Network security

  • Joint EU and U.S. cyber security exercise to be held this year

    The United States and the European Union (EU) recently announced that they will hold joint cyber war exercises by the end of 2011; the exercise comes as part of a broader agreement to expand efforts to jointly defend against cyber security threats; the two sides agreed to share best practices, engage the private sector, and increase global cyber incident response capabilities; in particular, the agreement will focus on fighting botnets, securing industrial control systems, and enhancing the resilience and stability of the internet

  • Call for creating a U.S. cybersecurity emergency response capability

    Lawmakers call for the creation of a cybersecurity emergency response capability to help businesses under major cyber attacks; “Who do you call if your CIO is overwhelmed, if you’re a local bank or utility?” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) asked; “How can we preposition defenses for our critical infrastructure, since these attacks come at the speed of light?”

  • Demand for gov. cybersecurity specialists outstrips supply

    The demand for IT personnel continues to grow, but there has been a subtle shift with regard to the qualifications most sought after; new studies found that professionals with the right IT skills and an active government security clearance earned 12 percent more than non-cleared personnel; in the Washington, D.C., area, the pay bump is 20 percent

  • Senator seeks to end wasteful government cybersecurity spending

    Senator Tom Carper (D – Delaware) is actively seeking ways to end wasteful government cybersecurity spending; Carper believes that the government can spend its money more efficiently on IT security; he believes that too many government programs are expensive, inefficient, and do not actually secure government networks; Carper was careful to note that he was not advocating for budget cuts, but rather more efficient spending; Carper has proposed mandating that all agencies only purchase technology that is preconfigured with encryption or other security measures; he is currently working with Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on the Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act of 2011, which contains many of his proposals

  • U.S. industrial processes vulnerable to Stuxnet-like attack

    Cyber security experts recently warned that U.S. manufacturing plants and critical infrastructure were vulnerable to a Stuxnet-like attack; industrial plants, transportation systems, electrical grids, and even nuclear plants could be crippled by new cyber weapons that target specialized control core processes; concern has spread after the Stuxnet virus targeted these systems and created physical damage; experts have likened Stuxnet to “the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield”

  • OMB reports on 2010 cybersecurity attacks

    A new report on U.S. government cybersecurity says that in 2010 there were 41,776 reported cyber incidents of malicious intent in the federal network in 2010 out of a total 107,439 reported to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team;the number represented a 39 percent increase over 2009, when 30,000 incidents were reported by the feds of 108,710 attacks overall

  • DHS struggles with IT hiring

    DHS has actively sought to recruit more employees with critical cyber security skills, but has struggled with internal obstacles that have slowed hiring; in 2010 DHS set a goal of hiring 1,000 employees with cyber security skills in three years, but so far has only managed to hire roughly 200 in 2010 and it plans to hire 100 this year; the new employees will focus on network and systems engineering, incident response, and risk and strategic analysis; obstacles to hiring include lengthy security clearance processing times, noncompetitive pay, and an outdated job classification system

  • Northrop awarded $1.1 billion DHS contract

    Northrop Grumman Corp. recently announced that it was awarded a government contract worth up to $1.1 billion to “operate, maintain, and enhance” classified networks for DHS; Northrop will build and maintain a classified network that will transmit data, voice, and video to over 15,000 users; the system is designed using a proprietary cloud-based computing model that can be accessed remotely

  • Cyber security firm victim of cyber attacks, Pentagon networks potentially compromised

    RSA, a major cyber security firm that helps defend the Pentagon’s networks as well as thousands of others around the world, has been the subject of a cyber attack; valuable information was stolen that could comprise the Department of Defense’s networks as well as Lockheed Martin’s; the attack has been identified as an advanced persistent threat; hackers stole information related to the company’s SecurID two factor authentication products; RSA’s SecureID customers include major banks, healthcare providers, and even state governments; RSA has been working with the U.S. government to secure networks against any potential security breaches

  • U.K. gives cyber agency enhanced role in critical infrastructure protection

    The U.K government is set to expand the role of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in protecting the critical national infrastructure (CNI) from cyber attack by giving it greater powers to collaborate with the relevant private sector bodies to monitor and deflect potential threats

  • Law enforcement, and domain name registrars discuss ways to tackle net crooks

    Police and other law enforcement agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom are increasingly turning their attention to domain names as an Internet choke-point that can be used to shut down Web sites selling counterfeit goods and enabling the trading of pirated movies and child pornography

  • U.K. rethinking cyber security

    U.K. cyber crime could cost more than 27 billion Pounds a year; the estimate of 21 billion Pounds to businesses, 2.2 billion Pounds to government, and 3.1 billion Pounds to citizens may be an under-estimation due to a possible lack of reporting for fear of reputational damage; the hardest-hit sectors being pharmaceuticals, biotech, electronics, IT, and chemicals

  • DHS requesting boost in cybersecurity funds

    Government, industry, and academia have labeled the shortage of cyber specialists in the government as a national security problem; the United States is looking to hire 30,000 security experts to safeguard cyberspace as opposed to the 1,000 personnel currently staffed government wide; DHS has requested $936 million in funding for FY 2012 to grow the federal cybersecurity workforce and enhance network protections

  • Cyberweapon could cause Internet doomsday

    Researchers show that an attack by a large botnet — a network of computers infected with software that allows them to be externally controlled — could take down the Internet; the researchers reckon that 250,000 such machines would be enough to do the job; a sustained 20-minute attack by the 250,000-strong army — they will be sending waves of border gateway protocol (BGP) updates to every router in the world — would overwhelm the net, bringing Web servers down by overloading them with traffic

  • Hoover Dam is safe from hackers

    In response to the debate over the controversial Senate Internet “kill switch” bill, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation refuted a central argument that the law’s proponents have been using; proponents of the bill have often stated the need for the bill because terrorists could hack into the system and open the Hoover Dam’s floodgates; the dam is not connected to the Internet and has several physical and technological safeguards that prevent the floodgates from opening; the proposed bill would authorize the president to sever critical infrastructure from the Internet in the event of a cyber attack; critics say the bill could violate First Amendment rights