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

28 April 2017

U.S. Air Force invests millions this month on cyberweapons projects

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Three of the United States’ largest military contractors each won multimillion-dollar projects in the last month to boost American offensive power in the cyber domain.

Raytheon, Northrop Grunman and Booz Allen Hamilton have all seen their stock prices rise 10 to 20 percent since the November 2016 U.S. election. Investors sprinted to military contractors based on Trump’s promises for higher spending on — among other warfighting capabilities — the cyber domain. Many of the world’s biggest weapons manufacturers are expanding aggressively into offensive and defensive cybersecurity in search of the same level of profitability found in building conventional weapons systems.

Raytheon will build the Air Force’s newest Cyber Command and Control Mission System (C3MS) operating location — at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base — after winning an $8.5 million contract this week. Lackland is home to the 24th Air Force, the organization tasked with operating and defending the Air Force’s networks. It’s currently commanded by Maj. Gen. Christopher Weggeman.

The C3MS system is designed, by the military’s description, to extend the U.S. Air Force’s “global reach, power and vigilance” into the cyber domain by providing permanent operational support to combatant commanders around the world. In addition to securing Air Force networks and information processing systems, C3MS includes offensive cyberspace operations, expansive real-world and cyber domain surveillance capabilities and close coordination with other key cyber domain commands including the United States Cyber Command.

The US and Europe Need to Coordinate Their Cyber Weapons

BY JEPPE T. JACOBSEN

The question isn’t just 'How do we use them together?' but 'Who gets to use them first?'

It is no surprise that the United States and its European allies are looking to integrate offensive cyber capabilities as part of their military operations. Last year, the Pentagon boasted about dropping “cyber bombs” on the self-declared Islamic State group. France and the United Kingdom have built similar capabilities, as have smaller European states, such as Denmark, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, as NATO members rush to build their capabilities, they will quickly have to confront challenging trade-offs. Cyberweapons—or specifically the vulnerabilities they exploit—tend to be single use weapons: once a defender or vendor identifies a vulnerability being exploited, they can patch it, rendering the attacker’s capability useless as well as the capability of any other potential attacker who built a weapon around the same vulnerability. In other words, one state’s exploitation of a vulnerability will affect its allies’ ability to do the same.

As the United States’ European allies develop their capabilities, Washington will be forced to deconflict their use of cyberweapons with European capitals, especially as they look to fight the same enemies such as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Similarly, a European country would want to tip off their U.S. counterparts before attempting to dox Vladimir Putin given the fact that rendering compromising information public could tip off Russia of its vulnerabilities in specific Kremlin networks, perhaps the same vulnerabilities the United States exploits for foreign intelligence purposes.

Outgoing CIA lawyer says the top threat facing US is cyber

By JENNA MCLAUGHLIN 

During her tenure as the CIA's top lawyer, Caroline Krass dealt with investigations into the CIA's enhanced interrogation programs and black sites, unrest in Ukraine and Crimea, the rise of ISIS, normalizing relations with Cuba, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Russian meddling. Now headed out the door, she says the most challenging threat the United States faces comes from cyberspace.

"I think the hardest [legal questions] were those that surrounded cyber," Krass said on Tuesday at an event at Georgetown University Law School. "It's an evolving area of the law, trying to determine answers to questions like what constitutes a use of force…what are the measures to combat such a use of force?"

President Donald Trump is hoping to confirm a new top lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency this week to replace Krass, who is stepping down after three years. She'd previously worked in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Treasury.

Getting the legal lay of the land correct in cyberspace is still on Washington's to-do list, even though think tanks and experts have spent years arguing about what the rules of the road for cyberspace might look like. Washington, for example, has no formal definitions for cyber warfare or any clear standards for how to retaliate for cyber attacks.

The Countries With The Fastest Internet

by Martin Armstrong

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With an average connection speed of 26.1 Mbps - 8.9 more than the U.S - in Q4 2016. Despite Norway gaining some ground since Q3, coming within 2.5 Mbps of the top spot, no other country really comes close.

This chart shows the countries with the highest average internet connection speed in Q4 2016.

