Cyber

July 15, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. House of Representatives, led by Democrats, passes its version of the annual defense spending authorization bill, which will have to be ironed out with the Republican-led Senate. Credit: Shutterstock/Turtix

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, H.R. 2500, by a vote of 220-197. Known as the NDAA, the annual legislation authorizes policy measures for the Defense Department. It varies from the Senate’s bill, S. 1790—passed on June 28—which the two legislative bodies will have to reconcile before sending a final NDAA to the president.

July 15, 2019
By Noah Schiffman
The National Security Agency is not to blame for the recent ransomware attack on the city of Baltimore, says Noah Schiffman, KRB chief technology adviser. Credit: Shutterstock/Stephen Finn

The May 7th ransomware attack against Baltimore has crippled much of the local government’s IT infrastructure while holding its network hostage. Not since the March 2018 attacks against Atlanta has a major U.S. city been so digitally impaired.

The subsequent media coverage of Baltimore’s struggle has generated some misplaced criticism of the U.S. government. Initial news reports erroneously claimed that the ransomware leveraged an NSA-developed exploit to compromise Baltimore’s municipal systems. Unfortunately, this snowballed into numerous sources placing blame on the NSA, claiming that they mismanaged their cyber weaponry. 

This is grossly incorrect.

July 15, 2019
 
Source: Proofpoint, 2019 State of the Phish Report

Meta: We examined the simulated phishing data of our federal customers and identified three tips program administrators and decision-makers in these organizations can use to strengthen their security awareness training efforts. 

U.S. federal government agencies face ongoing scrutiny from virtually all angles, but cybersecurity has leapt to the forefront in recent years. From safeguarding elections to defending against nation-state attacks, federal organizations (and their workers) face many sophisticated and high-profile threats—in addition to day-to-day issues that impact data and system security. 

July 10, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Advanced digital tools, accessed through as-a-service models, offer benefits to the military, a study from Frost &Sullivan says. Credit: Shutterstock/Titina Ongkantong

The military and the government in the United Kingdom are employing cloud computing, big data, data analytics, Internet of Things devices, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain more often, according to recent study from London-based Frost & Sullivan, entitled Digitalization in Defense.

The result improves the continuity of operations and brings the military to a higher level of combat readiness, said Alix Leboulanger, senior industry analyst of defense at Frost & Sullivan.

July 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Servicemen participate in a cyber warrior exercise overseas. The U.S. Army’s program executive officer for enterprise information systems (PEO EIS) is striving to speed new software into cyber systems while maintaining effective operations. U.S. Army Reserve photo

The U.S. Army is building a tighter relationship with industry to tap commercial expertise and avoid long procurement delays that often render new information technologies obsolete before they are fielded.

At the heart of this effort is Cherie A. Smith, program executive officer for enterprise information systems (PEO EIS), U.S. Army. After she assumed her position last year, Smith relates, she focused on making promises and seeking help. Since then, she has emphasized a shared relationship with industry.

July 1, 2019
By Kyle Aldrich
Looking Glass stock

Global, asymmetrical threats now dominate attacks on nations and businesses alike, and the enemy is not always immediately knowable, identifiable or even seen. These realities are forcing leaders to invest more resources into analytics, as well as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and other 21st century responses to cyber bombardments today.

July 1, 2019
By Chris Nissen
Bill Bickert, assistant commander for supply chain management policy and performance, Naval Supply Systems Command, visits the command’s Fleet Logistics Center–Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters. Supply chain monitoring software is useful; however, ensuring suppliers are providing clean components is crucially important as well. Photo by Carol Williams

Adversaries are exploiting the inherent vulnerabilities of U.S. military supply chains that involve tens of thousands of private sector providers from all over the globe. Attack operations include stealing valuable technical data; striking critical infrastructure, manufacturing and weapon systems control systems; corrupting the quality and assurance across a broad range of product types and categories; and manipulating software to access connected systems and to degrade systems operation integrity.

June 19, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Missouri Cyber Team, a part of the National Guard, developed RockNSM an open source cybersecurity system. Now, they are building a nonprofit organization to help share that system with others. Credit: Missouri National Guard Cyber Team

Members of the Missouri National Guard Cyber Team are launching a nonprofit organization to share RockNSM, a system initially built by cyber warriors for cyber warriors.

RockNSM is a network security monitoring platform that uses open source technologies, such as CentOS, which is an operating system derived from the RedHat enterprise-level open source system. RockNSM formed the basis for a Task Force Echo network anomaly detection system used for real-world cyber operations.

June 6, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The DevSecOps software platform being deployed by the DOD Enterprise DevSecOps Enterprise Initiative will enable software fixes in minutes and automate testing and security, among other capabilities, says Nicolas Chaillan, chief software officer, U.S. Air Force, co-lead of the Initiative.

