Cyber

September 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Army Research Laboratory (ARL) exploration into artificial intelligence (AI) may lead to soldiers networked directly with unmanned vehicles in human-intelligent agent teaming on the battlefield, as shown in this artist’s concept. Credit: U.S. Army illustration

Artificial intelligence, or AI, will become an integral warfighter for the U.S. Army if the service’s research arm has its way. Scientists at the Army Research Laboratory are pursuing several major goals in AI that, taken together, could revolutionize the composition of a warfighting force in the future.

The result of their diverse efforts may be a battlefield densely populated by intelligent devices cooperating with their human counterparts. This AI could be self-directing sensors, intelligent munitions, smart exoskeletons and physical machines, such as autonomous robots, or virtual agents controlling networks and waging defensive and offensive cyber war.

September 1, 2018
By Timur Chabuk and Adam Jonas
Credit: Azret Ayubov/Martial Red/Le_Mon/Shutterstock

Russia’s ability to evolve its use of information operations to leverage social media and the cyber domain continues to shock and challenge the world community. The country’s actions, especially during the 2016 U.S. elections, have brought cyber information operations out of the shadows and into the limelight. Now, state and nonstate actors are frequently using similar techniques to influence the public and achieve political goals once only attainable through armed conflict.

August 29, 2018
By Paul Parker
Agencies should consider taking five fundamental steps to fortify networks before the next cyber attack. Credit: Daria-Yakovleva/Pixabay

Government IT professionals have clear concerns about the threats posed by careless and untrained insiders, foreign governments, criminal hackers and others. For the government, cyber attacks are a matter of life. We must deal with them as a common occurrence.

August 21, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commanding general, U.S. Cyber Command, speaks at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, suggests the command could get a new name and says he would recommend the same for the U.S. Cyber Command.When the Army command was first established in 2010, Cyber Command was the appropriate name, but that is not longer the case, he asserted. “I think we’re well past that now. We’re at the point where, in the future, it’s going to change to something like this: Army Information Warfare Operations Command or Army Information Warfare Dominance Command.”

August 22, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Fort Gordon, Georgia, is home to the Army Cyber Command and the Army Cyber Center of Excellence. U.S. Army photo

The U.S. Army is head and shoulders above the other services in the cyber arena, Rear Adm. William “Bill” Leigher, USN (Ret.), director of Department of Defense Cyber Warfare, Raytheon, stated.

“The Army is the example that I hold up to my fellow sailors. The Army doing is it exactly right,” Adm. Leigher said.

August 14, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (LI) perform an air assault demonstration for President Trump during a visit to Fort Drum, New York, on August 13. The demonstration was part of the President’s ceremony to sign the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, which authorizes funding for U.S. defense and military activities for Fiscal Year 2019. Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Thomas Scaggs.

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA 2019), passed by Congress on August 1 and signed by President Trump yesterday, takes cybersecurity a step further, with language affirming DOD’s role in defending against attacks and operating in cyberspace, the fifth warfare domain.

Although past NDAA legislation has included some provisions on DOD’s cyber role, this year’s bill specifies that the Secretary of Defense has the authority to conduct military cyber activities or operations in cyberspace—including clandestine activities—to defend the United States and its allies.

August 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army paratrooper communicates by radio during a drop in Latvia. Traditional radio and network status information will play a key role in cyber situational awareness in the digital battlespace. Credit: Army photography by Spec. Dustin Biven, USA

The U.S. Army Cyber Command’s successful consolidation of capabilities from cyber, intelligence, electronic warfare and signal forces may be the deciding factor in whether sophisticated adversaries prevail in the future battlespace, says Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, USA, leader of the command.

August 13, 2018
By Eric Hipkins
The United States has the opportunity to demonstrate international leadership on complicated cyber issues. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Recently, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in response to Executive Order 13800, released recommendations to the President of the United States on the subject of cybersecurity. Included was an emphasis both on domestic policy and international cooperation to achieve several key diplomatic, military and economic goals. The specific focus on international cooperation is a big step in the right direction. The United States has a chance to demonstrate international leadership on a complex issue, while setting the groundwork necessary to protect national interests.

August 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixaba

Millions of times every single day, antagonists search for entry into the U.S. Defense Department’s networks. They come from all over: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran. Some are sponsored by nation-states; others are terrorist groups.

July 30, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Tom Miller, CEO of Clearforce, gives the winning presentation at the shark tank concluded at AFCEA’s Small Business Innovation Summit held July 26. Photography: Elizabeth Moon

ClearForce of Vienna, Virginia, a small business with a prestigious board of directors, was named the champion of an AFCEA shark tank tournament that featured a total of 14 small businesses offering 15 different entrepreneurial technologies. The winner of a two-month long shark tank competition for entrepreneurial cyber-related technology was selected by audience participants in an innovation summit.

