The Cyber Edge

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January 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Cybersecurity experts warn of possible growing cyber risks from domestic unrest. Credit: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens

Officials in U.S. federal and state governments need to consider and address the possible cyber risks stemming from the current civilian unrest, cyber experts advise. Until now, the federal government, especially, has had a foreign intelligence focus, said Adm. Michael Rogers, USN (Ret.).

January 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
When the GAO performs cybersecurity-related audits and reports its findings, the watchdog provides key recommendations to agencies to improve their networks and information technology from risks. The GAO also follows up to see how an agency implemented those recommendations. Credit: Illustration by Chris D’Elia based on images from GAO Reports and lurri Motov/Shutterstock

It is no secret that the U.S. government is grappling with cybersecurity issues across its organizations and agencies. The good news is that the government has an auditing agency that investigates possible weaknesses or cybersecurity gaps and makes key recommendations to rectify problems: the U.S. Government Accountability Office, known as GAO.

January 1, 2021
By Lt. Col. (G.S.) Stefan Eisinger
Military and civilian personnel work hand in hand to tackle challenges in cyberspace. Credit: Bundeswehr

Germany, the United States and many other nations are facing a more diverse, complex, quickly evolving and demanding security environment than at any time since the end of the Cold War. The resulting challenges to national and international security and stability could be as harmful to societies, economies and institutions as conventional attacks.

December 30, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Army Sgt. Evan Tosunian (l) and Sgt. Allan Sosa, both assigned to the California Army National Guard’s 224th Sustainment Brigade, install single-channel ground and airborne radio systems in a Humvee at the National Guard armory in Long Beach, California, in May. The Army’s standardized, reprogrammable encryption chip known as RESCUE will help secure communications for radios, computers, unmanned vehicles and other systems. Credit: Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Ramelb, California Army National Guard

The U.S. Army’s universal, reprogrammable encryption chip is in final testing and may be destined for the service’s next-generation encryption fill device, other military services or possibly even the commercial sector.

The REprogrammable Single Chip Universal Encryptor (RESCUE) technology was developed to be a government-owned, general-purpose cryptographic module and architecture that is highly tailorable to counter emerging cryptographic threats. It uses standardized encryption algorithms designed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

January 1, 2021
By Jennifer Zbozny
Roderick Wilson performs a scan to ensure all computer equipment on the installation has the proper operating system and software patches installed at Anniston Army Depot. Credit: Jennifer Bacchus

The U.S. Army upped the tempo when Gen. Mark Milley, USA, fired off his first message to the force in August 2015 as the newly sworn-in Army Chief of Staff: “Readiness for ground combat is—and will remain—the U.S. Army’s No. 1 priority.” Today, Gen. Milley is the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Army has rebuilt its tactical readiness through a transformational process that it is now expanding to focus on strategic readiness.

January 1, 2021
By M.D. Miller
When people around the world are communicating, they must use precise terms to ensure they are referring to the same topics, problems, results and solutions. Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel.com

Emerging technology, state actors such as Russia and China, and nonstate actors including ISIS, are often quoted as some of the greatest threats to computer and network security. But before the United States can engage with these threats effectively, the war against words must take place.

One place to start is by eliminating the word “cyber” as a descriptor. The term has been used and overused, manipulated and exploited so many times and in so many places, it has become meaningless. What individuals or organizations mean or want when they use it is impossible to say. It’s time to scrap the word altogether and instead specify technical concepts at a more granular level.

December 30, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
When the GAO performs cybersecurity-related audits and reports its findings, it provides key recommendations to agencies to improve their networks and information technology from risks. Illustration by Chris D’Elia based on images from GAO Reports and lurri Motov/Shutterstock

December’s news of yet another highly sophisticated break into U.S. government agencies’ cyber systems didn’t come as a surprise to the Government Accountability Office. The government’s auditing agency investigates possible weaknesses or cybersecurity gaps and makes key recommendations to rectify problems. In some ways, it saw this coming.

December 17, 2020
Posted by: George I. Seffers
The European Union's new Cybersecurity Strategy aims to safeguard a global and open Internet, while at the same time offering safeguards, according to a published announcement. Credit: mixmagic/Shutterstock

The European Union has released a new EU Cybersecurity Strategy designed to bolster Europe's collective resilience against cyber threats and help to ensure that all citizens and businesses can fully benefit from trustworthy and reliable services and digital tools, according to a published announcement.

