A Netflix documentary “The Great Hack” explores how a data company called Cambridge Analytica came to symbolize the dark side of social media in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and its involvement with the Leave.EU campaign by the Brexit Party in the U.K. Clearly, the power of social media companies such as Facebook and the abuse of its data by companies is growing. One might even ask if social media companies now have the power of governance?1 Facebook recently created a Facebook Supreme Court. Apparently, Facebook must create their own mechanisms of self-regulation. This makes me wonder … where are our governments that should be promoting and protecting democratic principles? In this article I will briefly examine the remarkable rise of Forum for Democracy, a conservative, right-wing populist, Eurosceptic political party in The Netherlands. Throughout this article I will argue that FvD has most successfully bought their political power through social media by running its lie machine most effective. This is problematic because they generate false explanations that seem to fit the facts, erode trust in institutions, and abuse the ability to shape behavior for profit or power based entirely on self-authorization with no democratic or moral legitimacy. Finally, this article concludes by stating that using weapons-grade communications tactics in elections has become the new normal. Even in a Western European democratic country like The Netherlands.