Information warfare

  • CybersecurityCyber researchers need to predict, not merely respond to, cyberattacks: U.S. intelligence

    The Office of the Director of National Intelligence wants cybersecurity researchers to predict cyberattacks rather than just respond to them, according to the agency’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) program. Current cyber defense methods such as signature-based detection “haven’t adequately enabled cybersecurity practitioners to get ahead of these threats,” said Robert Rahmer, who leads IARPA’s Cyber-attack Automated Unconventional Sensor Environment (CAUSE) program. “So this has led to an industry that’s really invested heavily in analyzing the effects or symptoms of cyberattacks instead of analyzing [and] mitigating the cause.”

  • CybersecurityBio-inspired analysis helps in recognizing, characterizing evolving cyberthreats

    Our reliance on cyber systems permeates virtually every aspect of national infrastructure. The volume of network traffic data generated has outpaced our ability effectively analyze it fast enough to prevent many forms of network-based attacks. In most cases new forms of attacks cannot be detected with current methods. The MLSTONES methodology leverages technologies and methods from biology and DNA research — LINEBACkER applies the MLSTONES methodology to the problem of discovering malicious sequences of traffic in computer networks. LINEBACkER allows cyber security analysts quickly to discover and analyze behaviors of interest in network traffic to enhance situational awareness, enable timely responses, and facilitate rapid forensic and attribution analysis.

  • Cyber warfareNorth Korea’s cyber warriors target Western critical infrastructure

    North Korea has a team of roughly 3,000 cyber soldiers dedicated to launching attacks at Western interests in the private and government sector, according to Kim Heung-gwang, a former professor at North Korea’s Hamhung University of Computer Technology, a key military training facility. Heung-gwang, urging Western governments to do more to counter North Korean hacking, said the country’s hackers are targeting Western nuclear power plants, transportation networks, and electrical utilities.

  • CybersecurityArmy seeks public collaboration in developing security software

    Researchers working on a new cybersecurity project at the Army Research Lab (ARL) in Adelphi, Maryland have made available their project to anyone on the Internet in order to prompt professional collaboration and help. This atypical development tactic is intended to kick-start public collaboration on a software tool intended to aid soldiers in understanding where hackers might be targeting military systems.

  • CybersecurityTexas lawmakers on the Hill lead drive for cybersecurity legislation

    After recent high-profile cyberattacks on the U.S. private sector, Congress has been tasked with passing legislation that will address cybersecurity concerns including how the private sector should report data breaches to regulators and how the U.S. government should respond to state-sponsored cyberattacks. Three Texas Republican lawmakers, through leadership roles in committees and subcommittees, have been charged with exploring solutions to those concerns.

  • Cyber operationsThe CIA bolsters cyber operations

    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is planning to join the growing list of U.S. intelligence and security agencies which have redefined their missions to include cyber operations — in the CIA’s case, cyber espionage. Current and former agency officials say the new effort will be part of the broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work. The shift also reflects the increasing role cyber plays in intelligence gathering, with allies and adversaries relying on smartphones, social media, and other technologies to communicate.

  • CybersecurityObama’s cybersecurity initiative: a start but businesses – and individuals – need to do more

    By Frank J Cilluffo and Sharon L Cardash

    The linchpin of President Obama’s recently launched cybersecurity initiative is to encourage the private sector to share information to better defend against cyberattacks. Yet U.S. companies have historically been wary of openly talking about their cybersecurity efforts with competitors and with government — for good reason. Many businesses fear that sharing threat-related information could expose them to liability and litigation, undermine shareholder or consumer confidence, or introduce the potential for leaks of proprietary information. For some companies, Edward Snowden’s revelations of sweeping government surveillance programs have reinforced the impulse to hold corporate cards close to the vest. Yet on the heels of a deluge of high-profile cyberattacks and breaches against numerous U.S. companies, we may finally have reached a tipping point, where potential harm to reputation and revenue now outweighs the downside of disclosure from a corporate perspective. Obama’s executive order is thus a spur to get the ball rolling but, frankly, there is a limit to what government alone can (and should) do in this area. Changes in attitudes and behaviors are needed across the board, right down to families and individuals.