December 2, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network officials use threat intelligence to bolster the defense of the network against a surge of attacks during the pandemic. Source: Rafal Olechowski/Shutterstock

Cyber attacks against the Defense Department and many other organizations have increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the integration of cyber threat intelligence has helped the department defend its networks, according to Col. David Violand, deputy director of intelligence, Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN).

Col. Violand made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.

December 4, 2020
By George I. Seffers
With U.S. adversaries expected to be using quantum computing technologies in the next several years, officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency are exploring quantum-resistant technologies.Credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock

Because U.S. adversaries likely will be able to use quantum computers within the next several years, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials are beginning to explore quantum-resistant technologies and the role the agency might play in developing or deploying those technologies.

December 2, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The vast troves of personal data on U.S. citizens are now being weaponized by foreign adversaries, panelists warn.at TechNet Cyber. Credit: Meranna/Shutterstock

Massive amounts of sensitive information on U.S. citizens are being collected, created, shared, bought and sold, and in some cases used as a weapon by the country’s adversaries, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.

The information is gathered and sold by companies such as Facebook and Google and the producers of a wide range of applications, programs and technologies. 

December 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
While human cyborgs may still be the stuff of science fiction, the science may be a little closer to reality following breakthroughs in materials used for neural links and other implants that offer a wide array of benefits, including potential medical advances. Credit: Ociacia/Shutterstock

Electronic implants in the brain or other parts of the body may be more efficient and effective due to a recent breakthrough by researchers at the University of Delaware. The advance potentially offers a wide array of biotechnology benefits and could also allow humans to control unmanned vehicles and other technologies with the brain.

December 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Information Systems Agency and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center are collaborating on an artificial intelligence tool to enhance cybersecurity for the Defense Department. Credit: Titima Ongkantong/Shutterstock

The U.S. Defense Department is developing a machine learning tool that can more quickly detect cyber intrusions and enable a more rapid response.

December 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army infantryman radios his situation report during an exercise. Future defense communications systems are likely to be smaller and more comprehensive as the military and industry collaborate on new information technology capabilities that help the warfighter in the battlespace. Credit: Capt. Lindsay Roman, USA

Speed will be the order of the day for military information systems as new technologies incorporate breakthrough innovations. Hardware also will transform as capabilities grow in influence. But above all, the entire defense information system community is undergoing major cultural changes spawned by a combination of innovation and disease.

November 13, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
The United States is preparing to enter a period when its infrastructure goes beyond being connected to or depending on cyberspace but instead will reside in cyberspace. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

U.S. data protection and its relationship to national interests are swiftly evolving. One reason this trend will continue, cybersecurity specialists say, is that other nations see cyberspace differently than the United States and other democracies. Rather than incorporating technology into their societies as a tool, they use cybersecurity—both offensively and defensively—to support their different views and overall significantly challenge U.S. interests.

November 9, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Leaders help their teams turn big ideas into diamonds, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, DISA director and commander, JFHQ-DODIN. Credit: CoreDESIGN/Shutterstock

It is not necessary for a leader to be the most brilliant person in an organization but to foster innovation and ensure those with big ideas are given opportunities to succeed, according to Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) director and the commander for the Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN).

November 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Air Force airmen monitor computers in support of the Advanced Battle Management System Onramp 2 exercise in September at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The military held multiple exercises this fall that proved some of the initial concepts of joint warfighting across all domains. Credit: Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hernandez

The U.S. military is rapidly pursuing Joint All-Domain Command and Control, known as JADC2, as a way to confront near-peer adversaries China, Russia and other nations. The effort requires innovative computing, software and advanced data processing; emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud and 5G communications; along with integration of the military’s existing legacy systems. Leaders have learned that to fully implement JADC2, they have to shed some of the military’s old practices.

November 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team use satellite communication systems at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, in March. Next summer, the Army intends to take its premier command, control, communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance experiment to the Indo-Pacific theater. It will mark the service’s first full-sized technology development experiment in a combat theater. Credit: U.S. Army/Pfc. Rosio Najera

When the U.S. Army conducts its Multi-Domain Operations Live experiment in the Indo-Pacific region next year, it will mark the first time the service has undertaken a full-scale technology development experiment in a combat theater. The goal is to assess technologies under the same conditions they will face in times of war, rather than in a stateside setting.

