The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has released a broad agency announcement (BAA) seeking proposals to develop, and experimentally test, systems that use crowdsourcing and structured analytic techniques to improve analytic reasoning. At the same time, the organization released three requests for information and announced a March 11 proposers’ day for the Odin program, which is developing methods for detecting attempts to disguise a person’s biometric identity.
Not all the news surrounding shrinking federal budgets is bad news. Dwindling coffers mean the government increasingly relies on ready-made products and services from private industry for solutions to both carry out day-to-day operations and prepare for the future.
The season to hunt white-tailed deer draws to a close, and being an avid hunter, I’m already planning for the next season using information gleaned from this go-around in addition to maps, data from trail cameras, temperature input, moon phase and the movement patterns of game. While planning tools are plentiful, they mean little without automation on the back end to make sense of it all.
Deer hunting can be much like cyber hunting, the methodology organizations use when traditional security solutions fail to keep out intruders.
Stopping insider threats has become a unifying cybersecurity mission, particularly in the defense and intelligence communities. And for good reason. While in the recent past, mention of the words insider threat conjured up the likeness of Edward Snowden, the reality is much scarier. More often than not, insider threats result from innocent people making simple mistakes rather than the common misconception of malicious employees or whistleblowers.
The Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), Ashburn, Virginia, has released a report, "Harnessing Big Data within the Federal Government – Findings and Recommendations of ATARC’s Big Data Innovation Lab," which offers five recommendations for government to consider while developing big data strategies.
The recommendations are:
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) seeks to use big data analytics to enhance network situational awareness while automating as many cybersecurity capabilities as possible, officials said during the agency’s November 2 forecast to industry in Washington, D.C.
Remember this scene from The Graduate?
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Turns out, plastics was pretty hot. Great tip, Mr. McGuire. I wonder what, if anything, Benjamin did with that tip. More importantly, what is the one word for today?
I think I have it. The word is Cambric. Cambric the finely woven linen? No, CAMBRIC the finely woven acronym:
Mobile data traffic generated by cellphones and tablets will approach almost 197,000 petabytes by 2019, according to Juniper Research. That is the data equivalent to more than 10 billion Blu-ray movies.
The U.S. intelligence community's (IC's) leading edge in the information-age technology race, particularly in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) domain, has put the Defense Department at a self-imposed disadvantage, marked by some warfighters behind the curve when it comes time to process and analyze the vast amount of information collected, a former general says.
This blog is written by our sponsor Teradata Corporation. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of AFCEA International or SIGNAL Media.
Many of us have heard the phrase “defense-in-depth” as it relates to cybersecurity, and most would agree that it’s not working. The strategy of cyber defense-in-depth was developed to defend against dynamic or real-world attacks aimed at strategic Defense Department (DOD) and intelligence community assets by creating layers of network and other technical defenses that require the attacker to expend a large amount of time, money or sophistication to gain access.
Big Data increasingly is viewed as the future of knowledge management, aided and abetted by the cloud. And, it would seem to be a perfect fit in the field of intelligence.
But two longtime experts in intelligence take opposing views on the utility of big data for intelligence. Lewis Shepherd, director and general manager of the Microsoft Institute, believes in big data serving a valuable role throughout intelligence. Mark Lowenthal, president and chief executive officer of The Intelligence and Security Academy, views it as just another overhyped fad that could divert energy away from what really matters in intelligence.
In considering how best to manage the challenges and opportunities presented by big data in the U.S. Defense Department, Dan Doney, chief innovation officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), says the current best thinking on the topic centers around what he calls, “the five Vs”.
Appearing on a recent episode of the AFCEA Answers radio program, Doney says it’s important to always consider “volume, velocity, variety, veracity and value” when trying to manage and take advantage of big data.
Current efforts to deal with big data, the massive amounts of information resulting from an ever-expanding number of networked computers, storage and sensors, go hand-in-hand with the government’s priority to sift through these huge datasets for important data. So says Simon Szykman, chief information officer (CIO) with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Effectively dealing with data sets measured in terabytes and petabytes sometimes takes an ecosystem. And at times, that ecosystem is dependent on metadata, a sub-dataset that describes the dataset so that it can be analyzed quickly.
That’s according to Todd Myers, a big data specialist with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), who spoke at the AFCEA SOLUTIONS Series - George Mason University Symposium, "Critical Issues in C4I," on Tuesday.
Behavioral analytic tools might just open new horizons for better cybersecurity that would let experts better prioritize alerts and collect actionable intelligence, giving them an advantage for more rapid responses to breaches. Or might they open new doors for hackers?
While it’s still too early to deliver a definitive verdict on emerging behavioral analytical tools, cyber experts who led various security workshops and delivered speeches at Raytheon’s annual cybersecurity symposium touted such programs as the way forward.
Article updated December 3, 2014.
With a number of uncertainties coloring their activities, officials at the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center are preparing their program objective memorandum, laying out several key projects and goals for the coming years. The leaders are calibrating efforts to align with expected congressional funding as well as with the capabilities soldiers require for mission success.
The U.S. Air Force is using big data analysis tools to create a picture of a battlefield or area of interest that can be monitored in real time as well as stored and replayed. By merging sensor streams with data tagging and trend detection software, this capability will allow analysts and warfighters to observe, track and potentially predict enemy force operations based on their observed behavior.
The emergence of big data combined with the revolution in sensor technology is having a synergistic effect that promises a boom in both realms. The ability to fuse sensor data is spurring the growth of large databases that amass more information than previously envisioned. Similarly, the growth of big data capabilities is spawning new sensor technologies and applications that will feed databases’ ever-increasing and diverse types of information.
This rarely happens, but for 2014, defense and technology analysts are in agreement that big data and cybersecurity are the two drivers in planning and investment for information technology, both in government and in industry. Most everything else will be enabling these two key capabilities. While much attention has been focused on the threats and work being done globally on cybersecurity, I want to focus on big data.