Cyber

March 23, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Air Force leaders discuss the defense of key terrain in cyber operations during a panel at AFCEA's inaugural TechNet Air 2016 symposium in San Antonio.

When it comes to the Air Force's cyber protection teams, or CPTs as they are better known, officials are at the stage now where they’re building the aircraft while flying it. 

It is all part of a growing effort to mature defensive cyberspace operations, and CPT members still are writing the playbook on how they define, map, prioritize and help defend key terrain. 

March 31, 2016

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the final version of a document outlining its process for developing cryptographic standards and guidelines. NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines Development Process (NISTIR 7977) is part of NIST’s “effort to ensure a robust, widely understood and participatory process for developing cryptography,” the institute said in a written announcement.  

March 31, 2016
By Joel Dolisy

As government agencies continue their IT modernization initiatives, administrators find themselves in precarious positions when it comes to security. That’s the overall sentiment expressed in a recent cybersecurity survey issued by SolarWinds. The report found that efforts to build more modern, consolidated and secure information technology environment networks increase security challenges, but management tools offer a potential antidote to the threats.

March 22, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris, USAF, vice commander of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia speaks at the inaugural TechNet Air 2016 symposium in San Antonio.

While technology helped propel the U.S. military to outshine just about every adversary, failing to safeguard key developments just might lead to its downfall, warned Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris, USAF, vice commander of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

At the vertex of much of technological advances has been emergence of cyberspace across warfighting domains.

March 15, 2016

Coming on the heels of Virginia's big push to reduce the number of commuters last week on area roads with Virginia Telework Week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is updating guidance to include the latest technology available to strengthen remote-access data security, especially as the number of teleworkers trends upward. 

March 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Air Force cyber transport systems technician works on an electronic equipment rack at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to traditional cyberthreats, the Air Force is seeing increased cyber activity aimed at bringing down its critical infrastructure at bases in the United States.

Tasked with expected challenges to its air and space networks and data traffic, the U.S. Air Force also is seeing an increasing amount of cyberthreats directed at its base infrastructure. The service projects power from its bases, and the cyber attacks it faces there are similar to those aimed at the U.S. critical infrastructure.

March 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

Maj. Gen. Burke Edwin Wilson, USAF, commander, 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber, offers that the 24th is working with industry “on a plethora of capabilities.” At the top of the list are defensive capabilities, particularly counter-reconnaissance for determining the threats that are coming at Air Force cyber. These include intrusion detection and protection systems, which would be especially useful for meeting the service’s critical infrastructure cyber challenge, he says.

The Air Force is experiencing significant growth in offensive cyber operations, he adds. The service wants to be able to conduct these offensive operations globally. 

March 2, 2016

The Defense Department announced today that it will invite vetted hackers to test the department’s cybersecurity under a unique pilot program. The “Hack the Pentagon” initiative is the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government.

March 1, 2016
By Robert B. Dix Jr.

News media attention recently has focused on high-profile cyber events. These include the unprecedented Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach that exposed more than 21 million personal records, including security clearance information; massive identity theft issues at the IRS; the attack on Sony; as well as compromises at Target, Home Depot and more. This attention has raised awareness about the risks in cyberspace. Most if not all of those events are suspected to have been the work of nation-state criminal actors.

March 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

Cyberspace is one warfighting domain that will not allow us to conduct business as usual. Unlike the domains of land, sea, air and space, which are well-understood and whose doctrines are well-established, cyberspace represents a new and challenging frontier. It demands that we take a very different approach to developing doctrine, acquiring capabilities and conducting operations. But sometimes we approach these challenges using traditional methods and timelines that may not deliver the desired results quickly enough. Several areas need to be addressed to be successful.

March 1, 2016
By Andrew F. Coffey, Ph.D.

Rapidly evolving cyberthreats challenge all levels of government, and recent incidents such as the Office of Personnel Management data breach illustrate the importance of shielding public and private-sector organizations from such attacks.