July 16, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Joining Michael Hodge, vice president, Federal, Avocado Systems (2nd from r) are the three July 11 Shark Tank judges (l-r) Dan Wolley, founder and managing partner, Ponderosa Management Group; Maria Horton, CEO, EmeSec; and Christina Monaco, chief ventures officer, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Photo by Elizabeth Moon

A small business providing advanced data security is the third and final firm selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, Avocado of San Jose, California, won against six other firms with its distributed and deterministic layer-7 application security platform.

August 9, 2018
By Jane Melia
Solving the key and policy management challenge may be the hardest part of an encryption deployment. Credit: Tumisu/Pixabay

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget released a report this spring showing the abysmal state of cybersecurity in the federal government. Three-quarters of the agencies assessed were found to be “at risk” or “at high risk,” highlighting the need for a cyber overhaul. The report also noted that many agencies lacked “standardized cybersecurity processes and IT capabilities,” which affected their ability to “gain visibility and effectively combat threats.” 

August 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Shutterstock imagery by Pavel Chagochkin

Medical technologies such as electronic devices implanted or injected into the human body are the next growth area for hackers pursuing money or control of individual people. With nanotechnology implants already being used for some medical treatments, advances in their application could pose as great a cybersecurity threat as what faces the Internet of Things, experts say.

July 24, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Now an NSA hacker, Army Specialist Alexander Woody made a major career change similar to the one his mother made shortly after his birth. Credit: alan9187/Pixabay

When Alexander Woody was born, his mother knew she needed to forge a new path career-wise. She enrolled in an associate's degree program at her local community college and studied computer programming.

“She hit that program really hard back in the '90s and was able to succeed,” says Woody, who is now an Army specialist working as a counter pursuit operator within the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) Cybersecurity Threat Operations Center.

Spc. Woody ended up with the NSA after finding himself also at a career crossroad. He studied chemistry at North Carolina State University and sometimes tutors high school students struggling with chemistry. But he realized it wasn’t the right career choice for him.

July 26, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett, USN, director, Navy Cybersecurity Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, spoke at the AFCEA Small Business Innovation Summit on July 26.

The U.S. Navy is working to speed cyber capabilities to the force to keep up with both technology innovation and adversarial activities. Major obstacles can be found both internally and externally, and security concerns dominate all modernization efforts.

July 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is working to improve the resiliency of smartphones and other mobile technologies through directed research and development initiatives. Not as secure as office computers, mobile devices are becoming the preferred target for malicious actions by cyber adversaries. In many cases, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices simply do not have the same protections available for more traditional computing technologies, experts say. The level of attacks also is moving “deeper down the mobile device stack,” from the application and mobile operating system layers to the hardware and infrastructure layers, according to the department.

July 3, 2018
By Bob Nilsson
Government network automation paves the way for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Credit: Shutterstock

It has become increasingly evident that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are poised to impact government technology. Just last year, the General Services Administration launched programs to enable federal adoption of AI, and the White House encouraged federal agencies to explore all of the possibilities AI could offer. The benefits are substantial, but before the federal government can fully take advantage of advancements like AI, federal agencies must prepare their IT infrastructure to securely handle the additional bandwidth.

July 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
The KC-135 Stratotanker was originally used to support bombers of the Strategic Air Command. The midair refueling capabilities of the KC-135 allow fighters to spend hours instead of minutes on the front lines. The Stratotanker is one of the first weapon systems to be evaluated for cyber resiliency under the Air Force’s new methodology. Credit: Air Force

The U.S. Air Force is developing a methodology for assessing the cyber resiliency of weapon systems and examining how to standardize that methodology across the service. The effort could improve the security of hundreds of weapon systems, including aerial refueling planes, fighter jets and inertial navigation systems.

July 1, 2018
By Justin Sherman and Inés Jordan-Zoob
The Uran-9 unmanned ground combat vehicle took part in the 2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade on Red Square earlier this year. Credit: Dianov Boris/Shutterstock.com

The cyber realm has redefined the meaning of warfare itself. Conflict in cyberspace is constant, low-cost and uninhibited by traditional definitions of territory and country. Now, governments, militaries and private research groups from America to South Korea are taking cyber capabilities one step further, using developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to create autonomous weapons that will soon be deployed into battle.

Machine learning already has been used in both cyber and kinetic weapons, from autonomously firing gun turrets to human-superior social engineering attacks. While these advances are noteworthy, these machines are neither entirely intelligent nor autonomous.

July 1, 2018
By Margaret S. Marangione
The millennial generation came of age when the ability to share information via technology was just beginning. Without guidelines, many began to share everything without regard of the consequences to themselves or others. Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

The recent dissemination of classified information through media outlets and social media indicate that contemporary insider threat management has entered a new phase. Unlike previous generations that adhered to a strict code of silence, some millennials in charge of keeping U.S. secrets safe have the urge to share information they deem the public has the right to know. Rather than going through official channels to reveal actions they believe are wrong, people like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Reality Winner leak classified material through media and are just the first indication of information management processes that must change with the times.

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