You will find more statistics at Statista

ICIT Analysis : The Cyber Shield Act


Industry experts and federal agencies such as NSA, NASA and NIST have repeatedly pushed for the implementation and standardization of the bare essentials of Information Security, such as security-by-design, cyber-hygiene training, and layered defenses, to be recognized as crucial topics on the Hill. The Cyber Shield Act is an excellent idea for improving informed consumer decision making concerning electronic devices and introduces meaningful dialog between industry and Congress in a manner that shifts the conversation away from counterproductive, bureaucratic partisanship. If developed and implemented meaningfully, The Cyber Shield Act would not only empower consumers, but would facilitate a much-needed cultural shift in secure device manufacturing and upkeep.

27 April 2017

** Cyber Warfare Beyond Domains

JACQUELYN G. SCHNEIDER

In 2010, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III made a pivotal decision for the future of cyberspace and the U.S. military: He saw to it that the U.S. Department of Defense declared cyberspace a “domain” of warfare.

This decision created the organizational impetus for the DoD to organize and equip forces to defend and attack from cyberspace. Lynn anticipated that the future of warfare would be determined by competitions for information and that without the ability to organize for missions in cyberspace, the DoD would be unable to ensure the digital freedom it needed to win modern wars. Since that time, the DoD has not only developed an overarching Cyber Strategy and stood up an entire Cyber Command with more than 6,000 personnel, and has also brought to initial operating capability 133 teams for its Cyber Mission Force. Under the auspices of the cyberspace domain, the DoD has made huge strides to defeat and deter adversaries in cyberspace.

The Case for Synthesizing Electronic Warfare and Cyber

JOHN DICKSON

The two separate worlds of electronic warfare and cybersecurity are beginning to overlap, if not collide.

In the U.S. military, electronic warfare and cyber capabilities live in different military domains, delivered by operators who exist in different military units and who largely grew up in different career fields.

The National Security Agency and the uniformed services have rushed headlong to demonstrate leadership in the cyber domain. But they have exerted less energy trying to determine how to use these capabilities in a coordinated way in the highly contested electronic battlefields of the future.

This can’t go on. We need a “sea change” strategy pivot to better prepare for more sophisticated threats that are further along combining their electronic warfare and cyber assets.

Some background: In the 1990’s, electronic warfare became less cool. Gone from the Air Force fleet were aircraft such as the F-4G and EF-111, two Cold War platforms 100 percent dedicated to jamming or destroying adversary radars. The Air Force Electronic Warfare Center (AFEWC) became the Air Force Information Warfare Center (AFIWC).

Blockchain for Development – Hope or Hype?

Hernandez, K.

Blockchain technology has been heralded by many as the next big thing. The potential use of blockchains has attracted widespread attention from the media, the IMF, the UN, and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor.

Some argue that within 20 years, blockchain will disrupt society more profoundly than the internet has disrupted communication and media. With the reported potential to replace powerful financial institutions with a new form of cheap and secure banking globally, could it also transform development? It has the potential to offer new ways to track aid and tackle corruption, facilitate smart-aid contracts and cut costs for international payments, but experience suggests it is through adding value to existing development processes that it could have the most benefit.

26 April 2017

** JOHN MCAFEE: WHAT IF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE HACKS ITSELF?

BY JOHN MCAFEE 

On March 9, 2017, ZT, an underground technologist and writer, read his upcoming novella: Architects of the Apocalypse, to a group of his adherents in the basement of an abandoned bar in Nashville, Tennessee. The occasion was the Third Annual Meltdown Congress—an underground, invitation-only organization dedicated to the survival of the human species in the face of near certain digital annihilation. 

I was present, along with three of my compatriots, plus about 30 gray hat hackers (hackers or cybersecurity experts without malicious intent) who represent the cream of the American hacking community. 

ZT’s novella takes place in the not-too-distant future. It chronicles an age in which artificial intelligence and its adjutant automata run the world—in which humanity is free and is cared for entirely by the automata. 

The artificial intelligence in this novella has organized itself along hierarchical lines, and the ultimate decision-making function is called “The Recursive Decider.” 

Is the United States Really Blowing Up North Korea’s Missiles?

BY JEFFREY LEWIS

The Trump administration has completed a policy review of how to manage the growing nuclear threat from North Korea. The new policy — massive pressure and engagement — is a tepid serving of leftovers from the Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton administrations. I actually created a quiz of similar statements from all four administrations — and then when I looked at it a day later, I failed it.