  • Cyber operationsNew document details U.S.-Iran cyber tit-for-tat

    Just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart discuss plans to ensure Iran does not weaponized its nuclear program, a newly disclosed National Security Agency (NSA) document details the intensifications of cyber skirmishes between the two countries. While the document does not describe the specific targets in Iran, it acknowledges, for the first time, that the NSA’s attacks on Iran’s nuclear program, a George W. Bush administration project, initiated the cycle of retaliation and escalation of the U.S.-Iran cyber conflict.

  • Infrastructure protectionU.S. contemplates responses to a cyber-Pearl Harbor attack on critical infrastructure

    Cybersecurity experts often contemplate how U.S. security agencies would react to a cyber-9/11 or a digital Pearl Harbor, in which a computer attack would unplug the power grid, disable communications lines, empty bank accounts, and result in loss of life. “Ultimately, it absolutely could happen,” says one expert. “Yeah, that thought keeps me up at night, in terms of what portion of our critical infrastructure could be really brought to its knees.”

  • CybersecurityFirst known Arabic cyber-espionage group attacking thousands globally: Kaspersky Lab

    The Kaspersky Lab Global Research and Analysis Team the other day announced the discovery of Desert Falcons, a cyber-espionage group targeting multiple high profile organizations and individuals from Middle Eastern countries. Kaspersky Lab said its experts consider this actor to be the first known Arabic group of cyber mercenaries to develop and run full-scale cyber-espionage operations. In total Kaspersky Lab experts were able to find signs of more than 3,000 victims in 50+ countries, with more than one million files stolen.

  • Cyber educationArmy Reserves, six universities establish cybersecurity training centers for cyber warriors

    The U.S. Army Reserves (USAR) Cyber Public Private Partnership Initiative (Cyber P3) sees the USAR partner with six universities to establish six centers of cybersecurity training for USAR. Each school in the Cyber P3 will be able to give reservists the training necessary to receive advanced foundational cyber skills and the potential equivalency for cyber Military Occupational Specialty Qualification, which would enable them to become specialists in the Army. They will also have the opportunity to enroll at the schools with scholarships provided through the program and the G.I. Bill. 

  • CybersecurityObama continues push for cybersecurity bill

    Following his remarks on cybersecurity at the 2015 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama will attenda summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protectionat Stanford Universitythis Friday. Attendees will include major stakeholders in cybersecurity and consumer financial protection issues, including executives from the financial services, telecommunications, and retail industries, as well as law enforcement officials and consumer advocates. Obama has requested $14 billion for cybersecurity initiatives in the 2016 federal budget, a 10 percent increase from 2015 budget.

  • Infrastructure protectionU.S. yet to develop a strategy to secure nation’s critical infrastructure

    For years, the U.S. government has warned federal and state agencies about the threat posed by hackers who may target computer systems responsible for operating nuclear plants, electric substations, oil and gas pipelines, transit systems, chemical facilities, and drinking water facilities. In February 2013, President Barack Obama issued a directive stating, “It is the policy of the United States to strengthen the security and resilience of its critical infrastructure against both physical and cyber threats.” Two years later the federal government has yet to develop or adopt a consensus on how to secure America’s critical infrastructure from cyber criminals.

  • China syndromeNew Chinese cyber rules aim to facilitate intellectual property theft: U.S. tech companies

    The Chinese government’s cyberspace policy group in late 2014 approved a 22-page document which contained strict procurement rules for technology vendors. Those rules would require U.S. firms selling computer equipment in China to turn over sensitive intellectual property — including source codes — submit their products for “intrusive security testing,” and use Chinese encryption algorithms. U.S. companies selling equipment to Chinese banks will be required to set up research and development centers in China, get permits for workers servicing technology equipment, and build “ports” which allow Chinese officials to manage and monitor data processed by their hardware. U.S. tech companies charge that the new rules would make it easier for China to steal U.S. companies’ intellectual property.

  • CybersecurityCyber protection of DHS’s and other federal facilities is weak: GAO

    While most cybersecurity threats against government agencies tend to focus on network and computer systems, a growing number of access control systems, responsible for regulating electricity use, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), and the operation of secured doors and elevators are also vulnerable to hacking. .” GAO warns that despite the seriousness of the vulnerabilities, agencies tasked with securing federal facilities have not been proactive.