The Cyber Edge

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April 28, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
Lt. Col. Matthew Castillo, USAF, commander, 35th Intelligence Squadron, speaks about the Cyberspace Threat Intelligence Center during the facility’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Airmen and contractors with the 35th IS will conduct operations from the new facility.

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.

April 26, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Corinne Charette, senior assistant deputy minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector, Canada, describes how her country is an emerging source of cyber and space technologies at NITEC 2017.

A new generation of secure space satellites will both serve Canada and contribute to NATO innovation, said a government official. Corinne Charette, senior assistant deputy minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector, Canada, told the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that the country will benefit both socially and economically from the new orbiters looming just over the horizon.

Charette emphasized that these satellites, which will represent cutting-edge space technologies, will have effective cybersecurity. That cybersecurity may originate in Canada, as she noted the country has a burgeoning high-technology industry.

April 25, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Mark Anderson, president of Palo Alto Networks, describes cybersecurity threats and solutions to the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

Cybersecurity has not kept up with changes in the realm that opened the door to the security challenges facing networks today, said a Silicon Valley executive. Mark Anderson, president of Palo Alto Networks, told the audience at day two of NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that new approaches to security and network architecture must be implemented to turn the tide against cyber adversaries.

“The past decade, there have been tectonic shifts in the IT [information technology] landscape that created the perfect storm,” Anderson said. He mentioned several activities—and lack of key actions—that enabled adversaries to take advantage of their own burgeoning skills to penetrate networks nearly at will.

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
A panel discussion examines innovation as a security imperative at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

Needing innovation for cybersecurity more than ever, NATO and its member nations still do not have a concrete plan to speed new capabilities into alliance and national systems. Intricate procurement processes compound the absence of cooperation among firms while cyber adversaries continue to improve their methods and broaden their capabilities.

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Glen F. Post III, CEO and president, CenturyLink, describes the difficulty in building a network of trusted peers at NITEC 2017.

U.S. cybersecurity firms have discovered the value and the difficulty of building a stable of trusted peers, but extending that principle to the multinational status of NATO will be as challenging as it is important, according to a U.S. technology firm leader experienced with both government and industry. Glen F. Post III, CEO and president, CenturyLink, told the first-day audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that his firm serves its customers by relying on trusted partners who can support the company as needed.

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Gen. Denis Mercier, FRAF, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, speaks to the audience at NITEC 2017.

The near certainty that future military operations will require coalitions of modern network-centric forces mandates interoperability among advanced technologies, said the head of NATO's transformation effort. Gen. Denis Mercier, FRAF, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, told the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa, Canada, this is the alliance's key issue.

Always a concern, interoperability has risen to critical importance as military capacities have become focused on networks and information technologies. Countries and industry must work together to ensure effective communication among advanced technologies.

April 19, 2017
By Joe Kim

Through its significant investment in networked systems and smart devices, the U.S. Defense Department has created an enormously effective—yet highly vulnerable—approach to national security. The department has begun investing more in the Internet of Things (IoT), which has gone a long way toward making ships, planes, tanks and other weapon systems far more lethal and effective. Unfortunately, the IoT's pervasive connectivity also has increased the vulnerability of defense networks and the potential for cyber attacks.

April 17, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army logistics management specialist instructs a soldier in the installation of the Joint Capabilities Release—Logistics System in an Army vehicle. The Defense Information Systems Agency increasingly is looking to small business for innovative communications and electronics technologies that can be acquired and deployed rapidly.

The very qualities that define small businesses—agility, flexibility, inherent innovation—are driving the Defense Information Systems Agency to increase its efforts to bring their capabilities under the big tent of defense network services.

With the agency, known as DISA, tasked with providing warfighters and decision makers with the best in information technology, it must incorporate capabilities faster than is possible through normal acquisition processes involving large contractors. Ongoing efforts such as regular outreach and prime contract set-asides are being supplanted with new segmented contracts and drives to bring in nontraditional firms.

April 13, 2017
By Jane Melia

While we are all still in the early stages of a networked, always-on Internet of Things world, this is the precise time to develop crucial and effective cybersecurity solutions to combat growing threats. The developing ecosystem needs new ideas for bold government actions, particularly to reduce the risks of quantum computers.

Quantum Threats Looming

April 11, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman

Just as free world militaries are moving toward a convergence of cyberspace, electronic warfare and signals intelligence, the dividing lines that define cyberthreats are disappearing as U.S. adversaries join forces against common targets. Nation-states now are cooperating with cyber criminals and hackers to pursue similar goals. Being motivated by either politics or profit is no drawback to the unholy alliance forming worldwide in cyberspace.

