Table of Contents
The governments, businesses and individuals have digitized most of their operations. Going digital is considered crucial for a prosperous nation because it enhances the efficiency of operations and reduces the cost of operations (Lovelace, 2015). However, there is increasing threats of cyber-attacks believed to be propagated by both state and non-state actors. All stakeholders should focus on strengthening cybersecurity to realize the full benefits of digital technology.
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State Actors and Non-state Actors
The non-state actor is somebody (individuals or group) who commits cyber-crime on their behalf or on behalf of other persons such as when a company or an individual hacks the security system of another company or the government (Winters, Globokar & Roberson, 2014). They can commit various attacks such as hacking, theft of identity, fraud, attack on computer systems and sharing of illegal contents.
On the other hand, the state actors are persons or agents acting on behalf of the state to commit cybercrime or cyber-attacks. In the United States, there have been several cases involving cyber-attacks involving both states and non-state actors (Winters et al., 2014). The recent case involves the Russian state accused of infiltrating the unclassified email systems of the US White House. The sate actors can be involved in hacking and ransomware, espionage, and theft of information. The state actors can hack the security systems of other states or organizations to gain competitiveness or obtain valuable information for self-defence (Lovelace, 2015). Also, the can deny access to information by other states or non-state entities for various reasons.
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Potential impacts of state and non-state actors in the cyber-attack
The non-state actors target confidential information about the under-cover security personnel and travel plans of state officers (Lovelace, 2015). Such information can be used to execute a crime such as assassinate government officers. The economic loss is huge as governments and organizations establish safeguard measures to strengthen the security of their systems. Cybersecurity also causes loss of human lives (Winters et al., 2014). The non-state actors usually target personal and state information which they use to assassinate state officers, sabotage the economy or steal vital information for personal use.
The engagement of state actors in cyber-crime can undermine national cohesion and integrity. For instance, in the US the state actors mounted cyber-operations against the Islamic states in Syria and Iraq (Winters et al., 2014). Also, some cyber operations supported by the state actors can compromise state’s security.
Furthermore, both state and non-state actors are stealing hacking into other states or organizations and steal crucial information to gain competitiveness which causes great damage to the economy (Lovelace, 2015). Governments and organizations are spending considerable resources to secure their crucial information against hackers.
The state and non-state actors are involved in both cyber-attacks. Cyber insecurity has enormous consequences on the economy, state and private entities. It can result in loss of human lives and economic costs. The state has a significant role in providing security against cyber-attacks, but also individuals should do everything they can to protect themselves. However, the state has the responsibility for providing security of the information by imposing laws to prohibit illegal access to confidential information and punishing the offenders. Therefore, most of the state actors focus on activities intended to provide security of the systems even though some of their actions are similar to those of non-state actors.
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- Lovelace, D. (Ed) (2015). The Cyber Threat. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Winters, R.C., Globokar, J.L. & Roberson, C. (2014). An Introduction to Crime and Crime Causation. New York; CRC Press, 26 Jun 2014.