The nation and the world are now critically dependent on the cyber infrastructure that is vulnerable to threats and often under attack in the most real sense of the word.From any perspective--strategic, military, identification theft, extortion, terror--the vulnerability of our cyber infrastructure is frightening. And, from the perspective of a citizen, educator, and parent, some of the underlying assumptions are markedly, well, troubling. One example, from the related National Security Council report:
While billions of dollars are being spent on new technologies to secure the U.S. Government in cyberspace, it is the people with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement those technologies who will determine success.It is, most definitely, people who are creating both the problems and the solutions. Highly intelligent, out-of-the box (trite, I know) thinking, creative, problem-solving people. People who must understand how to break something in order to know how to build it to withstand breakage.
The analogy is physicians who must understand etiology in order to heal.
But the concern (for me) comes when we reward those who cheat the system, simply for beating the system. It's a subtle distinction, I know, but we have strong punitive measures (beginning with The Hippocratic oath) for physicians who create illness or do harm. It's a slippery slope to reward hackers for hacking, rather than for building. Take a few minutes to read the links, think about the implications, and work out your own position. It's harder than it sounds.