The Cyber Edge

The Cyber Edge Home Page

March 24, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Hackers often exploit mobile devices by sending nefarious text messages that trick users into downloading software through seemingly innocuous photos or links, says Mike Murray of Lookout.

Rep. Ted Lieu is no stranger to having his cellphone "hacked." Intruders recently were able to track his whereabouts, eavesdrop on conversations with staff members and access his text messages and email.

Fortunately for Lieu, the intrusion was part of a 60 Minutes segment last year that the TV news program did to highlight mobile device vulnerabilities. The California Democrat knew of the hackers who had successfully exploited his phone's Signaling System Seven, aka SS7, security flaw that compromises the global network that connects phone carriers. The same vulnerabilities still exist one year later, Lieu shared on Thursday during a Capitol Hill demonstration about mobile security, or lack thereof.

March 16, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
White House homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert has a discussion on the White House's cybersecurity plans with his former boss, Frances Townsend, during a CSIS event. Photo courtesy CSIS

The White House’s first federal budget blueprint unveiled Thursday seeks to fund the nation’s cybersecurity efforts by boosting budgets of the U.S. Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security—an initiative officials say will guard against the magnified threat landscape that is only getting worse. 

March 10, 2017
By J. Wayne Lloyd

Do you work for a cyber company with federal government contracts? If so, hold onto your hat, because $210 billion in government information technology contracts will expire this year and be re-competed.

March 7, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

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. 

March 1, 2017
By Danny Ilic

If you can’t beat the hackers, join them—or at least act like them. By hacking a system from within, security experts can identify vulnerabilities and try to stay one step ahead of increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals. Thinking like an attacker cultivates an offensive mindset that leads to streamlined systems that incorporate the best of human skills and automated capabilities to shore up defenses from the inside out. 

January 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
The Secret Service’s chief information officer (CIO) says his highest priority is to provide the technology support to allow agents and uniformed division officers to complete their mission. That includes moving toward a more mobile environment.

The U.S. Secret Service is putting into place its first-ever cyber and information technology strategic plan, which provides a path forward through 2021. Among other goals, the plan calls for the agency to build a world-class network operations security center and to continue the march toward greater mobility for special agents and uniformed officers. 

January 1, 2017
By Bill Lemons
Juniper Networks operates Proof of Concept labs, testing facilities that provide open environments to ensure that customers can access the best demonstration resources possible.

What will you be doing in 20 years? Have you planned that far ahead? As anyone who thought floppy disks or landlines would stand the test of time knows, predicting that far out is a challenge, especially when it comes to technology. But the U.S. Army has done just that, outlining its vision for an effective, modern enterprise network in the strategic document “Shaping the Army Network: 2025-2040.” 

January 1, 2017
By Stephanie Domas and Dr. Nancy McMillan

Advances in genomics, medical sensors and data-driven health care increasingly are enabling doctors and patients to make personalized and targeted care decisions. But the effectiveness of these precision medicine capabilities depends on critical cybersecurity components to protect patient privacy and the integrity of patient data.  

October 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Army cyber warriors defend the network at the tactical operations center for the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, during a Network Integration Evaluation in fall 2015.

With cyberspace emerging as a critical warfare domain, U.S. military leaders have been forced to dump both old habits and doctrine in the name of network security. These arduous tasks are part of adapting to the new normal of the digital age, which can include contorting Army policies and actions to win modern wars and address global crises, says Essye Miller, the Army’s director of cybersecurity.

October 1, 2016
By Capt. Terry Traylor, USMC
A screen shot depicts a future multiphase training program called Cylon Raider. The program would show how cyber factors into the modern battlefield.

Some U.S. Marine Corps cyber warriors are playing their way toward proficiency. The Corps’ Delta Company, Communication Training Battalion, has turned to gamification to foster a new cyber instruction method that is becoming much more than fun and games. Retooling teaching techniques gave rise to what is dubbed “2-3-6 training” to integrate the intelligence directorate with operations and communications, which in military parlance are designated by the numerals 2, 3 and 6.

October 1, 2016
By Shuangbao (Paul) Wang
Establishing paired firewalls between corporate and SCADA networks protects one sector from threats emerging from the other.

A defense-in-depth architecture built around a dual-data model reduces the risk of supervisory control and data acquisition networks being hacked or their data being stolen. The dual-data approach makes connecting various sensors and legacy systems easy, and initial tests show that adding a defense-in-depth architecture provides a degree of security not found in many of these networks, which often lack effective protection against intruders. 

October 1, 2016
By Kevin Davis
The guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley leaves San Diego in June for its new home port of Everett, Washington. The crew of approximately 250 is trained to execute multimission tasking, including air, surface, undersea, space and cyber warfare.

