Cyber Strategies for a World at War

OPEN SOURCE AGGREGATION & ANALYSIS

Top Hacker Shows Us How It’s Done

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An “Horrendous Risk” In Action

Wired tech writer Mat Honan provides heart-stopping but timely insight into what Steve Wozniak’s horrendous cloud risks look like:

In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

Continue reading, if you dare, at Wired

Filed under: Business, cyber security, Internet, Life, News, Polls, Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Continue reading…

Filed under: Analysis, Biography, Business, cyber security, cyber war, Doctrine, government, History, Intelligence Community, Internet, Life, Military, News, Policy, Politics, Polls, Strategy, Technology, Terrorism, Training, War, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VA settlement demonstrates just how costly lax security can be

By William Jackson
February 02, 2009
GCN

If you want another good reason to make sure your sensitive data is adequately locked down, look no farther than the Veterans Affairs Department, which last week agreed to pay $20 million to settle a class action lawsuit over the 2006 loss of a laptop containing records with personal information about up to 26.5 million veterans and active duty personnel.

That’s a lot of money, and it will be paid from taxpayers’ dollars, but VA got off lucky. The suit originally asked for $1,000 for each person whose data was exposed, which could have been more than $26 billion. That’s nearly enough to bail out a good-sized bank.

The settlement demonstrates that the repercussions of exposing data can be long-lasting and that the cost can go far beyond the immediate expense of cleaning up the breach. For companies it has long been known that negative publicity resulting from public notification of a data breach can quickly translate into millions of dollars of lost shareholder value as stock prices tumble. Agencies do not have to worry about stock prices, but the threat of other costs is real. The VA agreed to the settlement even though the department has said there is no evidence that the information on the stolen laptop was used or than any person involved was harmed by it.

Continue reading…

Filed under: cyber security, government, News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Nato’s cyber defence warriors

By Frank Gardner
February 3, 2009
BBC

Nato officials have told the BBC their computers are under constant attack from organisations and individuals bent on trying to hack into their secrets.

The attacks keep coming despite the establishment of a co-ordinated cyber defence policy with a quick-reaction cyber team on permanent standby.

The cyber defence policy was set up after a wave of cyber attacks on Nato member Estonia in 2007, and more recent attacks on Georgia – so what are they defending against and how do they do it?

Tower of Babel

Nato’s operational headquarters in Mons is a low, drab three-storey building – part of a sprawling complex set in rolling farmland south of Brussels.

The blue and white flag of the 26-nation alliance flutters in the cold breeze alongside the spangled banner of the EU.

Inside the canteen it is like a Tower of Babel with almost every language of Europe competing to be heard above the clatter of trays and dishes.

Our escort, a German army officer in immaculate uniform, leads us down a corridor to a hushed room where 20 or so military analysts sit hunched over computers; their desert boots and camouflage fatigues strangely out of place for a windowless room in Belgium.

This, explains Chris Evis, is the Incident Management Section, which he heads.

“We face the full gamut of threats. It varies from your kiddie who’s just trying to gain street cred amongst his friends to say he’s just defaced a Nato system to more focused targeted attacks against Nato information”.

Cyber attacks are not new – websites were being hacked into and brought down during the Kosovo war 10 years ago.

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Filed under: cyber war, Military, News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Federal Job Database Is Breached

By Joe Davidson
January 31, 2009
washingtonpost.com

The federal government’s online database for job seekers has been hacked.

As if Uncle Sam’s hiring process is not in enough of a mess already, now comes word that the pocket where he keeps job applications has been picked.

USAJOBS, the government’s database, is powered by Monster.com, the Internet employment service.

A “special security alert” posted by USAJOBS says “certain contact and account data were taken, including user IDs and passwords, e-mail addresses, names, phone numbers, and some basic demographic data.

“The information accessed does not include resumes,” the statement continues. “The accessed information does not include sensitive data such as social security numbers or personal financial data.”

But the government warns that the stolen data could be used in phishing schemes. This is a type of electronic fraud in which crooks use e-mail messages, pretending to come from legitimate organizations — potentially the U.S. government in this case — to secure sensitive information from those whose e-mail addresses were stolen.

Continue reading…

Filed under: cyber security, government, News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Offering protection in the new cyber war

By David Shamah
January 07, 2009
ISRAEL21c

While Hamas rockets disrupt Israeli life in the Negev, supporters of the terror group are fighting against Israel on another front – over the Internet. Groups of sophisticated hackers, with names like Moroccan Hackers, Islamic Crew, and Iran Black Hats, have been working overtime to “own” Israeli web sites, using them to send messages protesting the Israel Defense Force’s operation in Gaza, chalking up a “cyber-victory” against Israel.

