October 1, 2016
By Capt. Terry Traylor, USMC
A screen shot depicts a future multiphase training program called Cylon Raider. The program would show how cyber factors into the modern battlefield.

Some U.S. Marine Corps cyber warriors are playing their way toward proficiency. The Corps’ Delta Company, Communication Training Battalion, has turned to gamification to foster a new cyber instruction method that is becoming much more than fun and games. Retooling teaching techniques gave rise to what is dubbed “2-3-6 training” to integrate the intelligence directorate with operations and communications, which in military parlance are designated by the numerals 2, 3 and 6.

October 1, 2016
By Shuangbao (Paul) Wang
Establishing paired firewalls between corporate and SCADA networks protects one sector from threats emerging from the other.

A defense-in-depth architecture built around a dual-data model reduces the risk of supervisory control and data acquisition networks being hacked or their data being stolen. The dual-data approach makes connecting various sensors and legacy systems easy, and initial tests show that adding a defense-in-depth architecture provides a degree of security not found in many of these networks, which often lack effective protection against intruders. 

October 1, 2016
By Paul A. Strassmann
U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles flying for the U.S. Pacific Command taxi near a runway at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. North Korean hackers stole wing designs for the F-15 from a South Korean company in a series of cyber attacks over a two-year period.

The vaunted technology edge enjoyed by Western nations risks fading into history because of espionage by nation-states. National competitors and potential adversaries are saving years of research and development and billions of dollars in related expenses by extricating secrets through cyberspace. Both military and commercial organizations are suffering what could amount to devastating losses from opportunistic enemies, and communications and information technologies top the list of desirable targets.

October 1, 2016
By Kevin Davis
The guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley leaves San Diego in June for its new home port of Everett, Washington. The crew of approximately 250 is trained to execute multimission tasking, including air, surface, undersea, space and cyber warfare.

Cyber capabilities have dramatically transformed the battlefield and how conflicts are resolved. Traditionally, battles were fought in conventional domains—land, air, sea, space—using kinetic, psychological and economic means to defeat opponents. In the cyber realm, anything goes. There are no rules. And adversaries are developing advanced cyber capabilities just as quickly as the United States, threatening critical infrastructure and other systems. So-called cyber-to-physical attacks, when hackers target physical buildings, networks and sites, demonstrate the potentially catastrophic results of a successful campaign against power, water and transportation services. 

October 1, 2016
By Paul A. Strassmann

The 80-page summary of China’s recently published five-year plan (5YP) establishes information and communications technology (ICT) as the country’s highest priority. China presents a well-thought-out plan to close the technology gap with the United States and ultimately surpass it. The published text also conveys a sense of urgency. In view of rapid developments in China, attention to its 5YP is well-warranted.

October 1, 2016
By Wesley Kaplow

Sixth in an ongoing series of articles

The intelligence community recently has directed activity toward creating common resources to increase collaboration and speed up the delivery of information technology tools for the government. The need for modern and cost-effective information technology solutions is paramount. However, complex, paper-heavy, time-consuming information-assurance processes steal capital required to modernize. This unproductive cycle affects both U.S. government systems and the industrial base that develops mission systems for the government.

October 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Soldiers of the U.S. Army Cyber Protection Brigade (CPB) conduct defensive cyberspace operations in August at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. Elements of U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) are participating in a training rotation as part of the ongoing ARCYBER-led Cyber Support to Corps and Below pilot program.

The U.S. Army aims to move sophisticated offensive and defensive cyber operations out of a headquarters environment to the front lines as it prepares its mission force to adapt to and prevail in the critical cyber warfighting domain.

September 29, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is launching its new background investigation service following a White House directive to address shortcomings and cyber vulnerabilities that have plagued the agency. Charles Phalen Jr., a former CIA director of security, will be the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) starting October 1.

September 15, 2016
By J. Wayne Lloyd

When it comes to cybersecurity, I have heard many people express consternation and wonderment as to why the government cannot protect the Internet. It boils down to two things: No authorization, and officials only have visibility into a scant number of networks under their control. 

September 22, 2016

Yahoo Inc. released a statement Thursday informing customers that at least 500 million user accounts were stolen from its network in 2014 by what company officials labeled a "state-sponsored actor."

