Showing posts with label ICTEC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ICTEC. Show all posts

25 March 2017

China outpaces India in internet access, smartphone ownership


India and China, the world’s two most populous countries, have long had a competitive relationship and have emerged as major economic powers. But in the digital space, China has a clear advantage. Since Pew Research Center began tracking advanced technology adoption in the two countries in 2013, the Chinese have consistently reported rates of internet and smartphone use that are at least triple that of Indians. That trend has continued through 2016.

In our latest poll, 71% of Chinese say they use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone, our definition of internet users. In contrast, only 21% of Indians say they use the internet or own a smartphone.

The gap between China and India is similarly large when it comes to smartphone ownership alone. Nearly seven-in-ten Chinese (68%) say they own one as of spring 2016, compared with 18% of Indians. Reported smartphone ownership in China has jumped 31 percentage points since 2013, but only 6 points in India over the same time period. And while virtually every Chinese person surveyed owns at least a basic mobile phone (98%), only 72% of Indians can say the same. 

The digital divide between the two countries mirrors differences in their broader economic trajectories. Between 2001 and 2011, the share of middle-income Chinese, those making $10.01-$20 a day, jumped from 3% to 18%. In India over the same decade, the middle class share of the population grew from 1% to 3%. In 2015, China’s gross domestic product per capita (PPP) was over five times that of India. Our own research has shown a strong correlation between per capita income and levels of internet access and reported smartphone ownership. Furthermore, some analysts have argued that Chinese investment in digital infrastructure accounts for China’s technological lead over India.

ISIS is winning the cyber war. Here's how to stop it.


Despite U.S. efforts, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) remains a formidable opponent today. It holds territory in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Nigeria, while directing cells in Egypt, France, Bangladesh, Yemen and the North Caucasus, among other hotspots around the world.

The Trump administration has publicly committed itself to defeating ISIS. However, like the Obama administration before it, the current administration has primarily focused its efforts on using airpower and special forces to physically destroy ISIS. The administration's new plan to introduce more conventional military forces into the region to recapture Raqqa, ISIS's capital, is more of the same.

To defeat ISIS, we need an entirely new strategy, one that takes on ISIS where it is highly effective — in cyberspace.

While ISIS continues to foment regional instability in the greater Middle East, its prowess online has made it a threat to Western nations, as well. ISIS focuses significant resources on cyberspace, where it has a global presence, using sophisticated techniques to electronically communicate with its far-flung sympathizers, spread its propaganda and recruit operatives around the world.

How Technology is Unravelling the Global Order

Technological progress is a systemic threat to democracy, rule of law, and open markets — but only because we lack ambition.

Across each pillar of the liberal international order — open markets, democracy, and the rule of law — we have been complacent about adjusting to technological change. We have spent the last decade attempting to improve upon a system created for another time, believing that protecting our institutions is equivalent to protecting the principles that underpin them. Positive trends that would facilitate democracy and an open global economy have unfolded without the support needed for their consolidation, while negative trends that undermine the rule of law, facilitate state control, encourage humanity’s worst instincts, and abuse consumer trust have been allowed to run rampant.

An Open Global Economy

In the period in which the United States and the Asia-Pacific negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and saw it collapse (2008–2016), the internet gained two billion new users. As two billion people acquired the capacity to talk to anyone, learn anything, and reach any market, the world’s most senior international economic negotiators talked about milk, cars, and whether pharmaceutical companies should have a monopoly on their drugs for five years or seven. Its efforts to address digitization and technology were largely announcements of intent, or guidelines to follow, rather than enforceable rules.

How Russia adapted KGB ‘active measures’ to cyber operations, Part I

by Brad D. Williams

This article is Part I of a two-part series previewing the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Monday hearing on Russia. Part I looks at how active measures were created by and evolved with the Soviet security state, examples of historical active measures and key differences between U.S. and Russian worldviews that influence Russia’s tactics. Part II will look at the Post-Soviet evolution of Russian security services, the rise of the World Wide Web and how Russia has adapted historical active measures to cyber and information operations.

When referring to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the media often refers to Russian hacking, information warfare or influence operations. But the title of Monday’s hearing references “active measures.”

The term, “active measures,” and what it refers to may be unfamiliar to many. Even those who are familiar with Russia’s Cold War use of the term and methods may not know the relation between historical active measures and today’s Russian cyber and information operations.

Ahead of Monday’s hearing – which could provide more details on the who, what, when, where and how of Russia’s activities in the 2016 election – revisiting the historical concept of active measures and examining how the Russians adapted active measures to cyber will provide a deeper, underlying why of Russia’s tactics.