February 22, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Last year proved lucrative for cyber criminals, and 2016 is shaping up to be even better, with a seemingly unsuspecting victim in the hacking crosshairs: driverless cars, according to Dell Security. In 2015, hackers carried out a massive number of breaches against organizations and government agencies in spite of the millions of dollars spent not only to safeguard networks, but also to hire security experts and train employees on proper cyber hygiene, according to the company’s annual cybersecurity report released Monday.

February 9, 2016
By Sandra Jontz and George I. Seffers

President Barack Obama championed cybersecurity efforts Tuesday in seeking $19 billion for the cause as part of his fiscal year 2017 budget proposal. Additionally, he signed two executive orders to seek to strengthen government networks against cyber attacks while protecting personal information.

The budget proposal for FY17, which begins October 1, is a 35 percent increase over the current fiscal year.

February 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The MUSCLE autonomous vehicle developed by the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, or CMRE, for mine countermeasures works with the NATO Research Vessel Alliance (in the background). The autonomous vehicle is equipped with synthetic aperture sonar.

The buzzwords du jour are cyber at sea, a vulnerability that quickly rose in prominence within the maritime domain to jockey for attention and funding among competing disciplines. Unrelenting cyber attacks firmly positioned the emerging specialty alongside antisubmarine warfare, autonomous undersea vehicles, mine countermeasure systems and port protections, to name a few. NATO’s knowledge repository for maritime science and technology initiatives juggles all of these in its search for innovative security solutions, says Rear Adm. Hank Ort, RNLN (Ret.), director of the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation.

February 18, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is implementing new technologies and capabilities as it embraces information warfare (IW) as a warfighting domain. These include incorporating IW on existing platforms and greatly expanding disciplines such as electromagnetic maneuver warfare.

February 1, 2016
By Shawn Campbell

Securing the cyber domain commands as much attention as it does effort and dollars—and yet, in spite of years of work to fortify enterprises, it is the fast-paced ecosystem known as the Internet of Things that gravely threatens the security of the world’s greatest military. With mere clicks on a computer, hackers have the knowledge and power to wreak havoc in the defense arena, with experts warning that it is just a matter of time before threats become realities, particularly in three distinctly vulnerable areas of vehicle safety, healthcare and supply chains.

February 1, 2016
By Jim Loerch
U.S. soldiers and an electronic warfare (EW) trainer observe the spectrum of frequencies used for communications during the Marne Focus exercise in June. A group of EW personnel test reaction times by jamming their communications during the exercise.

The realization that the U.S. military is losing its comfortable superiority over the airwaves has propelled the Defense Department to transform the electromagnetic spectrum into a new warfighting domain. This endeavor comes on the heels of the revolutionary doctrine change that established the cyber warfare domain not even a full decade ago.

Until now, cyberthreats have overshadowed electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) concerns. Chiefly, serious cyberthreats to U.S. commerce and national security caused by rapid technological changes siphoned attention and dollars from other domain coffers, including funding to improve the use of EMS.

February 1, 2016
By Robert B. Dix Jr.

As the growth in the capability and sophistication of cyber bad actors continues to threaten national and economic security in the United States, confusion reigns and a lack of clarity exists as to who is in charge and how to deal with a significant cyber event that could become an incident of national or even global consequence. No strategic blueprint provides high level direction, nor do any operational plans articulate roles and responsibilities for government, industry and other stakeholders during various thresholds of escalation throughout a significant cyber event.

February 1, 2016
By Lindsay Clarke

How to best equip cyber warfighters—both at home and abroad—is an ongoing debate complicated by persistently improved and interesting tools for cyber analysis, security and ethical hacking that makes picking the “best tool,” or even “the right tool for the job,” very much a matter of opinion and preference.

January 29, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

With so much cybersecurity focus concentrated on firewalls, intrusion detection systems, Web proxies and other protective measures, Domain Name System, or DNS, attacks have risen as a threat du jour compromising organizations’ networks.

"As all of the other doors to the enterprise are locked, [cyber intruders] found an unlocked door and it’s right now DNS," says Ralph Havens, president and CEO of Infoblox Federal.

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