(9/11 vs 2021) History Repeating?






In the past 20+ years I have been watching the evolution of the internet.  When I was young I knew that it was a place where people connected and had access to whatever they wanted.

As I have grown deeper in my knowledge of cyber-security, I understand that the cyberspace that we enjoy on a daily basis has always been at risk. 

The heart of this article revolves around my opinion that the national response to the events of 9/11 are showing eerie similarities to the responses that are occurring right now (cyber events)

History Repeating?

Think back to 9/11.  A terrible event happened too which all you need to say is "9/11" and everyone knows what you are talking about.  Now consider what was the response to this?  Quite a bit in fact, I won't list them all, but I do want to touch on a couple key pieces.

- Higher security surrounding flying(Public Awareness).
- Patriot Act [2]
- War [3]

Higher Physical Security: Obviously more scrutinizing of passengers was going to take place, but from an outside person I would say that the physical security for airlines was forever changed.

Patriot Act: (See the reference link for more details, it's a huge act) I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who has not at least heard about the Patriot Act.  The patriot act ushered in a new era of strange balance between privacy, ethics and national security.  Many articles have been written on this.  What I want to ruminate on is that the Patriot Act was a direct result of 9/11.  The act was created and passed very fast.  Was having the event of 9/11 in the national mind a factor in the act being passed so fast?  Had the act been proposed before 9/11 would it have even passed at all?  I'm not dancing down the conspiracy hallway here (which tends to be what conspiracy heads say *cringe).  These are real questions, that are worthy of thinking about.  
 
War: America began it's longest military engagement-->The War in Afghanistan[3].  At the time of writing the war has been going on for 19.7 years.  There are people joining the military right now, who have literally never known a time when the USA was not engaged in this war.  Let that sink in.
 
All this being said, global events impact national policy.  9/11 was a spark that changed the world.
 
We are at the beginning of something that we will look back and say "That was the moment in time when everything changed."

The Incidents:

As of this writing some very big things have happened in cyber space.  
-Solar Winds Hack (absolutely massive, this thing will go down in history)
-Colonial Pipeline Hack [4]
-JBS Meat Packing Hack [5]

All of these have happened within a short time span of one another.  Or rather were revealed and published within a very short period of time of each other.  I'm sure the criminals behind the Solar Winds would have happily continued to exploit American government agencies or years.

So, thinking critically about what happened across these three events what is in common?

1. Critical American infrastructure impacted.  Resulting in significant economic impact.
2. Mass public awareness of severity.  
3. Russia.

Biden has issued an executive order in response to these and other historical cyber events [6]

The goal of this executive order is to strengthen America's cyber security.

There are some seriously eerie similarities between the response 2001 and 2021. 

9/11
1. Patriot Act: Massive impact on cyber privacy
2021
1. Presidential Executive order to "strengthen" national cyber security

9/11
2.Everyone on the planet knew about the two towers and were glued to the screen watching the news
2021
2. Global awareness that major American institutions were hacked by Russian cyber criminals

9/11
3. A known Anti-American party (Afghansitan)
2021
3. A known Anti-American party (Russia)

There is a piece missing in the formula.  We have public awareness; We have unanimous national acceptance of steeper cyber restrictions; We don't have war.

Yet.

Maybe it's the pessimist in me, but it feels like the "writing is on the wall."  Let's hope I am completely wrong.



References:
[1] CNN : Wray sees 'parallels' between challenge posed by ransomware attacks and 9/11.
http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_allpolitics/~3/4UccgF16AdE/index.html
[2] https://bja.ojp.gov/program/it/privacy-civil-liberties/authorities/statutes/1281 
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_lengths_of_United_States_participation_in_wars
[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/6/4/hackers-breached-colonial-pipeline-with-one-compromised-password
[5] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57338896
[6] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/05/12/executive-order-on-improving-the-nations-cybersecurity/

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