Information warfare

  • China syndromeMassive cyberattack by Chinese government hackers on Penn State College of Engineering

    The Penn State College of Engineering has been the target of two sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by so-called “advanced persistent threat” actors. The FireEye cybersecurity forensic unit Mandiant, which was hired by Penn State after the breach was discovered, has confirmed that at least one of the two attacks was carried out by a threat actor based in China, using advanced malware to attack systems in the college. In a coordinated response by Penn State, the College of Engineering’s computer network has been disconnected from the Internet and a large-scale operation to securely recover all systems has been launched. On 21 November 2014 Penn State was alerted by the FBI to a cyberattack of unknown origin and scope on the school’s College of Engineering.

  • Cyber businessStates, cities vying to become U.S. “cyber hub”

    The global cybersecurity market reached $67 billion in 2011, and it is projected to grow as high as $156 billion by 2019. The need for cybersecurity solutions and experts is going to grow as more companies such as Sony Pictures, Target, Home Depot, and Chase are hacked, consumers demand better online security, and businesses become more aware of the potential cost to their sales and reputation if they do not provide cybersecurity. As private sector firms compete with government agencies for the best cyber professionals, cities and states are also competing to be the country’s “cyber hub.”

  • Cyber operationsIsrael’s navy protects more than the country’s coast

    Cyber warriors working for Israel’s navy are constantly engaged in protecting against intense cyber intrusions which targets the country’s digital infrastructure, according to a senior navy source. “The navy understands that cyber conflicts are wars in their own right, beyond conventional conflicts that we have grown accustomed to. In cyber war, one can engage without firing a single bullet. Attacks can come before a conventional war. There are no official cease-fires. It goes on all of the time,” the source said.

  • CybersecurityU.S. adopts a more assertive cyber defense posture

    Recent cyberattacks and intrusions by hackers, operating alone or backed by nation-states, have prompted the Pentagon and DHS to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the reliability and integrity of America’s cyber network and the systems connected to it. Americans rely on the connected Web to deliver critical services such as water and electricity, and should the Web be breached by bad actors, the consequences could threaten national security. “If we look at cyberspace as a hostile environment and there are bad people out there who want to do bad things to us, it may cause a wholesale re-examination of the way we build our systems in the first place,” noted one expert.

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  • CybersecurityCybersecurity firms hire former military, intelligence cyber experts

    Over the past two years, U.S. cybersecurity firms have brought in several former military and intelligence community computer experts to help combat hackers targeting the U.S. private sector. For the new private sector employees, the wages are higher and opportunities are endless. Hundreds of ex-government cybersecurity workers represent the competitive advantage of a cybersecurity services industry expected to bring in more than $48 billion in revenue next year, up 41 percent from 2012. “The people coming out of the military and the intelligence community are really, really good,” says a cyber startup founder. “They know the attackers. They know how they work.”

  • Cyber espionageCyber espionage campaign, likely sponsored by China, targets Asian countries: FireEye

    FireEye has released a report which provides intelligence on the operations of APT 30, an advanced persistent threat (APT) group most likely sponsored by the Chinese government. APT 30 has been conducting cyber espionage since at least 2005, making it one of the longest operating APT groups that FireEye tracks. APT 30 targets governments, journalists, and commercial entities across South East Asia and India.

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  • Cyber warfareChina increasing significantly funding for cyber warfare capabilities

    U.S. intelligence officials have warned that China is increasing significantly its investment in cyber warfare programs in an attempt to compete with the U.S. military. The new spending initiative is part of a long-term, large-scale resource reallocation strategy aiming to make China one of the most capable cyber warfare nations. The increases are an effort by the Chinese to improve their cyber capabilities following the realization that they are lagging behind U.S. programs in significant ways.

  • CyberwarHackers with “Anonymous” threaten to “erase Israel from cyberspace”

    In a new video posted online, hackers operating under the “Anonymous” flag have threatened to erase Israel from cyberspace. Citing reasons which include “continuous aggression, bombing, killing, and kidnapping of the Palestinian people,” the hackers vowed to unleash cyber “squadrons” that will launch a “cyber holocaust” on 7 April, a little more than a week before Israel’s 16 April Holocaust Remembrance day, known as Yom HaShoah.

  • SurveillanceNSA’s recruitment effort challenged by Snowden leaks, private sector competition

    The NSA employs roughly 35,000 people nationwide and anticipates on recruiting at least 1,000 workers each year. For 2015, the agency needs to find 1,600 recruits, hundreds of whom must come from highly specialized fields like computer science and mathematics. The agency has been successful so far, but still faces recruitment challenges in the aftermath of the Edward Snowden revelations and competition from private sector firms who offer recruits much higher salaries.

  • 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.