Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Jason Thompson

Blog Feed Post

January Cyber War and Cyber Conflict Link Roundup

By

Wow, what a month. Two big stories to note: USCC is seeking to grow over 5x to 4900 people, and the NYTimes (and WSJ it seems) have been hacked, purportedly by the Chinese over their China coverage. In other news, a new discovery of the ‘Red October’ campaign filled the headlines, although by now these sorts of things feel standard issue. On a related note, DARPA is getting ready to issue a BAA for their CAT program, using big data to tackle targeted attacks.

An upcoming event to note in the DC area: Suits and Spooks, next week (February 8 and 9).

News

Israel launches cyber warfare training program

Israel is developing a national program that trains young people for cyber warfare to boost its ability to deal with the increasing number of online attacks.
According to The Jerusalem Post’s report Wednesday, the program named “Magshimim Le’umit” has been in development for the past three years and targets outstanding pupils aged between 16 and 18 to join up.
Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the country’s computer systems are facing attacks from Iran and other countries, and such attacks are set to increase in the digital age. The goverment is also bolstering its ability to deal with these threats through the Israel National Cyber Bureau (INCB), he added.

Nations prepare for cyber war

In 2012, large-scale cyberattacks targeted at the Iranian government were uncovered, and in return, Iran is believed to have launched massive attacks aimed at U.S. banks and Saudi oil companies. At least 12 of the world’s 15 largest military powers are currently building cyberwarfare programs, according to James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

‘Red October’ cyber-attack found by Russian researchers

A major cyber-attack that may have been stealing confidential documents since 2007 has been discovered by Russian researchers.
Kaspersky Labs told the BBC the malware targeted government institutions such as embassies, nuclear research centres and oil and gas institutes.
It was designed to steal encrypted files – and was even able to recover files that had been deleted.

MPs Unsettled By Potentially ‘Fatal’ Government Cyber Warfare Strategy

MPs have complained about government ‘complacency’ in their assessment of when military forces should involve themselves in cyber warfare, pointing to a potentially fatal reliance on inadequately protected systems.
In a report released today, the Defence Committee said the government did not appear to have a fully-constructed plan for dealing with a major cyber attack. Meanwhile, the ever-changing threat landscape, coupled with a major reliance on IT, made for a potentially lethal brew for the UK military as it prepares for cyber warfare.

Cyber War Stakes Rising

U.S. intelligence officials have warned as nation-sponsored cyber warfare goes mainstream this year, attacks on U.S. installations and institutions could result not just in damage and theft but in fatalities.
They believe fatalities could occur and “that is the best estimate at this point,” said the former senior intelligence official.
Currently 12 of the world’s 15 largest military powers are building cyber warfare programs, these intelligence sources told ISSSource, adding the number of intrusions and attacks has increased dramatically over the last several years.

PENTAGON CYBERWARRIORS TO UNLOAD SOME DEFENSIVE TASKS TO BIG DATA

The Defense Department hopes to offload some of the work of analyzing network vulnerabilities to a machine, Pentagon officials said on Friday.
The Cyber Targeted Attack Analyzer is intended to reduce the workload for the department?s short-handed cyber forces by organizing information from ‘disparate network data sources’ to more easily see computer abnormalities, according to the Pentagon’s laboratory. Information technology development efforts will kick off with a briefing for prospective contractors on Jan. 30, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency officials said. DARPA expects to release a solicitation for project proposals within a few weeks afterward.
The trick will be reeling in all that intelligence from devices that are not necessarily compatible.

DoD Proposes Cyber Targeted-Attack Analyzer (CAT) Program

The Pentagon has announced the initiation of a program to develop an integrated threat analysis system that will significantly improve the Defense Department?s ability to identify network security vulnerabilities by leveraging the power of Big Data analytics. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Innovation Office (I2O) will host an informative briefing on January 30th in a run-up to a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) in a few weeks that will include a Request for Information (RFI) that will officially commence the process for accepting proposals from vendors for the development of the Cyber Targeted-Attack Analyzer (CAT) Program, according to a Special Notice released by DARPA, the DoD’s research and development branch.

Hacker hits on U.S. power and nuclear targets spiked in 2012

The number of attacks reported to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity response team grew by 52% in 2012, according to a recent report from the team. There were 198 attacks brought to the agency’s attention last year, several of which resulted in successful break-ins.
An earlier report from DHS sketched in details on some of those successes. An unidentified group of hackers targeting natural gas pipeline companies gained access to the corporate systems of several of their targets and “exfiltrated” — that’s security-speak for “stole” — data on how their control systems work.

DoD Looking to ‘Jump the Gap’ Into Adversaries’ Closed Networks

The Army’s Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, known as I2WD, hosted a classified planning day Nov. 28. Representatives from 60 companies and labs attended to discuss what can be done in the realm of electronic warfare and cyber, according to a source familiar with the program.
The roughly half-dozen objectives of the Tactical Electromagnetic Cyber Warfare Demonstrator program are classified. (The TECWD program is pronounced ‘techwood’ by participants.) The source said the program is designed to demonstrate ready-made systems, dubbed ‘boxes,’ that can perform a variety of tasks. Some are somewhat typical fare, like systems aimed at the improvised explosive device threat.
But among the objectives are these: inserting and extracting data from sealed, wired networks.

