Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Robin Miller

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
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, pane...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...