In a constantly evolving cyberthreat landscape where firewalls and antiviruses have become old hat, organizations must adopt more technologically advanced ways to protect crucial data. Advanced machine learning algorithms can learn the routine patterns of life for every user and device in a network to detect anomalies and adapt accordingly. The most pressing need for this augmented intelligence is in security operations centers, where teams of analysts search for threats by poring over hundreds of thousands of security events every day.
Cyberspace is often described as the fifth domain of military operations, as equally critical to national and international defense as the domains of land, sea, air and space. The success of military missions increasingly depends on the availability of cyberspace and freedom of action in it. Robust and resilient cyber defense capabilities are now required to support military structures, missions and operations. Although many nations have recently made great progress in developing their cyber defense capabilities, a consensus is growing that there is much room for improvement.
It’s that time of year. With the government fiscal year ending, agency leaders are pushing through their last-minute budget wish lists. A core part of those wishes either does or should relate to cybersecurity.
More and more, U.S. federal agencies are seeing inappropriate Internet access breaches, rogue devices and denial of service attacks. A key reason why: federal agencies are hindered by budget constraints that prevent information technology (IT) improvements. Agencies also have to juggle competing priorities, complex internal environments and poor top-level decision-making when it comes to cyber management, asserts a recent study from Herndon, Virginia-based SolarWinds Worldwide. The company conducted a survey of 200 federal government IT professionals in July to assess their cybersecurity challenges during the past 12 months.
In reaction to the large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that made headlines last year, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation establishing minimum security requirements for government-purchased Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Science fiction fans recognize Asimov’s prescient thoughts on robot programming, captured in his three laws of robotics. In Asimov’s sci-fi world, robots were all programmed to protect their humans (the first law), to obey their humans (the second law) and to protect themselves (the third law). These laws laid the foundation for many fantastic, futuristic stories and have long provided actionable concepts for today’s robots, including those we launch over our modern battlefields. As the stories advanced, he later added another law, called the “zeroth” law, which had priority over all the others, “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”
A survey of thousands of information technology professionals reveals that a majority of organizations have too few security workers and nearly half do not provide adequate resources for security training. According to the “IT Professionals Are a Critically Underutilized Resource for Cybersecurity” study, 51 percent of the respondents said their systems are less able to defend against a cyber attack compared to a year ago.
Half of all Americans and 100 percent of the work force had their personal information compromised in the Equifax hack this summer. While critical data, such as what was stolen in the hack, requires better data protection, enhancing its protection is no longer enough. Resiliency has to be a critical capability too.
The U.S. federal government has not yet told state-level election officials whether their election systems were hacked by the Russians.
— George Seffers (@gseffers) September 7, 2017
The increasing nature of computing capabilities, the number of technologies that are interconnected to the cyber world, the amount of data generated, and the speed at which data is reported are all reshaping everyday life. To harness this new dynamic, the commercial computer industry has already switched to a more agile way of developing software. More and more, the military is moving to advance the development of cyber-based infrastructure under this changing environment.
A cyber strike may not be the most effective deterrent against adversaries, Tom Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, National Security Council, told the audience at the 2017 Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, D.C.
If a “bad actor” is engaging in increasingly unacceptable behavior, he said, “I think what we’ll have to do is punch him in a way that’s real-world and not cyber-world.” Deterrent actions will be “commensurate with the expense” and also will be done in such a way that it will not “create a long-term escalatory posture.”
Facing mounting threats, cyber hunt teams—aka security operations teams—are turning to machine learning technologies to sift through heaps of data and detect malicious activity faster than ever. People excel at making decisions with the right information, and machines excel at analyzing and retrieving actionable intelligence from large amounts of data. This duo is much more dynamic when working together than apart. Consider Tony Stark and his Iron Man suit versus the fictional character HAL 9000 from the Space Odyssey series.
Superman might have beaten bullets with his speed, but the U.S. Defense Department intends to do better. It has its sights set on developing cognitive technologies—computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, for example—that are faster than the speed of human thought.
The military plans to tap machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), in particular, to enhance decision making.
A new era of computing, sensing, modeling and communicating will begin with the advent of viable quantum technologies. Viable quantum technologies will change everything about computers. Harnessing the characteristics of quantum mechanics is bound to unlock mathematical mysteries and enable profound applications.
Today’s military leaders must prepare now for the quantum future.
The U.S. General Services Administration’s latest endeavor to help government agencies increase their buying power offers a portfolio of providers to simplify the way they acquire and implement telecommunications and IT infrastructure services. According to administration officials, the 15-year, $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract, awarded this summer, will help agencies establish a solid foundation to modernize the government’s IT infrastructure, implement advanced cybersecurity solutions and improve service to the public.
Many U.S. government sectors, including defense, intelligence, public safety, cybersecurity and space, have seen a recent shift toward embracing new technologies and methodologies for delivering capabilities in a more responsive, agile manner.
The ecosystem of technologies that is driving this innovation is diverse to say the least. The foundation of this ecosystem is the underlying IT infrastructure. The evolution of hyperconverged infrastructure is maximizing the density of computing power, random-access memory and storage in these modern data centers, making it easier and more cost effective for providers to leverage and deploy applications and solutions.
The U.S. Defense Department is diving in and investing heavily to leverage the benefits provided by the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) environment.
The governments of Iran, North Korea, Russia and China are responsible for 90 percent of attacks on U.S. government agencies and private companies, said a leading cybersecurity expert at a recent conference. Most attacks come in the form of spear-phishing or email-related breaches.
To Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, USMC, director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), modern warfare is a cognitive battle. To be successful, warfare must strive to control information.
In part, war is still a violent clash between hostile forces, with each force trying to impose their will on the other, the general said. Warfighting may still look like two armies crashing into one another on the battlefield.
“[This] nature of warfare hasn’t changed,” he stated. “War remains an active force to compel an adversary, nothing less.”
The menacing threat of cyberwarfare is pulling together international military leaders in an effort to combat global electronic attacks.
Commanders from key military intelligence posts—including allied commanders from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom—will tackle the seemingly unconstrained risks from cyber criminals at an upcoming forum hosted by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The DIA’s Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) Worldwide Conference will be held August 14-16 in St. Louis.