Cyber

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Now that allied forces have accepted coalitions as a requisite for future military operations, they must undergo a cultural sea change for cybersecurity. Accepting nontraditional partners demands a new way of viewing cybersecurity that entails greater flexibility at its most philosophical level.

“We have realized the value of fighting on a single network instead of multiple networks,” said Maj. Gen. Mike J. Milford, Australia Military, chief technology officer, Chief Information Officer Group of the Australian Department of Defence, at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. “Now, we are moving from a risk averse approach to a risk management approach.”

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Australia has implemented a cybersecurity policy that brings together government and industry to secure the domain nationally. The country recently elevated cybersecurity as a major priority for national security, and in 2009, it established a Cyber Security Operations Center (CSOC).

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:
"If you allow the United States to operate out of sanctuary, we will beat the crap out of you." - Lt. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, USAF, vice commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, addressing potential adversaries
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The recent U.S. strategic pivot toward the Pacific has placed that region at the forefront of change in the military. Where in the recent past activities in the area of responsibility (AOR) for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) defined military needs, now the requirements for the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) are emerging as the leading edge of the defense technology sword.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Pacific Air Forces will benefit greatly from combining its A-3 and A-6, said its director of communications and chief information officer. Col. Michael Finn II, USAF, told the audience at the opening panel discussion at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the Pacific Air Forces would have “a lot of synergy combining the -3 with the -6.”

The concept of cyber readiness has a different perspective from the operations side and the cyber side. This consolidation helps provide warfighting integration across the entire network, Col. Finn said.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. Pacific Command military leaders agree that any future operation will be conducted amid a coalition, and partner countries must be networked. However, that networking opens the possibility for greatly increased network vulnerabilities as less-secure nations provide weak links for network security.

This vital issue was discussed by a panel featuring the U.S. Pacific Command’s -6s at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Col. Michael Finn II, USAF, director of communications and chief information officer, headquarters, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, noted, “all of our partners are hungry for this [cyber] domain.” Japan and South Korea in particular are primary information sharing partners.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. forces may be over relying on cyber to meet challenges in the Asia-Pacific region at a time when potential adversaries view it as a key to disrupting U.S. operations, according to the top leaders of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, USMC, deputy commander of PACOM, offered that U.S. forces must expect to operate without at least some of their cyber assets in a time of conflict.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The United States must weigh its command and control (C2) capabilities before it embarks on a military plan instead of the other way around, according to the vice commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces. Lt. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, USAF, told the opening luncheon audience in TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that vulnerabilities have increased the importance of C2 in planning and execution.

“Oldthink in the U.S. military—which is how we do things today—is, you figure out your military plan, and then you sprinkle your command and control on it,” the general offered. “Instead, you have to understand your limitations in C2 in step one—not what we do today.”

November 21, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The rapid adoption of commercial firmware and software for cybersystems serving the critical infrastructure is increasing vulnerabilities that potentially could lead to devastating system failures, according to a report issued by a cybersecurity organization. In some cases, these diverse systems also are threatened by their legacy nature, which is a barrier to implementing necessary cybersecurity measures.

December 1, 2013
By Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN

Two pictures have taken up residence in my mind over the past few weeks. They highlight the growing disconnect between the U.S. Defense Department and the broader strategic environment—not just in terms of geopolitics but also in the way the rest of the world lives, works and interacts.

The first image captures how the Defense Department views the world. It is a simple map with neat lines delineating the different joint combatant commands. While the boundaries make sense in a conventional way, they are drawn merely for geographic convenience. Implicitly, those lines preclude interaction between constituent elements.

November 14, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking participants for the Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP), which is expected to open to beta users in January. The ultimate goal for the marketplace is to help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure by improving software used for essential functions, such as electrical power, gas and oil, and banking and finance. Potential participants are invited to register at the continuous assurance website.

