Cyber

June 6, 2017
By Alana Johnson
Members of DISA’s NetOps Solutions collaborate on innovative enhancements for capabilities that automate many key functions of DISA’s services and infrastructure. Photography by Kevin Headtke, DISA Visual Information Services Branch

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is discovering and evolving disruptive technologies with the formation of its burgeoning Innovations Systems and Engineering Directorate (ISED). Evolved from the agency’s former Chief Technology Office and the Enterprise Engineering division, the directorate is to identify and develop future technologies and information sharing capabilities and apply them to innovative solutions, demonstrating proof of concept and operational utility for mission partners and combatant commands.

June 2, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Soldiers will experiment with a range of cyber, electronic warfare and signal technologies during Cyber Quest 2017.  (Photo courtesy CCoE Public Affairs)

The U.S. Army is adjusting its cyber aperture a bit, refocusing attention from developing in-house talent to seeing what the commercial world has to offer. On Monday, an Army branch launches its annual Cyber Quest 2017 event, a multiweek exercise in cyber and electronic warfare (EW) exploration and collaboration hosted by the Army Cyber Center of Excellence (CCoE) at Fort Gordon, Georgia. 

The intent of this year’s event is to provide external vendors the opportunity to demonstrate innovative solutions and integrate capabilities within Army systems.

June 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Defense Department’s cyber warriors continue to improve their ability to sniff out intruders who sneak past the defenses at the network’s perimeter—a perimeter that is disintegrating with the march toward mobile devices.

June 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
An EQ-4 Global Hawk equipped with a battlefield airborne communications node, which has been used to link multinational coalition ground and airborne assets, prepares to depart on a mission in Southwest Asia. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is counting on innovation to further its networking activities, particularly among coalition partners.

Innovative systems and capabilities may define U.S. military networks within a handful of years if the Defense Information Systems Agency’s work with industry pays the technological dividends the agency expects. Officials within the organization, also known as DISA, aspire to exploit not only the newest ideas emerging from the private sector but also technologies that have not been fully developed. This strategy would address the burgeoning demands of modern coalition warfare and protect against rapidly growing cyberthreats as budgets constrict, says the agency’s director, Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, USA, and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN).

April 12, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

A new paradigm afoot in cyberspace helps security analysts better manage manpower and technologies to defend networks against the quotidian volley of intrusions taxing global enterprises.

The confluence of cyber defense and offense has given rise to the practice of threat hunting: aggressively seeking adversaries rather than waiting to learn that they have breached network security perimeters. The technique has gained traction after a lackluster start short on focus and structure, says Monzy Merza, director of cyber research and chief security evangelist for Splunk.

June 1, 2017
By Jennifer A. Miller
U.S. Airmen with the 1st Combat Communications Squadron review their systems against technical guides during a cybersecurity audit in March at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore, USAF

Warfare, as with technology, is changing quickly and dramatically. The U.S. Defense Department’s most recent Quadrennial Defense Review noted the link between this rapid evolution and “increasingly contested battlespace in the air, sea and space domains—as well as cyberspace—in which our forces enjoyed dominance in our most recent conflicts.” 

These assertions have major implications for airpower in future contingencies that will call for the Air Force to emphasize cyber over its five core missions. Already, these missions have been tweaked in content and application—changes that leaders could use to set a course for future cyber dominance. 

June 1, 2017
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The challenges of cyberspace permeate just about everything we do—whether in defense, critical infrastructure such as banking systems or utilities and any other major commercial enterprise or individual pursuit. The ability to shape, change and manipulate data in an unauthorized and undetected manner can severely undermine confidence in the systems that depend on that information. Consequently, the ability to secure cyberspace is critical.

June 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

This article is the last in a two-part series on what Y2K can teach the world about cybersecurity. Read the first part here.

The Y2K event went out with a whimper and not a bang, but not because the issue wasn’t serious. The potential for massive data disruption was there, but government and industry rallied to address it before the January 1, 2000, deadline. The millennium bug was squashed because stakeholders with a lot to lose attacked it in a coordinated effort. That approach can serve as both a lesson and a model for the latest security challenge: the cyber bug.

May 25, 2017
The Internet of Things poses some risks to military forces, a draft report from NATO's Parliamentary Assembly points out. The report will be discussed at the assembly's spring session and will be updated over the summer.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has published a draft report titled "The Internet of Things: Promises and Perils of a Disruptive Technology." The report urges governments to take a more proactive role in defining the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).

"Policy makers, including national parliamentarians, need to start to proactively shape an IoT environment that remains open, innovative and secure. We have to find the right balance," the document states.

