• Cyber operationsWhy it’s unwise for the U.K. to boast about its cyberattack capability

    By Joe Devanny

    The U.K. government is very publicly investing more money in its ability to conduct cyberattacks and, at the same time, it is becoming increasingly open in talking about the attacks it has conducted in the past – and those it might conduct in future. There are risks involved in publicly signaling the imminence of cyber and other attacks, especially against capable adversaries with a demonstrable appetite for taking risks and a cavalier attitude about collateral damage. The U.K. needs to think more carefully about how it integrates cyber operations, and communication about them, into its wider approach – not only towards Russia but across the whole spectrum of national security operations.

  • Cyber strategyU.S. prepared to strike in cyberspace

    The United States is prepared to go on the offensive in cyberspace to ensure adversaries know there is a price to pay for hacks, network intrusions and other types of attacks. President Donald Trump signed a new National Cyber Strategy on Thursday, calling for a more aggressive response to the growing online threat posed by other countries, terrorist groups and criminal organizations.

  • CybersecurityU.S. military’s cybersecurity’s capacity and capabilities

    The military service chiefs of cybersecurity see an upward trend in the capacity, capabilities, sophistication and persistence of cyber threats against military networks, Navy Vice Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet said on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

  • CyberwarfareCyberspace is the new battlespace

    “Cyberattacks on and within our nation occur daily, hourly, and by the minute. Scores of them have occurred since I walked into this building a few minutes ago. No one is immune. The cyber threat to our nation is going to get worse before it gets better,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said Wednesday, 7 March 2018, at the Boston Conference on Cybersecurity. “Bad cyber actors, ranging from nation-states, cybercriminals, hacktivists and those who engage in the growing Ransomware industry—are increasingly aggressive, ingenious, and tenacious. Those of us on defense struggle to keep up.”

  • Cloak & daggerGoodbye James Bond, hello big data

    By Christina Pazzanese

    Just as the technological revolution has transformed how people live and do business, it has upended the often hidebound field of intelligence gathering. Where once the focus might have been on the savvy agent clandestinely dashing around the world, like James Bond, now it’s on something far less sexy but no less vital: big data. “That [Bond] model, if it was ever true, is completely over,” said Sir John Sawers, chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), known to fans of spy novels as MI6, from 2009 to 2014. “Now, the most important person in any intelligence service is the data analyst, because it’s the data analyst who will tell you where the threats are coming from and where the opportunities are emerging that you as an intelligence agency can exploit.”

  • Considered opinionDeep Fakes: A looming crisis for national security, democracy and privacy?

    By Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron

    Events in the last few years, such as Russia’s broad disinformation campaign to undermine Western democracies, including the American democratic system, have offered a compelling demonstration of truth decay: how false claims — even preposterous ones — can be disseminated with unprecedented effectiveness today thanks to a combination of social media ubiquitous presence and virality, cognitive biases, filter bubbles, and group polarization. Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron write in Lawfare that the resulting harms are significant for individuals, businesses, and democracy – but that the problem may soon take a significant turn for the worse thanks to deep fakes. They urge us to get used to hearing that phrase. “It refers to digital manipulation of sound, images, or video to impersonate someone or make it appear that a person did something—and to do so in a manner that is increasingly realistic, to the point that the unaided observer cannot detect the fake. Think of it as a destructive variation of the Turing test: imitation designed to mislead and deceive rather than to emulate and iterate.”

  • Combatting truth decayMisinformation campaigns, social media, and science

    In some key domains of public life there appear to be coordinated efforts to undermine the reputation of science and innovation. Scientists now protest in the streets just to get governments to base policy on scientific evidence. Long-held scientific consensus on issues like the causes and consequences of climate change or the importance of vaccines for public health is increasingly contested. A new initiative will examine the interplay between systematic misinformation campaigns, news coverage, and increasingly important social media platforms for public understanding of science and technological innovation.