Cyber capabilities have dramatically transformed the battlefield and how conflicts are resolved. Traditionally, battles were fought in conventional domains—land, air, sea, space—using kinetic, psychological and economic means to defeat opponents. In the cyber realm, anything goes. There are no rules. And adversaries are developing advanced cyber capabilities just as quickly as the United States, threatening critical infrastructure and other systems. So-called cyber-to-physical attacks, when hackers target physical buildings, networks and sites, demonstrate the potentially catastrophic results of a successful campaign against power, water and transportation services. 

April 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers

China, Russia and Iran all have been blamed for brazenly intruding into U.S. government or military networks, and government officials have pointed a finger at North Korea for breaking into Sony Pictures’ computers. While an eye-for-an-eye approach may sound tempting, a cyber response is not necessarily the best solution, says Aaron Hughes, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy.

April 1, 2016
By Lt. Col. Francis Shen, ANG, and Capt. Michael Nettis, USAF
Hawaii Air National Guardsmen evaluate network vulnerabilities during the Po‘oihe 2015 cybersecurity exercise at the University of Hawaii’s Information Technology Center. The cybersecurity exercise is part of a hurricane preparedness effort that encompasses several state and federal government organizations.

As the U.S. Cyber Command recruits 6,200 cyber warriors for teams positioned around the world, it must deliberately work to develop a new generation of cyber-minded warfighters rather than simply repurpose existing service members to meet its goal. The nation may not be prepared to defend cyberspace unless it emphasizes key skills early in students’ educational development. Many of these efforts must begin locally, and some military forces already are working in that direction.

April 1, 2016
By Barry M. Horowitz
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilot sits at the controls during flight tests evaluating cybersecurity. New approaches are being studied to ensure cybersecurity for links to and systems onboard UAVs.

This threat can come from signals beamed into a control stream or even embedded software containing a Trojan horse. Researchers are addressing this challenge from traditional and innovative directions as the use of unmanned aerial vehicles continues to expand into new realms. But the issues that must be accommodated are growing as quickly as threat diversity.

April 1, 2016
By Ashok Sankar

The proliferation of new data sources promises to compound security challenges. Organizations must embrace a new way to protect their valued assets and information, building robust assurances against data leaks, spills and theft as well as any compromise of data integrity. Cross-domain solutions offer protection at the highest levels, and they facilitate secure collaboration at significantly lower costs than other methods.

January 1, 2016
By Michael Semmens

Complying with federal cybersecurity standards, though essential for the defense industrial base and national security at large, presents immense fiscal challenges for smaller businesses that struggle every day to meet the demanding requirements—without breaking the bank.

If not addressed soon, small business noncompliance with the standards spelled out in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, or DFARS, could have the unintended consequence of severely diminishing the sector’s role in defense contracting, exacerbating concerns about bringing the entire industrial base into compliance. It is a responsibility shared by all businesses doing work for the Defense Department—small, medium and large.

January 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Gathering around a single laptop, soldiers from Team National Guard map out a strategy to win the U.S. Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence’s multiservice NetWar competition in 2014. The exercise was created to build the cyber operators’ capabilities in the new warfighting domain.

A burgeoning breed of combatants fights in a convoluted new domain where no one has blazed a trail, where no history books offer lessons or guidance. These warriors sometimes use untested offensive and defensive network maneuvers to secure cyberspace, the increasingly important and congested battleground rapidly becoming the attack venue of choice.

The technology to succeed in this ongoing fight actually already exists, as does the well-trained work force, experts say. The question now hovers over what ethical guidelines the United States will employ to carry out cyber warfare—where dynamic real-world events shape the malleable rules of engagement.

January 1, 2016
By Gregory Carpenter
This illustration shows perceived activity in the brain, which DARPA scientists are studying to develop treatments for several ailments, including neuropsychological illness brought on by war, traumatic injuries, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder and general anxiety disorder, to name a few./ Photo courtesy of DARPA

The exciting advent of nanotechnology that has inspired disruptive and lifesaving medical advances is plagued by cybersecurity issues that could result in the deaths of people that these very same breakthroughs seek to heal. Unfortunately, nanorobotic technology has suffered from the same security oversights that afflict most other research and development programs. Nanorobots, or small machines, are vulnerable to exploitation just like other devices.

But the others are not implanted in human bodies.

The phenomenal transformation of computer networks from limited and simple to vast and complex has contributed to such great advances. Great but susceptible advances.

January 1, 2016
By Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney D. Harris, USA
Soldiers with the U.S. Army Cyber Command take part in network defense training. The Army has reclassified its military occupational specialty as 17C for cyber operations specialists, but more remains to be done to build an effective cyber corps for the service.

The U.S. Army and its Cyber Command are building momentum to create the institutional and operational structure required to conduct and support missions in the cyber domain. Now is the time to seriously address the challenges of attracting and retaining soldiers with the talent needed to take on the enemy. As Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, USA, commanding general of Army Cyber Command, often states: Technology, as significant as it is in the rapidly changing face of warfare, will not be the deciding factor in who will dominate in this domain. It’s the people.

Pages