May 24, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, makes a budget pitch before Congress on May 24, asking for 16 percent more in fiscal year 2018 than in 2017 for U.S. Cyber Command.

U.S. Cyber Command hopes for a bigger slice of the federal budget pie to cover operating costs in an increasingly volatile and dangerous cyber domain, said Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency (NSA).

He made his budget pitch before House lawmakers on Tuesday, seeking $647 million in fiscal year 2018—a 16 percent increase from fiscal year 2017—to address mounting cyber needs.

May 22, 2017
By J. Wayne Lloyd

As the Defense Information Services Agency (DISA) knows, a network that complies with standards is not necessarily secure. DISA’s new evaluation program, the Command Cyber Operational Readiness Inspection (CCORI), is designed to go beyond standards. Its goal is to provide site commanders and federal agencies an understanding of mission operational risks.   

May 15, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The crippling ransomware attack last week that paralyzed hospitals, universities and businesses globally was just a cyber appetizer, experts warn. The main dish is still to come.

"That was just a big warning," says Rick McElroy, a security strategist at Carbon Black, which develops endpoint cybersecurity software to detect malicious behavior. "If you weren't impacted by this one, something is going to come down the pike that's more advanced that you’re probably not prepared for. So start to build your defenses today to get out in front of this stuff.”

May 11, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
White House homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, announces details of the White House’s long-awaited cybersecurity executive order, which President Donald Trump signed May 11.

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a much-anticipated cybersecurity executive order that lays out the government's path toward strengthening federal networks.

“The trend is going in the wrong direction in cyberspace and it’s time to stop that trend and reverse it on behalf of the American people,” Thomas Bossert, White House homeland security adviser, said Thursday afternoon while announcing details of the order. The government has noted an increase in the number of attacks from “allies, adversaries, primarily nation-states, but also non nation-state actors,” Bossert said during a televised White House briefing.

May 9, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
 U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets discuss strategy during a 2016 Cyber Defense Exercise, a competition between service academies conducted by the National Security Agency. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm, USCG

Technological development has transformed U.S. Coast Guard networks into warfighting platforms as the service operates in a dramatically different realm, a senior leader says.

“That’s significant for us,” says Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, USCG, commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command and assistant commandant for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology (C4IT). “It’s really the first time we’re creating an operating force for a new domain—cyberspace—since we created operating forces for aviation over a century ago.”

May 5, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. soldiers conduct cyberspace operations during a training rotation last January at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. They are among several cyber organizations taking part in pilot programs to help the Army develop how it will build and employ cyber in its tactical formations.

Zipping past a Plan B for cyber defense solutions to the end of the alphabet, the U.S. Defense Department's research arm launched Plan X and advanced platforms to conduct and assess cyber warfare like kinetic warfare. 

After five years of development by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Plan X is scheduled to transition in September to the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) Project Manager Installation Information Infrastructure–Communications and Capabilities (I3C2). 

May 5, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

A new U.S. Army cyber-based task force hit the ground running this week to do a deep-dive, Army-wide review and strategically assess the service’s cyber needs, strengths, weaknesses and assets, officials say. Task Force Cyber Strong is one tangible outcome from a new cyber directorate created in July to spearhead the convergence of cybersecurity and electronic warfare.

May 3, 2017
Alex Rice, chief technology officer and co-founder of HackerOne Incorporated (l), speaks with Peter Kim, Air Force chief information security officer (c), and Chris Lynch, director, Defense Digital Service, about the upcoming Hack the Air Force event.

Vetted computer security specialists from across the United States and select partner nations are invited to hack some of the U.S. Air Force’s key public websites. The initiative is part of the Cyber Secure campaign the service’s chief information officer is sponsoring to further operationalize the domain and leverage talent from inside and outside of the Defense Department. HackerOne Incorporated, a security consulting firm, is managing the contest.

May 2, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The White House has created a council charged with tackling federal information technology services. President Donald Trump signed the executive order that stands up the American Technology Council, or ATC, to "transform and modernize" federal IT. 

May 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. government is racing to identify technologies that will resist the threat from quantum computers, which will render today’s encryption obsolete.

May 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

They do not necessarily match the hero stereotype, but computer scientists improving methods of generating random numbers just may save the day when it comes to cybersecurity.

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have delivered a mathematical revelation that could bring a number of benefits, but improved encryption tops the list. Cybersecurity, of course, depends on encryption, which relies on random data. Although the world is full of randomness—a roll of the dice, a flip of a coin, a lottery drawing—randomness is not always equal. When studied over time, air temperatures and stock market results, for example, actually produce predictable patterns.

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