Cyber Strategies for a World at War

OPEN SOURCE AGGREGATION & ANALYSIS

President Obama Names Vivek Kundra Chief Information Officer

The White House
March 5, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama named Vivek Kundra the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the White House.

The Federal Chief Information Officer directs the policy and strategic planning of federal information technology investments and is responsible for oversight of federal technology spending. The Federal CIO establishes and oversees enterprise architecture to ensure system interoperability and information sharing and ensure information security and privacy across the federal government. The CIO will also work closely with the Chief Technology Officer to advance the President’s technology agenda.

President Obama said, “Vivek Kundra will bring a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position. I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations. As Chief Information Officer, he will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible.”

The following announcement was made today:

Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer
Vivek Kundra formerly served in Mayor Fenty’s cabinet as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia, responsible for technology operations and strategy for 86 agencies. He has been recognized among the top 25 CTO’s in the country and as the 2008 IT Executive of the Year for his pioneering work to drive transparency, engage citizens and lower the cost of government operations. Kundra is also recognized for his leadership in public safety communications, cyber security and IT portfolio management. Before Kundra came to the District, Governor Timothy M. Kaine appointed him Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the first dual cabinet role in the state’s history. Kundra’s diverse record also includes technology and public policy experience in private industry and academia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership and holds a MS in Information Technology from the University of Maryland.

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The Highlighter: Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency – Part V

A Report of the CSIS Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency

Part V includes highlights of:

  • Section 4 – Regulate for Cybersecurity

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CSWW is not affiliated with CSIS or the commission that produced this report. The use of “we,” “our,” “us,” etc., throughout the highlights of this report refers to the members of the CSIS Commission and not to CSWW.
——————————————————————————————————————————————

The Highlights:

4
Regulate for Cybersecurity

Recommendations

  • The president should task the NOC to work with appropriate regulatory agencies to develop and issue standards and guidance for securing critical cyber infrastructure, which those agencies would then apply in their own regulations.
  • The NOC should work with the appropriate regulatory agencies and with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop regulations for industrial control systems (ICS). The government could reinforce regulation by making the development of secure control systems an element of any economic stimulus package…
  • The NOC should immediately determine the extent to which government-owned critical infrastructures are secure from cyber attack…
  • The president should direct the NOC and the federal Chief Information Officers Council, working with industry, to develop and implement security guidelines for the procurement of IT products (with software as the first priority).
  • The president should task the National Security Agency (NSA) and NIST, working with international partners, to reform the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP).
  • The president should take steps to increase the use of secure Internet protocols. The president should direct OMB and the NOC to develop mandatory requirements for agencies to contract only with telecommunications carriers that use secure Internet protocols.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cyber review underway

The White House Blog
March 2, 2009

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, passed along this update about the ongoing review of our nation’s communications and information infrastructure.

In response to President Obama’s direction, the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council are presently conducting a 60-day review of the plans, programs, and activities underway throughout the government that address our communications and information infrastructure (i.e., cyberspace). The purpose of the review is to develop a strategic framework to ensure that our initiatives in this area are appropriately integrated, resourced and coordinated both within the Executive Branch and with Congress and the private sector.

Our nation’s security and economic prosperity depend on the security, stability, and integrity of communications and information infrastructure that are largely privately-owned and globally-operated. Safeguarding these important interests will require balanced decision making that integrates and harmonizes our national and economic security objectives with enduring respect for the rule of law. Guided by this principle, the review will build upon existing policies and structures to formulate a new vision for a national public-private partnership and an action plan to: enhance economic prosperity and facilitate market leadership for the U.S. information and communications industry; deter, prevent, detect, defend against, respond to, and remediate disruptions and damage to U.S. communications and information infrastructure; ensure U.S. capabilities to operate in cyberspace in support of national goals; and safeguard the privacy rights and civil liberties of our citizens.

The review will be completed by the end of April 2009. At that time, the review team will present its recommendations to the President regarding an optimal White House organizational construct to address issues related to U.S. and global information and communications infrastructure and capabilities. The recommendations also will include an action plan on identifying and prioritizing further work in this area.

