Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a method for generating numbers guaranteed to be random by quantum mechanics. Generating truly random numbers is one of the major challenges for quantum-based encryption and could mark a major leap in cybersecurity.
The Cyber Edge
When combatant commanders plan an attack on an enemy stronghold, they know exactly what to do, including which intelligence reports to consider, where to send the ground troops, when to call in an air strike and when to jam the enemy’s radar. But ask those same commanders to attack the enemy in cyberspace and the response will be far less defined.
Amid the political scuffles on Capitol Hill about immigration, health care and budget legislation to keep the federal government open, cybersecurity is not necessarily one of the highest policy-making priorities. This must change, some lawmakers say. Cyber attacks, already plentiful and disastrous, will only increase in frequency and scale over time. The United States needs more protections and measures, especially at the federal level, according to some legislators.
Jack Finney’s science fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers offered a frightening premise. In the novel, aliens in seed vessels descend to Earth, landing in a small California farming community. As the townsfolk sleep, these seeds replicate the earthlings and, by morning, replace them. The only discernible difference between the clones and their host bodies is that the clones lack emotion. In essence, the aliens have stolen the earthlings’ DNA, and the humans never saw it coming.
The idea of this happening is unimaginable—in the case of human bodies at least. However, one company replacing another company’s DNA then killing off the original entity is happening now in the invisible world of cyber.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has security issues. The fundamental weakness is that it adds to the number of devices behind a network firewall that can be compromised. Not only do we need to safeguard our computers and smartphones, now we must worry about protecting our homes, vehicles, appliances, wearables and other IoT devices.
Amid stunning digital attacks that have not only rocked countries around the globe but also targeted alliance forces, NATO is sharpening its resolve to serve as a cyber protector. A forthcoming Cyber Operations Center will incorporate cyber warfare into NATO’s defense operations. In addition, NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is boosting the organization’s cybersecurity-related research, exercises and instruction to meet the seemingly unending threats.
The U.S. Defense Department must move aggressively to better understand information warfare and its implications to national security. To propel the necessary next steps, the department must organize information resources not only to meet military cyberspace requirements but also to address how adversaries view U.S. cyber assets.
Although the nation has long dominated the communications and information systems landscape, past success makes it vulnerable in the future. Consequently, forces and the weapons platforms they rely on are increasingly susceptible to information attacks.
It goes without saying that technology plays a key role in military operations. The concern nowadays, however, is if technology is appropriately hardened from a cybersecurity standpoint. For the Army, this means taking a close look at supply chain management, according to one Army leader.
The government has to be a savvy consumer amid a risky cybersecurity atmosphere. And companies need to be able to back up the products that they are offering the government, Col. Bryan Stephens, USA, director, Cyber Focal, Army System of Systems Engineering and Integration, told SIGNAL Magazine in a recent interview.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has released two publications, the 2018 Cyber Security Division Portfolio Guide and the 2018 Cyber Security Division Technology Guide, to help transition mature cybersecurity solutions to the marketplace.
U.S. military officials may be enjoying increased funding under the fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets, but an Army general is warning that the 2020 budget could return to sequestration levels—and young soldiers on the battlefield will be the ones paying the price for a failure to plan ahead.
To succeed in the battlespace of the future and to ensure combat superiority over peer adversaries, the U.S. military must be equipped with capabilities to defend information networks in cyberspace and to secure unimpeded access to the electromagnetic spectrum. Adversaries are developing cyber and electronic warfare capabilities to conduct information operations against U.S. systems that will likely threaten the speed and accuracy of military communications, intelligence and data sharing channels, while maliciously altering or stealing the information itself. These capabilities often have complementary effects, which means integrating cyber and electronic warfare could provide a stronger protection and attack capacity for U.S.
Cloud computing, big data and cyber are among the capabilities that pose a major threat to U.S. forces, said Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, Army deputy chief of staff, G-2.
“If you’re a threat actor out there, probably a little bit of investment in these areas is going to go a long way to make life very difficult for your adversaries,” Gen. Berrier told the audience at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia.
As enterprises mobilize business processes, more and more sensitive information passes through and resides on mobile devices. BlackBerry, a virtual grandfather in the handheld devices world, offers chief information officers (CIOs) an idea of what they’re up against when attempting to ensure the security of data flying through cyberspace.
Native plant life could join traffic cameras, motion detectors and enemy sensor systems as future sources of battlefield information if the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has its way. The laboratory is applying the Internet of Things approach to theater command, control, communications, computers and intelligence as it plans to equip soldiers and their leaders with vital knowledge from nontraditional information sources, and it is leaving no stone—or crop—unturned in its efforts.
The Department of Defense Joint Enterprise Standards Committee today has listed the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) version 4.1 as a mandated tactical radio standard in the department’s Information Technology Standards Registry (DISR) and retired SCA version 2.2.2.
The SCA is an open architecture framework that defines a standard way to instantiate, configure and manage waveform applications running on a radio hardware platform. The SCA decouples waveform software from its platform-specific software and hardware, facilitates waveform software reuse and minimizes development expenditures.
Where some see challenges, others see opportunities. It sounds like a motivational poster, but that is exactly how researchers at the National Security Agency view the Internet of Things, or the IoT.
“We approach IoT a little differently than everybody else. Everybody’s talking about all the security problems. That’s certainly fair, but we look at IoT as an opportunity in terms of the security goals we can accomplish,” says George Coker, chief, Information Assurance Research Group, National Security Agency (NSA).
The military tackles many challenges in its cyber ecosystem—a diverse group of human users, processes and technologies and their interactions—by striving for uniformity across its hardware, software and operating systems. But standardization also can create large holes in the cyber environment, weakening defenses and contributing to successful cyber attacks. Coming at cybersecurity from a different angle could leverage differences in favor of network defenders.
Without a doubt, system consistency has its benefits. Using the same operating systems, applications, switches, routers and other components across networks reduces complexity and lowers the cost of equipment maintenance as well as defense.
Artificial intelligence is one of the most influential forces in information technology. It can help drive cars, fly unmanned aircraft and protect networks. But artificial intelligence also can be a dark force, one that adversaries use to learn new ways to hack systems, shut down networks and deny access to crucial information.
The next-generation airborne missile control system being developed by the U.S. Air Force will take advantage of modern communications and electronics systems such as software-defined radios to provide a number of capabilities, including improved cybersecurity.
Part of the Office of Naval Research’s efforts in command, control, communications and computers is to provide key analytical tools to planners, analysts and commanders swamped by data. To that end, the office, known as the ONR, is conducting basic and applied research in applications that will cut maneuver planning time, expand access to data, enhance analytical processing and improve predictions. The tools are meant to improve decision making across antisubmarine warfare, integrated air and missile defense, electromagnetic maneuver warfare, and expeditionary and integrated fires missions.