Security and the Internet: Barbarians at the Gate

Over the last decade, the study of security has been affected by two revolutions: the ending of the Cold War in Europe; and the growth of the internet. The first removed the adversarial rationale which had underpinned defence and security thinking and practice since 1945. The physical manifestations of the Cold War – massive military research and development projects, conscript armies, vast surface and submarine fleets – all became obsolete in an instant.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Professor Paul Cornish

Independent writer and consultant

Defence would now be but one item in a new agenda which would include human, environmental and economic security. Defence institutions and the defence mindset have been shaped by this political revolution, but have so far not been overwhelmed by it. The internet revolution, however, represents an altogether greater, more fundamental challenge; this, at least, is the claim of the revolutionaries.

The idea of the internet originated in 1969 in the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s ARPANET. Major universities and military research and development sites were brought into a communications network designed to survive, and work around, a nuclear attack.

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