September 25, 2015
By George I. Seffers
President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China hold a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, last year. Today, the two announced a historic agreement designed to curb cyber aggression.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that neither country will “support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,” according to a White House announcement released today.

September 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers

As part of its efforts to provide practical solutions to real-world cybersecurity challenges, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting comments on a draft guidance to help organizations better control access to information systems.

September 30, 2015

Metova Federal LLC, Cabot, Arkansas, was awarded a $45 million firm-fixed-price contract for cyberspace and electronic warfare support. Bids were solicited via the Internet with nine received.  Funding and work location will be determined with each order. Army Contracting Command, Fort Gordon, Georgia, is the contracting activity (W91249-15-D-0006).


September 29, 2015

Raytheon will provide full lifecycle development and sustainment support for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and more than 100 federal agencies under a new DHS contract that could be worth approximately $1 billion, the company has announced. As prime contractor for the Network Security Deployment Division (NSD), Raytheon will help safeguard the .gov domain. Raytheon will support government efforts to develop, deploy and sustain systems that monitor, analyze and mitigate cyber threats to .gov networks.


September 28, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has awarded eight contracts totaling $14 million to create technology to defend against large and sophisticated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The projects will become part of the Distributed Denial of Service Defenses Program.

The awards include:

September 14, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The ease at which criminals can reverse engineer software makes for lucrative transgressions with national security implications, prompting government-backed researchers to seek innovations to shore up vulnerabilities, officials say.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, turned to academia and awarded a multiyear mission to develop obfuscation technology to better safeguard software intellectual property, both for commercial and government endeavors. The aim of DARPA’s SafeWare program is to find a solution that would render the software, such as proprietary algorithms, incomprehensible to a reverse engineer.

September 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Staff members at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Common Operational Research Environment (CORE) Lab work on innovative ways to analyze open-source information gleaned from social network sites. This information lets scientists visualize troubled regions with greater fidelity than conventional intelligence analysis methods.

Having too little information once daunted the world of spies and intelligence analysts. Now the problem is too much data, and one of the biggest challenges going forward for the intelligence community is not a lack of technology but civilization’s dependency on it.

Today big data is one of the hottest segments of the information technology industry, successfully shrinking the world while creating an information overload that can paralyze analysts working to win the data-management war, experts lament.

September 1, 2015

Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC, doing business as ID Experts, Portland, Oregon, is being awarded a $133,263,550 firm-fixed-price contract for commercially available data breach recovery services in response to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach affecting 21.5 million individuals. Data breach recovery services include credit and identity monitoring services, identity theft insurance, identity restoration services, as well as website services and call center services.

August 27, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Gary Wang, deputy chief information officer/G-6 in the U.S. Army, says the U.S. government needs to identify the next generation of cyberwarriors when you are children. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Some of today’s 9-year-olds code in Java during their summer vacations, making them the optimal candidates the U.S. government and military should school to be the next generation of cyberwarriors, offered Gary Wang, deputy chief information officer/G-6 in the U.S. Army.

The government has waited until it’s nearly too late to begin cultivating the next-generation cadre of scientists, programmers and security experts needed to shore up cyber vulnerabilities to prevent intrusions and attacks that threaten to deliver even more debilitating blows against the nation.

August 26, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Attendees listen to keynote addresses during the third annual AFCEA International TechNet Augusta conference, which wraps up Thursday. Photo by Mike Carptenter

TechNet Augusta 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Show Daily

Day 2

Uncle Sam wants you—especially unicorns, leprechauns or something in between.

As the U.S. Defense Department revamps the way it protects its critical infrastructures and networks from emerging cyberthreats, military leaders want to reshape their work force and attract to their ranks highly specialized experts, including coveted data scientists.

August 25, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commanding general of U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Georgia, takes to the white board to illustrate dysfunctional stovepipes that keep military disciplines from sharing information and missions. Photo by Mike Carpenter

TechNet Augusta 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Show Daily

Day 1

Convergence was the buzzword du jour as leaders outlined major changes to sweep the U.S. Army in efforts to shore up cyber weaknesses following a year of high-profile breaches and hacks that stunned the Defense Department. It is part of a cultural change that will have several military disciplines working together and removing the divides that have kept the intelligence community from working closely with signal commands, electronic warfare, cyber and information operations.