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National Intelligence Program Budget for 2010

Funding Highlights:

• Strengthens the capabilities of the Nation’s intelligence agencies to furnish timely, accurate, and
insightful intelligence on the capabilities and intentions of foreign powers, including international
terrorist groups.
• Enhances Federal cybersecurity capabilities.
• Prioritizes resources to support a U.S. Government-wide counterterrorism action plan.
• Improves the sharing of terrorist-related information with Federal, State, local, tribal and foreign
partners.
• Increases collection capabilities and continues transforming intelligence analysis.

The National Intelligence Program (NIP) funds intelligence activities in several Departments and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). NIP’s budget is classified, so the 2010 Budget does not publicly disclose funding requests for intelligence activities. However, since NIP supports key elements of America’s national security,
this chapter highlights some NIP-funded activities without detailing funding information.

To protect America’s national security, the Intelligence Community (IC) provides effective intelligence collection, the analysis of that intelligence, and the production of finished intelligence products. IC is responsible for ensuring timely and effective dissemination of intelligence to those who need it, ranging from the President, to heads of Executive Departments, military forces, and law enforcement agencies. To meet this country’s national security challenges, IC is strengthening its components’ abilities to collect intelligence, increasing the security of Federal cyber networks, and protecting against the threat of international terrorism in the United States.

The 2010 budget for NIP will support the Administration’s national security objectives. The Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the CIA, and Department Secretaries with intelligence organizations will use 2010 NIP funds to defeat terrorist networks, prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, penetrate and
analyze the most difficult targets of U.S. foreign policy, and anticipate developments of strategic concern.

The Administration will request funding for IC for the remainder of 2009 and for 2010 to cover the costs of global intelligence operations. The details of the 2009 supplemental appropriations request will be provided to the Congress in the next few weeks while the detailed 2010 request will be transmitted with the President’s 2010
Budget request.

Increases funding for Cybersecurity. The threat to Federal information technology networks is real, serious, and growing. To address this threat, the President’s 2010 Budget includes substantial funding for cybersecurity efforts; such activities will take an integrated and holistic approach to address current cybersecurity threats, anticipate future threats, and continue innovative public-private partnerships. These
efforts encompass the homeland security, intelligence, law enforcement, military and diplomatic mission areas of the U.S. Government.

Implements Counterterrorism Plan. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has developed a U.S. Government-wide counterterrorism action plan. This plan lays out broad strategic objectives aligned with policy objectives to guide the overall implementation of this national strategy on counterterrorism. The Administration will work with NCTC, IC, and relevant Departments such as Defense, State, and Homeland Security to direct resources in support of counterterrorism implementation objectives.

Facilitates information Sharing. The President’s 2010 Budget will support initiatives to improve the sharing of intelligence, including terrorist-related information, with Federal, State, local, tribal and foreign partners. These efforts include advancing the National Suspicious Activity reporting Initiative; establishing agency-based, outcome-oriented performance targets for information sharing; and institutionalizing the use of
effective business practices.

Improves Collection and Analysis Capabilities. The 2010 Budget provides funding to improve mission performance by increasing intelligence collection capabilities and continuing to transform intelligence analysis in IC.

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NSA Should Oversee Cybersecurity, Intel Chief Says

By Kim Zetter
February 26, 2009

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Despite the fact that many Americans distrust the National Security Agency for its role in the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, the agency should be entrusted with securing the nation’s telecommunications networks and other cyber infrastructures, President Obama’s director of national intelligence told Congress on Wednesday.

Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair told the House intelligence committee (.pdf) that the NSA, rather than the Department of Homeland Security which currently oversees cybersecurity, has the smarts and the skills to secure cyberspace.

“The National Security Agency has the greatest repository of cyber talent,” Blair said. “[T]here are some wizards out there at Fort Meade who can do stuff.”

Blair added that “because of the offensive mission that they have, they’re the ones who know best about what’s coming back at us and it’s defenses against those sorts of things that we need to be able to build into wider and wider circles.”

He acknowledged that the agency had a trust handicap to overcome due to its role in the Bush Administration’s secret domestic spying program, and therefore asked Congress to help convince the public that it’s the right agency for the task.

“I think there is a great deal of distrust of the National Security Agency and the intelligence community in general playing a role outside of the very narrowly circumscribed role because of some of the history of the FISA issue in years past. . . . So I would like the help of people like you who have studied this closely and served on commissions, the leadership of the committee and finding a way that the American people will have confidence in the supervision, in the oversight of the role of NSA so that it can help protect these wider bodies. So, to me, that’s one of the keys things that we have to work on here in the next few months.”

