Cyber Strategies for a World at War

OPEN SOURCE AGGREGATION & ANALYSIS

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.

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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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Local cyber leader meets with likely Obama cyber czar

By John Andrew Prime
January 10, 2009
Shreveport Times | The Times

The head of the Cyber Innovation Center met Friday with the man many believe will be the nation’s chief technology officer, dubbed the cyber czar, under the Obama administration.

CIC Executive Director Craig Spohn met in Washington with Paul Kurtz, whom insiders say is on a short list of technology experts vying to be President-elect Obama’s leading adviser on national cyber security issues. He has appeared on platforms with Obama on several occasions in past weeks and months.

“Paul Kurtz is a very helpful young man with excellent credentials for the position of Cyber Czar,” said Spohn, who is heading development of the center City and its associated National Cyber Research Park on 64 acres north of Barksdale Air Force Base and east of Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City.

“His knowledge and understanding of the national cyber assets and critical infrastructure combined various agencies that have the responsibility of protecting them make him one of few people that pass the down-select process.”

Spohn said his talk with Kurtz focused on “additional agencies in the national cyber construct that would serve to complement the Air Force, among other groups, that would make good candidates for inclusion in the National Cyber Research Park.”

While Spohn has not listed them for the record, the candidates are those agencies with three, four and even five initials familiar to the public, including but not limited to the CIA, FBI and NSA.

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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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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

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    Sixth Installment Available of “The Daily Summary: Informing President Truman”
  • Honoring the Legendary Tony Mendez
    Blog Post: One of our most legendary Agency officers, Antonio J. “Tony” Mendez, passed away over the weekend after a brave battle with Parkinson’s disease. Perhaps best known for masterminding the daring 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran, an operation made famous by the film Argo, Tony will be remembered for his patriotism, ingenuity, and lifel […]
  • A Day in the Life of a CIA Cyber Operations Officer
    Feature Story: Exploiting adversary networks – it’s what Cyber Operations Officers do every day at the CIA. Find out how these professionals use the world’s most advanced technology to protect America.
  • 50 Years of "Operation Santa Claus"
    Blog Post: Fifty years ago, we started “Operation Santa Claus” as a way for the CIA family to donate new toys to disadvantaged children during the holidays. Since our formal collaboration with the Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots” program in 2000, the Agency’s toy collection has grown each year.
  • Sending Holiday Wishes Near and Far
    Blog Post: The holidays are upon us, and this time of year we reflect upon the sacrifices of Agency officers past and present, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice [link to memorial wall], and those who are serving in some of the most dangerous and inhospitable parts of the world away from loved ones.

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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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  • 2019/02/15 Five Teams of Researchers Will Help DARPA Detect Undersea Activity by Analyzing Behaviors of Marine Organisms February 15, 2019
    Goliath grouper, black sea bass, and snapping shrimp, along with bioluminescent plankton and other microorganisms, are set to be the unlikely heroes of DARPA's Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) program. Five teams of researchers are developing new types of sensor systems that detect and record the behaviors of these marine organisms and interpret […]
  • 2019/02/14 Teaching AI Systems to Adapt to Dynamic Environments February 14, 2019
    Current AI systems excel at tasks defined by rigid rules – such as mastering the board games Go and chess with proficiency surpassing world-class human players. However, AI systems aren't very good at adapting to constantly changing conditions commonly faced by troops in the real world – from reacting to an adversary's surprise actions, to fluctuat […]
  • 2019/02/11 Architecting a New Breed of High Performance Computing for Virtual Training Environments February 11, 2019
    The testing, evaluation and training of future military systems will increasingly take place in virtual environments due to rising costs and system complexity as well as the limited availability of military ranges. Virtual simulators are already used to augment real-world training for modern fighter aircraft pilots, and they hold significant promise for addr […]
  • 2019/02/06 Intelligent Healing for Complex Wounds February 6, 2019
    Blast injuries, burns, and other wounds experienced by warfighters often catastrophically damage their bones, skin, and nerves, resulting in months to years of recovery for the most severe injuries and often returning imperfect results. This long and limited healing process means prolonged pain and hardship for the patient, and a drop in readiness for the mi […]
  • 2019/02/06 Defending Against Adversarial Artificial Intelligence February 6, 2019
    Today, machine learning (ML) is coming into its own, ready to serve mankind in a diverse array of applications – from highly efficient manufacturing, medicine and massive information analysis to self-driving transportation, and beyond. However, if misapplied, misused or subverted, ML holds the potential for great harm – this is the double-edged sword of mach […]

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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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Editor, CSWW

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]