Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Authors: Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff, Pat Romanski

Blog Feed Post

My Infosec Wish for 2013: A Balanced Cyberwarfare Debate

By

CybersoldiersI can already hear the chuckling. “Cyber warfare? Balanced? And I’d like partisanship in Washington to end, a double date with Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson, and some fries with that!” Yes, my desire is utopian, but the fact that I would have to qualify it with a self-deprecating remark suggests the distance that we have yet to travel before we can get more value out of our present conversation on the topic of cyber warfare.

First, let’s start with the unfortunate fact that little is really new. As CTOVision head honcho Bob Gourley notes, we’ve had so many “cyber wake up calls” as to render the phrase meaningless. If these are wake-up calls, someone keeps hitting the snooze button. We know that our SCADA systems are vulnerable, and have been vulnerable for a while. We know that air-gapping will not protect our systems, and that our systems can be attacked through their subsystems. We also understand that espionage and covert operations pose a fundamental attribution problem worsened by the fact that investigation requires cooperation from governments with something to hide. Anonymous and other decentralized hacking collectives? Predicted and analyzed 20 years ago. Finally, we also (should) get that everything from vendors to human psychology provides a multitude of attack surfaces for a potential attacker. Clearly, we’ve had plenty of forewarning for the calamities we’re suffering and have yet to suffer.

But knowing is unfortunately not, as I learned from watching GI JOE cartoon shows, half the battle. On one hand, much cyber warfare conversation these days boils down to endless repetition of civilization-destroying “cyber-doom” scenarios involving genius hackers that never face intelligence, targeting, and weapon customization problems inherent in any kind of attack capable of causing meaningful kinetic damage. That might be what James Bond faces in Skyfall, but it’s not a realistic idea of the future threat. Cyberhype is endemic, and clouds meaningful assessment of dangers and the resources necessary to combat the problem. Much of what we know in other fields about the dynamics of coercion is completely overlooked in even sound technical assessments that neglect the motives and politics of potential attackers. Attribution, for example, is variable upon an actor’s desire to coerce vs. steal or damage. But while cyber-doom is not on the horizon, attention to the intersecting fields of cyber warfare, cyber conflict, and the broader issues of cyberpower yields some discomforting realizations.

For starters, the line between espionage and warfare is never clear to policymakers in practice. Solar Sunrise occurred in the middle of a standoff between the United States and Iraq, and policymakers faced uncertainty over whether the intrusion was part of the geopolitical drama. Long range cyber-reconnaissance can identify weak points. The ability to cause damage to civilian and military infrastructure may not coerce on its own but can cause cumulative damage when combined with other sources of national power. Zero-day markets and a vigorous underground may not challenge the dominance of custom-designed single shot weapons built by states but add an unstable element to the mix. Knowledge that one’s networks are vulnerable to other powers may help tilt the overall balance in larger peacetime strategic competitions. While no piece of malware has yet killed anyone, military cyberpower has helped states coordinate and employ fearsome conventional weapons.

Stuxnet, while unique, also is at times underrated. As Jason Healey noted, Stuxnet had features of autonomy and mirrors an environment in which computational agents are delegated increasingly broad cognitive powers. The way we make war often mirrors the way we make wealth, and future cyberweapons are being dreamt up in an environment characterized by the rise of a “Second Economy” built on a vast and increasingly automatic infrastructure. Cyberspace, once the humble child of the 19th century telegraphic revolution, is increasingly conquering almost every aspect of everyday life and even reaching inside the human body. It’s not surprising that many cybersecurity ideas are drawn from science fiction, even if they often mislead. Science fiction is, after all, a vehicle for commenting on destabilizing changes in the present.

The ground is shifting. DARPA’s Plan X heralds the rise of military-industrial cyber weapon complexes with streamlined cyberweapon acquisition and deployment, and potentially new kinds of cyber weapons that move beyond the network base of contemporary cyber offense and defense. Trends in computing may shift towards biological and analog computing, complicating current technical assumptions. Big data as a form of cyberpower can aid in uncovering patterns of vulnerability that targets may be entirely unaware of. New methods of password cracking challenge old assumptions about password strength and the user vector for targeting. Finally, if the operational repertoire of cyber warfare in and of itself is limited, cyberpower’s capacity to intersect with other operational environments and modify their features makes attack endlessly customizable.

The idea that the offense is dominant should be held to rigor. But so is the idea that eternal principles of cyber conflict and geopolitics can be derived from the study of an extremely limited set of cases. History is important, and is sadly overlooked in the information security and warfare fields. The Cyber Conflict Studies Association, thankfully, is seeking to remedy this. Certain essential aspects of security and war never change, and a disruption-focused tech industry ignores this at its own peril. But assumptions based on modern Internet Protocol technologies will fail to be of strategic value when attackers bypass them or the technologies change. Want an example? Take a gander at the vulnerabilities inherent in your own car. The answer is not an “everything is new” attitude, but a richer and more detailed effort to think about what precisely cyberspace is. A solid understanding of cyberspace, separate from the domination of any one kind of technology, can not only inform about the nature of cyberpower and cyber threat but also hedge against technological change. That conversation is far from finished, and hopefully 2013 will auger a more useful debate about war and other forms of conflict in cyberspace.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

@BigDataExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The bedrock of Secure Channels Technology is a uniquely modified and enhanced process based on superencipherment. Superencipherment is the process of encrypting an already encrypted message one or more times, either using the same or a different algorithm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
I’m going to cry tonight, long and hard. I’ll do so as I remember and mourn Jeremy Geelan. I knew Jeremy for almost 20 years, from the time he showed up one day at Cloud Expo’s headquarters in Bergen County, New Jersey, and went to work. The show wasn’t called Cloud Expo then, of course – it was still known as Java Edge, a pioneering event that grabbed developers, architects, and enterprise IT users alike for twice-yearly confabs. Jeremy didn’t have a job there, or even a job offer. He was s...
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, discussed how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved efficienc...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...