For the Army, drone and counter-drone ops go 'hand in hand'

By: Mark Pomerleau

In a first-of-its-kind multi-domain training lane at Fort Riley, Kansas, the Army is beginning to train and integrate small unmanned aerial system operators alongside counter-UAS operations.

Small UAS operations at the division level and lower are a two-way street, according to personnel involved in the multi-domain training range and UAS training at Fort Riley.

In an ideal scenario, the Army would like to prevent their small UAS assets from potential enemy jamming, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Sarah Good, 2 nd Brigade UAS Officer, told C4ISRNET in an interview. Advanced adversaries such as Russia havedemonstrated a very capable jamming tool kit in Ukraine against UAS.

"We have to do it both ways. We have to see what their capability is to jam and see what our capability is to avoid that jam or counter that jam,” Good added.

This involves integrating and training electronic warfare forces alongside UAS operators. “Now that [UAS operators] understand that the jamming is out there, the operator can understand when his aircraft is being jammed or when it’s just going lost link,” Chief Warrant Officer 4 Samuel Kleinbeck, Division UAS at Fort Riley, told C4ISRNET. “So he knows that he’ll be able to recognize that the EW is out there.”

Cyber in 2017: Responding to the Growing Threat

2016 was a tumultuous year in cyber security. But there were three stories in particular that will likely have implications for events this year.

The first is Russia’s cyber influence campaign that helped Donald Trump win the 2016 US Presidential election. The Obama administration responded with targeted sanctions, the expulsion of 35 Russian embassy officials, and denying access to two Russian government owned compounds on US soil. Additionally, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a Joint Analysis Report containing technical information to help network defenders identify and detect malicious Russian cyber activities.

But those actions were too little, too late, and the benefits to Putin—Trump’s election—vastly outweigh the costs that were imposed on Russia. Similarly, the initial technical information released to aid network defenders was described as worse than useless. The second reportreleased last month was vastly more helpful. The US has since indicted a number of Russian hackers and their associates for criminal cyber activities.

Revealing this type of technical information will impose a real cost on Russian intelligence as they’ll have to retool to some degree. Such releases should form one element of a broader deterrence strategy, but it does come with costs to US intelligence. There’s a real risk of losing visibility of the cyber actors conducting these attacks, and it clearly took some time for the intelligence community to come to grips with publishing this further technical detail. But they need to be prepared to do this more regularly, with greater speed, and ideally in a way that maximises deterrence and minimises loss of capability.

24 March 2017

Geolocated: Russian Military Convoys Near Ukrainian Border

This week, the commander of Russia’s Southern Military District announced snap checks for a number of the military units in the south of Russia. Some of these military units were in the Krasnodar Krai, Rostov Oblast, Astrakhan Oblast, and at Russian bases in Armenia and Abkhazia, among other locations.

According to Russian news service TASS, about 6,000 soldiers were involved in the combat readiness check. Earlier in March, another readiness check was instituted for military units in occupied Crimea and the North Caucasus, which are also in the Southern Military District.

We can observe much of the equipment involved in these snap checks through videos shared by ordinary Russians who noticed military convoys driving past them. A number of these videos were shot in the Rostov Oblast, bordering Ukraine. These military convoys were a common sight in the summer of 2014 throughout the Rostov Oblast, where they were transported to large bases that served as the staging ground for Russia’s intervention in the war in the Donbas.

How space has revolutionized American warfare

By: Mark Pomerleau

Space assets flying hundreds of miles above Earth provide critical and essential capabilities to war fighters below, and if taken away would severely hinder operations.

As the Army develops concepts and doctrine for multi-domain battle, or seamless integration of operations across all the war-fighting domains, leaders have come to the realization that forces in future conflicts will be contested in every domain and will likely have to fight with some degraded capability.

These space capabilities enable the Army to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions; perform mission command; and shoot with precision, according to Richard DeFatta, acting director of the Future Warfare Center at Army Space and Missile Defense Command, who spoke at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, on March 15.

The Army’s space contribution to the joint fight includes globally deployed space forces that plan, coordinate, integrate and synchronize space capabilities to the war fighter, force tracking capabilities, theater missile warnings, space tracking, situational awareness, space superiority and military satellite communication, he said.

For the Army, drone and counter-drone ops go ‘hand in hand’

By: Mark Pomerleau

In a first-of-its-kind multi-domain training lane at Fort Riley, Kansas, the Army is beginning to train and integrate small unmanned aerial system operators alongside counter-UAS operations.

Small UAS operations at the division level and lower are a two-way street, according to personnel involved in the multi-domain training range and UAS training at Fort Riley.