Lucky we have David Allouch, CTO of Israeli security company AppliCure Technologies, on our side. Allouch has been on both sides of the cyber war – a former “black hat” hacker who attacked business and government sites in his native France, now helping protect Israeli sites from the onslaught of hacker teams around the world, determined to hack Israeli sites.

Today, most businesses and individuals have plenty of protection on their computer networks – including firewalls, e-mail spam catchers, anti-virus programs, etc. – so hackers bent on computer mischief don’t concentrate on those installations. Instead, they go for the one “door” that remains open for data from the outside – a company’s web server, which hosts web pages, applications, and databases.

Web site programmers use one of several popular site server software (Apache, Microsoft IIS, etc.), which allow users to interact with sites and site designers to set up things like streaming music and video, as well as logging, site security, and other “back end” stuff. Hackers work endlessly to exploit weaknesses in the server software, and when they find such weaknesses, they’re quick to develop an “exploit” to take advantage of it.

Hackers insert new content

Once a weakness is discovered, the programmers responsible for the hole issue a fix to close the security hold. But not all web programmers get the memo – so there are lots of sites out in cyberspace that have old weaknesses that haven’t been repaired, and it’s these sites the hackers attack. Using an automatic attack script – a bot – hackers can parse thousands of sites in a short time, looking for sites to take over. And when they find them, those sites can be compromised, with the most common exploit being a change in the home page by hackers, where they insert their own content.

Continue reading…

Filed under: cyber security, cyber war, News, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are We In A Tech ‘War’ With Russia?

By Rob Enderle
January 29, 2009
Dark Reading

I was reading the withering comments Vladimir Putin made to Michael Dell in response to Dell’s offer to help Russia. While Putin is the Prime Minister of Russia now, he clearly is also the guy running the country, and reading between the lines, I think it is likely he is driving a technology war with the US — and that has some rather scary implications.

I’ve already seen what appears to be a massive ramp-up of Eastern European botnets and attacks designed to do massive amounts of identity theft. The running assumption is that these are criminals and they are simply too difficult for Russia to catch. But given that Russia treats the tools that these folks use as legitimate products that are developed, protected, and can carry warranties which can be enforced has me wondering if the folks doing the attacking aren’t also government-backed.

Russian hackers are considered a global menace as it is, and if they are overtly or covertly government-backed, this would be a sort of equivalent to a tech war. The FBI has just started warning that Cybergeddon is coming and that they are unprepared for the result. And it likely will come out of Eastern Europe.

The Dell Trigger

At the recent World Economic Conference, Vladimir Putin made a presentation that clearly had an anti-West (actually more anti-US) tone to it. The first question to him was asked by Michael Dell, who after praising Russia for its technical and scientific prowess, asked: “How can we help you?”

Putin reinterpreted Dell’s remarks to mean that Dell was calling Russia weak and then went on in a rant suggesting that Dell was removing Western technology from Russian infrastructure and then concluded with what sounded like a personal attack on Dell. This attack consisted of belittling Dell’s business and stating that Russian software was superior and hardware didn’t matter. The way he said it implied that Dell was running the equivalent of a lemonade stand.

Continue reading…

Filed under: cyber war, News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Seeking Obama’s Cyber Czar

By Andy Greenberg
December 19, 2008
Forbes

Should the head of cybersecurity in the new administration come from private industry, government or the military?

For weeks, blogs have been buzzing about which Silicon Valley luminary will be tapped as President-elect Barack Obama’s chief technology officer, the most innovation-focused position in what has been touted as a hyper-innovative regime.

But the Obama team may also be quietly preparing another, less-flashy tech role. The president-elect has alluded to appointing a so-called “cyber adviser,” charged with protecting the government and critical infrastructure from a growing wave of hackers and cyberspies.

Continue reading…

Filed under: News, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hackers running fake Obama websites: security firm

PARIS (AFP) — Hackers are using dozens of fake websites linked to Barack Obama’s inauguration as US president to spread a virus on the Internet, a security company warned Tuesday.

According to the firm Panda Security, more than 70 websites are running a bogus news story titled “Barack Obama has refused to be a president,” aimed at tricking Internet users into downloading the computer virus.

Users who click on the story are asked to click in a pop-up window to download an information file.

“In reality these are malicious files that are installed on the computer, and turn it into a zombie PC, that can be remotely controlled by hackers,” the firm said in a statement.

It said the cyber-attack appeared to have originated in China, based on analysis of the website domain names, which were all bought by a Chinese company linked to previous cyber-attacks.

Web users are advised not to visit the sites — which include bestbarack.com, jobarack.com, thebaracksite.com — unless they have powerful anti-virus protection.

