The development of the cyber environment is articulated through new digital scenarios — from the technological development of smartphone apps to the Internet of Things, from the sharing economy to social networks — the circulation of personal data has expanded extensively and rapidly. In particular, I recognize a slow but decisive transition from a material, utilitarian and free sharing typical of the sharing economy, for which self-regulation was sufficient, to today’s atmosphere of social sharing. If the services of the sharing economy technologies seemed to put the privacy of users at risk, the new system seems to be even more saturated with issues. In fact, the social sharing of photographs, thoughts and confidential information risks endangering the privacy of internet users and, considering that much of this personal data is also transported overseas where the discipline and the protection provided is profoundly different, the question becomes extremely complex.
This shift is characterized by the diffusion and horizontal expansion of increasingly sophisticated and integrated social engineering methods and techniques, and through the release and sharing of technologically persuasive applications. These scenarios are found in the profile of cyber ttacks and are significant characterizations in terms of behavioral matrixes and operational creativity.
Inevitably, the concepts of knowledge and information management have been redefined and are now almost completely digitalized, with significant relapses in terms of security. In today’s cyber scenario, a new multidimensional concept of security has emerged, deriving from the interpenetration of the paradigms of social change and digital-media convergence — both understood as multipliers of instances coming in particular from the underground. This underground becomes ever more reticular, competent and cohesive, from a digital point of view, until it’s the “cartilage” of the system exoskeleton, not only in infrastructural terms but also in terms of cultural identity.
As a result, open society, right-to-know and digital info sharing become the pillars of contemporary democratic architecture. It is necessary to explore cyberspace in a deep and scientific way — to understand it as a human space, one which needs to be identified and analyzed dynamically, with scientific rigor, avoiding any reductionist simplicity dictated by the fashions of the moment. The specificities and the socio-cultural differences between activism and hacktivism are also worth examining in the transition process toward fully digital models of politics and diplomacy.
As an example, Bitcoin should not be considered mere virtual currency, but also as an instrument, product and modality of self-construction. It’s an identity-based dissemination of digital exchange communities and an interactive process through which all the subjects involved create information, innovation and resources.
It is essential to direct operational research into the elaboration and anticipation of scenarios that are no longer futuristic or even too far in the future — ones in which we imagine the impact and dynamics of the cybercriminals who use distributed denial of service (DDoS) or botnet attacks. These attacks might be a self-legitimized form of cyber-protest or a revisitation, in a cyber environment, of protest sit-ins that animated most of the 20th century and which often caused paralysis not only of viability but also of the vital functions of important institutions.
The unknown journey that leads humanity toward post-globalization is strongly marked by some pieces of evidence including the conflicts arising from the frictions between the development of the metropolitan institutional environment and the organizational dynamics of transnational digital communities and the advent of new sexual-digital identities.
We are witnessing the progressive emergence of organized and globalized criminals, above all at the level of the media. These criminals are born from the necessity of evolution through the web, pre-existing local and internationalized structures, and by long processes of criminal hybridization. This hybridization has connected them through the web. This evolution requires a resetting of operational missions based on full integration between social sciences and computational technologies in order to uncover qualitative and quantitative strategies that can be used to attain a deep understanding of the organized and now digitized criminal complex.
The triangulation of big data, web intelligence and information assurance turns out to be the key to managing the complexity and the centrality of information, which is now the regulating essence of every aspect of life. Today, it’s important to focus not just on the internet of things but also on the sometimes obscure internet of thoughts, which requires equal amounts of analytical attention. This emphasizes that today cyber can no longer be considered an object external to mankind, and should instead be seen as pervasively connected to it. Therefore, in firmly considering cybersecurity as a dynamic process and not a static product, it is evident that it is not possible to guarantee the security of the globalized citizen in relation to the relationship between freedom and democracy, without using appropriate conceptual tools to understand and manage the complexity that turns out to be unquestionably human, cultural and social.