Air Force’s cyber commander says Iran is next big ‘Net menace

General William Shelton, commander of the US Air Force Space Command, told reporters in a press briefing for the Defense Writers Group that he believes Iran’s growing “cyber” capabilities will be a “force to be reckoned with,” thanks in part to Iran’s response to the Stuxnet attacks on its nuclear facilities in 2010.

In Syria, the Cyberwar Intensifies

The front pages have been dominated for more than a year by photos of young Syrian rebel fighters, armed and proud, battling an increasingly isolated Syrian military.
But amid the shooting, the atrocities and the bombings, there is a parallel war – a sophisticated cyber insurgency battling a shadowy team working on behalf of the Assad regime. The Syrians’ online conflict may be the most active cyberwar in recent memory, with extraordinary efforts by both sides to sabotage, disrupt and destroy. It may even foreshadow the way cyber battles will play out in future conflicts.

Iran cyber police uncovers hacking of US bank: Report

The Head of FETA (Iran’s cyber police) says the police has identified the source of attack to US Citibank, and denies that Iranians have a role in attack, Mehr News Agency reported from Tehran on Sunday.
“The attack sources have not been located inside Iran and even Iranian users have been victimized,” says Brigadier General Seyed Kamal Hadianfar, the head of Iranian Cyber Police in an interview to Mehr News.

John Kerry: Foreign Hackers Are ’21st Century Nuclear Weapons’

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Thursday likened the threat posed by foreign hackers to “modern-day, 21st century nuclear weapons” and pledged to use diplomacy to avert cyber attacks against the nation?s power grid, transportation system and financial networks.

FSB’s Cyber Silver Bullet

President Vladimir Putin recently ordered the Federal Security Service to create a system to allow the state to detect, prevent and disable cyberattacks in Russia and at diplomatic stations abroad. It is an ambitious goal and one that the FSB is well-equipped to tackle with the help of its Information Security Center and Communications Security Center. But the FSB might very well go beyond its immediate mandate to neutralize hacker attacks against Russia and expand its cyberspace presence among members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS, perhaps even gaining access to information on hacker attacks waged around the world.

Pentagon to boost cybersecurity force

The Pentagon has approved a major expansion of its cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold to bolster the nation’s ability to defend critical computer systems and conduct offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries, according to U.S. officials.

Hackers in China Attacked The Times for Last 4 Months

SAN FRANCISCO — For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees.
After surreptitiously tracking the intruders to study their movements and help erect better defenses to block them, The Times and computer security experts have expelled the attackers and kept them from breaking back in.

Blogs & Opinion Pieces

Cyber and Drone Attacks May Change Warfare More Than the Machine Gun

But information warfare, warfare pursued with information technologies, distorts concepts like “necessity” and “civilian” in ways that challenge these ethical frameworks. An attack on another nation’s information infrastructure, for instance, would surely count as an act of war. But what if it reduced the risk of future bloodshed? Should we really only consider it as a last resort? The use of robots further complicates things. It’s not yet clear who should be held responsible if and when an autonomous military robot kills a civilian.

My Infosec Wish for 2013: A Balanced Cyberwarfare Debate

I 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.

Industry’s Vital Role in National Cyber Security
by James P. Farwell

Yet, 90 percent of US critical cyber infrastructure is owned by the private sector. Melissa Hathaway, who served as the cyber coordination executive for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), has rightly pointed out that corporate and political leaders “appear to be paralyzed about meeting the needs for our cyber infrastructures and enterprises.” This current deadlock undercuts American security interests, and Congress must strike a balance between competing policy perspectives for cyber security. The dilemma is that earning a profit motivates industry, while protecting national security motivates the USG. Although often complementary, these agendas do compete. What is required is a confluent approach that removes legislative obstacles to stronger cyber security, forges robust partnerships between the public and private sectors, and better manages risk in the global supply chain. A review of current US strategy and the threat matrix is instructive in framing a new approach.

Towards a coherent international cyberspace policy for the EU
Global Cyber Security Conference
SPEECH/13/82 by Neelie Kroes in Brussels, 30 January 2013
Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda

As more people come to rely on the Internet, they rely on it to be secure. And as the online world becomes a part of everything we do, securing that world is essential to ensuring a society that remains secure, prosperous and free.

Events

Suits and Spooks DC 2013

Some of the most important discussions that will take place in 2013 will be around the need for the private sector to become more aggressive in the defense of their systems. These questions and more will be examined and debated at Suits and Spooks DC to be held at the Waterview Conference Center in Arlington, VA on February 8-9, 2013. We?ll be inviting industry veterans, government officials, hackers, lawyers, Special Operations Forces personnel, and security researchers to join in the discussion along with our registered attendees.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, will discuss the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data and analysis are providing the pull to meet customer expectations of a widely connected, multi-dimensional universe of people, things, and information.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Esri has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Esri inspires and enables people to positively impact the future through a deeper, geographic understanding of the changing world around them. For more information, visit http://www.esri.com.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cuts through the hype and the acronyms, and discusses the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He’ll discuss VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
“Distrix fits into the overall cloud and IoT model around software-defined networking. There’s a broad category around software-defined networking that’s focused on data center, and we focus on the WAN,” explained Jay Friedman, President of Distrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
“The Internet of Things is a wave that has arrived and it’s growing really fast. The concern at Aria Systems is making sure that people understand the ramifications of their attempts to monetize whatever it is they build on the Internet of Things," explained C Brendan O’Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect at Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.