Cyberspace is an operational domain, and cybersecurity is essential to the operational readiness of military units to achieve the mission, defeat the adversary and win wars. Our increasing reliance on cyberspace for command and control and operations in all domains, the explosion of networked digital technologies within combat and support systems, and the growing capabilities of adversaries to threaten the United States and its allies in cyberspace mean greater risks to our mission and to national security.
To say that the Army’s network needs an update is an understatement. The 1.1 million user-network has, among other things, 17 mission command systems—all “stovepiped,” designed never to interact together. Some of the systems were used in the early 2000s to fight a static war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The lines between nation-state and criminal cyber attacks are blurring, and the pace of their onslaughts is increasing geometrically as everyone from private citizens to secure government organizations is targeted. Most importantly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to either cybersecurity or threat intelligence. Each aspect must be tailored to the threat and the threatened.
Many of these points were brought forward in an AFCEA classified cyber forum earlier this year. Addressing the theme of “Evolving Cyber Threat Intelligence, Means, Methods and Motives,” the forum generated some valuable unclassified observations and conclusions relevant to dealing with today’s cyberthreat.
Having confronted a need to modernize and fight against aggression during the last four years, Ukraine is positioning itself for strength in the long term in its weaponry and cyberwarfare. The country is developing its domestic defense industry base, which includes cyber capabilities.
“Ukraine clearly understands what needs to be done to keep the world’s democracy safe,” said Director General Roman Romanov of the Ukrainian Defense Industry, known as UkrOboronProm. “Ukraine has gained practical experience in resistance to a new type of aggression, which the whole world has never faced before. We believe we are to share this experience with all the democratic world.”
Apps are one of the main channels consumers use to interact with your business, and nearly every business has one. Because of this, apps are an evident touch point of vulnerability. Cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated over the past few years, making app hacks difficult to spot. In fact, most organizations find out too late they’ve been hacked and are left to deal with damage control.
But how can you tell if your company’s app has been compromised? Keep an eye out for these three clues in your everyday operation:
The app isn’t acting by design.
A group of U.S. government researchers focused on fortifying homeland security has cybersecurity technology development down to a science.
Those researchers work for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), within the Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T’s) Cyber Security Division. The division, like the entire department, supports a wide range of missions, including science and technology research along with protecting critical infrastructure, securing government systems, assisting law enforcement and developing, training and educating the cyber work force.
Cybersecurity is not about shortcuts. There is no quick route to address increasingly sophisticated attacks or to undo years of neglect wrought by security managers avoiding the problem.
Many experts had hoped that the colossal breach of the Office of Personnel Management several years ago might have heralded much-needed focus, energy and funding to defeat the bad guys. That has proved to be an empty hope, and officials have continued to abrogate their authority to lead in cyberspace.
In a constantly evolving cyberthreat landscape where firewalls and antiviruses have become old hat, organizations must adopt more technologically advanced ways to protect crucial data. Advanced machine learning algorithms can learn the routine patterns of life for every user and device in a network to detect anomalies and adapt accordingly. The most pressing need for this augmented intelligence is in security operations centers, where teams of analysts search for threats by poring over hundreds of thousands of security events every day.
Cyberspace is often described as the fifth domain of military operations, as equally critical to national and international defense as the domains of land, sea, air and space. The success of military missions increasingly depends on the availability of cyberspace and freedom of action in it. Robust and resilient cyber defense capabilities are now required to support military structures, missions and operations. Although many nations have recently made great progress in developing their cyber defense capabilities, a consensus is growing that there is much room for improvement.
It’s that time of year. With the government fiscal year ending, agency leaders are pushing through their last-minute budget wish lists. A core part of those wishes either does or should relate to cybersecurity.
More and more, U.S. federal agencies are seeing inappropriate Internet access breaches, rogue devices and denial of service attacks. A key reason why: federal agencies are hindered by budget constraints that prevent information technology (IT) improvements. Agencies also have to juggle competing priorities, complex internal environments and poor top-level decision-making when it comes to cyber management, asserts a recent study from Herndon, Virginia-based SolarWinds Worldwide. The company conducted a survey of 200 federal government IT professionals in July to assess their cybersecurity challenges during the past 12 months.
In reaction to the large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that made headlines last year, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation establishing minimum security requirements for government-purchased Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Science fiction fans recognize Asimov’s prescient thoughts on robot programming, captured in his three laws of robotics. In Asimov’s sci-fi world, robots were all programmed to protect their humans (the first law), to obey their humans (the second law) and to protect themselves (the third law). These laws laid the foundation for many fantastic, futuristic stories and have long provided actionable concepts for today’s robots, including those we launch over our modern battlefields. As the stories advanced, he later added another law, called the “zeroth” law, which had priority over all the others, “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”
A team at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has created four generalized linear models to predict the number of cyber intrusions a company or government will experience on its network. To design the models, the team used empirical data about successful cyber intrusions committed against a number of different organizations obtained from a cyber defense services provider that defended the organizations’ networks.
A survey of thousands of information technology professionals reveals that a majority of organizations have too few security workers and nearly half do not provide adequate resources for security training. According to the “IT Professionals Are a Critically Underutilized Resource for Cybersecurity” study, 51 percent of the respondents said their systems are less able to defend against a cyber attack compared to a year ago.
Half of all Americans and 100 percent of the work force had their personal information compromised in the Equifax hack this summer. While critical data, such as what was stolen in the hack, requires better data protection, enhancing its protection is no longer enough. Resiliency has to be a critical capability too.
The increasing nature of computing capabilities, the number of technologies that are interconnected to the cyber world, the amount of data generated, and the speed at which data is reported are all reshaping everyday life. To harness this new dynamic, the commercial computer industry has already switched to a more agile way of developing software. More and more, the military is moving to advance the development of cyber-based infrastructure under this changing environment.
Facing mounting threats, cyber hunt teams—aka security operations teams—are turning to machine learning technologies to sift through heaps of data and detect malicious activity faster than ever. People excel at making decisions with the right information, and machines excel at analyzing and retrieving actionable intelligence from large amounts of data. This duo is much more dynamic when working together than apart. Consider Tony Stark and his Iron Man suit versus the fictional character HAL 9000 from the Space Odyssey series.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), responsible for space robotics and Earth science, among other planetary things, will lean on cloud-based computer services to keep its data secure but accessible to its scientists.
JPL hopes to save costs in its cyber-related operations under its new Institutional Computing Environment (ICE) services contract with ManTech International Corporation.
Located in Pasadena, California, JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed by the California Institute of Technology (known as Caltech). The NASA laboratory outsources all of its information technology (IT) needs.
The U.S. General Services Administration’s latest endeavor to help government agencies increase their buying power offers a portfolio of providers to simplify the way they acquire and implement telecommunications and IT infrastructure services. According to administration officials, the 15-year, $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract, awarded this summer, will help agencies establish a solid foundation to modernize the government’s IT infrastructure, implement advanced cybersecurity solutions and improve service to the public.