As so often happens when reality disappoints, people turn to rumor and fantasy. And so, disappointed with the reality that Donald Trump faces the same lousy options on North Korea that hamstrung all his predecessors, the new Washington bedtime story is that the United States is secretly hacking North Korean missile launches.

The root of this particular bedtime story was a bit of reporting by David Sanger and William Broad, asserting that the Obama administration had begun, about three years ago, to launch cyberattacks against North Korea analogous to those against Iran.

While the United States is undoubtedly interested in penetrating Iranian and North Korean computer networks, and is doing a bit of mischief, that’s a long way from the reality of some keyboard jockey in Utah taking command of a North Korean missile and piloting it into the drink.

Securing Critical Information Infrastructure: Global Perspectives and Practices

Munish Sharma

Monograph No. 60

B

Infographic Of The Day: The Key Differences In Demographics For The Top 7 Social Networks

The following infographic dives deep into the demographic differences between the top seven social networks.

Android Poised To Knock Windows Off Internet Perch

by Martin Armstrong

Five years ago, Microsoft Windows enjoyed a massive 80 percentage point lead over Android when it came to the operating systems used the most to access the internet around the world.

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When looking at all platforms, this gap has now narrowed to 1.2 points. As the world's online activity becomes more and more mobile, Google's market-leading OS looks set to oust Windows from the top spot. As Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter summarizes, “Windows has won the desktop war but the battlefield has moved on".

This chart shows global internet usage share from February 2016 to February 2017, by operating system.

You will find more statistics at Statista.

25 April 2017

Information Warfare isn’t Russian – It’s American as Apple Pie


By Erick Waage and David V. Gioe

Both pundits and the American public are still seeking to understand the information-related events that occurred during 2016 Presidential Election and probably will be for some time. However, the US Intelligence Community and many other expert organizations such as the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike have indicted Information Warfare elements subordinate to Russian President Vladimir Putin as working to both undermine American confidence in its democratic institutions and tilt the scales in favor of one candidate. Though the impact of an effective information warfare campaign may be visible more rapidly in the information age, the principles of information warfare and the political psychology and weaponized narratives that underpin it are timeless. Information warfare is not new, but developments in information technology have enabled it to deliver its payloads vaster and over a much wider network. Looking to Putin’s intelligence apparatus is not to witness the genesis of political information warfare. In fact, the United States was birthed in a stew of information, misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda projected by competing entities both internally and externally. Thus, instead of looking at the apparent success of Russian intelligence in the recent election as the perfected form of information warfare, it is worth considering colonial and revolutionary America to appreciate the historical precedent and perspective. Indeed, at one point in its history, Americans were actually quite effective at information warfare, and we can look to one artisan in particular to understand this lost art.

NYC, SF, and LA Outages Surface Concerns About Power Grid Attack The Department of Energy needs to step its game up.

Peter Hess

On Friday morning, a series of power outages struck New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Officials tracked down the root causes of each issue, none of which seemed to be related to cyber attacks, but the incidents got a lot of people thinking about how vulnerable the United States’ power grid is to terrorist attacks — not to mention weather and squirrels.

The outage in New York City disrupted public transit, but not much else since it was limited to a single subway station. In Los Angeles, things were a bit more serious, with passengers experiencing difficulties and delays at Los Angeles International Airport, as well as power losses in some other areas around the city. San Francisco got it worst, with outages causing gridlock and taking some companies’ websites offline. The city was pretty much out of commission until power came back on.

So while these concurrent power grid failures appear to be unrelated accidents, they gave the U.S. a snapshot of what a power grid attack might look like. They also raise the question: What is being done now to protect the grid?

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy published a report saying that the nation’s electrical grid “faces imminent danger” from cyber-attacks. Given growing fears over cyber-attacks, whether DDos attacks affecting the internet of things or international efforts to undermine U.S. democracy, even the most absurd concerns that the U.S. power grid could be targeted by cyber-attacks are not totally out of line.

Cyber Warfare Beyond Domains

JACQUELYN G. SCHNEIDER

In 2010, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III made a pivotal decision for the future of cyberspace and the U.S. military: He saw to it that the U.S. Department of Defense declared cyberspace a “domain” of warfare.

