The Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002: A Potemkin Village

October 7, 2010

Due to the daunting possibilities of cyberwarfare, and the ease with which cyberattacks may be conducted, the United Nations has warned that the next world war could be initiated through worldwide cyberattacks between countries. In response to the growing threat of cyberwarfare and the increasing importance of information security, Congress passed the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA). FISMA recognizes the importance of information security to the national economic and security interests of the United States. However, this Note argues that FISMA has failed to significantly bolster information security, primarily because FISMA treats information security as a technological problem and not an economic problem. This Note analyzes existing proposals to incentivize heightened software quality assurance, and proposes a new solution designed to strengthen federal information security in light of the failings of FISMA and the trappings of Congress’s 2001 amendment to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

October 2010

No. 1