August 25, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Gary Martin (c), program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical (PEO C3T), discusses convergence at AFCEA's TechNet Augusta 2015 conference.

The U.S. Army must move quicker toward a massive cultural change to streamline cybersecurity processes—from training to all-out operations—if leaders hope to maintain the momentum toward innovation.

August 19, 2015

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $13,586,965 modification (0002) to contract W91RUS-14-D-0002 for non-personal information technology for the Army Regional Cyber Center-Europe, 5th Signal Command (Theater), with an estimated completion date of July 18, 2016.  Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $6,508,863 were obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, is the contracting activity.


August 6, 2015
By Bryan Ware

The U.S. government must direct serious attention to fixing the integrity of the nation’s security clearance system, marred by the cyber breach on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The true magnitude of the attack, which exposed more than 20 million federal workers and their families, is even greater than previously reported—now that we know that attack could have multiple repercussions on national security. Charles Allen, a senior intelligence adviser to the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, stated the breach was a risk to national security unlike any he has seen during his 50 years in the intelligence community.

July 24, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced a $2.9 million cybersecurity mobile app security research and development award that will help identify mobile app vulnerabilities. The Northern Virginia-based small business, Kryptowire, was awarded a 30-month contract through the S&T’s Long Range Broad Agency Announcement.

July 15, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Cyber intelligence is the emerging buzz term as the United States works to fend off not just attacks by criminals and nation-state hackers, but terrorists calling for an electronic jihad.

July 10, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen addresses mobility concerns at the enterprise level. Photo by Michael Carpenter

As the Defense Department dives into the mobility ecosystem and embraces the use of mobile devices by the warfighter in the battlefield up to the highest echelons of leadership, it seeks solutions too for full-on mobility at the enterprise level. Leaders still struggle over concerns from security vulnerabilities to the legal questions that impact employees workload when they’re off the clock.

“You’re going to see a lot of headlines here that say ‘secure mobility.’ Blank that out,” said Terry Halvorsen, the Defense Department’s chief information officer. “I want you to insert the words ‘secure enough mobility.’ Part of what we’ve got to understand is: what’s secure enough?”

July 9, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Hackers behind cybersecurity attacks on the U.S. federal government through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) pilfered personal information from a much more significant number of current and former employees than previously reported.

Thursday, investigators reported two breaches occurred, with data stolen from 21.5 million workers, far more than the 4 million officials originally disclosed in June.

Hackers managed to breach the computer systems of the OPM, stealing data including Social Security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, job assignments, performance reviews, insurance details and training certificates.

July 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
Part of the power grid is supported by electrical lines that carry power to customers through rugged terrain. Cybersecurity experts believe supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems may be the Achilles’ heels that allow malefactors to bring down such critical infrastructure via cyberspace.

A more diverse group of players is generating a growing threat toward all elements of the critical infrastructure through cyberspace. New capabilities have stocked the arsenals of cybermarauders, who now are displaying a greater variety of motives and desired effects as they target governments, power plants, financial services and other vulnerable sites.

But concerns come from not just evolving and future threats. Malware already in place throughout critical infrastructure elements around the world might be the vanguard of massive and physically destructive cyber attacks launched on the say-so of a single leader of a nation-state. Physical damage already has been wrought upon advanced Western industrial targets.

June 29, 2015
By Terry Roberts

The recent breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is a cyber event that has touched many of us personally in a way that other breaches have not. It is not simply government employment data; it is the most personal and detailed of information about many of us or our protégés or friends. It is information that can be used in so many insidious ways, it is difficult to account for or imagine them all. It truly is a national security hit of the magnitude of WikiLeaks and the Snowden case because of the millions of lives, careers, families, agencies and missions that it impacts today and well into the future.