Filed under: cyber security, Internet, News, , , , , , , , , ,

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]

RSS ODNI News

  • NESPIN Welcomes Connecticut Intelligence Center (CTIC) to Group of Agency Systems Connected to RISSNET July 27, 2017
    By: Donald Kennedy  Aug 15, 2016   The New England State Police Information Network (NESPIN) is pleased to welcome the Connecticut Intelligence Center (CTIC) to the group of partner agency systems connected to Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) and sharing criminal intelligence via RISSIntel.
  • Unpacking Cyber Terrorism July 26, 2017
    By: ISE Bloggers  May 31, 2016   The Information Sharing Environment (ISE) has always been focused on terrorism-related information sharing; with terrorist groups’ ever-increasing level of sophistication in their use of the Internet, it is only natural that information sharing play a role in tackling issues posed by cyber terrorism.
  • Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert Discusses Global Ransomware Attack May 22, 2017
    The President's Homeland Security Advisor, Tom Bossert, briefed the press on 15 May 2017 on the WannaCry ransomware attack that began spreading 12 May and affected computers in more than 150 countries. Bossert highlighted CTIIC's role in keeping the White House informed of unfolding events and discussed US responses and public/private coordination […]
  • Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert Discusses Global Ransomware Attack May 22, 2017
    The President's Homeland Security Advisor, Tom Bossert, briefed the press on 15 May 2017 on the WannaCry ransomware attack that began spreading 12 May and affected computers in more than 150 countries. Bossert highlighted CTIIC's role in keeping the White House informed of unfolding events and discussed US responses and public/private coordination […]
  • DS&T AND OUSD(I) Launch “Xpress” Automated Analysis Challenge May 16, 2017
    NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ODNI News Release No. 13-17 May 15, 2017   DS&T AND OUSD(I) Launch “Xpress” Automated Analysis Challenge   WASHINGTON – The Intelligence Community is sponsoring a $500,000 prize competition to explore artificial intelligence approaches that would transform the process by which analysts currently support policymakers and […]

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Hackers are always pushing the boundaries, investigating the unknown, and evolving their art. Even if you don't already know how to program, Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, 2nd Edition will give you a complete picture of programming, machine architecture, network communications, and existing hacking techniques. Combine this knowledge with the included Linux environment, and all you need is your own creativity... [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]

RSS CIA News

  • Top Ten Reasons to Apply to the CIA Scholarship Program
    Blog Post: Did you know the CIA has scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students? Did you know you could get paid to go to school? Here are our top 10 reasons to apply to the CIA Scholarship Program.
  • Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Richard Daniel Krobock
    Feature Story: "Rare is the man who has a full life by the age of 31. Rarer still is the man who, simply through the quiet strength of his personality and the resolve of his character, can dramatically affect the lives of the people who have encountered him. Richard Daniel Krobock was that man."
  • A Day in the Life of a CIA Cyber Threat Analyst Intern
    Featured Story: Every officer has a unique path to the Agency, and CIA interns are no exception. CIA.gov recently sat down with a Cyber Threat Analyst Intern in the Directorate of Analysis (DA) to learn more about her journey to the CIA and her experiences during her summer internships. She is back this summer for her second tour with the Agency and looks fo […]
  • Director Pompeo Delivers Remarks at INSA
    Speech: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by CIA Director Mike Pompeo at INSA Leadership Dinner (July 11, 2017)
  • A Day in the Life of a CIA Scholarship Recipient
    Featured Story: The CIA Undergraduate Scholarship program is a financial needs based initiative that offers undergraduate students an unmatched experience in a diverse and inclusive environment. Undergraduate students, serving as scholarship recipients with the CIA, attend an accredited college/university on a full-time basis, studying a variety of subjects, […]

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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]

RSS Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

  • 2017/08/15 TALONS Tested on Commissioned U.S. Navy Vessel for First Time August 15, 2017
    DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated its prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast aboard a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel for the first time. The crew of USS Zephyr, a 174-foot (53-meter) Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship, evaluated the technology demonstration system over three days near Naval […]
  • 2017/08/11 Disruptioneering: Streamlining the Process of Scientific Discovery August 11, 2017
    DARPA's Defense Sciences office (DSO)-whose mission is to identify and pursue high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines-today announced the first programs under its new Disruptioneering effort, which pushes for faster identification and exploration of bold and risky ideas with the goal of […]
  • 2017/08/11 The Radio Frequency Spectrum + Machine Learning = A New Wave in Radio Technology August 11, 2017
    The current wave of artificial intelligence, driven by machine learning (ML) techniques, is all the rage, and for good reason. With sufficient training on digitized writing, spoken words, images, video streams, and other digital content, ML has become the basis of voice recognition, self-driving cars, and other previously only-imagined capabilities.
  • 2017/08/04 Strategic Technology Office Outlines Vision for “Mosaic Warfare” August 4, 2017
    DARPA's Strategic Technology Office (STO) this week unveiled its updated approach to winning or deterring future conflicts during Sync with STO Day, held in Arlington, Virginia. At the event-which attracted about 300 innovators and entrepreneurs, more than half of whom had never worked with DARPA before-STO program managers outlined new areas of interes […]
  • 2017/07/19 Building the Safe Genes Toolkit July 19, 2017
    DARPA created the Safe Genes program to gain a fundamental understanding of how gene editing technologies function; devise means to safely, responsibly, and predictably harness them for beneficial ends; and address potential health and security concerns related to their accidental or intentional misuse.