This decision created the organizational impetus for the DoD to organize and equip forces to defend and attack from cyberspace. Lynn anticipated that the future of warfare would be determined by competitions for information and that without the ability to organize for missions in cyberspace, the DoD would be unable to ensure the digital freedom it needed to win modern wars. Since that time, the DoD has not only developed an overarching Cyber Strategy and stood up an entire Cyber Command with more than 6,000 personnel, and has also brought to initial operating capability 133 teams for its Cyber Mission Force. Under the auspices of the cyberspace domain, the DoD has made huge strides to defeat and deter adversaries in cyberspace.

But while labeling cyberspace an independent warfighting domain may have been administratively useful for the Pentagon, the arbitrary separation between “cyber” and the conventional domains has potentially deleterious effects for U.S. military effectiveness. The problem is that cyberspace does not operate within its own stovepipe. Instead, “cyber” is a general term that captures the role that digital information – the ones and zeros of modern warfighting – plays in creating conventional military power. These digital capabilities are embedded within tactical datalinks, smart weapons, unmanned and autonomous systems, in logistics platforms and mission planning software, and the millions of emails that direct military power. 

How Hackers Hijacked a Bank’s Entire Online Operation


THE TRADITIONAL MODEL of hacking a bank isn’t so different from the old-fashioned method of robbing one. Thieves get in, get the goods, and get out. But one enterprising group of hackers targeting a Brazilian bank seems to have taken a more comprehensive and devious approach: One weekend afternoon, they rerouted all of the bank’s online customers to perfectly reconstructed fakes of the bank’s properties, where the marks obediently handed over their account information. 

Researchers at the security firm Kaspersky on Tuesday described an unprecedented case of wholesale bank fraud, one that essentially hijacked a bank’s entire internet footprint. At 1 pm on October 22 of last year, the researchers say, hackers changed the Domain Name System registrations of all 36 of the bank’s online properties, commandeering the bank’s desktop and mobile website domains to take users to phishing sites. In practice, that meant the hackers could steal login credentials at sites hosted at the bank’s legitimate web addresses. Kaspersky researchers believe the hackers may have even simultaneously redirected all transactions at ATMs or point-of-sale systems to their own servers, collecting the credit card details of anyone who used their card that Saturday afternoon. 

24 April 2017

Tracing Spam: Diet Pills from Beltway Bandits


Reading junk spam messages isn’t exactly my idea of a good time, but sometimes fun can be had when you take a moment to check who really sent the email. Here’s the simple story of how a recent spam email advertising celebrity “diet pills” was traced back to a Washington, D.C.-area defense contractor that builds tactical communications systems for the U.S. military and intelligence communities.

Your average spam email can contain a great deal of information about the systems used to blast junk email. If you’re lucky, it may even offer insight into the organization that owns the networked resources (computers, mobile devices) which have been hacked for use in sending or relaying junk messages.

Earlier this month, anti-spam activist and expert Ron Guilmette found himself poring over the “headers” for a spam message that set off a curious alert. “Headers” are the usually unseen addressing and routing details that accompany each message. They’re generally unseen because they’re hidden unless you know how and where to look for them.

Let’s take the headers from this particular email — from April 12, 2017 — as an example. To the uninitiated, email headers may seem like an overwhelming dump of information. But there really are only a few things we’re interested in here (Guilmette’s actual email address has been modified to “ronsdomain.example.com” in the otherwise unaltered spam message headers below):

Return-Path: 

X-Original-To: rfg-myspace@ronsdomain.example.com

Delivered-To: rfg-myspace@ronsdomain.example.com

Received: from host.psttsxserver.com (host.tracesystems.com [72.52.186.80])
by subdomain.ronsdomain.example.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 5FE083AE87
for ; Wed, 12 Apr 2017 13:37:44 -0700 (PDT)

DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; q=dns/txt; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gtacs.com;
s=default; h=MIME-Version:Content-Type:Date:Message-ID:Subject:To:From:
Sender:Reply-To:Cc:Content-Transfer-Encoding:Content-ID:Content-Description:

Resent-Date:Resent-From:Resent-Sender:Resent-To:Resent-Cc:Resent-Message-ID:
In-Reply-To:References:List-Id:List-Help:List-Unsubscribe:List-Subscribe:
List-Post:List-Owner:List-Archive;

Received: from [186.226.237.238] (port=41986 helo=[127.0.0.1])by host.psttsxserver.com with esmtpsa (TLSv1:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:256)(Exim 4.87)(envelope-from id 1cyP1J-0004K8-OR for rfg-myspace@ronsdomain.example.com; Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:37:42 -0400
From: dan@gtacs.com

