Millions of hits result from searching Google for the phrase “how cognitive computing will change the world,” reflecting the public’s big appetite for information about the emerging technology. But some experts foresee a time when the extraordinary is ordinary.
The federal government has invested billions of dollars on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies over the past few years, but it may be compromising its security posture for better information. Certainly being able to share and access the information derived from connected sensors is vital to the protection of the United States and instrumental to military success. However, connected devices present enticing targets, as evidenced by the 2016 Mirai Botnet attack, which originated through vulnerable IoT devices.
The U.S. Army is narrowing the gap between policy and operations as it confronts new threats in cyberspace. Field reports are having greater and faster influence on the issuance of directives, and intelligence is now a major player in determining cyber policy.
“Aligning cybersecurity directly with our operations to achieve readiness is the key to succeeding and moving forward,” says Carol Assi, division chief for cybersecurity policy and governance in the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6 office. “And shrinking the gap between operation and policy, having continuous dialogue and working hand in hand, addressing issues in a collaborative environment, [are essential] to that. We no longer can afford to work in silos.”
The U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force must keep pace with a threat landscape that is evolving at an unprecedented tempo. Cyberthreats are constantly growing in volume, velocity and sophistication, and the force needs a warfighting platform that will allow it to get ahead of attackers. That platform should enable continuous improvement through iterative development at the speed and scale of military operations.
No longer a curiosity, the Internet of Things has emerged as a highly sought-after technology advantage for organizations worldwide. The federal government has stepped up as an innovator within this space, generating profound advancements with seemingly unlimited promise to support national security missions. Those in doubt need look no further than research from the Center for Data Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan institute, which reveals a broad range of eclectic, real-life implementations.
Modern information and networking technologies bring exciting functionalities to everyone, everywhere, all the time. Manufacturers, service providers and users alike welcome the advancements because they boost business opportunities and enable new and better computing capabilities that offer convenience, increase independence and save time.
Plainly, innovations are appealing, but important security aspects are being pushed into the background. Security adds complexity and limitations to functionality. It requires more resources and seems to slow innovation and increase cost. In a military environment, these hurdles can seriously affect mission success.
There’s a new National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework that’s going against the grain. The Department of Defense has mandated that contractors comply with the guidance laid out in NIST special publication 800-171, which aims to strengthen the protection of controlled unclassified information. Why focus contractors’ limited resources on protecting information that is not top secret? Even if information is not top secret it still can be sensitive. For example, social security numbers, contact information, bank account details and other personal information about U.S.
In the federal government space, the machines have risen, but they’re not here to threaten us. Instead, agencies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to bolster the U.S.’s cybersecurity posture.
There are many reasons for this emergent interest. Agencies are dealing with enormous amounts of data and network traffic from many different sources, including on premises and from hosted infrastructures—and sometimes a combination of both. It’s impossible for humans to sift through this massive amount of information, which makes managing security a task that cannot be exclusively handled manually.
A Department of Homeland Security Science pilot testing project helped identify and secure a variety of mobile apps used by first responders.
The Army is looking to combine electronic warfare capabilities with intelligence and cyber capabilities, military leaders reported December 13 at AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare discussion, The Future Force Build and Integration of Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Fields into Cyber. AUSA hosted the event at its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, as part of its Hot Topic event series.
The cloud and data security go hand-in-hand. While cloud computing provides valuable IT architectures and solutions for government agencies, it also requires them to relinquish data security to public cloud service providers.
The Department of Defense (DoD) Information Analysis Center’s (IAC) Cybersecurity Technical Area Task (TAT) awarded $37 million to MacAulay-Brown, Incorporated of Dayton, Ohio. Under the task order, the company will provide cybersecurity and information systems support to the Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL's) Enterprise Business System (EBS).
A lightning strike last year delivered a new way for Marianne Bailey, the National Security Agency’s new deputy national manager for national security systems, to illuminate the cybersecurity threat.
The bolt burned Bailey’s house, and the burglar alarm was one of the last items she replaced. “The poor burglar alarm guy was telling me about all this great capability where I can get this thing on my smartphone, and I can turn it on and turn it off,” she relates.
Her response: “I want the dumb one that’s not connected to Wi-Fi.”
Cutting the communications cord is a goal of the U.S. Special Operations Command as it prepares for missions against a new type of foe. The command is not looking to sever ties with its forces in the field, but instead wants to give them broad-based connectivity to function without being restricted by either environment or operating partner.
By 2025, an estimated 75 billion or more devices will be connected via the Internet. While the ability to access data on any device from any device multiplies productivity exponentially, it also creates unforeseeable vulnerabilities that organizations are only beginning to understand.
Last year’s Mirai botnet distributed denial-of-service attack, which infected millions of devices, demonstrates the multifaceted challenges federal agencies and private-sector companies face when securing their devices and networks. These challenges will only continue to grow both inside and outside of these domains.
A civilian reserve cyber corps deserves strong consideration as a way to add more capacity to the cyber work force, which the nation has struggled to do for a number of years. The Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) could serve as a model for the corps and ultimately help the U.S. government and the Defense Department shore up their shortfall of cyber resources.
After analyzing lessons learned from a delay-riddled transition to Networx, where a 33-month long process resulted in a costly overrun of about $395 million, the General Services Administration (GSA) came well prepared to make the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract transition a much smoother process.
The worldwide cyber conflict is only going to increase and the risks and devastating economic impacts will continue to mount. The United States and other "like-minded" countries must spring into action, increase their cyber warfare capabilities, put in place national cyber policies and promulgate stronger international cyber laws to fend off aggressive cyber actors, warned experts at the CyConUS 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., on November 7. The event was co-hosted by the Army Cyber Institute, West Point and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), Tallinn, Estonia.
The Department of Defense (DOD) Operational Test and Evaluation Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report indicates that while there has been significant cybersecurity progress over the past few years, network defense as a warfighting function continues to be undervalued.
Despite the department’s concerted and progressive network modernization efforts, many networks are built on outdated legacy architectures that were never designed to address the challenges posed by continually evolving threat vectors. Neither agile nor flexible enough to be able to adjust, they are vulnerable to the security risks posed by increasingly intelligent, nimble and enterprising hackers.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) Office of Inspector General (OIG) says the department needs to improve how it facilitates cyberthreat information sharing between federal government agencies and the private sector. Although the OIG acknowledges DHS’ progress in enabling sharing among government entities, the department’s system still focuses on volume, velocity and timeliness of information but does not provide the quality, contextual data needed for the private sector to effectively defend against ever-evolving threats.