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Cyber

Information Security Scholarships Available

November 21 ,2012
By Maryann Lawlor

The (ISC)2 Foundation’s information security 2013 scholarship program application process will open on January 1, 2013, offering a total of $120,000 in awards to women, graduate students, young professionals and faculty.

 

Supply Chain Poses Severe Threat to Information Technology

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The devil may be in the details of the electronics hardware as malware increasingly crashes hardware debuts.

Cyber Committee Shares Expertise

November 15, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Ranging in topics from cloud computing to supply chain management, AFCEA’s Cyber Committee has published five white papers. Available on the committee’s website, information ranges from the basics to high-level recommendations that will be useful not only to organizations’ information technology personnel but also to leadership planning strategies for the future.

 

U.S. Technology Training for Kids in the Pacific

November 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Department of State is hosting its first-ever Youth TechCamp in the Pacific region later this month. Coordinated in conjunction with Pasifika Nexus and the University of the South Pacific, Youth TechCamp Fiji will offer six days of training to as many as 300 youths from various Pacific islands. Local and international technology experts from the fields of digital content creation, mobile applications and social activism will participate as well. Organizers aim to enable future leaders from the region to contribute to policy development, encourage local content creation and leverage connection technologies in positive ways.

Members of the public can join the conversation about this event through the Youth TechCamp Facebook page or on Twitter with the hashtag #TechCamp.
 

 

Sharing Cybersecurity to Protect Critical Services

November 5, 2012
By Rita Boland

Efforts to reduce barriers to information sharing in the cyberworld have met with criticism, but some in industry are emphasizing the necessity of swift action.

The effects of Hurricane Sandy on the Northeast coast gave the United States a powerful insight into what happens when critical infrastructure fails in dense population centers. Even with days of warning, thousands of people still find themselves without basic services. Before that superstorm formed, however, security experts were considering the effects of a man-made catastrophe implemented through breaches in cybersecurity that could strike at any time without prior notice, causing even more widespread damage. Leading up to the election, an executive order is pending to try to prevent such an event, but regardless of whom voters elect as their next leader, some in industry are calling for swift action to put preventative measures in place.

Drafted in response to Congress' decision not to pass a cybersecurity act earlier this year, the executive order, if signed, is expected to authorize the Department of Homeland Security to create different information security programs and to facilitate better information sharing among government and private-sector partners involved in cyber activities. Legislators and groups outside government have criticized several aspects of the various efforts to reduce current restrictions that prevent organizations from passing on their knowledge of vulnerabilities or attacks to others who need it, expressing particular concern about violations of citizens’ privacy.

Information Priorities 
in the Asia-Pacific

November 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

Cybersecurity remains the foremost concern for the man tasked with overseeing U.S. military communications technology in the Asia-Pacific area as the national defense strategy shifts focus to that region of the globe. New opportunities for technologies and programs are opening, but cyber issues continue to hold top billings in importance, and moves to shore up operations predate the recent official guidance.

Managing Change in the
 Intelligence Community

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new computing architecture emphasizes shared resources.

The nation’s intelligence community has embarked on a path toward a common computer desktop and a cloud computing environment designed to facilitate both timely sharing of information and cost savings. The implementation could result in budget savings of 20 to 25 percent over existing information technology spending within six years, but the ramifications could include large cultural changes that result both in lost jobs and business for industry partners.

Al Tarasiuk, chief intelligence officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), explains that the changes will be difficult. Agency employees, and the vendors who help operate and manage information technology for the 17 agencies composing the nation’s intelligence apparatus, will feel the effects of the cost cuts.

“Right now, technology is not our biggest risk. The culture change is our biggest risk, and that extends to our industry partners. We have a lot of industry employed in the community through service contracts and other things. They could help, or they could choose not to help,” Tarasiuk emphasizes, candidly describing the pivotal role of these firms in a transition that could spell the loss of both business and jobs. “They know, and I’ve been very open with them, that we’re not going to need the pool of resources of people that we have today to manage what we have in the future.”

Cybersecurity: 
So Much to Learn,
 So Much to Do

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

The final conference in the TechNet Land Forces series focuses on military efforts to defend vital computer networks.

It is noteworthy when the nation’s top military leader in the realm of cybersecurity openly admits to using a piece of shareware to teach himself how to think like a hacker. Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, and director, National Security Agency, related in his keynote address at the TechNet Land Forces East conference at the Baltimore, Maryland, Convention Center in August, that he spends some of his nights and weekends working with Backtrack, a Linux-based software application that is readily downloadable from the Internet and allows the user to practice and learn basic cyber-penetration tactics. The general said it is vital for cyberdefenders to think like hackers, who cultivate a working understanding of the vulnerabilities of networks and who work every day to exploit those vulnerabilities.

Rear Adm. David Simpson, USN, vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, rhetorically asked during a panel discussion on the future of cybersecurity how one would distinguish the collection of routers and switches that make up the Internet from the kitten videos, blogs and other content that populates its servers. It is vital to understand the distinction, he emphasized. Budgets are declining, and expectations are rising that the military one day may play a role in defending not only the .gov and .mil Internet domains but also the .com private business domain. Brig. Gen. George Franz III, USA, director of current operations at U.S. Cyber Command, noted that it is vital to develop the capability to see down to the end of the conduits.

Writing
 a New Spy School
 Syllabus

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

The National Intelligence University prepares for its fifth decade with a shift in focus and a change in venue.

The National Intelligence University, which provides advanced training to U.S. intelligence professionals, is transitioning from an institution primarily focused on the U.S. Defense Department to one serving the entire intelligence community. This reflects the new emphasis toward sharing and collaboration within the nation's intelligence apparatus.

To make the change a reality, National Intelligence University (NIU) leaders are rethinking and expanding the educational programs the institution offers. Plans also are underway to relocate the university to its own new campus in the very near future—in part to bolster its perception as an intelligence community strategic resource.

Dr. David R. Ellison, president of the NIU, says that the change began with the appointment of James Clapper as the director of National Intelligence in 2010. “Director Clapper recognized that if we were going to have a National Intelligence University in the intelligence community, the best place to start was with an accredited institution that had already achieved success in an academic area,” Ellison explains. He adds that Clapper went on to draft a memorandum to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, defining education as a force multiplier and a tool that must be used to the advantage of the entire intelligence community.

“What he envisioned was that the then-National Intelligence College would become the National Intelligence University, and it would provide accredited education, academic research and academic outreach to the intelligence community as a whole,” Ellison points out.

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