Blair is not without support for his view. Paul Kurtz, who led the cybersecurity group on Obama’s transition team and was part of Bush’s White House National Security Council, recently told Forbes that he supports the NSA taking a prominent role in cybersecurity.

Continue reading…

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Obama Budget Eyes Boost to Cybersecurity Funds

By Andrea Shalal-Esa
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The budget proposed by President Barack Obama includes funding aimed at improving the security of U.S. private and public computer networks.

“The threat to federal information technology networks is real, serious and growing,” said an outline of the budget proposal for fiscal 2010 that begins October 1 and released by the Obama administration on Thursday.

The document called for $355 million in funding for the Department of Homeland Security to make private and public sector cyber infrastructure more resilient and secure.

The money would help support the operations of the National Cyber Security Division, as well as initiatives under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, according to the document.

In addition, the administration said it would put “substantial” funding for cybersecurity efforts into the national intelligence program, but gave no details since that funding is kept secret.

That money would be used for “an integrated and holistic approach to address current cybersecurity threats, anticipate future threats, and continue innovative public-private partnerships,” it said.

Continue…

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U.S. must craft cyberwarfare battle strategy

By William Jackson
February 18, 2009
Government Computer News

America has to face up to the realities of cyberwarfare with tactical and strategic planning, Kurtz says

The intelligence community and the military have crucial roles to play in protecting cyber space, former presidential adviser Paul E. Kurtz said Wednesday, and a clear command and control structure is needed to ensure that our information infrastructure can survive and recover from major disruptions.

In his opening address at the Black Hat Federal security conference being held in Arlington, Va., Kurtz, who served on the National and Homeland Security councils under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said the nation has been reluctant to consider the proper role of government in regulating and defending cyberspace. He said it is important that these decisions be made openly after public discussion rather than allowed to happen behind closed doors.

“To those who object to the militarization of cyberspace, I would say, it’s too late: We’re already there,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz, who recently served as cybersecurity adviser on President Barack Obama’s transition team, steered clear of discussing his advice to the new administration. But he praised the 60-day review of federal cybersecurity initiatives announced by the president on Feb. 9 and called Melissa Hathaway, the Bush administration official tapped to conduct it, “exceptionally capable.”

He said the United States should apply some of the lessons learned during the Cold War to cyber conflicts now simmering online. Cyber warfare is not as simple as the bipolar confrontation between the Western democracies and the Soviet bloc, Kurtz said. It is multilateral standoff involving multiple nations, shadowy organizations, and individual hackers and criminals.

“But I do think a number of concepts from the Cold War may apply, and one of these is deterrence,” he added.

A clear policy of deterrence by the United States and its allies helped to avoid the use of nuclear weapons. But no similar policy has been established for battles fought over networks. There is no definition of cyberwarfare, no policy on how and when cyber weapons should be deployed and used, and we do not have a clear idea of who our enemies are.

“We must begin by addressing the question of attribution,” Kurtz said. The ability to collect, share and analyze data in order to tailor responses to a threat is “the beginning of a deterrence policy.”

That ability will require the efforts of the intelligence community, in cooperation with law enforcement and the private sector, he said. Each of these sectors now collects large amounts of data, but the same inability to share and “connect the dots” that led to the 2001 terrorist attacks still plague our cybersecurity, he said.

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Cyber Threats 101

By Kim Hart
February 16, 2009
The Washington Post

An Army lieutenant may be an expert at securing borders and warding off enemies in a war zone. But when it comes to making sure hackers cannot break into the military’s communications network, officers may feel pretty defenseless.

To get a better grasp on technological threats, military officers, agency heads and government contracting executives have found one of the Defense Department’s best-kept secrets: the National Defense University.

NDU is made up of four graduate-level colleges, including the National War College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and the Joint Forces Staff College. But the largest college — the Information Resources Management College — has grown the fastest over the past few years because the skills it teaches are in such high demand.

Located on the District waterfront, at Fort Lesley J. McNair, the college trains mid-career workers, in the public and private sectors, how to leverage the newest consumer technologies as well as how to protect vital information. This expertise used to be reserved for an agency’s chief information officer. But as tools like thumb drives, Facebook, Twitter and voice over Internet Protocol phone services creep into offices and bases, secure digital networks are becoming essential for all employees.

