Cyber

December 13, 2017
By Bob Gourley and Jane Melia
Due to the varying needs of each agency, the FedRAMP process was designed to find solutions that align only with broad government needs. Credit: Blackboard/Shutterstock

The cloud and data security go hand-in-hand. While cloud computing provides valuable IT architectures and solutions for government agencies, it also requires them to relinquish data security to public cloud service providers. 

December 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

A lightning strike last year delivered a new way for Marianne Bailey, the National Security Agency’s new deputy national manager for national security systems, to illuminate the cybersecurity threat.

The bolt burned Bailey’s house, and the burglar alarm was one of the last items she replaced. “The poor burglar alarm guy was telling me about all this great capability where I can get this thing on my smartphone, and I can turn it on and turn it off,” she relates.

Her response: “I want the dumb one that’s not connected to Wi-Fi.”

December 1, 2017
By Wayne Lloyd
Global information system technology is an integral part of farming. Tampering with these devices via the Internet could cause farmers to make decisions based on faulty data.

By 2025, an estimated 75 billion or more devices will be connected via the Internet. While the ability to access data on any device from any device multiplies productivity exponentially, it also creates unforeseeable vulnerabilities that organizations are only beginning to understand.

Last year’s Mirai botnet distributed denial-of-service attack, which infected millions of devices, demonstrates the multifaceted challenges federal agencies and private-sector companies face when securing their devices and networks. These challenges will only continue to grow both inside and outside of these domains.

December 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)
A civilian cyber corps could support two of U.S. Cyber Command’s three primary missions: defend Defense Department networks to ensure their data is held securely and defend critical infrastructure.

A civilian reserve cyber corps deserves strong consideration as a way to add more capacity to the cyber work force, which the nation has struggled to do for a number of years. The Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) could serve as a model for the corps and ultimately help the U.S. government and the Defense Department shore up their shortfall of cyber resources.

November 30, 2017
By Julianne Simpson

AFCEA will host its first Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium January 17-18 in Augusta, Georgia. The much-anticipated event, also known as CERTS, will connect military and agency stakeholders with solution providers from academia, business and research centers.

CERTS will feature keynote speakers, panels and breakout sessions promoting discussion between operators and supporting professionals. Featured speakers include Col. Andrew O. Hall, USA, director, Army Cyber Institute; Michael Hudson, deputy director, J-7, U.S. Cyber Command; and Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, commanding general, Army Cyber Command.

November 27, 2017
By Tony Bardo
The new generation of network solutions associated with the EIS contract vehicle will benefit all involved—the agencies, the vendors and the taxpayers. Credit: chombosan/Shutterstock

After analyzing lessons learned from a delay-riddled transition to Networx, where a 33-month long process resulted in a costly overrun of about $395 million, the General Services Administration (GSA) came well prepared to make the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract transition a much smoother process.

November 9, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Mark A. Milley, USA, chief of staff of the Army, speaks at CyConUS 2017.

The worldwide cyber conflict is only going to increase and the risks and devastating economic impacts will continue to mount. The United States and other "like-minded" countries must spring into action, increase their cyber warfare capabilities, put in place national cyber policies and promulgate stronger international cyber laws to fend off aggressive cyber actors, warned experts at the CyConUS 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., on November 7. The event was co-hosted by the Army Cyber Institute, West Point and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), Tallinn, Estonia.

November 9, 2017
By Tom Jenkins
Software-defined networking offers an array of network modernization benefits.

The Department of Defense (DOD) Operational Test and Evaluation Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report indicates that while there has been significant cybersecurity progress over the past few years, network defense as a warfighting function continues to be undervalued.

Despite the department’s concerted and progressive network modernization efforts, many networks are built on outdated legacy architectures that were never designed to address the challenges posed by continually evolving threat vectors. Neither agile nor flexible enough to be able to adjust, they are vulnerable to the security risks posed by increasingly intelligent, nimble and enterprising hackers.

November 8, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) Office of Inspector General (OIG) says the department needs to improve how it facilitates cyberthreat information sharing between federal government agencies and the private sector. Although the OIG acknowledges DHS’ progress in enabling sharing among government entities, the department’s system still focuses on volume, velocity and timeliness of information but does not provide the quality, contextual data needed for the private sector to effectively defend against ever-evolving threats.  

November 6, 2017
By Joe Kim
Five basic steps can help agencies build an advanced and solid security posture.

The government’s effort to balance cybersecurity with continued innovation was underscored last year with the publication of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity’s Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy. The report included key recommendations for cybersecurity enhancements, while also serving as a sobering reminder that “many organizations and individuals still fail to do the basics” when it comes to security.

November 1, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division engage ISIS militants in artillery fire to support Iraqi and Peshmerga fighters in Mosul, Iraq. U.S. success on the physical battlefield may drive fighting to the cybersphere.