April 11, 2017
By Leon Adato

SDN, BYOA, VDI. This alphabet soup of technologies and approaches has complicated U.S. Defense Department networks.

Trends such as bring your own device (BYOD), bring your own application (BYOA), software-defined networking (SDN) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) have dramatically increased network vulnerabilities, where failures, slowdowns or breaches can cause great damage. For the military, specifically, such occurrences can be serious and mission altering, exposing incredibly sensitive data.

April 10, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

Millions of student, staff and faculty email addresses and passwords from 300 of the largest universities in the United States have been stolen and are being circulated by cyber criminals on the dark web, according to a recent report. 

Hacktivists, scam artists and even terrorists intend to sell, trade or just give away the addresses and passwords, said the Digital Citizens Alliance report. 

April 7, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
The proposed update to the NIST cybersecurity framework further develops voluntary guidelines for organizations to reduce their risk.

The comment deadline is Monday for changes introduced to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) draft update to its Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity

The proposed update aims to further develop voluntary guidelines for organizations to reduce cybersecurity risks. It provides details on managing cyber supply chain risks, clarifies key terms and introduces measurement methods for cybersecurity, the agency states. 

April 6, 2017
By Ali Cybulski
The number of women in cybersecurity has remained stagnant over the past few years, a new report says.

Women comprise just 11 percent of the information security work force, and despite being more educated than men in the field, hold fewer senior-level positions and earn less money, new research shows. Female representation in the industry also has remained unchanged since 2013, according to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education’s Women in Cybersecurity report.

April 5, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

As the Internet of Things, or IoT, steadily migrates from fantasy to reality, the accompanying cybersecurity challenges posed by billions of connected devices have become not only evident, but a leading concern for federal technologists.

The lack of IoT security tops a list of critical concerns for surveyed professionals wrestling to address the challenges increasingly front and center as the sheer number of connected devices and sensors grows, according to results of a recent Brocade survey.

April 4, 2017
By Robert Kim
U.S. officials hold a press conference in March announcing indictments of Russian FSB officers and hacking conspirators for breach of Yahoo accounts.

The U.S. government took a vital tangible step toward clearly defining rules of cyber war when the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment on March 15 accusing two operatives of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and two hired computer hackers of being behind last year's massive cyber breach of Yahoo.

April 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Students in the Joint Cyber Analysis Course work together at Information Warfare Training Command Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida. As the U.S. Navy increasingly partners with the other services on cyber operations, it also is dealing with the type of advanced threats facing the cyber realm at large.

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and cognitive computing soon could be setting sail to aid the U.S. Navy in its battle to conquer cyberspace. Such capabilities could hold the key to improving cyber defense, while other approaches are making their way into offensive cyber operations, says the Navy’s top cyber officer.

Some technologies the Navy seeks are dual-use in the sense that they can be employed by defenders as well as attackers. Automation, for example, is being used by nation-states to probe and prey upon large blocks of Internet protocol (IP) space in both the military and commercial realms. Yet defenders also may rely on automation to help detect and respond to cyberthreats early in an attack.

April 1, 2017
By John Leiseboer

The increase in cyberthreats from both internal and external sources has put the onus on government agencies, particularly at the federal level, to implement strong cybersecurity architectures. While encryption is an essential component, without careful implementation, criminals easily can exploit its weaknesses, and the emerging power of quantum computing could compound the problem.

April 1, 2017
By Lt. Cmdr. Jon T. Wende, USN
Tapping the expertise of the flood of cyberspace users could hold the key to solving many of the dynamic realm’s challenges.

An offshoot of social media, crowdsourcing could hold solutions to some of the biggest cybersecurity problems the U.S. Defense Department faces. The burgeoning field could find fixes for thorny legacy problems as well as emerging cyberthreats. This is exactly what is taking root at the Joint Forces Staff College in a course offered to service members and their Defense Department civilian equivalents learning cyber concepts in joint, interagency and multinational environments.

April 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
U.S. Army soldiers with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), perform security duty during a battle drill on Forward Operating Base Lightning, Afghanistan. As officials from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) converge network management tools into a single solution, they intend to move carefully to avoid disrupting communications for warfighters.

The U.S. Defense Department’s information technology combat support agency plans to hit the kill switch on a number of systems to improve network management. The Defense Information Systems Agency is converging functions such as network operations, defensive cyber operations and network situational awareness, thanks to smart, automated technologies. Most network management technologies will be eliminated by 2021 in favor of one system, or perhaps a suite of systems. The agency is working toward a converged, integrated solution that will provide the complete set of tools needed to gather big data and to operate, visualize, sustain, maintain and defend the system.

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