Cyber

July 1, 2017
By Farisa Dastvar

President Donald Trump recently signed a succinct but sweeping cybersecurity executive order fortifying the U.S. government’s role in thwarting cyber attacks, establishing a path toward protecting federal networks and critical infrastructure, and bolstering cybersecurity for the nation as a whole. 

“Our nation’s economic and national security rely on a safe, secure and reliable cyberspace,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly of the order, titled Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.

July 1, 2017
By Carl De Groote
The CONUS Defense Department environment shares data and information amid complex networking. A secure and effective environment could be ensured using an approach known as Digital Network Architecture, or DNA.

The fully digital world has changed the strategies, tactics and procedures required to operate successfully in modern warfare. Highly skilled cyber analysts play an important role, but to achieve peak performance from both human and machine, automation within the network is needed. A new network approach—a single platform that is simple, automated, intelligent and secure—will better enable the U.S. Cyber Mission Force to operate within an enemy’s decision cycle and preserve U.S. supremacy across all five domains: land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.

June 27, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of DISA and commander of the JFHQ-DODIN, speaks at AFCEA’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in June. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Conquering cyberthreats that pose a national security risk means acquiring cutting-edge technology and leading-edge talent and pairing them, according to U.S. Defense Department experts.

The department’s technology wish list, discussed during the annual Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS), touches on a number of disruptive areas, including machine learning, biometrics, the cloud, what officials are dubbing “software-defined everything,” and solutions to improve mobility and identity protections. Experts shared the challenges and solutions of leveraging technology and talent at the AFCEA International event June 13-15 in Baltimore.

June 26, 2017

The Council on CyberSecurity’s Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense provides guidance on prioritizing security processes that are most effective against the latest advanced threats, such as malware and other malicious targeted attacks. The main emphasis of the controls is on standardization and automation that not only maximize security but also enhance the operational effectiveness of information technology administration.

June 27, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

Governments, banks, transportation systems and critical infrastructure entities reeled Tuesday from yet another wide-sweeping disruptive cyber attack—one that echoed the WannaCry breach in May but is potentially far more crippling.

Cyber experts began bracing for the effects of a massive attack that hit Ukraine first, and then rippled throughout other European nations before going global.

June 26, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
Only about 15 percent of U.S. Internet fraud victims report the crimes to law enforcement.

You’ve probably received a phone call that goes something like this: “Mr. Smith? I’m calling from ABC company, and there appears to be a security problem with XYZ operating systems. Are you at your computer right now? We can fix the problem for you. All you have to do open your computer, and I’ll take care of it.”

June 21, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Students in a Virginia Tech laboratory test Popcorn Linux, an operating system that can compile different programming languages into a single cyber tongue. The research is a collaborative effort between the university and the Office of Naval Research. Photo courtesy Binoy Ravindran

A collaborative government-academia collaboration is crafting a new operating system that, if it comes to fruition, would compile different computer programming languages into what U.S. Navy officials have termed a single cyber tongue.

It's called Popcorn Linux, and the operating system unites the language spoken, if you will, by the many processors that otherwise use their own programming languages.

June 15, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
John Zangardi, acting DOD CIO, closes out AFCEA's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium.

The swiftly changing cyber domain demands a dynamic and dedicated partnership between the U.S. Defense Department and industry—a critical relationship for the development of both technologies and the work force needed to help the United States maintain a superior edge over adversaries, said John Zangardi, the department's acting chief information officer.

June 14, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Acting federal Chief Information Officer Margie Graves and Alfred Rivera, director of DISA's Development and the Business center, discuss cyber at AFCEA's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium.

New technologies are just about obsolete by the time they actually hit federal work stations and are put to use, a disruption that could threaten the future of federal information technology investments. Acquisition at times precariously hinges on the government striking a sustainable balance between agility and innovation on one side, and security on the other, according to acting federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Margie Graves.

June 13, 2017
by Sandra Jontz
Military panelists discuss the government's cyber mission during AFCEA's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium.

In cyber, the U.S. Defense Department might have its SWAT team, but it is missing the beat cop. 

And cyber operations really need that beat cop, said Brig Gen. Mark WeatheringtonUSAF, director of cyberspace operations at North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

June 13, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Panelists discuss cybersecurity at AFCEA's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium.

Cyber is one domain that could benefit from lessons taught in kindergarten: learn to share and build trust.

Those two could provide for a strong foundation toward securing the cyberspace, according to a panel of experts who spoke Tuesday at AFCEA International’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS), taking place this week in Baltimore. The event runs June 13-15. 

June 12, 2017
By Bob Gourley and Jane Melia

New federal agency leaders, along with the fresh crop of chief information officers, chief technology officers and chief information security officers, face formidable cybersecurity responsibilities when it comes to protecting federal networks and data against a growing number of dynamic threats. The chaos produced by last month's WannaCry ransomware attack was just a taste.

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.

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