In an ideal scenario, the Army would like to prevent their small UAS assets from potential enemy jamming, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Sarah Good, 2 nd Brigade UAS Officer, told C4ISRNET in an interview. Advanced adversaries such as Russia havedemonstrated a very capable jamming tool kit in Ukraine against UAS.

"We have to do it both ways. We have to see what their capability is to jam and see what our capability is to avoid that jam or counter that jam,” Good added.

This involves integrating and training electronic warfare forces alongside UAS operators. “Now that [UAS operators] understand that the jamming is out there, the operator can understand when his aircraft is being jammed or when it’s just going lost link,” Chief Warrant Officer 4 Samuel Kleinbeck, Division UAS at Fort Riley, told C4ISRNET. “So he knows that he’ll be able to recognize that the EW is out there.”

23 March 2017


Sheera Frenkel

SAN FRANCISCO — It was just before midnight on Dec. 17, 2016, when most of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, went dark.

A transmission station, a type of power station that transmits high voltage electricity across large areas, had gone down. Vsevolod Kovalchuk, the head of Ukrainian state power grid operator Ukrenergo, explained on his Facebook page that the station had come under an “external attack” lasting roughly 30 minutes.

It was, cybersecurity experts said, the most recent maneuver in Russia’s increasingly aggressive and overt efforts to push the boundaries of modern-day warfare using everything from old-fashioned kompromat, the Russian term for publishing (real or fake) compromising material designed to smear opponents, to malware that blacks out cities.

“The Russians use cyberweapons like they butter bread in the morning. It’s a critical, fundamental component of their global hybrid warfare strategy. They are pushing the envelope on how they use it every day,” said Malcolm Nance, a former counterterrorism and intelligence officer for the US military, intelligence agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security. “Ukraine is just one of many test beds.”

If the world is currently entering a new era of cyberwarfare, Russian hackers are the pirates of those yet-uncharted seas. Nearly every week brings a new cyberattack, as Russia tests the vulnerabilities of countries around the world. From hacking into the emails of senior members of the Democratic Party to defacing the websites of Eastern European political candidates, Russia is being named as the perpetrator of the most audacious cyberattacks in recent years. In some cases, those attacks are acts of espionage, looking to sweep up as much intelligence as possible. In others, Russia is toying with psychological operations, teasing out their geopolitical goals. Just this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a 2014 breach of Yahoo, which exposed more than 500 million email accounts, had actually been the work of Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents working with cybercriminals — one of the largest email breaches in history, targeting, the DOJ said, the email accounts of a small group of journalists, dissidents, and US government officials.

Trends from the Year’s Breaches and Cyber Attacks

Cyber attackers continue to evolve, improving their tactics, techniques and procedures faster than security teams can keep up. Increasingly organized and collaborative, their methods grow more sophisticated each year – and 2016 was no exception. 

Explore the trends that define today’s threat landscape based on Mandiant’s investigation of the year’s successful breaches and cyber attacks. Download the M-Trends 2017 Report today for an intelligence-led look into:

New phishing trends breaching today’s companies. 
Changes in modern attack telemetry and methodology. 

Intelligence-led insights into emerging global threats. 
Modern defensive strategies to better protect your organization. 

Special features spotlight trends in the EMEA and APAC regions. Take a firsthand look inside current and emerging global threats from the front lines of today’s leading forensic investigations.

M-Trends combines investigative insights with outward-looking adversary intelligence for a fact-based, proactive approach to advancing your cyber security. 

Download M-Trends 2017 today.

Capitalism In Space: The Beguiling Myth Market Forces Can Fix Everything

Loren Thompson

On March 10, the Center for a New American Security -- a Washington think tank -- released the latest installment in a long-running debate about how to assure U.S. access to space. The report, authored by science writer Robert Zimmerman, is titled "Capitalism in Space," and it proposes a wholesale restructuring of government space programs that Zimmerman frankly admits might eliminate much of NASA. His thesis is that private enterprise and competition can do a better job of delivering low-cost, reliable access to space than government agencies.

Zimmerman's recommendations are uniformly supportive of Elon Musk's SpaceX, which has disrupted the space business since its founding in 2002 by offering launch services at much lower prices than traditional providers. Musk doesn't just beat other U.S. companies on price, he also beats European and Asian providers, which has led some admirers to portray him as the living embodiment of what free enterprise can accomplish. Judging from the tone of Zimmerman's report, he is one of those admirers:

If NASA or the Air Force require a service they should request it from the private market, becoming a customer like everyone else. This will result in increased competition and performance at a lower cost.

Capitalism in Space

Private Enterprise and Competition Reshape the Global Aerospace Launch Industry.