“Web 2.0 and information assurance are such big deals these days, but they are in conflict,” said Robert Childs, senior director of the college. The courses are tailored for people responsible for safeguarding the networks at the National Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, for example. The Defense Department is the college’s primary source of funding.

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Biography – Dennis C. Blair

Director of National Intelligence

Dennis C. Blair became the nation’s third Director of National Intelligence on January 29, 2009.

Prior to retiring in 2002, Admiral Blair served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, the largest of the combatant commands. During his 34-year Navy career, Admiral Blair served on guided missile destroyers in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and commanded the Kitty Hawk Battle Group. Ashore, he served as Director of the Joint Staff and as the first Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support at the CIA. He has also served in budget and policy positions on the National Security Council and several major Navy staffs.

From 2003 to 2006, Blair was President and CEO of the Institute for Defense Analyses — one of the nation’s foremost national security analysis centers. Most recently, he served as the John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies at the National Bureau of Asian Research, and the Deputy Director of the Project on National Security Reform, an organization that analyzes the U.S. national security structure and develops recommendations to improve its effectiveness.

A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Blair earned a master’s degree in History and Languages from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and served as a White House Fellow at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has been awarded four Defense Distinguished Service Medals and has received decorations from the governments of Japan, Thailand, the Republic of Korea and Australia.

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Global Trends

"The nature of conflict is changing. The risk of conflict will increase due to diverging interests among major powers, an expanding terror threat, continued instability in weak states, and the spread of lethal, disruptive technologies. Disrupting societies will become more common, with long-range precision weapons, cyber, and robotic systems to target infrastructure from afar, and more accessible technology to create weapons of mass destruction."
 
Global Trends and Key Implications Through 2035 from the National Intelligence Council Quadrennial Report GLOBAL TRENDS: The Paradox of Power

A World at War

The World is at War. It is a world war that is being fought right now, in real time, virtually everywhere on the planet. It is a world war that is, perhaps, more encompassing and global in nature than any other world war in history because, not only is it being fought by nations and their governments, it is also being fought by non-state actors such as terrorists, organized crime, unorganized crime, and many other known and unknown entities. It is a total world war being fought every day on the hidden and dark battle fields of the cyber domain. It is a war that, according to some intelligence estimates, has the potential to be as nearly as serious and as deadly as a nuclear war... [MORE]

 


 


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Author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Against All Enemies, former presidential advisor and counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke sounds a timely and chilling warning about America’s vulnerability in a terrifying new international conflict—Cyber War! Every concerned American should read this startling and explosive book that offers an insider’s view of White House ‘Situation Room’ operations and carries the reader to the frontlines of our cyber defense. Cyber War exposes a virulent threat to our nation’s security. This is no X-Files fantasy or conspiracy theory madness—this is real... [MORE]

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Web applications are the front door to most organizations, exposing them to attacks that may disclose personal information, execute fraudulent transactions, or compromise ordinary users. This practical book has been completely updated and revised to discuss the latest step-by-step techniques for attacking and defending the range of ever-evolving web applications... [MORE]

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“When it comes to what government and business are doing together and separately with personal data scooped up from the ether, Mr. Schneier is as knowledgeable as it gets…. Mr. Schneier’s use of concrete examples of bad behavior with data will make even skeptics queasy and potentially push the already paranoid over the edge.” (Jonathan A. Knee - New York Times)... [MORE]

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The Blue Team Handbook is a zero fluff reference guide for cyber security incident responders and InfoSec pros alike. The BTHb includes essential information in a condensed handbook format about the incident response process, how attackers work, common tools, a methodology for network analysis developed over 12 years, Windows and Linux analysis processes, tcpdump usage examples, Snort IDS usage, and numerous other topics... [MORE]

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Cyber Threat Assessment

 


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In this New York Times bestselling investigation, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared... [MORE]


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As cyber-attacks dominate front-page news, as hackers join terrorists on the list of global threats, and as top generals warn of a coming cyber war, few books are more timely and enlightening than Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, by Slate columnist and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Fred Kaplan... [MORE]


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Kurt Brindley is a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief who specialized in the fields of tele-communications and C4SRI systems Upon retirement from the navy, he spent nearly a decade as a defense industry consultant. He now writes full time... [MORE]


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Now in development for film by 20th Century Fox, award-winning CyberStorm depicts, in realistic and sometimes terrifying detail, what a full scale cyber attack against present-day New York City might look like from the perspective of one family trying to survive it... [MORE]