Intelligence

July 14, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Security Agency (NSA) has selected five more schools for the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations Program, which is designed to cultivate more U.S. cyber professionals. These schools are now designated as Cyber Operations CAEs for the 2014-2019 academic years:

March 27, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Thales recently announced the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Qatar Armed Forces to assist in the development of an Optionally Piloted Vehicle-Aircraft (OPV-A), a high-performance intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance system. The OPV-A will be a hybrid between a conventional and unmanned aircraft capable of flying with or without a pilot on board. Unimpeded by a human’s physiological limitations, an OPV-A is able to operate under more adverse conditions and/or for greater endurance times. The airframe, to be selected by the Qatar Armed Forces, will be integrated with a mission systems capability to enable the optionally piloted capability.

March 11, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Weather Service is the granddaddy of open source data, according to Adrian Gardner, chief information officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). And, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was "into big data before big data was cool," added David McClure, a data asset portfolio analyst within the NOAA Office of the Chief Information Officer. The two officials made their comments during a panel on big data analytics at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

March 10, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, government agencies came under widespread criticism for failing to share information and "connect the dots." By contrast, law enforcement agencies were almost universally praised following the Boston Marathon bombing and the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., both of which took place last year, pointed out panelists at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday.

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Having vast amounts of intelligence data will not serve U.S. military needs if it is applied only tactically, according to a U.S. Navy information dominance leader. This data must be used to understand an adversary’s strategic intent, or leaders may not act effectively.

Rear Adm. Paul Becker, USN, director for intelligence, J-2, Joint Chiefs of Staff, raised that issue during the Wednesday morning keynote panel at West 2014 in San Diego. Adm. Becker warned that military leaders must be able to glean a deep understanding of an adversary’s mindset, strategy and intent. “We often are at an information deficit in that area,” he stated.

January 9, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. intelligence community has taken some flak lately for infiltrating online games, such as Second Life and World of Warcraft. A just-released report commissioned by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, however, posits that the technology could be abused by extremists.

November 7, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Big Data increasingly is viewed as the future of knowledge management, aided and abetted by the cloud. And, it would seem to be a perfect fit in the field of intelligence.

But two longtime experts in intelligence take opposing views on the utility of big data for intelligence. Lewis Shepherd, director and general manager of the Microsoft Institute, believes in big data serving a valuable role throughout intelligence. Mark Lowenthal, president and chief executive officer of The Intelligence and Security Academy, views it as just another overhyped fad that could divert energy away from what really matters in intelligence.

August 16, 2013

 

North Carolina (NC) State University has announced a new partnership with the National Security Agency (NSA) to create the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS) on the university’s Centennial Campus. The lab will bring together personnel from government, academia and industry to address the most challenging big data problems and will be a cornerstone of the emerging advanced data innovation hub at NC State.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The most damaging cyber attacks possible are among the least likely to happen, because the powers capable of undertaking them are unlikely to launch them, according to an expert with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Sean Kanuck, national intelligence officer for cyber issues at the National Intelligence Council, ODNI, told the audience at the second day of the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that cyber attack capability need not translate to immediate threat.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

A “digital Pearl Harbor Armageddon” that inflicts catastrophic damage on the United States is not likely soon or in the foreseeable future. The worst cyber attack that could be expected would have less of an effect for a shorter period of time, said an expert with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Sean Kanuck, national intelligence officer for cyber issues at the National Intelligence Council, ODNI, told the audience at the second day of the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that predictions of destruction that would bring the United States to its knees are unnecessarily pessimistic and unlikely to materialize.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Democracy has only 20 years left to live if an effective means of digital identification is not developed before that deadline. As young people growing up with social media reach voting age in increasing numbers, they will lead a major shift to online voting. A lack of identity security will throw open the gates to massive voter fraud that will destroy the fidelity of elections, and with it, true representative government.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

 

One of the world’s leading experts on cybersecurity calls cyber sabotage attacks “the worst innovation of this century.” Cyberweapons have become too dangerous, and cyberattack can lead to visible and important damage to the critical infrastructure or telecommunications. And, attribution is almost impossible.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

 

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems face numerous threats from cybermarauders coming at them from any of a number of directions. Some systems could suffer malware attacks even though they are not the intended targets, according to a leading security expert.

Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, described the threat to SCADA systems to the audience at the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Kaspersky described several SCADA attacks that already occurred and warns of new potential vulnerabilities.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Resistance to change may prove to be the biggest impediment to information sharing among the cyber intelligence community. Both government and industry must break out of their existing paradigms to share cyber intelligence that may prove vital to national security.

Panelists on the second day of the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., outlined some of the cultural obstacles that hold back information sharing. In the intelligence community, the conflict is the traditional need to know versus the new need to share.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The most serious national security threat looming in cyberspace may be the potential for vital data to be altered by cybermarauders, according to a cyber expert with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Speaking to an attentive audience at the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Sean Kanuck, national intelligence officer for cyber issues at the National Intelligence Council in the ODNI, admitted that the threat to data integrity keeps him awake at night.

July 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Effective cyber experts require an increasing skill set that is putting them out of reach of the government. As threats have become more diverse, so have the abilities needed to defend against them, and the government may need to turn to innovative methods of building its cyberforce.

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

While government and industry wrestle with issues of sharing cyber intelligence, different private sectors face an equally difficult—and important—task of information sharing among themselves. Many face similar threats, and their survival against cybermarauders may depend on how well they share threat knowledge.

Information sharing is a major discussion point in the two-day AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. In a panel discussion, Robert Mayer, vice president of industry and state affairs at the U.S. Telecom Association, called for more cross-sector activity and engagement so that the industry sectors share more information.

July 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Companies that are hacked have valuable information that can help prevent future cyber intrusions, said an FBI cyber expert. Rick McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, told the audience at the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that the bureau is depending on industry to share vital information on cyber attacks.

“A key part of what the FBI does is victim notification,” McFeely said. “But, by calling out methods used to attack one company, we can see if those methods are being used to attack others. We now do that [a great deal].

July 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

New information technologies have advanced the state of the art in law enforcement at the local level, but police now find themselves facing challenges brought about these innovative capabilities. Problems of security and adversarial use of cyber have added to traditional problems that police departments have faced for decades.

Cathy Lanier, chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, told the audience at the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that she believes the Metropolitan Police Department is the most automated in the country. But, even though that technology is helping law enforcement solve crimes, criminals are using technology to their own advantage.

July 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The same challenges facing the military now confront law enforcement as it embraces cyber capabilities. Disciplines ranging from data fusion to security are becoming integral parts of the curriculum for police officers.

Cathy Lanier, chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, did not understate the changes technology has wrought as she spoke at the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “It almost feels like completely reinventing police work,” she said.

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