It is clear that the last couple of years have had a remarkable increase of national security threats through cyberspace. This is a threat to the critical infrastructure, financial systems, intellectual property and most importantly the general population relying on computers and technology for national security aims and intentions. The internet offers a medium for communication. However, in the present past criminals have manipulated it in a way that threatens the general security of the country. It has jeopardized the safety of ordinary users, blue chip corporate executives and high-ranking government officials. The malicious cyber activities severely threaten the nation’s public and private information. Cyber criminals have displayed practical and unscrupulous ways of high intelligence that exceed the response capabilities of network defenders.
National security needs to keep up the survival of any state. This attained through economic, diplomatic and political power. For a nation to have national security, it needs to have economic security, energy security and environmental security among others. It is important to understand that national security threats not only by involving conventional foes as in other nation states, but also by non-state acts like violence, narcotic cartels, multinational and non-governmental organizations (Cordesman & Cordesman, 2002).
This intelligent report aims at debunking the cyberspace crimes that threaten United States national security. It will collect, analyze and pass this information to the relevant stakeholders. It is clear that cyber warfare consists of many threats. They include: practice of acts used to get sensitive and classified information from people, rivals, competitors, groups, government, military and even the political and economical facets of the nation. This practices use illegal exploitation methods on the internet, networks, software and computers. This is one of the main ways that these criminals intercept and manipulate classified and sensitive information, thus, making it possible for people outside an organization or the United States government to use it (Kramer, Starr & Wentz, 2009).
Military activities that used computers and satellites for organization are at a risk of gear disruption through interruption and replacement of orders and communications. For instance, the US military discovered a malicious software program that infiltrated computers and had spread to several plants around the world (Cordesman & Cordesman, 2002).
The United States Homeland department experienced susceptibility to cyber warfare through electrical power transmission. In April 2009, the Homeland department made reports that demystified infiltration of the U.S electrical grid by outside countries. The perpetrators of this heinous crime left a trail of software programs signatures they used to disrupt the power system. The North American Electrical Reliability Corporation issued a public notice to warn against the disrupted system.
Web-based criminal activities involved simple theft and fraud by people posing as rich merchants. These criminals stuck up somewhere and ask for account information of their victims for rewards after their rescue mission. Other contributing activities established included annoying activities of viruses and denial of services that affected web-based activities stability (Kramer, Starr & Wentz, 2009).
The Homeland department cyberspace crimes analysis depicts that most cyberspace threats originated from hacking activities. The hackers developed and modified computer software and hardware; they used to exploit resources from the public and government departments for criminal activities. Hacking involved attempts to disrupt U.S policies by ordinary people and attempts by other countries to steal the U.S economic, political and military secrets for their own personal gains and improvement. It was also seen as a way of associations and companies to find theft, extortion and financial data within their corporations (Dunn, 2008).
The Homeland department also identified that hacking was a way of gaining fame and notoriety by the people who practiced it. Some practiced it to get more resources to enable up their hacking capabilities in which they targeted government departments, such as the military department, and big corporations, such as Apple. Others did it for retaliation against their employees and their rivals. These hackers scanned vulnerable systems by posing as insiders for an organization or a company and getting people to give out passwords and sensitive information through phone calls, technology forums and even manipulative schemes. Some hackers identified their targets and openly attacked them for sensitive information that enabled them to hack. Others exploited systems that had improper maintenance and ineffective securities with inadequate detection systems. The hackers targeted systems to disrupt government activities, the military and infrastructure. They disabled systems with key information on financial and intellectual properties by causing virus infections to sensitive systems to gain extra resources for their computers. They did this by sending their victims large amounts of data that is difficult to process and denied them the ability to communicate in the process (Dunn, 2008).
Crime ware was also analyzed as one of the leading cases of cyber space threats. It involved use of computers or sets of software and hardware to undertake illegal activities online which included exclusive stealing of funds, financial data and identity theft. Crime ware involved the use of phishing kits which is an assembly of tools for website development, software and spamming software. There was also the use of keystroke logger’s hardware or software which recorded every keystroke entered on a keyboard. A Trojan horse program was, apparently, installed on a computer to periodically send the collected information to the crime ware originator. There was also the use of browser hijackers which are programs that control various parts of a web browser and can redirect a browser to a counterfeit website even if the user keys in a proper domain name in the address bar (Cordesman & Cordesman, 2002).
Crime ware was also used on illegal acts like identity theft, wire fraud and unauthorized access to systems. Its advent in the cyberspace crime was disastrous on computer securities. It disrupted and disabled important governmental and non-governmental systems. Malware is another form of cyberspace crime that poses a major threat to national security. It involves the use of malware intended to enable unauthorized processes in computer systems. This affects greatly the confidentiality and integrity of an information system. It involves the use of malevolent software like viruses and Trojan horses for purposes of data tracking, manipulation of revenue systems and stealing of high security data leading to total failure of the systems involved. Common malware used mostly included Trojan horses, worms and viruses, root-kits and zombies, spyware, adware and toolbars (Kramer, Starr & Wentz, 2009).
Trojan horses defined as destructed programs that covered-up unthreatening applications without necessarily replicating themselves. Viruses self-replicated by inserting copies of themselves into executive codes and documents. Examples of these viruses are Melissa, bugbear, blaster among others. Worms like Love Bug and Code Red were self-contained and their creators wanted them to have file transmission capabilities in computers. They attached zombie programs to victimized networks as launching points for other attacks and for purposes of SPAM distribution. Criminals use spyware programs to get personal information of computer users while Adware programs used to place mystifying ads on the user’s screen. Malware cyber threats in the last decade have undergone a tremendous metamorphosis. They have transpired from bothersome intrusions to illegal threats (Dunn, 2008).
This report has evaluated that generally the global internet connectivity is as an arena of threats to the national security. It is clear the study has identified, examined and evaluated the cyberspace activities that pose major security threats to the nation at large and personal level. Therefore, all national security facets should treat cyberspace crimes as critical threats to the nation's overall security tranquillity. It is paramount that these sections should come up with solutions to curb these crimes. For instance they should install active cyber defences on networks and systems. On the other hand, U.S government should partner closely with its security departments and private sectors to create strategies and approaches that guarantee cyber security. It is also essential to build strong relations with the U.S allies and international associates to enable information sharing instead of unauthorized interferences that will lead to conflicts and unprecedented warfare.