The United States should not underestimate the ability of terrorist organizations such as ISIS to mount cyber attacks against the homeland, says John Mulligan, former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center. As the nation works to shrink territorial control of the caliphate in Iraq and Syria, the battlefront extends virtually to the cyber domain, and America must be prepared.

November 2, 2017
By Beverly Cooper
Panelists discuss the need for cybersecurity internationally during TechNet Asia-Pacific.

It is essential to learn from cyber attacks conducted by state and nonstate actors to define resilience for cybersecurity or cyber terrorism. "We need to develop a threat model for cyber resilience. We have to be prudent to distinguish between cyber warfare and cyber terrorism," said Anita T. Abbott, Ph.D., director, adjunct professor, Global Partnership and Development Ltd., during the TechNet Asia-Pacific conference.

October 31, 2017
By Beverly Cooper
Terry Halvorsen of Samsung Electronics addresses the crowd at TechNet Asia-Pacific.

Data, in the world of Terry Halvorsen, is more like milk than wine. It does not get better with age, and if you leave it out too long, it will spoil. Halvorsen is chief information officer and executive vice president IT and Mobile Communication B2B Business, Samsung Electronics. “We are keeping and storing vast amounts of data that does not do anything for us," he explained during his keynote address at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific.

You often hear that storage is cheap, but all that stored data has an impact on the speed of the data you want. It makes it harder to find the data you want or to aggregate it in a meaningful way. 

November 1, 2017
CSRA will manage millions of cybersecurity endpoints for the U.S. Defense Department under a newly awarded $163 million task order.

The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has awarded a $163 million task order to SRA International, a subsidiary of CSRA Inc. The award directs CSRA to support DISA’s endpoint security solution integrator support effort under the General Services Administration’s Alliant Government-wide Acquisition Contract, the company announced.

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

Electronic warfare (EW) is one of the most complex, least understood and difficult operating environments we face. U.S. forces in Southwest Asia did not encounter a consistently serious EW challenge, and in some ways, EW has become a forgotten capability. Since the end of the Cold War, when we concentrated on defending and waging EW against the Soviets, attention has turned elsewhere. Now the Soviet heirs in Russia, as well as other adversaries, have refined and sharpened their EW skills. If we engage in a higher level of conflict than we have faced in the recent past, then we will likely confront a foe wielding a vastly improved EW capability that could threaten the success of our operations.

October 31, 2017
By Beverly Cooper
Industry leaders took on the tough topic of cybersecurity and mission assurance at AFCEA TechNet Asia Pacific, l-r: Adm. Richard Macke, USN (Ret.); Douglas Booth, Lockheed Martin; Chris Smith, At&T; Earl Matthews, DXC Technology; Ward Heinke, ForcePoint; and John Merlino, Axis Communications.

Cyber defense and mission assurance require technology solutions, but it is equally important to go beyond the access point and look at user behavior. Ward Heinke, vice president, strategic alliances, Government Markets, ForcePoint, started off the industry panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific with that point. He admitted it is not news about the human threat, or that the threat ranges from innocent mistakes to strategic attacks,but we are seeing the real life effects at an increasing rate he warned.

November 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Units participating in Cyber Quest 2017 execute their battle drills. The U.S. Army’s Cyber Battle Lab uses Cyber Quest exercises as one of several means to experiment with approaches to cyber challenges.

Experimentation is moving to the fore in cyberspace as the U.S. Army seeks to strengthen offensive and defensive cyber forces. This effort is complicated by the inclusion of electronic warfare in a realm that used to belong to signal professionals. With cyberspace maturing as a battle domain, Army experts are exploring cyber modeling and simulation as a key element of their new experimentation approach.

November 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

A number of emerging technologies, including integrated photonics, microdrones and automation tools, will drive an improved perception of available electromagnetic spectrum by U.S. warfighters and enhanced effectiveness in electronic warfare, says William Conley, deputy director, electronic warfare, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

November 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
A B-2 Spirit lands at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The B-2 Defense Management System Modernization program includes upgrades to electronic warfare systems.

William Conley has a long to-do list.

He serves on the U.S. Defense Department’s Electronic Warfare (EW) Executive Committee, which helped draft the department’s EW strategy, signed earlier this year. Now, the deputy director of electronic warfare in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics is helping to put together an implementation plan for that strategy, which he expects to be signed in the spring.

November 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Defense Department researchers are testing cognitive electronic warfare technologies that within the next decade could autonomously counter adversary systems without preprogramming. The capability may allow the military to eclipse its adversaries in the electronic warfare domain.

Three closely related Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) programs apply artificial intelligence to the electromagnetic spectrum and will likely result in electronic warfare (EW) systems with unprecedented autonomy. The first two—Adaptive Radar Countermeasures (ARC) and Behavioral Learning for Adaptive Electronic Warfare (BLADE) are considered sister programs. Both apply artificial intelligence, or AI, to EW systems.

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