Bringing Fear to the Perpetrators: Humanitarian Cyber Operations as Evidence Gathering and Deterrence
Most people—experts included—seem to think that the transition to driverless vehicles will come slowly over the coming few decades, and that large hurdles exist for widespread adoption. I believe that this is significant underestimation.
Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced. They will cause unprecedented job loss and a fundamental restructuring of our economy, solve large portions of our environmental problems, prevent tens of thousands of deaths per year, save millions of hours with increased productivity, and create entire new industries that we cannot even imagine from our current vantage point.
The Pentagon’s new 33-page cybersecurity strategy is an important evolution in how America proposes to address a top national security threat. It is intended to warn adversaries — especially China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — that the United States is prepared to retaliate, if necessary, against cyberattacks and is developing the weapons to do so.
Spectrum sounds to many ears like old fashioned, Cold War jamming, crude brute electromagnetic overkill. In reality though, the military needs access to spectrum, and more of it.
Smart defense systems need to communicate, navigate, identify, and target. It does not matter how cyber secure our platforms are if we are denied access to electromagnetic spectrum. Every modern high tech weapon system is a dud without access to spectrum. The loss of spectrum will evaporate the American military might.
Today, though, other voices are becoming stronger, desiring to commercialize military spectrum. Why does the military need an abundance of spectrum, these voices ask. It could be commercialized and create so much joy with annoying social media and stuff that does not matter beyond one of your life-time minutes.
It is a relevant question. We as an entrepreneurial and "take action" society see the opportunity to utilize parts of the military spectrum to launch wireless services and free up spectrum space for all these apps and the Internet of Things that is just around the corner of the digital development of our society and civilization. In the eyes of the entrepreneurs and their backers, the military sits on unutilized spectrum that could put be good use – and there could be a financial harvest of the military electromagnetic wasteland.
The military needs spectrum in the same way the football player needs green grass to plan and execute his run. If we limit the military access to necessary spectrum it will, to extend the football metaphor, be just a stack of players not moving or be able to win. Our military will not be able to operate effectively.
The electromagnetic space is no wasteland, it is a space ready to be utilized, at computational speed, and it serves as a deterrent in the same way as the ICBM in the silo. It exists, it can be utilized, and our adversaries understand. The military needs its electromagnetic space to ensure that they can operate in a degraded environment, when our adversaries seek to limit the American might through electronic warfare, we should be able to fully operate and execute our operations to the extent of our abilities.
We invite people to talk about others to talk about justice, democracy, and freedom, to improve the world, but I think it is time for us to talk to our fellow man about electromagnetic spectrum because the bulwark against oppression and totalitarian regimes depends on access.
Security researchers have successfully broken one of the most secure encryption algorithms, 4096-bit RSA, by listening — yes, with a microphone — to a computer as it decrypts some encrypted data. The attack is fairly simple and can be carried out with rudimentary hardware. The repercussions for the average computer user are minimal, but if you’re a secret agent, power user, or some other kind of encryption-using miscreant, you may want to reach for the Rammstein when decrypting your data.
This acoustic cryptanalysis, carried out by Daniel Genkin, Adi Shamir (who co-invented RSA), and Eran Tromer, uses what’s known as a side channel attack. A side channel is an attack vector that is non-direct and unconventional, and thus hasn’t been properly secured. For example, your pass code prevents me from directly attacking your phone — but if I could work out your pass code by looking at the greasy smudges on your screen, that would be a side channel attack. In this case, the security researchers listen to the high-pitched (10 to 150 KHz) sounds produced by your computer as it decrypts data.
While the U.S. military concerns itself with terrorist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere and cyberattacks from around the globe, it can’t forget about the potential threats from space, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said this week.
At a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon, Adm. Cecil Haney, said the United States faces myriad threats from space. From Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles to Iran’s “recently launched space vehicle that could be used as a long-range strike platform,” to North Korea’s space-launched vehicles, strategic deterrence in the space domain is as important as ever.
While Haney lauded how “[f]or 70 years, we have deterred and assured… For decades, we have sustained while others have modernized… developing and utilizing counterspace activities,” he also said the threat in space is real.