November 1, 2020
By Nicholas A. Strnad and Lt. Col. Elizabeth Agapios, USA
Army scientists explore materials at the nanolevel with the goal of finding stronger or more heat-resistant properties to support the Army of the future. Credit: U.S. Army photo by David McNallyArmy scientists explore materials at the nanolevel with the goal of finding stronger or more heat-resistant properties to support the Army of the future. Credit: U.S. Army photo by David McNally

Nanotechnology continues its march through the field of electronics, enabling faster and more energy-efficient computer processors, larger computer memory density and increased battery capacity. These ever-shrinking micro and nanodevices require advanced manufacturing methods to produce. Atomic-scale processing refers to a collection of these methods that may be used to deposit and remove material at the smallest scales, a single atomic layer at a time.

October 27, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Staff Sgt. Keila Peters, USA, an embedded noncommissioned officer within the Army C5ISR Center, conducts testing on equipment for the command post survivability effort during Network Modernization Experiment 20 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, July 27, 2020. The Army's new deputy chief of staff for G6 has laid out three pillars for his restructured office that include cyber, signal, electronic warfare and networking priorities. Credit: U.S. Army C5ISR Center photo/Jasmyne Douglas

During an October 27 telephonic roundtable discussion with reporters, Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6, revealed four pillars for the restructured office. They include building a unified network; posturing signal, cyber and electronic warfare forces for multidomain operations; reforming and operationalizing cybersecurity processes; and driving effective and efficient network and cyber investments.

October 23, 2020
By George I. Seffers
C5ISR Center electronics engineer Michelle Moore studies vehicle positions while evaluating the Blue Force Tracking Resiliency effort during Network Modernization Experiment 20 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, September 29. The experiment also included autonomous agents monitoring the network. Credit: U.S. Army C5ISR Center photo/Jenna Mozeyko

The recently completed Network Modernization Experiment (NetModX) included an army of autonomous agents unleashed in defense of the network and in some cases also protected other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

NetModX is a science and technology experiment held July 20-October 2 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The science and technology experiment provides lessons learned for Army acquisition decisions, science and technology specifications, requirements and strategies necessary to modernize the force. Systems that performed well this year might ultimately end up in the Army’s arsenal as part of the capability sets to be fielded in 2023 and 2025.

October 1, 2020
By Robert Hoffman
Marines with Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command work in the cyber operations center at Lasswell Hall, Fort Meade, Maryland. MARFORCYBER Marines conduct offensive and defensive cyber operations in support of U.S. Cyber Command and operate, secure and defend the Marine Corps Enterprise Network. Credit: Staff Sgt. Jacob Osborne, USMC

Automation software tools are being under-utilized, especially in the U.S. Defense Department. While the department has purchased and used automated scanning tools for security and compliance, it has been slow to adopt automation for many other tasks that would benefit from the capability, such as easing software deployment and standardization and, once developed, increasing the speed of overall automation.

October 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
As the deadly COVID-19 virus spread around the world, so did the attacks from malicious cyber actors, taking advantage of the unsure times, say experts from leading cybersecurity firms. Credit: Shutterstock/VK Studio

While the world was facing the rapid and deadly spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, most commonly known as COVID-19, malicious cyber attackers were also at work, increasing the number of attacks, switching methods, taking advantage of the boom in Internet, network and email users, and playing on fears during the uncertain time, cybersecurity experts say. Companies struggling to maintain operations are still leaving gaps in digital security, they warn.

October 7, 2020
By Ray Rothrock
Just like basic personal hygiene during a pandemic, practicing cyber fundamentals comes down to the individual and consistency. Photo credit: vientocuatroestudio/Shutterstock

When it comes to nefarious deeds, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a gold mine for bad actors. In addition to wreaking havoc for individuals and healthcare organizations, federal agencies are also prime targets. Case in point: a portion of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) website was recently compromised, in what appears to be a part of an online COVID-19 disinformation campaign. 

In a time of heightened cyber risk and limited human and fiscal resources, how can agencies protect their networks from malicious actors by taking a page from the COVID playbook? They can diligently practice good (cyber) hygiene.

In fact, there is a direct correlation between personal and cyber hygiene.

October 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Navy operations specialist uses a radar system in a combat information center in the 7th Fleet area of operations. The U.S. Navy’s PEO C4I and Space Systems is focusing on parallel development of digital assets and capabilities to speed innovation to the fleet. Credit: U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is focusing on parallel development of its new digital assets and capabilities as it works to rush advanced information innovations to the fleet. With the need for better technologies increasing coincidental to the rapidly evolving threat picture, the Navy has opted for concurrence as its main tool for implementing both upgrades and innovations.

