Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet
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Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet

Edited by Ian Brown

The internet is now a key part of everyday life across the developed world, and growing rapidly across developing countries. This Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the latest research on internet governance, written by the leading scholars in the field.
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Chapter 18: Enhancing incentives for internet security

Michel van Eeten and Johannes M. Bauer


The devices and software constituting the internet are maintained by numerous players with very different incentives to provide for security. Hardware and software vendors, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), application and service providers, various types of users, security service providers, as well as government and non-government actors involved in governing the internet, interact in a trans-national, multi-level system. This system is continuously attacked by players with increasingly malicious and criminal motives (OECD 2009; Hogben et al. 2011). The proliferation of new network architectures and services such as cloud computing, mobile internet, and social networks raises additional security concerns (e.g., Blumenthal 2011). Highly distributed with hierarchical elements, the internet is best described as a nested system with subsystems that are more closely connected than others. Security at the system level is an emergent property, influenced but not fully determined by security decisions of individual participants. Even at the level of individuals or organizations security is partially affected by decisions of other players. Enhancing the incentives for internet security requires a clear understanding of the factors that shape security decisions of the many players involved in the internet and of the forces that relentlessly seek to breach information security, often in pursuit of fraudulent and criminal purposes.

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