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In the 1930s, B.H. Liddell Hart, Giffard Le Quesne Martel, and John F.C. Fuller wrote extensively about the future of mobile warfare. Martel was considered one of the world’s leading tank experts of the 1930s. He went so far to prove his case that he built a light tank in his own garden, at his own expense, which became the platform for the British Bren gun-carrier.
In my view, one of the major weaknesses in cyber defense planning is the perception that there is time to lead a cyber defense while under attack. It is likely that a major attack is automated and premeditated. If it is automated the systems will execute the attacks at computational speed. In that case no political or military leadership would be able to lead of one simple reason – it has already happened before they react.
A premeditated attack is planned for a long time, maybe years, and if automated, the execution of a massive number of exploits will be limited to minutes. Therefore, future cyber defense would rely on components of artificial intelligence that can assess, act, and mitigate at computational speed. Naturally, this is a development that does not happen overnight.
In an environment where the actual digital interchange occur at computational speed, the only thing the government can do is to prepare, give guidelines, set rules of engagement, disseminate knowledge to ensure a cyber resilient society, and let the coders prepare the systems to survive in a degraded environment.
Another important factor is how these cyber defense measures can be reversed engineered and how visible they are in a pre-conflict probing wave of cyber attacks. If the preset cyber defense measures can be "measured up" early in a probing phase of a cyber conflict it is likely that the defense measures can through reverse engineering become force multiplier for the future attacks – instead of bulwarks against the attacks.
So we enter the land of "damned if you do-damned if you don't" because if we pre-stage the conflict with artificial intelligence supported decision systems that lead the cyber defense at computational speed we are also vulnerable by being reverse engineered and the artificial intelligence becomes tangible stupidity.
We are in the early dawn of cyber conflicts, we can see the silhouettes of what is coming, but one thing becomes very clear – the time factor. Politicians and military leadership will have no factual impact on the actual events in real time in conflicts occurring at computational speed, so focus have then to be at the front end. The leadership is likely to have the highest impact by addressing what has to be done pre-conflict to ensure resilience when under attack.
Jan Kallberg is a researcher at the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute, University of Texas at Dallas.
New challenges have prompted talk of change once again. The U.S. government’s recently acknowledged drone program, the contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recent report on CIA detention and interrogation practices have fanned public anxieties about government overreach. Surprise developments, meanwhile, have blindsided U.S. officials. The disintegration of Syria, the Boston Marathon bombing, the precipitous rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the systematic hacking of U.S. computer networks—in one way or another, all caught Washington flat-footed. Last November, The Washington Post reported that CIA Director John Brennan was weighing a wholesale reorganization of the agency, one that would combine operational and analytic divisions into “hybrid units” dedicated to specific regions and threats. The paper’s sources described the plans as “among the most ambitious in CIA history.”
WASHINGTON (March 5, 2015) -- The Army cyber mission force, or CMF, has grown "exponentially since September 2013 with 25 of 41 [planned] teams at initial operating capability," Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon told lawmakers, March 4.
"We are on track to have all 41 CMF teams established and operating by the end of fiscal year 2016. However, they will not all be fully operationally capable until FY17," he said. CMF teams are allocated to combatant commanders, where they provide defensive and offensive cyber capabilities.
Cardon, who is the commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, or ARCYBER, and Second Army, addressed "operationalizing cyberspace" in oral and written testimony. He and his counterparts from the other services appeared before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
GUARD, RESERVE CAPABILITIES
Besides the CMF teams, Cardon said ARCYBER will create "a total, multi-component Army cyber force that includes 21 Reserve-component cyber protection teams, trained to the same standards as the active-component cyber force."
In October 2014, one Army National Guard cyber protection team was activated and is in Title 10 status, he added, meaning those Guard Soldiers are now on active duty.
It is sometimes a bit tricky to get the proper authorities to activate Reserve-component Soldiers, he said.