October 1, 2020
By Joseph Mitola III
Senior Airman Daniel M. Davis, USAF, 9th Communications Squadron information system security officer, looks at a computer in the cybersecurity office on Beale Air Force Base. Cybersecurity airmen must manage more than 1,100 controls to maintain the risk management framework. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jason W. Cochran

Users need to transition all networked computing from the commercial central processing unit addiction to pure dataflow for architecturally safe voting machines, online banking, websites, electric power grids, tactical radios and nuclear bombs. Systems engineering pure dataflow into communications and electronic systems can protect them. The solutions to this challenge are in the users’ hands but are slipping through their fingers. Instead, they should grab the opportunity to zeroize network attack surfaces.

October 1, 2020
By Dirk W. Olliges
Leslie Bryant, civilian personnel office staffing chief, demonstrates how to give fingerprints to Jayme Alexander, Airmen and Family Readiness Center casualty assistance representative selectee. Although requiring fingerprints to access information is better than single-factor identification verification, it should be part of a multifactor authentication approach. Credit: 2nd Lt. Benjamin Aronson, USAF

The two-factor authentication schema is often heralded as the silver bullet to safeguard online accounts and the way forward to relegate authentication attacks to the history books. However, news reports of a phishing attack targeting authentication data, defeating the benefits of the protection method, have weakened confidence in the approach. Furthermore, hackers have targeted account recovery systems to reset account settings, yet again mitigating its effectiveness. Facilitating additional layers of security is crucial to bolstering user account protection and privacy today and into the future.

September 25, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Enterprisewide Risk Management (ERM) consists of the formal identification of major risks to the organization’s mission.

Cybersecurity is now a significant area of focus and concern for senior leaders who have witnessed cyber events that have resulted in significant financial and reputational damage. However, for many organizations, data defense continues to be a technology-focused effort managed by the technical “wizards.” Board of director discussions often zero in on describing the latest cyber threats rather than taking a long-range approach.

But cybersecurity is more than a technical challenge. Enterprise risk management (ERM) is an effective tool to assess risks, including those with cyber origins, but few businesses or agencies use the technique for this purpose, cyber experts assert.

September 4, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is exploring the ramifications of a number of emerging disruptive technologies. Credit: GAO file photo

The future of U.S. technology likely will be cyber-heavy with innovative breakthroughs erupting from several areas such as telecommunications and digital ledger capabilities. Many of these disruptive technologies have policy ramifications either in their development or their implementation. The federal government must consider aspects such as regulatory issues, privacy, economic competitiveness and security requirements.

September 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Unmanned aircraft have proved immensely valuable to the military and to intelligence agencies, but they are sometimes too noisy for stealthy reconnaissance. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is developing a silent and miniature aerial drone known as the Little Horned Owl. Credit: U.S. Defense Department photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey S. Viano, U.S. Navy

The cloud computing infrastructure at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity allowed the organization to pivot to a new teleworking norm during the pandemic that’s not much different than the old norm. The organization has conducted business as usual, hiring program managers, adding office directors, creating and killing programs, and continuing to meet the intelligence community’s technology needs.

Catherine Marsh, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, known as IARPA, was told on March 12 to “lean forward,” and she did, allowing almost the entire staff to telecommute beginning the next day. Even contractors work from home legally, securely and effectively.

September 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The increase in the remote workforce due to the pandemic has highlighted calls for increased digital identity management. Credit: Shuterstock/Enzozo

Today’s identity management is fragmented and decentralized, relying on a lot of different systems to authenticate people and manage identities. Organizations use a variety of disjointed tools from passwords and smart cards to biometrics. Instead, organizations should pursue a more holistic approach.

September 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/FOTOGRIN

China’s global moves to gain technological hegemony over 5G and reshape the Internet to suit its own needs offer the potential to give the Middle Kingdom control over the telecommunications market and information itself. At the very least, it would achieve market dominance. But at most, it would control both the nature of the Internet and the information that flows through it, say Internet experts.

September 1, 2020
By Shaun Waterman
As part of the nine-day Cyber Guard exercise, participants work through a training scenario. Credit: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse A. Hyatt, USN

Second of a two-part report.