October 29, 2013
By Max Cacas

The new head of the U.S. Army Cyber Command cites the importance of looking carefully at what cyberwarriors do to determine how best to manage the men and women tasked with protecting the service’s information technology networks. This focus on personnel addresses challenges ranging from retaining talent to ensuring that cyber operations have the best resources—human and technological—for their mission.

November 1, 2013
By 1st Lt. 
Robert M. 
Lee, USAF

The U.S. Air Force cyber community is failing for a single fundamental reason: the community does not exist. In 2010, the communications community began to be identified as the cyber community. An operational cyberspace badge was created, and those who previously had been communications professionals now were seen as cyberwarriors. This change did not effectively take into account that cyber and communications are two distinct fields and should be entirely separate communities.

October 10, 2013
By Dr. Scott A. Wells

Facebook now has 1.15 billion users who share 4.75 billion content items such as comments, photos and status updates and send more than 10 billion messages each day. When added to other social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, the number of users is staggering. With so many people disclosing personal details and often unknowingly leaking confidential organizational information, social media has become the main platform for hackers to execute social media engineering attacks, phishing attacks and identity theft; social networking is now the main vehicle for spreading malware.

October 10, 2013
By Patrick J. Kelly, CISSP

You may be away from the office, but you should never take a vacation from cybersecurity. Keep these in mind on your next trip.

1. No Expectation of Privacy: When planning for international travel, remember that individuals have no expectation of privacy, including issues such as interception of digital communications. The country’s officials may require you to decrypt or otherwise unlock mobile devices when entering the country and, as a guest in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.

October 10, 2013
 

Think you know your way around the internet? Even the most seasoned web surfer makes mistakes, and new phishing and linkjacking techniques pop up all the time. This quiz will help you identify and address your own security weaknesses.
 
1. Mobile applications downloaded from major brand online stores are always safe.

  • True
  • False

2. When viewing a link to a website online or on your mobile device, the address or URL you see in the link is actually the website to which you’re being directed.

  • True
  • False

3. What your family does on social media could have a negative impact on your safety or your organization.

October 1, 2013
By Kent R. Schneider

In the most recent U.S. defense guidance of January 2012, signed for emphasis by both the president and the secretary of defense, cyber was one of the few areas that received both emphasis and increased funding—no small feat in the current budget environment. Part of that emphasis and increased funding goes to the intelligence community to support the cyber domain. Such support requires an expansion of the intelligence mission set, new processes and tools, and new interfaces to the operational community now emerging to command and control the cyber domain.

October 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Intelligence needs cyber, and cyber needs intelligence. How they can function symbiotically is a less clear-cut issue, with challenges ranging from training to legal policy looming as government officials try to respond to a burgeoning cyber threat.

The cyber threat is growing, and the defense and homeland security communities must strive to keep up with new ways of inflicting damage to governments and businesses. Many experts believe the cyber threat has supplanted terrorism as the greatest national security issue, and new technologies are only one avenue for blunting the menace. Intelligence must expand its palette to identify and detect cyber threats before they realize their malicious goals.

September 19, 2013
By Rita Boland

Biometrics is on the verge of becoming more pervasive than ever in everyday life, setting the stage for personal identifiers to take the place of other common security measures. The expansion mirrors increased usage in fields such as military operations, citizen enrollment and public safety.

September 30, 2013
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Army researchers are developing a software program that will provide signal corps officers will an improved common operating picture of the network, enhance the ability to manage the plethora of electronic systems popping up on the modern battlefield, advance information sharing capabilities and allow warfighters to make more informed and more timely decisions. In short, the system will assist in planning, building, monitoring and defending the network.

October 1, 2013
By Dr. Ernest McDuffie

This is an important question for a number of reasons. Popular media often talk about the growing shortage of skilled cybersecurity workers needed to fill critical open positions both in government and the private sector. This is true, but employers need specific details on the work force so they can make informed decisions about whom to hire and potential employees need to know what to study to position themselves to be hired.

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