To: rfg-myspace@ronsdomain.example.com

Subject: Discover The Secret How Movies & Pop Stars Are Still In Shape
Message-ID: 

X-Priority: 3

Importance: Normal

Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2017 22:37:39 +0200

X-Original-Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary=”–InfrawareEmailBoundaryDepth1_FD5E8CC5–”
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: Infraware POLARIS Mobile Mailer v2.5
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname – host.psttsxserver.com
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain – ronsdomain.example.com
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID – [47 12] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain – gtacs.com
X-Get-Message-Sender-Via: host.psttsxserver.com: authenticated_id: dan@gtacs.com
X-Authenticated-Sender: host.psttsxserver.com: dan@gtacs.com

Celebrities always have to look good and that’s as hard as you might

{… snipped…}

In this case, the return address is dan@gtacs.com. The other bit to notice is the Internet address and domain referenced in the fourth line, after “Received,” which reads: “from host.psttsxserver.com (host.tracesystems.com [72.52.186.80])”

Gtacs.com belongs to the Trace Systems GTACS Team Portal, a Web site explaining that GTACS is part of the Trace Systems Team, which contracts to provide “a full range of tactical communications systems, systems engineering, integration, installation and technical support services to the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Intelligence Community customers.” The company lists some of its customers here.

The home page of Trace Systems.

Both Gtacs.com and tracesystems.com say the companies “provide Cybersecurity and Intelligence expertise in support of national security interests: “GTACS is a contract vehicle that will be used by a variety of customers within the scope of C3T systems, equipment, services and data,” the company’s site says. The “C3T” part is military speak for “Command, Control, Communications, and Tactical.”

Passive domain name system (DNS) records maintained by Farsight Security for the Internet address listed in the spam headers — 72.52.186.80 — show that gtacs.com was at one time on that same Internet address along with many domains and subdomains associated with Trace Systems.

It is true that some of an email’s header information can be forged. For example, spammers and their tools can falsify the email address in the “from:” line of the message, as well as in the “reply-to:” portion of the missive. But neither appears to have been forged in this particular piece of pharmacy spam.

** China’s Secret Weapon In South Korea Missile Fight: Hackers

By Jonathan Cheng 

Chinese state-backed hackers have recently targeted South Korean entities involved in deploying a U.S. missile-defense system, says an American cybersecurity firm, despite Beijing’s denial of retaliation against Seoul over the issue.

In recent weeks, two cyberespionage groups that the firm linked to Beijing’s military and intelligence agencies have launched a variety of attacks against South Korea’s government, military, defense companies and a big conglomerate, John Hultquist, director of cyberespionage analysis at FireEye Inc., said in an interview.

The California-based firm, which counts South Korean agencies as clients, including one that oversees internet security, wouldn’t name the targets.

While FireEye and other cybersecurity experts say Chinese hackers have long targeted South Korea, they note a rise in the number and intensity of attacks in the weeks since South Korea said it would deploy Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad, a sophisticated missile-defense system aimed at defending South Korea from a North Korean missile threat.

China opposes Thaad, saying its radar system can reach deep into its own territory and compromise its security. South Korea and the U.S. say Thaad is purely defensive. The first components of the system arrived in South Korea last month and have been a key issue in the current presidential campaign there.

China’s new military structure emphasizes cyber ops


by Philip Wen and Michael Martina
Source Link

China's President Xi Jinping inspects honour guards during the welcoming ceremony for Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 26, 2015. (Photo Credit: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon) 

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a restructure of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to transform it into a leaner fighting force with improved joint operations and cyber capabilities, state media said.

Centered around a new, condensed structure of 84 units, the reshuffle builds on Xi’s years-long efforts to modernise the PLA with greater emphasis on new capabilities including cyberspace, electronic and information warfare.

As chair of the Central Military Commission, Xi is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

“This has profound and significant meaning in building a world-class military,” Xi told commanders of the new units at the PLA headquarters in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said in a report late on Tuesday.

All 84 new units are at the combined-corps level, which means commanders will hold the rank of major-general or rear-admiral, the official China Daily reported on Wednesday, adding that unit members would likely be regrouped from existing forces given the military was engaged in cutting its troop strength by 300,000, one of a range of reforms introduced by Xi in 2015.