During the afternoon of the first day of AFCEA’s Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium (CERTS), leaders from all five branches of the armed forces shared their perspectives on cyber education and training. Though all five laid out slightly different strategies and goals for their individual services, they all agreed they should leverage each other’s expertise and work together to figure out a way forward.
Col. Andrew O. Hall, USA, director, Army Cyber Institute, opened AFCEA’s first Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium (CERTS) with a cyberthreat update.
“How can we make security effective and intuitive, yet usable?” Col. Hall asked attendees at the sold out conference. “Efficiency is an area of weakness and easy to hack,” he added. But it’s necessary to perform missions.
The emerging threats to cybersecurity are growing. Col. Hall focused on the global supply chain, artificial intelligence (AI) weapons factories, information warfare and critical infrastructure.
AFCEA will host its first Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium January 17-18 in Augusta, Georgia. The much-anticipated event, also known as CERTS, will connect military and agency stakeholders with solution providers from academia, business and research centers.
CERTS will feature keynote speakers, panels and breakout sessions promoting discussion between operators and supporting professionals. Featured speakers include Col. Andrew O. Hall, USA, director, Army Cyber Institute; Michael Hudson, deputy director, J-7, U.S. Cyber Command; and Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, commanding general, Army Cyber Command.
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Computer core processors using a "speculative execution" have a "serious security flaw," according to researchers from Google's Project Zero. The speculative execution functionality is "a technique used by most modern processors (CPUs) to optimize performance," according to Google’s Matt Linton, senior security engineer, and Matthew O'Connor, Office of the Chief Technology Officer. The flaws, dubbed "Spectre" and "Meltdown," make aspects of the computer memory vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Millions of hits result from searching Google for the phrase “how cognitive computing will change the world,” reflecting the public’s big appetite for information about the emerging technology. But some experts foresee a time when the extraordinary is ordinary.
The federal government has invested billions of dollars on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies over the past few years, but it may be compromising its security posture for better information. Certainly being able to share and access the information derived from connected sensors is vital to the protection of the United States and instrumental to military success. However, connected devices present enticing targets, as evidenced by the 2016 Mirai Botnet attack, which originated through vulnerable IoT devices.
The U.S. Army is narrowing the gap between policy and operations as it confronts new threats in cyberspace. Field reports are having greater and faster influence on the issuance of directives, and intelligence is now a major player in determining cyber policy.
“Aligning cybersecurity directly with our operations to achieve readiness is the key to succeeding and moving forward,” says Carol Assi, division chief for cybersecurity policy and governance in the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6 office. “And shrinking the gap between operation and policy, having continuous dialogue and working hand in hand, addressing issues in a collaborative environment, [are essential] to that. We no longer can afford to work in silos.”
The U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force must keep pace with a threat landscape that is evolving at an unprecedented tempo. Cyberthreats are constantly growing in volume, velocity and sophistication, and the force needs a warfighting platform that will allow it to get ahead of attackers. That platform should enable continuous improvement through iterative development at the speed and scale of military operations.
No longer a curiosity, the Internet of Things has emerged as a highly sought-after technology advantage for organizations worldwide. The federal government has stepped up as an innovator within this space, generating profound advancements with seemingly unlimited promise to support national security missions. Those in doubt need look no further than research from the Center for Data Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan institute, which reveals a broad range of eclectic, real-life implementations.
Modern information and networking technologies bring exciting functionalities to everyone, everywhere, all the time. Manufacturers, service providers and users alike welcome the advancements because they boost business opportunities and enable new and better computing capabilities that offer convenience, increase independence and save time.
Plainly, innovations are appealing, but important security aspects are being pushed into the background. Security adds complexity and limitations to functionality. It requires more resources and seems to slow innovation and increase cost. In a military environment, these hurdles can seriously affect mission success.
There’s a new National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework that’s going against the grain. The Department of Defense has mandated that contractors comply with the guidance laid out in NIST special publication 800-171, which aims to strengthen the protection of controlled unclassified information. Why focus contractors’ limited resources on protecting information that is not top secret? Even if information is not top secret it still can be sensitive. For example, social security numbers, contact information, bank account details and other personal information about U.S.
In the federal government space, the machines have risen, but they’re not here to threaten us. Instead, agencies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to bolster the U.S.’s cybersecurity posture.
There are many reasons for this emergent interest. Agencies are dealing with enormous amounts of data and network traffic from many different sources, including on premises and from hosted infrastructures—and sometimes a combination of both. It’s impossible for humans to sift through this massive amount of information, which makes managing security a task that cannot be exclusively handled manually.
A Department of Homeland Security Science pilot testing project helped identify and secure a variety of mobile apps used by first responders.
The Army is looking to combine electronic warfare capabilities with intelligence and cyber capabilities, military leaders reported December 13 at AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare discussion, The Future Force Build and Integration of Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Fields into Cyber. AUSA hosted the event at its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, as part of its Hot Topic event series.
The cloud and data security go hand-in-hand. While cloud computing provides valuable IT architectures and solutions for government agencies, it also requires them to relinquish data security to public cloud service providers.
The Department of Defense (DoD) Information Analysis Center’s (IAC) Cybersecurity Technical Area Task (TAT) awarded $37 million to MacAulay-Brown, Incorporated of Dayton, Ohio. Under the task order, the company will provide cybersecurity and information systems support to the Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL's) Enterprise Business System (EBS).
A lightning strike last year delivered a new way for Marianne Bailey, the National Security Agency’s new deputy national manager for national security systems, to illuminate the cybersecurity threat.
The bolt burned Bailey’s house, and the burglar alarm was one of the last items she replaced. “The poor burglar alarm guy was telling me about all this great capability where I can get this thing on my smartphone, and I can turn it on and turn it off,” she relates.
Her response: “I want the dumb one that’s not connected to Wi-Fi.”
Cutting the communications cord is a goal of the U.S. Special Operations Command as it prepares for missions against a new type of foe. The command is not looking to sever ties with its forces in the field, but instead wants to give them broad-based connectivity to function without being restricted by either environment or operating partner.
By 2025, an estimated 75 billion or more devices will be connected via the Internet. While the ability to access data on any device from any device multiplies productivity exponentially, it also creates unforeseeable vulnerabilities that organizations are only beginning to understand.
Last year’s Mirai botnet distributed denial-of-service attack, which infected millions of devices, demonstrates the multifaceted challenges federal agencies and private-sector companies face when securing their devices and networks. These challenges will only continue to grow both inside and outside of these domains.