The Cyber Edge

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June 13, 2017
by Sandra Jontz
Military panelists discuss the government's cyber mission during AFCEA's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium.

In cyber, the U.S. Defense Department might have its SWAT team, but it is missing the beat cop. 

And cyber operations really need that beat cop, said Brig Gen. Mark WeatheringtonUSAF, director of cyberspace operations at North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

June 13, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Panelists discuss cybersecurity at AFCEA's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium.

Cyber is one domain that could benefit from lessons taught in kindergarten: learn to share and build trust.

Those two could provide for a strong foundation toward securing the cyberspace, according to a panel of experts who spoke Tuesday at AFCEA International’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS), taking place this week in Baltimore. The event runs June 13-15. 

June 12, 2017
By Bob Gourley and Jane Melia

New federal agency leaders, along with the fresh crop of chief information officers, chief technology officers and chief information security officers, face formidable cybersecurity responsibilities when it comes to protecting federal networks and data against a growing number of dynamic threats. The chaos produced by last month's WannaCry ransomware attack was just a taste.

June 7, 2017
By Breann Pendleton
Attending conference sessions like this one from the 2016 DCOS can help you earn certifications. Photo by Michael Carpenter

CompTIA has sweetened the pot for participants of an inaugural five-hour mini-boot camp offered next week at the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS) in Baltimore.

Participants of the entire mini-boot camp, which showcases CompTIA’s newest security certification, the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+), will receive a free 30-day CSA+ Practice Lab evaluation license.

June 6, 2017
By Alana Johnson
Members of DISA’s NetOps Solutions collaborate on innovative enhancements for capabilities that automate many key functions of DISA’s services and infrastructure. Photography by Kevin Headtke, DISA Visual Information Services Branch

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is discovering and evolving disruptive technologies with the formation of its burgeoning Innovations Systems and Engineering Directorate (ISED). Evolved from the agency’s former Chief Technology Office and the Enterprise Engineering division, the directorate is to identify and develop future technologies and information sharing capabilities and apply them to innovative solutions, demonstrating proof of concept and operational utility for mission partners and combatant commands.

June 2, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Soldiers will experiment with a range of cyber, electronic warfare and signal technologies during Cyber Quest 2017.  (Photo courtesy CCoE Public Affairs)

The U.S. Army is adjusting its cyber aperture a bit, refocusing attention from developing in-house talent to seeing what the commercial world has to offer. On Monday, an Army branch launches its annual Cyber Quest 2017 event, a multiweek exercise in cyber and electronic warfare (EW) exploration and collaboration hosted by the Army Cyber Center of Excellence (CCoE) at Fort Gordon, Georgia. 

The intent of this year’s event is to provide external vendors the opportunity to demonstrate innovative solutions and integrate capabilities within Army systems.

June 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Defense Department’s cyber warriors continue to improve their ability to sniff out intruders who sneak past the defenses at the network’s perimeter—a perimeter that is disintegrating with the march toward mobile devices.

June 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
An EQ-4 Global Hawk equipped with a battlefield airborne communications node, which has been used to link multinational coalition ground and airborne assets, prepares to depart on a mission in Southwest Asia. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is counting on innovation to further its networking activities, particularly among coalition partners.

Innovative systems and capabilities may define U.S. military networks within a handful of years if the Defense Information Systems Agency’s work with industry pays the technological dividends the agency expects. Officials within the organization, also known as DISA, aspire to exploit not only the newest ideas emerging from the private sector but also technologies that have not been fully developed. This strategy would address the burgeoning demands of modern coalition warfare and protect against rapidly growing cyberthreats as budgets constrict, says the agency’s director, Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, USA, and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN).

April 12, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

A new paradigm afoot in cyberspace helps security analysts better manage manpower and technologies to defend networks against the quotidian volley of intrusions taxing global enterprises.

The confluence of cyber defense and offense has given rise to the practice of threat hunting: aggressively seeking adversaries rather than waiting to learn that they have breached network security perimeters. The technique has gained traction after a lackluster start short on focus and structure, says Monzy Merza, director of cyber research and chief security evangelist for Splunk.

June 1, 2017
By Jennifer A. Miller
U.S. Airmen with the 1st Combat Communications Squadron review their systems against technical guides during a cybersecurity audit in March at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore, USAF

Warfare, as with technology, is changing quickly and dramatically. The U.S. Defense Department’s most recent Quadrennial Defense Review noted the link between this rapid evolution and “increasingly contested battlespace in the air, sea and space domains—as well as cyberspace—in which our forces enjoyed dominance in our most recent conflicts.” 

