Cyber

By Sandra Jontz

Better cooperation and enhanced information sharing between the government and industry will go a long way toward safeguarding digital networks and building up the work force needed to protect the information infrastructure. These are some of the recommendations offered by the nonpartisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in its much-anticipated report released this month.

March 27, 2017
By George I. Seffers
Researchers from Sandia and Lewis Rhodes labs examine the Neuromorphic Cyber Microscope, a small processor that can replace multiple racks of traditional systems used for cybersecurity. Photo by Randy Montoya

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories helped develop a potentially game-changing cybersecurity system that mimics the human brain’s ability to analyze data, and they are now testing the technology on the labs’ highly targeted networks.

March 24, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Hackers often exploit mobile devices by sending nefarious text messages that trick users into downloading software through seemingly innocuous photos or links, says Mike Murray of Lookout.

Rep. Ted Lieu is no stranger to having his cellphone "hacked." Intruders recently were able to track his whereabouts, eavesdrop on conversations with staff members and access his text messages and email.

Fortunately for Lieu, the intrusion was part of a 60 Minutes segment last year that the TV news program did to highlight mobile device vulnerabilities. The California Democrat knew of the hackers who had successfully exploited his phone's Signaling System Seven, aka SS7, security flaw that compromises the global network that connects phone carriers. The same vulnerabilities still exist one year later, Lieu shared on Thursday during a Capitol Hill demonstration about mobile security, or lack thereof.

March 16, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
White House homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert has a discussion on the White House's cybersecurity plans with his former boss, Frances Townsend, during a CSIS event. Photo courtesy CSIS

The White House’s first federal budget blueprint unveiled Thursday seeks to fund the nation’s cybersecurity efforts by boosting budgets of the U.S. Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security—an initiative officials say will guard against the magnified threat landscape that is only getting worse. 

January 31, 2017
By Ray Rothrock
Image credit: www.bluecoat.com

As the nation deals with intelligence reports of Russian hacks of the U.S. presidential election, some of us in industry are pondering how President Donald Trump will tackle cybersecurity issues.

He already has a good road map. In December, the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity issued its “Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy.” Kudos are in order. It is high time the executive branch dug deeply into cybersecurity issues.

October 26, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

A repeat or expansion of the recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Internet traffic firm Dyn could be prevented with just three simple security measures ranging from adoption of a secure network architecture down to basic cyber hygiene. These measures could forestall up to 99 percent of these types of cyber attacks, according to a Washington, D.C.-area chief information officer (CIO).

March 14, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Gary Thomas, USMC, deputy commandant for programs and resources, testifies before the  U.S. House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.

With a little more financial backing, the U.S. Marine Corps is primed to grow its force in three critical areas to meet the threats of the future: cyber, electronic warfare (EW) and intelligence.

The nation’s expeditionary service is creating what Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, USMC, has called a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) information group—a critical component that encompasses those three key warfare domains, Lt. Gen. Gary Thomas, USMC, deputy commandant for Programs and Resources, told members of the U.S. House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.

March 1, 2017
By Danny Ilic

If you can’t beat the hackers, join them—or at least act like them. By hacking a system from within, security experts can identify vulnerabilities and try to stay one step ahead of increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals. Thinking like an attacker cultivates an offensive mindset that leads to streamlined systems that incorporate the best of human skills and automated capabilities to shore up defenses from the inside out. 

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.

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