The Defense Department is pursuing an aggressive software development program, called the DOD Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative. The effort is focused on bringing automated software tools, services and standards to DOD programs so that warfighters can create, deploy and operate software applications in a secure, flexible and interoperable manner, explained Nicolas Chaillan, chief software officer, U.S. Air Force, co-lead of the DOD Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative. The program is a joint effort of the DOD’s Chief Information Officer, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and the services, he said.

May 31, 2109
By Maryann Lawlor
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are still technically in their infancy. Both show promise in the military and government arenas, but experts still have many questions.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques could help information and network defenders recognize patterns of potential attackers so their next moves can be proactively blocked. In addition, cyber tools enhanced with these capabilities could provide a much more detailed picture of the cyber battlefield and increase the potential of success in a cyber campaign. This knowledge would complement the kinetic battlefield and could permit war planners to choose the appropriate mix of cyber and kinetic operations.

June 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Cyber warriors with the National Guard are sometimes similar to colonial-era militiamen, fighting with whatever technological weapons they have at home or building the tools they need. Alexander Herasymchot/Shutterstock and U.S. Defense Department courtesy photo

National Guard members conducting cyber operations found themselves poorly equipped to meet some of the real-world challenges they faced, so they banded together and built the system they needed on a shoestring budget. That system detects anomalous behavior on the network, reduces the number of analysts and enriches network data provided to data scientists.

June 1, 2019
By Maj. Ryan Kenny, USA
Credit: Shuttersotck/metamorworks

In the cyber realm, organizations need the means to rapidly identify emerging threats, immediately respond to mitigate risk, and systematically learn from these encounters—just as the immune system responds to a virus.

A single tool, process or team cannot deliver true cybersecurity. Collecting, analyzing and disseminating intelligence requires a converged organization that fuses expertise across domains. As adversaries possessing sophisticated expertise and considerable resources target multiple attack vectors—cyber, electromagnetic and physical, for example—cyber leaders must develop teams and systematic processes to rapidly transform analysis into action.

May 29, 2019
 
Source: Proofpoint, 2019 State of the Phish Report

Social engineering and its impacts on organizations worldwide are hot topics in infosec circles—for good reason. It’s no secret that cybercriminals use email-based phishing prolifically, in both broad and targeted attacks. But what are infosec teams—the boots on ground in the cyber war—experiencing in terms of impacts, and are they effectively managing risk?

May 16, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Panelists at TechNet Cyber discuss the cyber workforce and the need for continuous education. Phoot by Michael Carpenter

Personnel working in cyber must continually look for opportunities to learn, say cyber professionals from across government.

During a morning panel discussion on the final day of the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore, high-ranking officials from the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency discussed a wide range of issues concerning the cyber workforce today and tomorrow.

May 16, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
President Trump takes action to block risky technology coming into the United States through the IT supply chain. Credit: Shutterstock/Travel mania

In an effort to secure the digital supply chain for the United States, President Trump issued a policy on May 15 prohibiting the trade of information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured or supplied by adversaries. 

The Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain states that the risk of using such technology and services constitutes a national emergency.

May 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Vice Adm.Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA, and commander, JFHQ-DODIN, addresses the TechNet Cyber conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is acquiring an array of cutting-edge technologies using rapid development processes and could begin fielding some of those technologies within the next two years.

May 14, 2019
By George I. Seffers
From l-r, Francis Rose of Government Matters moderates a fireside chat with Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, director of the NSA and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, and Dana Deasy, Defense Department CIO, at TechNet Cyber. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Discussions about data may need to become as integral to military operational planning as kinetic weapons and physical targets, say two of the top cyber leaders in the U.S. Defense Department.

Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, and Dana Deasy, Defense Department chief information officer, stressed the importance of data during a fireside chat on the first day of the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore.

May 14, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Anthony “Tony” Montemarano, DISA executive deputy director, speaks about workforce challenges at TechNet Cyber. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is challenged with a significant personnel shortage, including information technology, spectrum and cybersecurity experts.

Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton, DISA director and commander of the Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN), told the audience at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber 2019 conference in Baltimore that the agency is seeking to hire personnel in a number of areas.

May 14, 2019
Kimberly Underwood
Lawmakers have created a new organization, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, to tackle a national cybersecurity policy.

Legislators on Capitol Hill have formed the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, known as the CSC, which will put together a comprehensive U.S. cyber policy. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who is co-chairing the new organization with Rep. Michael Gallagher (R-Wisc.), announced the formation of the Geneva Convention-type commission in a call with reporters on May 13. The establishment of the commission was outlined in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Sen. King said.

May 1, 2018
 

As the need for more sensor processing and embedded security continues to grow in defense applications such as unmanned systems and munitions, the footprint for these mission-critical systems continues to shrink. A fundamental shift in microelectronics design and packaging is required to address the needs of the modern threat environment where non-invasive attacks are imminent.

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