These assertions have major implications for airpower in future contingencies that will call for the Air Force to emphasize cyber over its five core missions. Already, these missions have been tweaked in content and application—changes that leaders could use to set a course for future cyber dominance. 

May 24, 2017
By Julianne Simpson
Dr. Paul D. Nielsen, director and CEO, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, speaks at the AFCEA/George Mason University Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

Autonomous functionality is increasing. The evidence is everywhere from drones and self-driving cars to voice-controlled devices such as IBM's Watson and Amazon’s Echo. The key to successfully transitioning to these increasingly autonomous systems for the military and defense industry is trust, said Dr. Paul D. Nielsen, director and CEO, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University.

May 25, 2017
 
The Internet of Things poses some risks to military forces, a draft report from NATO's Parliamentary Assembly points out. The report will be discussed at the assembly's spring session and will be updated over the summer.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has published a draft report titled "The Internet of Things: Promises and Perils of a Disruptive Technology." The report urges governments to take a more proactive role in defining the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).

"Policy makers, including national parliamentarians, need to start to proactively shape an IoT environment that remains open, innovative and secure. We have to find the right balance," the document states.

May 24, 2017
By Breann Pendleton
Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, addresses attendees during the 2016 Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium. Photo by Michael Carpenter

If they play their cards right, conference attendees can get much more out of attending an event than just listening to the who’s who of this career field or that. At this year’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium, or DCOS, open ears can also lead to open opportunities. Not only do attendees get the chance to listen to experts, they can enhance careers by receiving continuing education units.

Currently, 21 continuing education sessions will be offered during the three-day symposium, hosted by AFCEA International. It takes place June 13-15 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore.

May 24, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, makes a budget pitch before Congress on May 24, asking for 16 percent more in fiscal year 2018 than in 2017 for U.S. Cyber Command.

U.S. Cyber Command hopes for a bigger slice of the federal budget pie to cover operating costs in an increasingly volatile and dangerous cyber domain, said Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency (NSA).

He made his budget pitch before House lawmakers on Tuesday, seeking $647 million in fiscal year 2018—a 16 percent increase from fiscal year 2017—to address mounting cyber needs.

May 22, 2017
By J. Wayne Lloyd

As the Defense Information Services Agency (DISA) knows, a network that complies with standards is not necessarily secure. DISA’s new evaluation program, the Command Cyber Operational Readiness Inspection (CCORI), is designed to go beyond standards. Its goal is to provide site commanders and federal agencies an understanding of mission operational risks.   

May 15, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
New technologies selected by the DHS will be introduced to cybersecurity professionals through a series of Demonstration Day events taking place around the country.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transition to Practice (TTP) program tomorrow unveils to investors, developers and integrators eight cybersecurity technologies with commercial potential. The budding future capabilities, developed with federal funding, range from helping cyber analysts deal with data overload when filtering social media content to protecting power transmission infrastructure by detecting sensor failures or identifying cyber attacks in real time.

May 15, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The crippling ransomware attack last week that paralyzed hospitals, universities and businesses globally was just a cyber appetizer, experts warn. The main dish is still to come.

"That was just a big warning," says Rick McElroy, a security strategist at Carbon Black, which develops endpoint cybersecurity software to detect malicious behavior. "If you weren't impacted by this one, something is going to come down the pike that's more advanced that you’re probably not prepared for. So start to build your defenses today to get out in front of this stuff.”

May 11, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
White House homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, announces details of the White House’s long-awaited cybersecurity executive order, which President Donald Trump signed May 11.

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a much-anticipated cybersecurity executive order that lays out the government's path toward strengthening federal networks.

“The trend is going in the wrong direction in cyberspace and it’s time to stop that trend and reverse it on behalf of the American people,” Thomas Bossert, White House homeland security adviser, said Thursday afternoon while announcing details of the order. The government has noted an increase in the number of attacks from “allies, adversaries, primarily nation-states, but also non nation-state actors,” Bossert said during a televised White House briefing.

May 10, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
The home page of the ODNI’s Xpress challenge serves both as an information resource about the competition and a portal for potential entrants. Organizations are able to register to compete right up to the end of the contest on July 5.

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.

May 9, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
 U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets discuss strategy during a 2016 Cyber Defense Exercise, a competition between service academies conducted by the National Security Agency. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm, USCG

Technological development has transformed U.S. Coast Guard networks into warfighting platforms as the service operates in a dramatically different realm, a senior leader says.

“That’s significant for us,” says Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, USCG, commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command and assistant commandant for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology (C4IT). “It’s really the first time we’re creating an operating force for a new domain—cyberspace—since we created operating forces for aviation over a century ago.”

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