Authorities are a "complex problem" and "remain a challenge," Cardon said. "While Title 10 authorities are clear, Title 32 and state active duty require the application of varied state constitutional, legislative, and executive authorities and coordination with state agencies and officials."
There is merit in developing a common approach in every state for authorities and capabilities to facilitate a more rapid and effective response in cyberspace operations, he added.
Reserve-component cyber experts are a tremendous resource, he said, pointing out that both Guard and Reserve Soldiers already have the acquired cyber skills that will enable them to integrate more quickly into the cyberspace force than if they had to be trained from scratch.
Guard and Reserve Soldiers routinely augment the active cyberspace force and are supporting missions both here in the United States, as well as overseas, including Afghanistan and other areas in Southwest Asia, he added.
Ohio gets first of planned National Guard cyber-defense teamsOhio National Guard soldiers will join with members of Indiana and Michigan Guard units to form a cyber protection team, utilizing computer skills such as those practiced in the Army's 2014 Cyber Shield Exercise in Arkansas, depicted here. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Kelvin Green)
Washington (CNN)Problems with the Federal Aviation Administration's cybersecurity is "threatening the agency's ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation of the national airspace system," a new Government Accountability Office report out Monday found.
The 42-page document "Information Security: FAA Needs to Address Weaknesses in Air Traffic Control Systems" concludes the agency has taken steps to decrease vulnerabilities, but did not fully address problems including those which could make critical computer systems vulnerable to hackers.
"These include weaknesses in controls intended to prevent, limit, and detect unauthorized access to computer resources, such as controls for protecting system boundaries, identifying and authenticating users, authorizing users to access systems, encrypting sensitive data, and auditing and monitoring activity on FAA's systems," the GAO authors wrote.
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The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s (USCC) assessment of the weaknesses of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) offered little new analysis on the PLA’s cyberwarfare capabilities. This is largely due to the impossibility of finding a comprehensive assessment of China’s military cyber capabilities — in comparison to Chinese cyber espionage capabilities — on the public record. Considering the alleged importance and centrality of cyberwar and informatization in the PLA’s thinking, this is analytical gap is worth looking into in some detail.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is leading the project called Airborne Launch Assist Space Access, or ALASA. Bradford Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said earlier this month the agency plans to execute the program’s first flight demonstration by the end of the year and then 12 orbital tests in 2016.
Engineers have designed a launch vehicle that can be carried under an F-15. The F-15 would carry the launch vehicle to a high enough altitude before the launch vehicle would separate from the aircraft. The vehicle would then use its own rocket boosters to leave the Earth’s atmosphere before delivering the satellite into orbit.
DARPA officials hope the program can deliver satellites under 100 pounds within 24 hours notice and for a price tag under $1 million.
Since hackers first began demonstrating that they could take over cars’ digital systems to slam on brakes or hijack steering, most automakers have done everything they can to avoid publicly discussing whether their vehicles are vulnerable. Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey, however, has demanded answers on that car-hacking question. Now he’s released his findings: the answers are messy at best, and dangerous at worst.
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Europe is at a far worse state when it comes to cyber defense than are the United States, Australia, and Japan. The reason is very simple: The way the European Union is set up is totally contra-productive to how public leadership should be able to address a rapid and cascading set of nation-state cyberattacks.
Pre-Internet institutional arrangements may cripple the future ability to utilize cyber as a national security instrument. The European Union, which is a separate entity with some overlap to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, would naturally be a potential cyber powerhouse. A confederation of 28 countries—with ambitions to grow to more than 30—it represents a sizeable economy, over 300 million people, and a well advanced information technology establishment.
There is no supreme commander in the European Union. Each country has the right to design its own defense posture. Seen from a cyber-perspective the question is how to be able to react to rapid interchanges and attacks, which are escalating to a conflict, if there has to be a joint decision by 28 supreme commanders? Technically that can be solved by preauthorizing and dedicating specific agencies, but that would work only as long as the interchanges are limited and are not seen as a national security threat. Cyber has short decision time frames. Institutional arrangements such as the European Union´s defense are unfit for dealing with digital national security. The networked society forces nation states to reevaluate pre-Internet institutional arrangements, as these can undermine the cyber effort.
