Attacks on a computer’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) do not receive a lot of attention, and protecting against them is often not a priority, but they are on the rise, say researchers at The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit research organization funded by the U.S. government. The MITRE team is developing tools to protect against BIOS attacks and is searching for organizations to help evaluate those tools.
Homeland Security Conference 2014 Online Show Daily, Day 2
It is not surprising that cybersecurity would dominate the discussion on the second day of the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C. But the depth and breadth and variety of topics surrounding cybersecurity and information protection in all its forms indicates the degree to which the information security mission has engulfed every department and agency at all levels of government.
West 2014 Online Show Daily, Day 2
Quote of the Day:
“We can complain, or we can lead. We’re choosing to lead.”—Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command
As with the other military services, the U.S. Navy is looking to technology to help it fulfill its mission obligations in a time of severe budget constraints. Commercial technologies may provide effective solutions at a fraction of their military counterparts; innovations promise to add advanced capabilities to existing platforms; and new readiness plans may help economize deployments while increasing effectiveness.
A Department of Homeland Security program is automating the cyber attack detection process to manage the bulk of intrusion detection and mitigation work in real time across the entire civilian government. This effort addresses a long-time shortcoming for detecting attacks and intrusions into government computer networks. Traditionally, this activity has been a time-consuming and manpower-intensive process that would take place days or weeks after the incident.
U.S. Secret Service officials are establishing two new cybercrime task forces—in Cincinnati and Denver—that will enhance the agency’s ability to detect and investigate information technology-related crimes, including credit card theft, attacks on the banking and finance infrastructure and identity fraud.
NATO’s efforts to defend against terrorism now are focusing on cyberspace as a tool of terrorists instead of merely as a vulnerability for striking at alliance nations and their critical infrastructure. These efforts cover aspects of cyber exploitation that range from understanding terrorists’ behavior to how they might use social media.
The nation’s critical infrastructure and industrial-control systems have become such potential high-value targets for terrorists that their vulnerability threatens the fabric of society. And, as they increase in both importance and vulnerability, these systems cannot be protected using conventional information security measures.
Scientists and engineers from MITRE Corporation and Harvard University published a paper this week revealing the development of what they call the most dense nanoelectronic system ever built. The ultra-small, ultra-low-power processor could be used for tiny robotics, unmanned vehicles and a broad range of commercial applications, including medical sensors.
The U.S. Defense Department launched a new competition to promote cybersecurity education and training in the nation’s military service academies. Beginning last November, the three service academies created teams to compete in the Service Academy Cyber Stakes, which culminated in a major interschool event held over the weekend of February 1-2 at the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh.
All the challenges vexing a modern military—budgetary limitations; information technologies; cyber; and joint and coalition interoperability—are defining operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Covering more than half the Earth’s surface and comprising dozens of nations, the vast area is rife with geopolitical rivalries that complicate efforts at regional security. And, the one domain that knows no geographic bounds—cyberspace—weighs heavily on the success of potential warfighting operations in that region.
The emergence of big data combined with the revolution in sensor technology is having a synergistic effect that promises a boom in both realms. The ability to fuse sensor data is spurring the growth of large databases that amass more information than previously envisioned. Similarly, the growth of big data capabilities is spawning new sensor technologies and applications that will feed databases’ ever-increasing and diverse types of information.
U.S. Navy officials expect to award a full-deployment contract for a new shipboard network this spring, and they plan to install the system on nine ships this year. The network provides commonality across the fleet, replacing multiple aging networks, improving interoperability and driving down costs.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is building on the success of the initial round of its Secretary’s Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative by expanding the program in 2014. Officials launched the second installment earlier this academic year, opening to a wider audience with more opportunities at an increased number of agencies.
The U.S. Defense Department has launched a contest to push the boundaries of software development with the goal of creating programs that can analyze, diagnose and repair flaws they detect in computer networks. The Cyber Grand Challenge, managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will see teams from industry, academia and the private sector develop software programs and compete against one another in a series of competitions in 2016 for a $2 million prize.
The network-centric U.S. Navy could find itself without its core information assets during a conflict in the vast Asia-Pacific region. So, the U.S. Pacific Fleet is embarking on an effort to learn how to function without some of its most important technology capabilities.
Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, outlined that scenario on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Adm. Harris said the fleet is planning for operation in a disconnected, intermittent, low-bandwidth environment, or DIL.
TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013: Online Show Daily, Day 3
Quote of the Day:
“The number one question in the Pentagon today is, ‘What am I not going to spend money on?’”—Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer
Defense spending must shift its outlook away from what it needs and toward where it can afford not to spend money, according to a Navy information technology executive. Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, told the breakfast audience at the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the department must become more outcome focused and determine the risk of not doing something.
“The number one question in the Pentagon today is, ‘What am I not going to spend money on?’” Halvorsen stated.
Reductions in defense funding are having a greater effect on the force than simply instilling fiscal belt-tightening. Already strapped for cash, the services are exploring innovative ideas for cost-efficient information technology acquisition.
Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, discussed the effect of the budget cuts at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Halvorsen observed that, while each of the military departments is in a different information technology environment, all of the staffs in the services are taking corresponding cuts. “We will have to communicate more effectively,” he offered. ”We won’t have less work.”
The move to the cloud that is gripping all elements of government and industry offers great potential for the U.S. Navy, according to its chief information officer. Terry Halvorsen told the breakfast audience on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the move to the cloud is one of the best areas for gaining effect in Navy information technology.
However, other elements must fall into place for this move to be successful. Halvorsen said it must be but it must be coupled “with how you look at and structure applications,” adding the Navy has too many applications.
The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Enterprise (JIE) promises to be the core of force networking, and it will be at the heart of coalition interoperability. An approach to networking allies and nontraditional partners in the JIE may loom in social media.
Establishing communities of interest within the JIE was broached by Randy Cieslak, chief information officer, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Cieslak cited the concept during a panel discussion he was moderating on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.