The Cyber Edge

The Cyber Edge Home Page

October 15, 2018
By Paul Parker
Technical, physical, and departmental silos could undermine the government’s Internet of Things security efforts. Credit: methodshop/Pixabay

Every time federal information technology professionals think they’ve gotten in front of the cybersecurity risks posed by the Internet of Things (IoT), a new and unexpected challenge rears its head. Take, for instance, the heat maps used by GPS-enabled fitness tracking applications, which the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) warned showed the location of military bases, or the infamous Mirai Botnet attack of 2016.

October 9, 2018
By George I. Seffers
With stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35 can collect, analyze and share data. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report—which did not specify any particular weapon system—says a number of cybersecurity tests prove U.S. military weapon systems to be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Photo: Lockheed Martin

U.S. military aircraft, ships, combat vehicles, radios and satellites remain vulnerable to relatively common cyber attacks, according to a report published Tuesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report does not specify which weapon systems were tested.

In one case, a two-person test team took just one hour to gain initial access to a weapon system and one day to gain full control of the system, the report says. Another assessment demonstrated that the weapon system “satisfactorily prevented unauthorized access by remote users, but not insiders and near-siders.”

October 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii and from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Centers of Excellence participate in the Army's Cyber Blitz in April 2016 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Cyber Blitz provides the Army a way to learn about cyber and electromagnetic activity. U.S. Army CERDEC photo by Kristen Kushiyama

The U.S. Army’s Cyber Blitz experimental exercise September 17-28 turned out to be an eye-opener for one maneuver officer regarding cyber’s capabilities on the battlefield.

Military leaders often describe the “speed of cyber” as being measured in milliseconds or microseconds, which means the operations tempo in the cyber realm is incredibly high and decisions are made rapidly. But an offensive cyber campaign can sometimes take much longer than maneuver commanders might expect. In a teleconference with reporters to discuss Cyber Blitz results, Lt. Col. John Newman, USA, deputy commanding officer, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, reports that the experiment proved to be a revelation.

October 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
After getting a call from the White House, Dana Deasy came out of retirement to become the chief information officer for the U.S. Department of Defense.

By some measures, Dana Deasy, U.S. Defense Department chief information officer, has made a lot of progress in a little amount of time. He has developed an overarching digital modernization strategy, created a cyber working group, reviewed the department’s plans for implementing an enterprise-scale cloud computing architecture, and is leading an effort to establish a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

October 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
The USS Carney transits the Mediterranean Sea on patrol. The diverse nature of U.S. Navy ship systems presents a service-unique challenge to cybersecurity efforts as the Navy modernizes its information technologies. Credit: U.S. Navy photography by Mass Communications Spec. 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik, USN

Multifaceted efforts that will work in concert with each other are at the heart of U.S. Navy cybersecurity programs. The sea service faces the dual challenge of incorporating new architectures and technologies such as the cloud, light-based communications, artificial intelligence and machine learning amid increasingly sophisticated adversaries. It is implementing new approaches that promise operational efficiency and better cybersecurity, but these approaches are complementary and must function together to realize their full potential.

October 1, 2018
By Dustan Hellwig
Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Perez, USA, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities section, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, carries a dismounted electronic warfare kit that allows him to work in concert with the rest of his section. To get inside an enemy’s OODA loop, commanders will need a way to see how electronic warfare is affecting the battlespace. Photo by Sgt. Michael C. Roach, 19th Public Affairs Detachment

Work is needed to improve temporal, spectral and information understanding within the layers of the cyber domain to facilitate useful cyber-spectral and information maneuver. These advances could be incorporated into tactics, techniques and procedures as well as tactical and operational systems to enhance the overall military commanders’ decision process to achieve information dominance.

Most of the tactical cyberspace domain is spectrum-dependent and administered solely at the physical layer. Currently, warfighters cannot comprehend, much less maneuver within, a space that is inaccessible to them because they are not in a dimensionality to understand it. They operate in a cyber-spectral flatland.

October 1, 2018
By Lt. Col. Federico Clemente, ESP A, and Cmdr. Stephen Gray, USN
Maj. Matthew Bailey, USA, executive officer, 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment (3/2CR), and 1st Lt. Trevor Rubel, USA, battle captain for the tactical command post, 3/2CR, review an operational overlay on a Nett Warrior device in preparation for an airfield seizure during the NATO Saber Strike 18 exercise in Kazlu Ruda, Lithuania. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Joshua Snell

Technologies are spawning a revolutionary improvement in command and control that will have a transformative impact on how it is conducted at the operational level. These advancements, particularly artificial intelligence, are changing command and control functions such as sensing, processing, “sensemaking” and decision-making. Even greater changes lie ahead as innovation serves a larger role in defining both form and function.

October 1, 2018
By Chief Warrant Officer 2 Juan Muralles, USA; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wavell Williams Jr., USA; Maj. Nicolas Beck, USA; and Maj. Daniel Canchola, USA
The worldwide regional hub nodes, including in the Pacific, are the largest satellite transport nodes of the Army’s tactical communications network, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), enabling robust network communication exchange in, out and within theater. U.S. Army photo by Liana Mayo, PAO 311th Signal Command

Future U.S. Army regionally aligned forces will benefit from experiences—and solutions—discovered during last year’s integration with the U.S. Army Europe communications network. Although their communicators expected to hit the ground running when they arrived in theater, integrating tactical communications systems was more difficult than expected. Fortunately, new technology and soldiers’ know-how not only solved the immediate problems but also set the stage for easier communications integration in the future.

