In the 1950’s, during the height of the cold war, the United States had an active civil defense corps, volunteers young and old who protected the nation’s borders without a wall. As a teenager, I joined the air defense program. Twice a week, I drove to a hilltop in southern California and sat 3 hours, scanning the sky with binoculars in an effort to identify every airplane overhead. If I was unable to do so, I used a walkie-talkie to report a possible intruder. I still remember my code identification: Zero-echo- three- zero-red. James Bonds stuff, or so it seemed.
World War II had taught the nation to work together and individuals took the responsibility seriously. That may sound corny, but I’m glad I did my part.
Volunteerism is still alive and well in the United States. People make enormous contributions to save the environment, stop human trafficking and preserve endangered species, for example.
Even so, Estonia, a small country in the Baltic, is teaching the world a lesson. Existing just 65 miles from the Russian border, Estonia, once a soviet satellite, is fighting tooth and nail to maintain its sovereignty. Their wake up call came in 2007. Estonia suffered a cyber-attack that rendered its electronic grid dark for several days — shutting down government, banking system, news outlets and almost all websites. (“Security Lesson From One of Russia’s Neighbors,” by Natalia Drozdiak, et al, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fe. 18, 2019, pg. 20.)
The Russian bear denied responsibility for the attack, of course, but one virus came disguised in the image of a Russian porn star. (Ibid, pg. 21.) After that invasion, this Balkan nation organized the Estonian civilian hacking-defense corp. Citizens have joined with the government to monitor the grid and play their part in emergency drills. They intend to keep their digital eyes on their former masters. Today, the corps is 26,000 strong in a republic with a population of 1.3 million. Their success has attracted interest among other countries. France is keen on the idea, and the United States has made enquiries. (Ibid pg. 20)
In the same vein, here at home, a few eyes to monitor fake news on Facebook wouldn’t go amiss. I’m ready. After all, I have my code identifier: Zero-echo-three-zero-red