The governments of Iran, North Korea, Russia and China are responsible for 90 percent of attacks on U.S. government agencies and private companies, said a leading cybersecurity expert at a recent conference. Most attacks come in the form of spear-phishing or email-related breaches.
To Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, USMC, director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), modern warfare is a cognitive battle. To be successful, warfare must strive to control information.
In part, war is still a violent clash between hostile forces, with each force trying to impose their will on the other, the general said. Warfighting may still look like two armies crashing into one another on the battlefield.
“[This] nature of warfare hasn’t changed,” he stated. “War remains an active force to compel an adversary, nothing less.”
No one likes a snitch. Yet whistleblowers or leakers have been sharing sensitive national secrets and agitating government waters since the country’s founding, usually to the ire of those in power. Today, spilling secrets seems more pervasive than ever. Recent leaks radiating from the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, the U.S. Defense Department and the White House leave little doubt that investigators are poring over every detail.
Understanding why leakers leak is just as important as grasping how they do it. Determining the motives behind someone’s deliberate action to share government secrets requires concerted due diligence after the incident.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is developing a set of common definitions to unify descriptions of cyberthreats used by different elements of the intelligence community. The effort seeks to bridge differences among various segments of the community when it comes to assessing these threats and reporting them to government organizations and industry. A common vernacular will help generate a common threat picture that can serve government and industry alike, experts agree.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research arm for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has announced the functional Map of the World (fMoW) Challenge, which officially kicks off in August. The challenge invites experts to develop deep learning and automation technologies to classify points of interest from satellite imagery. The goal is to promote research in object identification and classification to automatically identify facility, building and land use.
Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning is a hot topic for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the agency isn’t letting conventional thinking stand in the way of finding innovative ideas. The upcoming Director’s 3rd Quarterly Industry Day is just one example. From planning to execution, the two-day event is designed to find new capabilities and business processes from the private sector and academia.
Senior intelligence officials identified the increasing amount of data and how to handle it as the one of the largest challenges the intelligence community faces today. “We are collecting more data than we can effectively process,” said Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt. Gen Vincent Stewart, USMC. “What we process, we struggle to make sense of, and what we understand, we can’t effectively disseminate across a global enterprise to ensure it helps drive critical decision making.”
As industry and government work to hammer out complex details in the cyberthreat intelligence struggle, each side expects support from the other—but both must improve the foundational understanding of the capabilities each brings to the table. Many of these issues will define the agenda of AFCEA’s Classified Cyber Forum, to be held July 13 at the Heritage Conference Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
The DragonflEye, a cyborg insect intended for a variety of missions, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, has liftoff.
The system was created by researchers at Charles Stark Draper Laboratories Inc. and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus. The dragonfly wears a tiny backpack fitted with electronics, sensors and a solar cell. A light source charges the solar cell, which powers the backpack.
The DragonflEye recently completed its first test flight for data gathering purposes.
Diverse sciences ranging from forensics to nanoscale chemical sampling and storage are among the research opportunities being targeted by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to support future U.S. intelligence community activities. Some of these research areas are offered in a series of proposers’ days in advance of broad agency announcements, while others have passed that step and are in the request for information stage.
More than 245 companies, organizations and academic institutions are vying to develop machine analytics tools for the intelligence community in an open competition. The starting gun for this challenge went off in April, and a total prize purse of $500,000 awaits, including $270,000 for the top five performing teams. Another $230,000 will be awarded in additional categories.
Editor’s note: Hugh Montgomery, the focus of this article, passed away April 6, just weeks after this SIGNAL interview.
It is just a matter of time before other countries face insider leaks similar to those that have haunted the American intelligence community, said Hugh Montgomery, a former U.S. diplomat and a pioneering intelligence officer who served for more than six decades.
The Department of Defense released today the revised Military Intelligence Program top line budget request for fiscal 2017 that was disclosed to the public on February 9, 2016. The $16.8 billion is now updated to include additional funding above the initial president's budget request. The total, which includes both the base budget and overseas contingency operations funding, is $18.5 billion.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) now delivers unclassified geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) to verified government users via an application for tablets and mobile devices. Tearline, available though the Apple App Store and Google Play, is open to the intelligence community, U.S. Defense Department, allies, and academic and private sector partners sponsored into the system.
NGA’s GEOINT Pathfinder project developed the app. The shell is delivered from the app stores, but from that point, users need credentials to access secure servers.
A new defensive cyberspace operations facility at Joint Base San Antonio will boost the 35th Intelligence Squadron’s ability to meet growing demands for analysis of intelligence coming from multiple sources. Although located in Texas, personnel at the Cyberspace Threat Intelligence Center (CTIC) will support operations worldwide.
In 2015, the squadron’s support to the defensive cyberspace operations community increased by more than 300 percent, which led to the need for a new facility, says Lt. Col. Matthew Castillo, USAF, commander, 35th Intelligence Squadron.
Forecasting data collected during the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity's (IARPA’s) Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ACE) program by team Good Judgment is now available for use by the public and the research community via
The cannonade of small satellites hovering above the Earth is creating a dilemma for government and industry alike: how to process enormous amounts of data sent to the ground.
Collecting information isn’t the hard part, nor is transmitting it, experts say. What vexes intelligence analysts the most is not being able to make heads or tails of petabyte upon petabyte of data. But the government seeks help from the commercial world to make that happen.
Editor’s note: Hugh Montgomery, a legendary longtime officer in the intelligence community and a diplomat, died April 6. Just two weeks ago, he gave an interview to SIGNAL Magazine comparing global threats decades ago and now. We would like to honor his service in the cause of freedom by publishing this excerpt from that article about his experiences over the years. The complete article will appear in the May issue of SIGNAL.
WikiLeaks is posting thousands of files Tuesday the organization says detail the CIA’s efforts to surveil overseas targets by tapping otherwise ordinary devices that are connected to the Internet. The anti-secrecy group launched a “new series of leaks,” this time taking aim at the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, which falls under the agency’s Digital Innovation Directorate.
U.S. intelligence community researchers need technology capable of retrieving information from a multilingual repository and converting the data into English.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) released a broad agency announcement late last week for the Machine Translation for English Retrieval of Information in Any Language (MATERIAL) program. The program aims to develop an English-in, English-out capability in which questions asked in English are answered the same way. Proposals are due March 20.