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RSS Cyber News (Google)

  • Petya ransomware: Cyber attack costs could hit $300m for shipping giant Maersk - ZDNet August 16, 2017
    ZDNetPetya ransomware: Cyber attack costs could hit $300m for shipping giant MaerskZDNetFalling victim to the global Petya cyber attack is set to cost Maersk, the world's largest container ship and supply vessel operator, up to $300m in lost revenues. The Danish transport and logistics conglomerate - which has offices in 130 countries and ...Maersk puts […]
  • In The Age Of Cyber-Terrorism, Every Investor Must Own Gold - Forbes August 16, 2017
    ForbesIn The Age Of Cyber-Terrorism, Every Investor Must Own GoldForbesIn a recent Metal Masters interview with the Hard Assets Alliance, he noted that the biggest geopolitical risk for Americans today is not a conventional war but rather cyber-attacks that could take down the U.S. power grid. In such a scenario, gold ...
  • Scottish parliament hit by cyber-attack similar to Westminster assault - The Guardian August 15, 2017
    The GuardianScottish parliament hit by cyber-attack similar to Westminster assaultThe GuardianIn an internal bulletin, Sir Paul Grice, Holyrood's chief executive, told MSPs and parliamentary staff on Tuesday afternoon: “The parliament's monitoring systems have identified that we are currently the subject of a brute force cyber-attack from ...Scotti […]
  • Och. Scottish Parliament under siege from brute-force cyber attack - The Register August 16, 2017
    The RegisterOch. Scottish Parliament under siege from brute-force cyber attackThe RegisterIn an internal bulletin Sir Paul Grice, Holyrood's chief executive, warned: "The parliament's monitoring systems have identified that we are currently the subject of a brute-force cyber attack from external sources. "This attack appears to be targeti […]
  • Should cyber competition performance be valued like schooling in cyber workforce? - FederalNewsRadio.com August 16, 2017
    FederalNewsRadio.comShould cyber competition performance be valued like schooling in cyber workforce?FederalNewsRadio.com“What we're seeing as part of the U.S. Cyber Challenge is that there is a lot of interest for people to move into cybersecurity, because they see and they hear of the demand,” Karen Evans, former White House IT official and director o […]
  • Financial regulators active in cyber security sans framework - Economic Times August 16, 2017
    Economic TimesFinancial regulators active in cyber security sans frameworkEconomic TimesIt is also planning to conduct annual cyber audits and has established a specialised cell (C-SITE) to conduct detailed IT examination of banks' cyber security preparedness, to identify the gaps and to monitor the progress of remedial measures, the ...and more »
  • Los Angeles Cyber Lab: Unprecedented Cyber Attack Prevention Program - NBC Southern California August 16, 2017
    NBC Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles Cyber Lab: Unprecedented Cyber Attack Prevention ProgramNBC Southern CaliforniaThe Los Angeles Cyber Lab is billed as America's first city-led partnership dedicated to protecting businesses and residents from cyber attacks. The lab will circulate information gleaned from analyses of what the mayor's office called […]
  • A Cyber Security Investment Strategy For The Future - Seeking Alpha August 15, 2017
    Seeking AlphaA Cyber Security Investment Strategy For The FutureSeeking AlphaHaving investments across all areas of cyber security is key to a diverse cyber defense portfolio. Zix, Symantec, and HACK ETF have seen strong growth and profits are expected to continue as the need for cyber defenses grow.
  • SPONSORED CONTENT: IP EXPO Nordic returns to Stockholm & includes Cyber Security - Business Insider Nordic August 16, 2017
    Business Insider NordicSPONSORED CONTENT: IP EXPO Nordic returns to Stockholm & includes Cyber SecurityBusiness Insider NordicNow located at Stockholmsmässan, the two-day event takes place on the 20-21 September 2017 and features is international sub-event Cyber Security Nordic. Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt, Former Prime Minister of Sweden, will be opening the […]
  • British cyber researcher pleads not guilty to US hacking charges - Reuters August 14, 2017
    ReutersBritish cyber researcher pleads not guilty to US hacking chargesReutersSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - British cyber security researcher Marcus Hutchins pleaded not guilty on Monday to federal charges he built and sold malicious code used to steal banking credentials. Hutchins, 23, rose to overnight fame within the hacker ...NHS cyber-defender Marcus Hutchi […]

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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]