  • The Russia connectionArtificial intelligence is the weapon of the next Cold War

    By Jeremy Straub

    As during the Cold War after the Second World War, nations are developing and building weapons based on advanced technology. During the Cold War, the weapon of choice was nuclear missiles; today it’s software, whether it is used for attacking computer systems or targets in the real world. Russian rhetoric about the importance of artificial intelligence is picking up – and with good reason: As artificial intelligence software develops, it will be able to make decisions based on more data, and more quickly, than humans can handle. As someone who researches the use of AI for applications as diverse as drones, self-driving vehicles and cybersecurity, I worry that the world may be entering – or perhaps already in – another cold war, fueled by AI. In a recent meeting at the Strategic Missile Academy near Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that AI may be the way Russia can rebalance the power shift created by the U.S. outspending Russia nearly 10-to-1 on defense each year. Russia’s state-sponsored RT media reported AI was “key to Russia beating [the] U.S. in defense.” With Russia embracing AI, other nations that don’t or those that restrict AI development risk becoming unable to compete – economically or militarily – with countries wielding developed AIs. Advanced AIs can create advantage for a nation’s businesses, not just its military, and those without AI may be severely disadvantaged. Perhaps most importantly, though, having sophisticated AIs in many countries could provide a deterrent against attacks, as happened with nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

  • The Russian connectionRussia has been cyber-attacking “U.K. media, telecommunications, and energy sectors”: U.K. cybersecurity chief

    Ciaran Martin, CEO of the U.K. National Cyber Security Center (NCSC): “I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Center, has included attacks on the U.K. media, telecommunications and energy sectors. That is clearly a cause for concern — Russia is seeking to undermine the international system.”

  • CyberthreatsNATO launches Cyber Operations Center

    Russia’s successful cyber-interference on behalf of its favored candidates, partiers, and causes in the United States, France, the Netherland, Germany, and the United Kingdom; its effective cyberattacks on infrastructure facilities in Ukraine and the Baltic states; and the growing cyberthreats from China, North Korea, and Iran, have convinced the member states of NATO that these threats must be met in a more systematic and comprehensive fashion.

  • CybersecurityNorth Korea sent spear phishing emails to U.S. electric companies

    Cybersecurity firm FireEye says it can confirm that the company’s devices detected and stopped spear phishing emails sent on 22 September 2017 to U.S. electric companies by “known cyber threat actors likely affiliated with the North Korean government.” The activity was early-stage reconnaissance, and not necessarily indicative of an imminent, disruptive cyberattack that might take months to prepare if it went undetected (judging from past experiences with other cyber threat groups).

  • The Russian connectionTracing the sources of today’s Russian cyberthreat

    By Dorothy Denning

    Cyberspace is an active battleground, with cybercriminals, government agents and even military personnel probing weaknesses in corporate, national and even personal online defenses. Some of the most talented and dangerous cybercrooks and cyberwarriors come from Russia, which is a longtime meddler in other countries’ affairs. Over decades, Russian operators have stolen terabytes of data, taken control of millions of computers and raked in billions of dollars. They’ve shut down electricity in Ukraine and meddled in elections in the U.S. and elsewhere. They’ve engaged in disinformation and disclosed pilfered information such as the emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, following successful spearphishing attacks. Who are these operators, why are they so skilled and what are they up to?

  • Considered opinionBreaking nuclear deal could bring hacking onslaught from Iran

    By Eric Geller

    If the Trump administration discarded the nuclear deal with Iran, Tehran could retaliate quickly – and inflict considerable damage – by unleashing its increasingly aggressive Iranian hacker army. Cyber-experts who track Tehran’s hackers warn that the attacks might target U.S. power plants, hospitals, airports, and other components of the country’s critical infrastructure. Iran’s current hacking against Western targets is limited almost entirely to commercial espionage and dissident surveillance, but Teheran could quickly redirect its efforts in the event of a rupture of the nuclear pact.

  • CyberwarWorld heading toward “permanent cyber war”: France’s cyber chief

    The world is heading towards a “permanent war” in cyberspace, Guillaume Poupard, director general of the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI), has warned. Poupard said cyberattacks of growing frequency and intensity were coming from states which he did not name, as well as criminal and extremist groups. “We must work collectively, not just with two or three Western countries, but on a global scale,” he added, saying attacks could aim at espionage, fraud, sabotage, or destruction.

  • The Russian connectionPutin: “Patriotic,” “private” Russian hackers may have interfered in 2016 U.S. election

    In a surprising shift, President Vladimir Putin for the first time admitted publicly that Russian hackers may have meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections. He said, however, that the hackers were not Russian government employees but rather “patriotically minded” private Russians. The U.S. intelligence community, and Western intelligence services more generally, have collected voluminous, and incontrovertible, evidence, based on both signal and human intelligence, that hackers and disinformation specialists working for the GRU and the FSB – Russia’s military and domestic intelligence services, respectively – have launched a broad disinformation and hacking campaign last year in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. The Russian leader seemed aware of the possibility that more information about the Russian government’ role in the hacking and disinformation campaign may be revealed, and was trying to get ahead of such disclosures by saying that digital technology can be manipulated.