Cyber

December 4, 2018
 

Today’s government missions and challenges are more complex and larger in scale than ever before, and they require informed, data-driven solutions, approaches and insights. DoD must be able to tap into the power of data to solve mission challenges, realize new degrees of operational efficiency and remain relevant in an information-rich world.

November 30, 2018
By Sean Berg
Small contractors remain cyber's weak link in the defense industrial chain. Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

The U.S. defense industrial supply chain is vast, complex and vulnerable. Organic components, large-scale integrators, myriad commercial service providers, and tens of thousands of private companies sustain the Defense Department. According to the SANS Institute, the percentage of cyber breaches that originate in the supply chain could be as high as 80 percent.

December 1, 2018
By Shaun Waterman
Credit: sp3n/Shutterstock

Powered by recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, long-hyped technologies such as facial recognition and behavioral biometrics are promising frictionless identity authentication. In the near future, people will be able prove who they are without even trying and sometimes without even knowing they’re doing it.

November 29, 2018
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Rawpixel.com

Threat researchers from McAfee Labs have released their 2019 cybersecurity threats predictions report. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are expected to become more sophisticated and collaborative as the “underworld” consolidates into stronger malware-as-a-service families actively working together.

Software and security teams will need to adapt as threats become more complex. McAfee predicts more attackers will be using artificial intelligence to avoid detection by security software. “In fact, an entire underground economy has emerged where criminals can now outsource products and dedicated services to aid their activities,” says Thomas Roccia, a researcher on the team.

November 16, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
 Brig. Gen. Paul Fredenburgh III, USA, J-6, Indo-Pacific Command, leads a panel discussion on combined cyber operations in the Indo-Pacific region. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

Across the vast Indo-Pacific region, all roads lead to cyber, according to a panel of U.S. and foreign military and civilian experts. Speaking on the final day of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu, the panel discussed the need for interoperability amid growing cybersecurity concerns.

November 16, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Speakers at a TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018 panel on achieving cyber resilience in the Indo-Pacific region are (l-r) Jodi Ito, ISO, University of Hawaii; Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA and commander, JFHQ DODIN; Jeff Watkins, Commercial Solutions for Classified, NSA; and John Zangardi, CIO, DHS. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

Technologies need to be less centralized and people need to be more informed if the Indo-Pacific region is to improve its cybersecurity, according to a panel of military and civilian experts. Speaking on the third and final day of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu, the experts explored security measures that begin with network architecture and end with individual practices.

November 15, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Australian Army Brig. Colin Karotam, assigned to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, leads a panel exploring how technology will help meet the challenges of the vast region. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

Being able to conduct successful operations in the Indo-Pacific region will require top-notch intelligence, and information technologies hold the key to achieving that goal, said panelists discussing how to incorporate cyber into multidomain operations. Speaking on the second day of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu, the panelists discussed what is needed as well as how to succeed amid growing challenges.

November 14, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA, and commander, JFHQ-DODIN, describes cybersecurity challenges at a TechNet Asia-Pacific panel.

The United States needs to take a multifaceted approach to cybersecurity to ameliorate problems affecting every sector of government and society, said experts in a panel comprising women in the cyber arena. Two officials each from industry and government described the broad scope of the challenges and potential solutions at AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu.

November 14, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. Philip S. Davidson, USN, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, describes the command's new cyber challenges and policy at TechNet Asia Pacific 2018 in Honolulu.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is seeking the capabilities and enabling technologies to conduct “full-spectrum cyber operations” in its vast region of responsibility, according to its commander. Adm. Philip S. Davidson, USN, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, described this new cyber push at the keynote luncheon on the first day of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu.

November 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers

For three years, the U.S. Army has been asking questions about how to converge cyberspace operations, electronic warfare and spectrum management capabilities at the corps level and below to deny, degrade, destroy and manipulate enemy capabilities. Now, officials say, they are drawing closer to answers.

In 2015, the service created a pilot program known as Cyberspace Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA) Support to Corps and Below. The CEMA concept integrates elements from offensive and defensive cyber, electronic warfare, and intelligence into expeditionary teams that support tactical units.

November 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
The HoneyBot, a robotic system acting as a honeypot to lure hackers, could be used to protect critical infrastructure facilities. Credit: Rob Felt

In the coming months, researchers from Georgia Tech will reveal the results of testing on a robot called the HoneyBot, designed to help detect, monitor, misdirect or even identify illegal network intruders. The device is built to attract cyber criminals targeting factories or other critical infrastructure facilities, and the underlying technology can be adapted to other types of systems, including the electric grid.

The HoneyBot represents a convergence of robotics with the cyber realm. The diminutive robot on four wheels essentially acts as a honeypot, or a decoy to lure criminal hackers and keep them busy long enough for cybersecurity experts to learn more about them, which ultimately could unmask the hackers.

November 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Venera Salman/Shutterstock

One way of ensuring that attackers don’t access a network node or break into a device is to render its identification invisible. Cloaking the device’s address gives a hacker nothing to see, and it can be done on systems ranging from government networks to medical electronics implanted inside human beings.

October 20, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Credit: daniel_diaz_bardillo/Pixabay

Officials with the U.S. Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security recently signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a partnership that will allow the Defense Department to take a greater role in sharing intelligence and proactively defending the nation’s critical infrastructure, including next week’s mid-term election.

The Defense Department’s unique role in assessing foreign threats means that it often has information that could benefit the other departments and agencies, the defense industrial base and others with a role in defending the nation’s critical infrastructure.

October 30, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Experts at MILCOM consider the possibility of forecasting cyber attacks. Credit: Katie Helwig

Somewhere between “hype and hope,” experts posit that aspects of a cyber attack can be predicted. They caution that success so far has been limited. If it is possible, forecasting digital invasions in advance naturally could be an important capability.

The key is predicting with enough accuracy to be helpful and with sufficient lead time, experts shared at AFCEA International and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE’s) MILCOM conference on October 29 in Los Angeles.

Malicious emails have been the more forecastable type of cyber attack, the experts said.

October 24, 2018
By Michael Carmack
Small and medium-sized defense contractors are increasingly targeted by malicious hackers seeking to steal intellectual property. Credit: GDJ/Pixabay

It comes as no surprise that U.S. adversaries continue to target and successfully exploit the security weaknesses of small-business contractors. A successful intrusion campaign can drastically reduce or even eliminate research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) costs for a foreign adversary. Digital espionage also levels the playing field for nation-states that do not have the resources of their more sophisticated competitors. To bypass the robust security controls that the government and large contractors have in place, malicious actors have put significant manpower into compromising small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

October 22, 2018
By Mike Lloyd
Artificial intelligence is still too easily fooled to secure networks without human assistance. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Artificial intelligence can be surprisingly fragile. This is especially true in cybersecurity, where AI is touted as the solution to our chronic staffing shortage.

It seems logical. Cybersecurity is awash in data, as our sensors pump facts into our data lakes at staggering rates, while wily adversaries have learned how to hide in plain sight. We have to filter the signal from all that noise. Security has the trifecta of too few people, too much data and a need to find things in that vast data lake. This sounds ideal for AI.

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.

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