Cyber

March 9, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Army is facing the need to fight cyberthreats at lower levels of operation, but it lacks the authority to engage in the activities needed to truly resolve digital conflicts. Its ongoing efforts in cyber might lead to that authority, although changes in technology capabilities continue to challenge the service.

March 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The move to cloud computing is daunting enough for corporations and governments, but add in the advancing Internet of Things, and any hopes of simple solutions to challenges vanish. The exponential growth of networked devices increases the magnitude of uncertainty about the role the cloud will play in delivering this ubiquitous connectivity.

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

Whenever I am notified of yet another data breach, I typically receive a complimentary one-year enrollment in a credit monitoring service. Great, I think. Free is always best! However, the monitoring is truly of little consequence given that my personally identifiable information (PII) has slipped into cyber darkness once again. I feel a sense of disappointment as I think about how much the cyberspace landscape has changed over the last 40-plus years and how little our nation’s privacy laws have done to keep up with this digital transformation. 

March 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
A Marine participates in a field training exercise in Lithuania. NATO researchers are investigating potential military applications for Internet of Things technologies, including the possibility of increased situational awareness at the individual warfighter level.

Several nations are studying the potential military benefits of Internet of Things technologies, including a variety of inexpensive commercial sensors and smart city capabilities. Their investigation likely will include three proof-of-concept demonstrations, the first of which is planned for May in Finland.

March 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

NATO support for the ongoing study of military applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) falls under the auspices of the agency’s Science and Technology Organization (STO) and its Collaboration Support Office (CSO). The study is part of the Collaborative Program of Work of the Information Systems and Technology Panel.

Poland’s Military University of Technology leads the study. The country’s Research and Academic Computer Network (NASK), Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) and Gdansk University of Technology also are involved.

Other participants include: 

• NATO’s Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) and the Allied Command Transformation (ACT).

March 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
A 10th Mountain Division soldier keeps an eye out for enemy activity from an observation post outside Forward Operating Base Tillman in the Paktika province of Afghanistan. If military researchers are successful in unplugging the sensors required to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance around forward operating bases, they also might spur commercial Internet of Things technologies.

U.S. Defense Department researchers are meeting some goals ahead of schedule in their work on a program that may help make the Internet of Things a reality for the military and the rest of the world.

March 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The Internet of Things has gone mainstream. Home refrigerators are chattier than ever, and emerging virtual home assistants can order wings for dinner, turn on lawn sprinklers, start the car and purchase pounds of cookies—all without users ever rising from the couch. Yet behind the headlines of these gee-whiz cyber technologies lurks a shortcoming. It is one that poses significant threats to national security but could be remedied fairly easily, some experts offer.

March 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The trend of high-profile distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks marks the beginning of what is shaping up to be the new normal of breaches brought to us courtesy of easily exploited Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

A botnet made up of thousands of Internet-connected devices exploited a vulnerability in cameras to create the headline-grabbing October attack on Dyn that took down some of the biggest websites, from Airbnb to Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Reddit and others. 

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

One of the more intriguing information technology trends sweeping the globe is the Internet of Things, or IoT. Its inevitability is clear, and the military is hoping to leverage the IoT for gains in situational awareness and logistics, among other areas. Yet an increased reliance on the IoT offers potential liabilities, such as security challenges and availability, along with a heavy dependence on technology in what is sure to be a contested or denied future warfighting environment. 

February 23, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Michael Rogers, USN (l), and Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), discuss national security issues during day three of the West 2017 conference in San Diego. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Cybersecurity can no longer be viewed as a technology-only problem and segmented into stovepipes where the U.S. Defense Department carries out one set of tasks; the civilian government another; and industry does its own thing, said Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

“It must be viewed more broadly and must be tackled from a national security perspective,” Adm. Rogers said during a morning West 2017 conference presentation Thursday with Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), former NATO commander and dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

February 22, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence, speaks at West 2017. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Information warfare is an aggressive game of soccer where not only are all the fans on the field with the players, but no one is wearing uniforms.

February 21, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Are the U.S. armed forces ready to fight? It depends, says Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, USN, (c).