September 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Artificial intelligence-driven voice forensics can yield a great deal of information about a speaker, including physical characteristics, health, genealogy and environment. Credit: Shutterstock

In the future, voice analysis of an intercepted phone call from an international terrorist to a crony could yield the caller’s age, gender, ethnicity, height, weight, health status, emotional state, educational level and socioeconomic class. Artificial intelligence-fueled voice forensics technology also may offer clues about location; room size; wall, ceiling and floor type; amount of clutter; kind of device, down to the specific model used to make the call; and possibly even facial characteristics of the caller.  

September 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Army Research Laboratory (ARL) exploration into artificial intelligence (AI) may lead to soldiers networked directly with unmanned vehicles in human-intelligent agent teaming on the battlefield, as shown in this artist’s concept. Credit: U.S. Army illustration

Artificial intelligence, or AI, will become an integral warfighter for the U.S. Army if the service’s research arm has its way. Scientists at the Army Research Laboratory are pursuing several major goals in AI that, taken together, could revolutionize the composition of a warfighting force in the future.

The result of their diverse efforts may be a battlefield densely populated by intelligent devices cooperating with their human counterparts. This AI could be self-directing sensors, intelligent munitions, smart exoskeletons and physical machines, such as autonomous robots, or virtual agents controlling networks and waging defensive and offensive cyber war.

September 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
 The federal government is building upon tried-and-true identification forms to create new ID frameworks for the digital age. Credit: Kisan/Shutterstock

The federal government, building on existing identity management practices, is investigating how it can leverage passports and other state and federally issued ID cards to verify identity in the digital age. The need to validate a citizen’s identity in person and online is only going to grow across platforms, experts say. And absent a secure commercial solution, the government may have to provide verification of identity.

August 30, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Michael Moss, deputy director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), told Congress that CTIIC remains concerned by the "increasingly damaging effects of cyber operations and the apparent acceptance by adversaries of collateral damage." Credit: Shutterstock/EVorona

As billions more Internet of Things (IoT)-related devices come online, the barrage of cyber threats will not only continue but will target users in new ways. Moreover, the number of adversaries mounting attacks against the United States in cyberspace will continue to grow in the next year, as nation-states, terrorist groups, criminal organizations and others persist in the development of cyber warfare capabilities, Michael Moss, deputy director, Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) warned during recent Congressional testimony.

August 29, 2018
By Paul Parker
Agencies should consider taking five fundamental steps to fortify networks before the next cyber attack. Credit: Daria-Yakovleva/Pixabay

Government IT professionals have clear concerns about the threats posed by careless and untrained insiders, foreign governments, criminal hackers and others. For the government, cyber attacks are a matter of life. We must deal with them as a common occurrence.

August 22, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Fort Gordon, Georgia, is home to the Army Cyber Command and the Army Cyber Center of Excellence. U.S. Army photo

The U.S. Army is head and shoulders above the other services in the cyber arena, Rear Adm. William “Bill” Leigher, USN (Ret.), director of Department of Defense Cyber Warfare, Raytheon, stated.

“The Army is the example that I hold up to my fellow sailors. The Army doing is it exactly right,” Adm. Leigher said.

August 14, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (LI) perform an air assault demonstration for President Trump during a visit to Fort Drum, New York, on August 13. The demonstration was part of the President’s ceremony to sign the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, which authorizes funding for U.S. defense and military activities for Fiscal Year 2019. Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Thomas Scaggs.

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA 2019), passed by Congress on August 1 and signed by President Trump yesterday, takes cybersecurity a step further, with language affirming DOD’s role in defending against attacks and operating in cyberspace, the fifth warfare domain.

Although past NDAA legislation has included some provisions on DOD’s cyber role, this year’s bill specifies that the Secretary of Defense has the authority to conduct military cyber activities or operations in cyberspace—including clandestine activities—to defend the United States and its allies.

August 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army paratrooper communicates by radio during a drop in Latvia. Traditional radio and network status information will play a key role in cyber situational awareness in the digital battlespace. Credit: Army photography by Spec. Dustin Biven, USA

The U.S. Army Cyber Command’s successful consolidation of capabilities from cyber, intelligence, electronic warfare and signal forces may be the deciding factor in whether sophisticated adversaries prevail in the future battlespace, says Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, USA, leader of the command.

August 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Army combat units on the move need different networking capabilities from support units that set up camp and stay awhile. Service officials intend to develop a modernized network capable of being scaled and adapted depending on the operational situation. Credit: Spc. Hubert D. Delany III, USA

The U.S. Army’s major overhaul of its network may lead to a communications structure capable of conforming to an array of operational situations, including the possibility of providing offensive cyber and electronic warfare capabilities.

August 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixaba

Millions of times every single day, antagonists search for entry into the U.S. Defense Department’s networks. They come from all over: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran. Some are sponsored by nation-states; others are terrorist groups.

August 9, 2018
By Jane Melia
Solving the key and policy management challenge may be the hardest part of an encryption deployment. Credit: Tumisu/Pixabay

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget released a report this spring showing the abysmal state of cybersecurity in the federal government. Three-quarters of the agencies assessed were found to be “at risk” or “at high risk,” highlighting the need for a cyber overhaul. The report also noted that many agencies lacked “standardized cybersecurity processes and IT capabilities,” which affected their ability to “gain visibility and effectively combat threats.” 

August 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Shutterstock imagery by Pavel Chagochkin

Medical technologies such as electronic devices implanted or injected into the human body are the next growth area for hackers pursuing money or control of individual people. With nanotechnology implants already being used for some medical treatments, advances in their application could pose as great a cybersecurity threat as what faces the Internet of Things, experts say.

Pages