The hacked account information might have included customer names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers, according to a company statement. The release does not identify the nation officials believe are behind the hack. 

September 7, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at the Intelligence & National Security Summit. Photo by Herman Farrer Photography

Cybersecurity will remain as much of a challenge for the next administration as it has been for the current White House, especially in light of the constant barrage of cyber attacks from nation states, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday.

“The Russians hack our systems all the time, not just government but corporate and personal systems,” Clapper said on the inaugural day of at the Intelligence & National Security Summit (INSS) in Washington, D.C. The two-day conference, sponsored by AFCEA International and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), runs through Thursday.

September 1, 2016
By Wesley Kaplow

Fifth in an ongoing series of articles 

The U.S. government must bring its key software providers into the secure environment and use them as trusted partners in delivering and supporting their products. In many cases, these providers are not only the best sources of trusted software but also the only sources. Holding them contractually liable for certifying their products and delivering them directly to the end system may be the only way to reduce the time to furnish baseline systems, streamline costs and maintain product integrity and security.

September 1, 2016
By Ryan René Rosado

The U.S. Defense Department and the federal government could piggyback on the recent blockbuster popularity of Pokemon Go, the location-based augmented reality game that catapulted some couch potatoes from their sofas to the great outdoors, to transform cyber training. The mobile app, an overnight international sensation, combines the virtual world of Pokemon with the real world in which people live.

The gaming craze offers insights on how to excite people to partake in—and really learn from—cybersecurity training.

August 18, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Defense Department unveiled Thursday a bold information technology and cybersecurity road map that modifies its approach on several efforts in the rapidly changing environments. The guide positions the department’s IT infrastructure and processes for a broad impact, in addition to hopes of greater security and scrutiny, said its chief information officer, Terry Halvorsen.

August 30, 2016
By Robert B. Dix Jr.

With all of the public and media attention around high profile cyber attacks such as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach and the Sony hack, it is easy to understand why many in government, as well as others, continue to focus on the consequences associated with major cybersecurity events.

August 16, 2016
By Mav Turner

When we think of cyber attacks, we generally picture a lone wolf hacker or Anonymous-type organization. But foreign governments are also formidable threats. Take a moment to scan the headlines and you’ll see that articles about cyber hacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Democratic National Committee—among many others—have been attributed to North Korea and Russia.

August 10, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Nischit Vaidya (c), stands with his mother Mira Vaidya and father Niranjan Vaidya. Vaidya started a scholarship in his parents' names for cyber students at Capitol Technology University. Two students, a male and a female, will receive $1,000 each this fall. Photo courtesy Nischit Vaidya.

When students studying cybersecurity return to Capitol Technology University in Maryland this fall, cash scholarships donated by a former adjunct professor will aid at least two of them.

Nischit Vaidya, president and CEO of Argotis, is driven by a love of education and a desire to give back to his community. The new scholarship program—created in his parents' names—accomplishes that quest and provides a legacy honoring his parents, who endured years of hard work and worry to see their son succeed, he says. “For me, the biggest thing is my mom and dad.”

August 9, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
The SANS Institute’s VetSuccess program aims to move veterans into private sector cybersecurity jobs via targeted training and corporate sponsorships.

A private cybersecurity institute is plucking U.S. veterans with related experience, training them and placing them with commercial firms where they can help develop solutions that ultimately could benefit their former services. Government and the military increasingly are calling on industry to provide them with effective cybersecurity, and this program aims to tap the expertise of former military cyber warriors as part of that private sector effort.

August 9, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced Tuesday it has appointed David DeVries as its new chief information officer. DeVries now leaves the Defense Department, where he serves as the department’s principal deputy chief information officer under Terry Halvorsen.

August 8, 2016
By Marvin Marin

One often-overlooked aspect of software development is how much programmers rely on open source libraries and packages for prewritten functions. Instead of writing code from scratch, or even copying and pasting code from one program into a new one, programmers often rely on what is called a dependency, the technical term for a shortcut to code maintained by a cloud service provider. Using the method makes a new program dependent on the existence and availability of that particular module. If that dependency is not available or the code functionality is broken, the entire program fails.