Returning to the question about the European cyberdefense, how will Europe create a uniform, cohesive approach to address cyberattacks and cyberaggression by foreign states? Especially, if that requires redefining what the European Union is by integrating its defenses into one body. Europe can be defended by NATO because the vast majority of the European Union countries are NATO members, but then it is not the European Union that defends itself. Those EU countries that are not also in NATO are then assumed to arrange their own cyber-defense.(Page 2 of 2)
It would be each US state figuring out its own cyber strategy, implementation, research, and knowledge dissemination with no leadership or guidance.
The European information security agency, ENISA, is not an actively participating operative agency like the U.S. National Security Agency, but a body set up to be subject matter experts on information security and support the European Union efforts. The epicenter for European Union political and bureaucratic power is in Brussels, Belgium, where both the EU and NATO headquarters are located. The combined EU and NATO headquarters are European power.
Where is ENISA located? The primary agency for European information security is located in Heraklion, Greece. Where is that? On some island in the Mediterranean. From an American perspective it is similar to placing a central agency for federal cyber defense in Fairbanks, Alaska, or perhaps on the upper peninsula of Michigan. I use the ENISA location as an example how dysfunctional European cyber defenses are and how other non-relevant interests, such as Greece also wants an agency of significance that can be place at a remote spot to promote the rural economy, prevails. Europe is far behind to withstand a national cyber crisis.
The epicenter of cyber is Washington, D.C., and the discourse radiates from the national capital outward. The question is how far from the Beltway it reaches. Does the rest of this nation care about the national security threat that is embedded in future adversarial cyber operations?
One of my major cyber concerns for the next 10 years is how to disseminate the cyber knowledge into small-town America. The vast majority of the utilities, plants and local government facilities are located in small towns and communities. The United States has 3,500 counties, 18,000 state and local police departments, and 50,000 water utilities of various sizes — just to give you an idea of the scale of local government. This disconnect between the federal level and the local communities is nothing unique for cyber. Implementation is a challenge for every public program just because the sheer size of the volume of information and guidance that have to be communicated, disseminated and checked.
Cyber is unique because it allows states to engage in a conflict within another country and engage the target with limited ability for the targeted nation to identify, intercept and prevent the attack. This increases the number of potential targets astronomically and it also affects the society at all levels and locales when every part of our society can be cyber attacked.
I live in a small town with two Waffle Houses, one IHOP and one post office where you are greeted as family, but it also has three major food-processing plants, a rubber factory, a larger energy utility and a sizeable sawmill. Cyber security is naturally a part of the operating procedures for the major corporations, but is not really on most people’s mind. Here lies the challenge: How can we change the mindset so cyber is seen as a local problem and not an issue to be handed off to the federal government?
The critical infrastructure and the manufacturing base of America are located in thousands of these small towns. If the drive for increased cyber security and ability to reach national cyber resilience do not reach these communities, these incentives are pointless exercises.
Dr. Jan Kallberg is researcher at Cyber Operations Lab, Cyber Security Research and Education Institute, The University of Texas at Dallas, an Assistant Professor at Arkansas Tech University, and part-time faculty at George Washington University. Kallberg firmly believes that cyber research is to seek the unknown and find ways to utilize cyber as a policy option. He has been published in Strategic Studies Quarterly, Joint Forces Quarterly, Military Review, Air and Space Power Journal, IEEE Access, IEEE Professional, and IEEE Security & Privacy. Dr. Kallberg co-authors the in 2014 forthcoming book titled: “Digital National Security – Cyber Defense and Cyber Operations”. His personal website is www.cyberdefense.com – a domain name registered in 1996.
Cyberwarfare: virtual reality bites16 December 2013
Once limited to the arsenals of rogue computer hackers, cyberattacks are fast becoming a weapon of choice for international state-sanctioned combatants. As governments scramble to protect themselves, Jan Kallberg of Arkansas Tech University speaks to Jack Wittels about the online evolution’s impact on national defence strategies.