The recent WikiLeaks exposure was a huge black eye for the U.S. Department of Defense, supposedly one of the more secure state organizations we have working for us. Its impact clearly wasn’t lost on the Pentagon, whose blue sky research arm has launched a new project designed to ferret out malicious behavior on DoD networks. Named CINDER – Cyber INsiDER Threat – the project is designed not to sniff out people, but adversarial actions as they happen.
While various cyber-attacks against US government and business targets are numerous and well-documented, America's own offensive capabilities in this area have remained mostly out of view. However, in his recent testimony before Congress, NSA chief Lt. General Keith Alexander reversed that history a bit, and confirmed that the US has, and is, engaged in offensive cyber-warfare. Alexander also explicated how cyber-combat factors into the general doctrine of legality of war.
One of the major problems with current cybersecurity measures is that while systems can detect the erratic behavior that heralds an incoming attack, there often isn't a whole lot those systems can do once the attack is underway short of pulling the servers offline, resulting in lost revenues and credibility for Web sites and a loss of key services for users. A new MIT system aims to change that by keeping servers and applications running even as it contains an incoming cyberattack.
Washington insiders recently sweated out a real-time war game where a cyberattack crippled cell phone service, Internet and even electrical grids across the U.S. The unscripted, dynamic simulation allowed former White House officials and the Bipartisan Policy Center to study the problems that might arise during a real cyberattack emergency, according to Aviation Week'sAres Defense Blog.
The Policy Center's vice-president reports ""The general consensus of the panel today was that we are not prepared to deal with these kinds of attacks."
A Chinese cyber-assault on Google and more than 30 other U.S. companies was the most sophisticated online attack ever seen outside of the defense industry, according to experts from anti-virus firm McAfee interviewed by Wired. Google announced on Tuesday that it would no longer censor information on its search portal per Chinese government rules, and may stop doing business in China entirely.
As any soldier will tell you, consistent and realistic drill forms the foundation of any successful military action. But whereas an infantryman can hone his aim at a firing range, America's Internet warriors don't have a similar venue for developing their skills at cyberwar. But DARPA hopes a $51 million network simulation, complete with computer programs that behave like human targets and adversaries, will provide the perfect arena for developing the next generation of cyberwar weapons and tactics.
Researchers are testing their system using an implanted device in the abdominal wall of a cow.
Implantable medical devices have improved the quality of life for many with conditions like arrhythmia or chronic heart failure, but an increased reliance on electronics to keep our bodies ticking comes with inherent security risks; as more and more devices rely on wireless capabilities to communicate vital data to doctors, the possibility that devices could come under attack from third parties is harrowing at best.
Think about it: Would you want someone launching the equivalent of a denial-of-service attack on the device that keeps your heart beating properly?
Patriotic geeks might want to brush off those resumes, because the long-awaited U.S. Cyber Command officially went live last Thursday, and hopes to recruit at least 1,000 cyber security experts over the next few years. But the newly formed group faces questions about its mission and responsibilities, as well as competition for recruits from U.S. intelligence agencies.
The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security also coincided with the kickoff of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which infuses the usual trick-or-treat spirit of October with additional meaning.