The Cyber Solarium Commission, a congressionally chartered panel of expert policymakers, was created to tackle cyber conflict in the same way its Truman-era predecessor addressed the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. An article in SIGNAL Magazine’s August issue (“Leaders Seek a Grand Strategy for Cybersecurity") explored the commission’s theory of deterrence by denial and how it embraced the concept of resilience.

September 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Conceptually, soldiers wearing the tactical identification and authentication tokens could simply approach a system to log in and be recognized by that system, which prompts them to enter a personal identification number or to use a biometric as a second authentication factor. They also may be automatically logged out when they walk away. Credit: U.S. Army

The U.S. Army’s wearable authentication tokens intended for the tactical environment could be used for nontactical purposes, such as accessing strategic-level systems, enterprise networks and medical systems, researchers say.

August 24, 2020
By George I. Seffers
In recent years, the Army's Cyber Blitz experiment evolved well beyond just cyber, allowing the service to define the integration of cyberspace, electronic warfare, intelligence, space and information operations. Beginning next year, the experiment will be known as Multi-Domain Operations Live. Photo by Spc. Marcus Gresham, USA

The U.S. Army’s technology assessment experiment known as Cyber Blitz has grown beyond its cyber roots. Beginning next year, when it will be held in the Indo-Pacific region, the exercise will be known as Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) Live.

August 19, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Lori Ramirez, DISA’s director, workforce services and development, discusses the agency's efforts to recruit talented personnel by using virtual meeting and information sharing tools during the pandemic and beyond.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is searching for talented personnel in a broad array of career fields, including information technology, science and engineering, program and project management, contracting and acquisition and human resources—and the effort to recruit those personnel virtually is gaining steam.

August 19, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Speaking at a virtual luncheon of AFCEA's Alamo Chapter on August 19, Lt. Col. John Priestly, USAF, program director and material leader, Unified Platform Program; and director, LevelUp CodeWorks Software Factory, San Antonio, shares that he is seeing initial success at the cyber software factory, which is less than a year old.

Less than a year old, the San Antonio-based LevelUp Code Works Software Factory is succeeding in starting to “break the mold” of Defense Department software development. The factory, which had its grand opening last December, is providing key cyber-related products to U.S. military cyber organizations, says Lt. Col. John Priestly, program manager and materiel leader, Unified Platform Program; and director, LevelUp Code Works Software Factory.

August 10, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Ransomware attacks affect computers by encrypting all of the information on the device. The hackers then demand a ransom, usually paid in the form of crypto currency in return for the decryption key. U.S. Air Force Graphic by Adam Butterick

The state of the U.S. cybersecurity industrial base is robust, including for numerous start-up companies exploring new and, in some cases, pioneering cybersecurity technologies. Members of the AFCEA International Cyber Committee say the infusion of cybersecurity technologies and innovations originating in friendly countries and allies such as Israel, the United Kingdom and Australia certainly support this strength.

August 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

The U.S. Army is attacking defensive cyber operations from the laboratory. It is focusing new research efforts, including autonomous network agents, on ensuring cyber resiliency in the battlespace.

Some of this work builds on related efforts long underway at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory (ARL). Other thrusts aim at exploiting capabilities that are within reach but not yet ready to field. Still more are areas of research that have been given greater emphasis reflecting the more urgent need for cyber resilience.

August 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Army is integrating Joint All Domain Command and Control capability as part of its tactical network modernization efforts. Credit: U.S. Army

The U.S. Army has spent the last two years pursuing a modernized integrated tactical network, or ITN, that supports increased mobility, resiliency and capabilities. Now, the service has a focus toward making sure that the modernization of that network can enable joint all-domain command and control, or the concept of JADC2. The service is preparing to fight seamlessly across the sea, land, air, space and cyberspace, or multidomain operations, by 2028.

August 1, 2020
By Shaun Waterman
Former NSA hacker Dave Aitel speaks at the S4 security conference in Miami. Photo by courtesy of S4

When the first Solarium Commission convened in 1953, it had the task of helping Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his cabinet colleagues assess the threat from the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin and agree on a strategic U.S. response. Three teams of policy experts put together three competing policy models: containment, confrontation and roll-back. Former President Eisenhower famously chose containment, a strategy based on the deterrence of Soviet military power and a norms-based alliance with Western Europe.

August 1, 2020
Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the need for online telework and has expanded the cyber attack vectors. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Marco Baldovin

For many, the issue of cyber resilience conjures up thoughts of conducting military operations in a denied environment. But the COVID-19 pandemic has added another dimension. The importance of cyber resilience to everyday activities has been illustrated through the changes wrought by the coronavirus. As the need for online telework and related efforts continues to expand, so do the attack vectors leveraged by cyber marauders.

