Early one morning at work, CEO Alice Johnson asks if you have a moment to chat. I need your expertise and advice on a complicated situation for the company regarding an international hacking lawsuit. In her office, Alice explains that CyberTech is serving as the cyber forensics consultant for a law firm handling the suit from a 2015 hack of the Office of Personnel Management, OPM. The OPM hack compromised background information on millions of workers. In a related case Anomalous, a non-US gray hat hacking group suspected in the OPM breach case, is claiming that US-based Equation Set attempted to hack its facilities. So we have a non-US and a US set of test hacker groups involved. With Anomalous, the non-US group, being a client plantiff in one case against Equation Set, the US group, and as a suspect in the OPM breach.
But Alice then outlines why the case is problematic. Along with the OPM victims, CyberTech represents clients from some of the OPM breach suspect companies in unrelated cases, which could appear to be a conflict of interest. This could affect the way our company is perceived by others. We need to maintain our image as an unbiased cyber security consultant. Should CyberTech remain on both the OPM breach investigation and the overseas case at the same time? Or should we drop one of the cases?
Apply your critical thinking and analytical skills to figure out what happened what we know and don’t know, and how the company might remedy this situation. I’d like a paper by the end of the week with your recommendations.
About the Project
In this project, you will address a case study that intentionally does not give you enough detail for you to quickly resolve the issue. This is meant to enable you to use the processes of critical thinking to reach conclusions. Given the gaps in information provided to you, you will identify what you know, what you don’t know, and what questions you need to ask as you start your investigation of the facts of the case. The process is designed to encourage clear thinking and to help you to identify potential cognitive traps that could derail well-reasoned conclusions.
There are six steps that will lead you through this project. Most steps of this project should take no more than two hours to complete. Begin by reading the video transcript above, which introduces the project you will be doing as it might occur in the workplace, and then continue with Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically.
Step 1: Prepare to Think Critically
In this first step, you will prepare to respond to your boss’s request for an analysis of a problem in your organization. You realize that this will require careful thinking. So, you take some time to review the process and to engage in Critical Thinking and Analysis.
When you have completed the critical thinking exercises, you will move on to the next step: identifying the problem.
Step 2: Identify the Problem
Now that you’re prepared to think critically, it’s time to analyze the situation. Remember the direction from your CEO is to analyze the situation and advise on the two lawsuits.
Suggested area to focus on is to determine if a conflict of interest would exist in handling the two cases that might be related, and advise how to proceed.
Outline the points that you want to make in the first two sections of your paper (introduction, explanation) and draft those sections.
Next, it’s time to analyze the information.
Step 3: Analyze the Information
Now that you have some understanding of the nature of the breach and the parties involved, it’s time to gather and analyze information. The Problem Analysis resources will further aid your analysis and development of the third section of your paper.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 3: Analysis of the Information of your paper, and draft that section.
In the following step, you will consider other viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions.
Step 4: Consider and Analyze Other Viewpoints, Conclusions, and Solutions
Once you have completed your analysis of the incident, the next step is to analyze alternative viewpoints, conclusions, and solutions. To do this you will need to apply Ethical Decision-Making and Reasoning. Also highly recommended, Randolph Pherson’s “The Five Habits of the Master Thinker,” a paper written for intelligence analysts, but applicable to all analytical thinking and reasoning.
Outline the points that you want to make in Section 4: Analysis of Alternative Viewpoints, Conclusions, or Solutions of your paper, and draft that section.
When you are finished, move to the next step, which involves developing conclusions.
Step 5: Develop Well-Reasoned Conclusions
You considered alternative viewpoints in the last step. Now you’re ready to develop your personal conclusions and suggest remedies so that your boss is well-equipped to brief her leadership about the situation.
Remember, you may need to consult outside references but this is not a research paper. It is more investigative in nature about the facts of the case. Please cite outside sources carefully.
Now, outline your argument and draft Section 5: Conclusions and Recommendations, the final sections. Your boss is expecting to receive a concise, focused paper to prepare her for further meetings. Stay to the main points, although you may have more facts to answer any questions. You will submit your paper in the final step.
Step 6: Submit Critical Thinking Paper
Your final paper should be no more than 5 double-spaced pages, excluding the cover page and References page(s). Please organize your paper in accordance with your preparatory steps, using these subheadings:
Explanation of the Issue
Analysis of the Information
Consideration of alternative viewpoints and conclusions
Conclusions and Recommendations
Here are some tips for success:
Consider outside sources if they inform your case. However, stay on task.
Use APA style for “in text” and reference citations. At this point, your citations should be error-free.
Consider these Best Practices for a paper:
An effective introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and sets the tone and direction for the rest of the paper;
Supporting paragraphs that move the reader from the general introduction to the more specific aspects of your analysis;
Body paragraphs that provide support; and,
A conclusion that leads to a natural close to what you have presented in your paper.
Before you submit your assignment, review the competencies below, which your instructor will use to evaluate your work. A good practice would be to use each competency as a self-check to confirm you have incorporated all of them in your work.
1.1: Organize document or presentation clearly in a manner that promotes understanding and meets the requirements of the assignment.
1.2: Develop coherent paragraphs or points so that each is internally unified and so that each functions as part of the whole document or presentation.
1.3: Provide sufficient, correctly cited support that substantiates the writer’s ideas.
1.4: Tailor communications to the audience.
1.5: Use sentence structure appropriate to the task, message and audience.
1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
2.1: Identify and clearly explain the issue, question, or problem under critical consideration.
2.2: Locate and access sufficient information to investigate the issue or problem.
2.4: Consider and analyze information in context to the issue or problem.
2.5: Develop well-reasoned ideas, conclusions or decisions, checking them against relevant criteria and benchmarks.
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