Emerging cyber trends such as the rapid increase in the number of bad actors, increased capabilities and sophistication, and the high degree of automation complicates a key question posed to U.S. military leaders: Are the armed forces ready to fight? 

In the cyber realm, the answer is: “It depends,” said Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, USN, commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet.

February 21, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), former NATO commander and dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, kicked off the premier naval West 2017 conference on Tuesday, delivering a keynote that touched on a litany of threats. Adm. Stavridis, pictured in the upper right corner, delivered remarks and slides by video teleconference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Of all the threats facing U.S. military forces, the greatest worry for Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), is the dynamic, manmade world of cyber. 

February 14, 2017
By Tony Ferguson
Florida-based students participated in the third annual CyberThon challenge in January.

The third annual CyberThon event, held at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, provided hands-on cybersecurity defense training to students of many ages who worked to defeat simulated cybersecurity threats to an online banking network.

More than 140 Florida-based students from dozens of schools across the northwest participated in CyberThon 2017, a challenge event hosted by AFCEA’s Pensacola “Blue Angels” Chapter. After two days of spirited competition, teams from the University of West Florida (UWF) and J.M. Tate High School took first place in the college and high school divisions, respectively.

February 13, 2017
By Ali Cybulski

Cybersecurity does not keep most Americans awake at night, even though many expect major cyber attacks to be a way of life in the near future and place little trust in modern institutions to protect their personal data, reports the Pew Research Center. The center’s national survey of more than 1,000 adults last spring showed that even as confidence in data security declined, Americans failed to follow digital security best practices.

February 13, 2017
The U.S. Army is rolling out a direct commissioning program for the cyber career field that would allow qualified civilians to bypass prerequisites to become an officer.

The U.S. Army is rolling out a new cybersecurity career management program that could let qualified civilians bypass prerequisites​ and be commissioned directly into the service with a rank up to colonel.

The Defense Department has directed all military services to research the idea and submit findings by 2020 to determine if a pilot program should be implemented across the department. But Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost, USA, director of cyber for the Army’s G-3/5/7, explains that the Army decided to respond to the high demand for cyber experts more quickly. “We’ll see if the other services do something similar,” she states.

February 7, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

Today marks the 14th annual Safer Internet Day, a global campaign to make the cyber domain a littler safer, especially for children. This year’s theme, Be the change: Unite for a better Internet,” highlights how all of society has a role to play in cybersecurity, and that working together creates a safer Internet, according to a campaign statement.

February 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
An aviation electronics technician first class performs maintenance on a mission computer aboard an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter on an aircraft carrier. The U.S. Navy seeks better computer and information systems for faster upgrades and less vulnerability to cybermarauders.

Cleaner, more modular software that can be updated with less fuss tops the U.S. Navy’s wish list as it girds its fleet for warfighting in cyberspace. These advances would not only help the service stay atop the wave of information system innovation but also contribute to better security amid growing and changing threats.

The Navy wants industry to develop operating systems and software from the start with fewer bugs. These software products should have fewer vulnerabilities that can be exploited by an adversary, which compound the service’s efforts at cybersecurity.

February 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Marines in Afghanistan stand watch in a mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle. The Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO) is considering factors such as security and reliability as it carefully weighs which types of data it will move to the cloud.

As the U.S. federal government overcomes the challenges of moving data to the cloud, disruptive changes in research, development and operations may emerge. Military and civil government organizations are seeking similar outcomes as they attempt to migrate their data services to the cloud. The federal government, specifically, is counting on the cloud to help clear up the fog of acquisition and the morass of inefficiency. Experts believe that growing data storage on the cloud can be achieved without complex and costly procurements, and new capabilities and security measures can be deployed much faster when needed. 

January 5, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, director of the NSA and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, testifies during a Senate hearing on Thursday on foreign cyberthreats to the United States.

The U.S. government has no cohesive or detailed retaliatory response to the increasing number of cyber attacks against national interests and security, a shortcoming that top U.S. intelligence leaders said disrupts the development of a deterrence framework.

The government struggles to effectively derail nation-states and cyber intruders that repeatedly have highlighted U.S. vulnerabilities in a string of notorious incidents, officials testified Thursday at a Senate committee hearing on foreign cyberthreats to the United States.

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