It is essential for any nation that wishes to thrive and compete on the world stage to have a successful and flourishing aerospace industry, centered on the capability of putting humans and payloads into space affordably and frequently. This is a bipartisan position held by elected officials from both American political parties since the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957. 

The reasons for this are straightforward:

Military strength: For strategic reasons, the military must have the capability of launching satellites into orbit for the purpose of surveillance and reconnaissance. In addition, the country’s missile technology must be state-of-the-art to make this data gathering as effective as possible. A healthy aerospace industry is the only way to achieve both. 

Natural resources: The resources in space – raw materials from asteroids and the planets as well as energy from the Sun – are there for the taking. Other nations are striving to obtain those resources and the wealth those assets will provide for their citizens. Without direct access to those resources, American society will have less opportunity for growth and prosperity, and the country will eventually fall behind as a major power. 

Economic growth: A thriving aerospace industry helps fuel the U.S. economy. It develops cutting-edge technology in fields such as computer design, materials research, and miniaturization that drives innovation and invention in every other field. 

22 March 2017

India’s Cyber Potential: A Bridge Between East and West


Security researchers and policymakers around the world are struggling with the challenge of securing the digital networks that governments, private companies, and people in general depend on every day. While the most common points of reference to engagements in cyberspace are in the United States, Europe, Russia, and China, other countries are quickly realizing the importance of securing critical networks from crime, sabotage, subversion, and espionage. As the country with one of the world’s fastest-growing populations and economies, this realization is bearing down on India more than most.

So what is India’s current cybersecurity atmosphere, where are the major threats, and what role does the country play in online normative efforts?

Jonathan Reiber, a Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity and former Chief Strategy Officer for Cyber Policy in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, notes that “While China has upwards of 720 million internet users, India jumped past the United States to something like 460 million internet users in 2016. But the interesting thing is that the United States is at essentially 90 percent user penetration, and by the end of 2015, China and India were only at about 51 percent and 36 percent penetration respectively.” This means that India, and its populous neighbor China, will dwarf other countries in digitally connected individuals and organizations, and therefore in attack surface vulnerabilities as well.

We’ve attacked yet another nation. How long until somebody hits back?

Summary: We feel big and bold, waging one-sided cyber attacks on other nations. Without warning. Shredding US and international law, including UN treaties signed and approved by the Senate. We are creating the precedents for this new form of war. Eventually we will become a target, vulnerable because of our extraordinary reliance on high-tech system. Probably we will whine afterwards about the unfairness of others doing to us as we did to them. (First of two posts today. A second on today’s job report will appear soon.)

First there was Stuxnet, attacking Iran’s legal nuclear program (despite claims, we have not shown that they were enriching uranium in violation of their obligations). Now we learn about America’s secret cyberwar against North Korean’s missile program.

“Three years ago, President Barack Obama ordered Pentagon officials to step up their cyber and electronic strikes against North Korea’s missile program in hopes of sabotaging test launches in their opening seconds.

“Soon a large number of the North’s military rockets began to explode, veer off course, disintegrate in midair and plunge into the sea. Advocates of such efforts say they believe that targeted attacks have given American antimissile defenses a new edge and delayed by several years the day when North Korea will be able to threaten American cities with nuclear weapons launched atop intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Why the DOD is trying to focus more on software, big data

Samantha Ehlinger

‎The Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office is focusing more on software than hardware, and trying to pivot the department to becoming a data-driven organization, SCO Director Will Roper said Monday at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas. 

In a wide-ranging conversation about his office’s work and the future of warfare, Roper answered a question around how to handle the department’s newest weapons potentially falling in the hands of the Islamic State.

“We need to do a better job in the Defense Department of not over-designing things so that we can’t lose them,” Roper said. 

He said the DOD is good at designing exquisite systems, which use the best of government technology, but when it comes to autonomous weapons the department is trying to stay within the realm of commercial technology. While it may not be as high-performing as something highly-customized and built in-house, if its left behind on the battlefield there is not as much worry it could be turned on the U.S. 

Instead of focusing on hardware, then, SCO focuses on investing in the software underlying those commercial technologies that allows systems to collaborate, Roper said. And software, he said, is easier to protect than hardware.

How Intelligent Drones Are Shaping the Future of Warfare

By Benjamin Powers

The drones fell out of the sky over China Lake, California, like a colony of bats fleeing a cave in the night. Over 100 of them dropped from the bellies of three Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, their sharp angles cutting across the clear blue sky. As they encircled their target, the mechanical whir of their flight sounded like screaming. 