August 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman

The COVID-19 pandemic brings with it a new set of cyber vulnerabilities built around lifestyle changes throughout society, and these vulnerabilities cry out for new means of cyber resiliency. “It’s quite possible that historians will remember COVID-19 as one of the very important civilizational turning points,” says Alexander Kott, chief scientist of the Army Research Laboratory and Army ST for cyber resilience. “COVID-19 is acting as a forcing function. It forces us to accelerate the transition to a more virtual society than we were before, and it is accelerating the trend that was occurring before COVID-19 but was happening more slowly and less noticeably.”

July 31, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Military and government leaders share their insights about cybersecurity challenges in the age of pandemics.

Although the world is still in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, technology experts agree lessons the infection teaches about cybersecurity and resilience are emerging. As people don masks to decrease the likelihood of germs entering their bodies, they also must put barriers in place to protect their networks. And, just as they prepare for how they will rebound from the illness or economic downturns, they must examine their options for life after the pandemic.

July 16, 2020
By George I. Seffers
A convoy of Army vehicles equipped with mobile Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) systems enable mobile mission command, advanced communication and real-time common operating picture from anywhere on the battlefield. WlN-T is one system supported by the Army's Communications-Electronics Command under new initiatives aimed at resolving issues with outdated and unpatched software.  U.S. Army photo courtesy of the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California

Next week, the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division will begin testing a software repository that allows the downloading of up-to-date software systems and patches. The effort is one of thee major initiatives to resolve the service’s challenges in updating and securing systems to enhance operational readiness.

Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo, USA, commanding general, Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), reported the effort during the final day of the virtual Army’s 2020 Signal Conference, which is hosted by AFCEA.

July 15, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Among an array of activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Command supported the needs of the U.S. Navy ships Comfort and Mercy. Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/Released

In response to the teleworking boom resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) dramatically increased network capacity, expanded access to virtual private networks and adopted new online collaboration tools, allowing thousands of Defense Department personnel to safely and securely work from home.  

Addressing the audience tuning into the Army’s 2020 Signal Conference, which is sponsored by AFCEA and streamed online, Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the agency’s director, reported that the agency never shut down and never stopped working during the ongoing pandemic.

July 15, 2020
By George I. Seffers
U.S. Defense Department officials intend to complete an initial zero trust architecture by year's end to improve cybersecurity, according to Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, Defense Information Systems Agency.

The U.S. Defense Department by the end of the calendar year will release an initial zero trust architecture to improve cybersecurity across the department, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, Defense Information Systems Agency, and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network.

Norton’s agency, commonly known as DISA, is working with the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense (DOD) chief information officer and others on what she calls an initial “reference” architecture for zero trust, which essentially ensures every person wanting to use the DOD Information Network, or DODIN, is identified and every device trying to connect is authenticated.

July 14, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army's concept of command-centric network operations gives commanders greater authority and responsibility for network operations and relies on big data to enable faster, more effective decision making. U.S. Army photo

Protecting critical data is paramount to the Army’s vision for command-centric network operations, which will allow commanders to more easily understand what is happening on the operational network and more rapidly make decisions for the network’s defense, says Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Gen. Fogarty made the comments in a pre-recorded address as part of the virtual Army’s 2020 Signal Conference, which is hosted by AFCEA.

July 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Credit: DR MANAGER/Shutterstock

Network data collection, analysis and sharing are core to cyber defense, and Tinisha McMillan is on a mission to improve all three.

As division chief for the Cyber Situational Awareness and NetOps Division within the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), McMillan is responsible for building and providing cyber analytics and tools to enhance the department’s cyber information sharing to protect the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN).

July 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The NETCOM Network Enterprise Center provided extended information technology support to many of the units deploying in support of Joint Task Force-Civil Support during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Army Cyber Command has now delegated to NETCOM some its authorities for protecting Army portions of the Department of Defense Information Network. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Chafelmer Kroll

The U.S. Army Cyber Command is transferring some of its cyber defense responsibilities for the service’s networks to the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, commonly known as NETCOM. The change, which officially took effect on June 1, transfers authority for the Army’s worldwide regional cyber centers to NETCOM, allows Cyber Command to increase its focus on electronic warfare and information operations and provides one primary point of contact for warfighters in need of network support.