MSFS-556 Cybersecurity: Implications for Business, Government & the International Community
Spring for 2014-2015
Cybersecurity has emerged as one of the most significant international security and economic risks today. The headlines speak volumes about the import of the issue. Cyber attacks have caused catastrophic damage to critical infrastructure and businesses. Top cybersecurity experts now say, “There are two types of companies: those that know they have been breached and those that don’t.” The cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property and trade secrets has been called “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”
Due to the evolving threats and increasingly significant legal, financial, and reputational consequences associated with cyber attacks, it is necessary for businesses and government organizations to establish formal processes for preventing, mitigating, and responding to cyber-attacks. It is increasingly important for students of international affairs to understand both the policy implications and technical aspects of cybersecurity.
This class will take a comprehensive approach to understanding cybersecurity. The course will: (1) provide students a technical understanding of the methods attackers use to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems and electronic communications networks; (2) focus on key cyber actors and groups who exploit and defend computer networks; (3) examine the policies, laws, and frameworks created by businesses, governments and the international community to mitigate and manage the damage caused by cyber attacks; and (4) give students exposure to professionals in the field tasked with managing cyber threats for government agencies and corporations where the stakes are highest.
Some of the topics that will be covered include: U.S. and international cyber policies, strategy, law, standards, and governance structures; the investigation of cyber crimes and the challenge of attribution; advanced threat actors and their techniques; the rise of state and non-state actors and the concept of cyber war; privacy; cyber risk management and incident management; critical infrastructure protection; and hardware and software supply chain integrity. Students will also participate in a cybersecurity tabletop exercise.
The skills students will gain in this class include: greater IT fluency and understanding of networking basics; familiarity with the cyber risk environment and an understanding of the operational challenges organizations face managing cyber risk; understanding of the scope and impact of cyber threats and of the basic ways to reduce exposure to and mitigate cyber threats. The class will consist of a mix of lectures and discussions and will make use of occasional guest speakers. The course is appropriate for students who are interested in careers at government agencies that are involved in cybersecurity policy or have a role in protecting government networks or for students who may go on to management or technology-focused positions in the private sector. Students will be evaluated based on class participation, a policy memo, performance in the tabletop exercise, a take-home midterm and a take-home final.
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