This was the world's largest micro-drone swarm test. Conducted in October 2016 by the Department of Defense's Strategic Capabilities Office and the Navy's Air Systems Command, the test was the latest step in what could be termed a swarm-drone arms race. China had previously been ahead when they tested a swarm of 67 drones flying together – calling their technology the "top in the world" – but with the latest test of 103 drones, the United States was once again ahead.What made this test intriguing, however, was the drones themselves – and what they might mean for the future of warfare. 

Drones have come a long way from their initial uses for surveillance. On February 4th, 2002, in the Paktia province of Afghanistan near the city of Khost, the CIA used an unmanned Predator drone in a strike for the first time. The target was Osama bin Laden. Though he turned out not to be there, the strike killed three men nonetheless. The CIA had used drones for surveillance before, but not in military operations, and not to kill. What had once merely been a flying camera in the sky was now weaponized.

Rumiyah: Jihadist Propaganda and Information Warfare in Cyberspace

By Remy Mahzam


Recognising that wars are no longer confined to the physical battlefields, the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has since 2014 embarked on an aggressive propaganda campaign in cyberspace through the release of various online publications like Dabiq (discontinued since August 2016), Amaq News, Al-Naba and Rumiyah. Since its debut in September 2016, Rumiyah (‘Rome’ in Arabic), which draws its title from a Prophetic tradition foretelling the fall of the West, is a strategic distraction from the realities on the ground characterised by the considerable loss of territory and revenue, heavy casualties and low morale among fighters. The launch of Rumiyah came precisely at a time when the rhetoric to justify the final battle in Syria seemed counter-intuitive and signalled a strategic shift in IS’ modus operandi, with the battle against its enemies going not only beyond the Middle East but also into the realm of the digital.

The New Face of Terrorism Propaganda

In terms of substance, Rumiyah is not dissimilar to its predecessor Dabiq or other jihadist publications such as Al-Qaeda’s Inspire or Jabhat Al-Nusra’s Al-Risalah. It is however likely to be more influential in the realm of jihadist propaganda given its wider reach. Translated into 10 languages (English, Bahasa, Bosnian, French, German, Kurdish, Pashto, Russian, Turkish and Uyghur), IS’ narratives could easily be localised and tailored to fit the readership and dynamics of particular communities in the respective regions, from the Middle East to Xinjiang and Southeast Asia. Its availability in multi-lingual forms is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of adherents across the world compared to previous IS foreign language publications, like the Russian language Исtок (Istok), Turkish language Konstantiniyye, French language Dar Al Islam and Bahasa language Al-Fatihin which only catered to a specific demographic or locality.

The Graveyard of Empires and Big Data


The only tiki bar in eastern Afghanistan had an unusual payment program. A sign inside read simply, “If you supply data, you will get beer.” The idea was that anyone — or any foreigner, because Afghans were not allowed — could upload data on a one-terabyte hard drive kept at the bar, located in the Taj Mahal Guest House in Jalalabad. In exchange, they would get free beer courtesy of the Synergy Strike Force, the informal name of the American civilians who ran the establishment.

Patrons could contribute any sort of data — maps, PowerPoint slides, videos, or photographs. They could also copy data from the drive. The “Beer for Data” program, as the exchange was called, was about merging data from humanitarian workers, private security contractors, the military, and anyone else willing to contribute. The Synergy Strike Force was not a military unit, a government division, or even a private company; it was the self-chosen name of the odd assortment of Westerners who worked — or in some cases volunteered — on the development projects run out of the guest house.

The Synergy Strike Force’s Beer for Data exchange was a pure embodiment of the techno-utopian dream of free information and citizen empowerment that had emerged in recent years from the hacker community. Only no one would have guessed that this utopia was being created in the chaos of Afghanistan, let alone in Jalalabad, a city that had once been home to Osama bin Laden. Or even more unlikely, that the Synergy Strike Force would soon attract the attention of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

21 March 2017

The case for digital reinvention

By Jacques Bughin, Laura LaBerge, and Anette Mellbye

Digital technology, despite its seeming ubiquity, has only begun to penetrate industries. As it continues its advance, the implications for revenues, profits, and opportunities will be dramatic. 

As new markets emerge, profit pools shift, and digital technologies pervade more of everyday life, it’s easy to assume that the economy’s digitization is already far advanced. According to our latest research, however, the forces of digital have yet to become fully mainstream. On average, industries are less than 40 percent digitized, despite the relatively deep penetration of these technologies in media, retail, and high tech. 

As digitization penetrates more fully, it will dampen revenue and profit growth for some, particularly the bottom quartile of companies, according to our research, while the top quartile captures disproportionate gains. Bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t, and the biggest payouts will go to those that initiate digital disruptions. Fast-followers with operational excellence and superior organizational health won’t be far behind.