Posts tagged ‘National Security Agency’

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The National Security Threat in the Digital Revolution

NSA official says technology could upend U.S. national security infrastructure

 

170719-N-YG104-022An opinion piece on the New York Times website this week (September 10, 2019) sounds an alarm over the cyber threats posed by the digital revolution sweeping through all aspects of U.S. society.

Glenn S. Gerstell, general counsel of the National Security Agency (NSA), says it is “almost impossible to overstate the challenges” and “profound implications for our federal security agencies” that the general onrush of technology presents. The NSA leads the U.S. Government in cryptology, the study of codes — both creating and breaking them — which encompasses both signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance (or cybersecurity) products and services. The agency also enables computer network operations for the United States and its allies.

Unlike previous transformational technologies like railroads, electricity, radio and airplanes — which took decades to reach widespread use — cell phones, the Internet and social media have spread and shaped society in a time frame without precedent, Gerstell writes in his lengthy article.

Air Traffic Control for Food for Thought

(U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Crysta Gonzalez)

One example of the many challenges he cites is understanding how adversaries might use artificial intelligence (AI) in the future, including data poisoning — feeding misinformation to AI systems to corrupt or defeat them, such as causing a driverless vehicle to ignore a stop sign.  What are the implications for future autonomous weapons such as drones or armed robots? What are the protocols by which they will be controlled?

The sheer amount of data generated by individual and commercial activities will require enormous investments by the United States and its allies to upgrade national security and surveillance systems — perhaps much more than the roughly $60 billion the United States already spends annually on the intelligence community, which includes the FBI, CIA and a dozen other civilian and military agencies.

But it will take more than money to cope with unprecedented technological change, adapt to a world of continuous cyber conflict, navigate concepts of privacy and power that comes with access to big data, and to counter the effects of malign use of the Internet, according to Gerstell.

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Top photo: Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Sarah Villegas, U.S. Navy.

 

 

 

 

 

September 13, 2019 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

CYBERSECURITY: Pentagon Looks to Private Sector for Cyber Security Partnerships

[Digital] Help Wanted.

Cyber operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo by William Belcher)

Cyber operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo by
William Belcher)

(REPEATING POSTING ON THIS WEB SITE AND OTHERS AFTER IT WAS APPARENTLY DELETED BY ACCIDENT FROM WORDPRESS.)

With every passing week, the necessity – and vulnerability — of cyberspace becomes more apparent.

Hardware and software failures on the Bloomberg LP network forced its iconic trading terminals to go dark for several hours on April 17 and financial markets across much of the globe ground to a halt.

The private correspondence of top executives and personal data of thousands of employees at Sony Pictures were revealed to the world last year by North Korean hackers after the movie company released a comedy about a plot to assassinate the dictatorship’s leader. The data was published again by WikiLeaks in mid-April.

And in the most recent incident, hackers, traced to Russia, penetrated an unclassified Pentagon network earlier this year before they were detected, identified and expelled. “They discovered an old vulnerability in one of our legacy networks that hadn’t been patched,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told an audience at Stanford University April 23.

The revelation came as Carter unveiled an updated version of the Defense Department security strategy for cyberspace. While the technology advances developed in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have made many things in modern life “easier, cheaper and safer,” Carter noted that “it’s become clear that these same advances and technologies also present a degree of risk to the businesses, governments, militaries, and individual people who rely on them every day … making it easier, cheaper, and safer to threaten them. The same Internet that enables Wikipedia also allows terrorists to learn how to build a bomb.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter meets with Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and his senior staff at the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. on March 13.  (Defense Department photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter meets with Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and his senior staff at the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. on March 13.
(Defense Department photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt)

To read more of this article by your 4GWAR editor, click here. To learn more about this important topic, visit http://www.cybersecurityfordefense.com

May 28, 2015 at 12:52 am Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: Fallout from NSA Intel Revelations, Brazil-Argentina Cyber Pact, Colombian Drug Ring Busted

Brazil’s Steamed

Brazil (CIA World Fact book)

Brazil (CIA World Fact book)

Relations have been strained between the United States and Brazil since disclosures by a rogue contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed widespread spying by the U.S. on Brazil.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, was said to be furious over the revelations that the NSA had been conducting widespread spying on her, her top advisers and Brazil’s largest oil company — Petrobras. . Brasilia has demanded a full explanation from Washington and Rousseff has postponed her planned state visit to Washington, scheduled for late October, according to the New York Times, which called the decision a “sharp rebuke to the Obama administration.

Rousseff’s move was seen as a stunning diplomatic setback for the United States which has been trying to improve relations with South America’s largest country and biggest economy after a shaky relationship with her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, according to AFP. The Brazilian president has called the spying “an illegal act” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty.

Brazil-Argentina Cyber Defense Pact

How bad are relations between Brazil and the United States over disclosures that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has collected data on billions of phone and email conversations in Brazil — including President Dilma Rousseff’s personal communications? Pretty bad.

Not only has Rousseff postponed a long-planned state visit to Washington, but Brazil has agreed to a cyber defense pact with Argentina, according to Press TV reports.

The agreement was reached following Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim’s recent meeting with his Argentine counterpart, Agustin Rossi in Buenos as Aires. The military agreement commits Brazil to train Argentina’s military in cyber defense starting in 2014.

Colombia Drugs

Police in Colombia have captured 16 drug dealers that were paert of a ring that grows and distributes marijuana through small convenience in the country’s major cities, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia image

Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia image

Four of the suspects were caught ransporting 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of marijuana by truck” in  Bogota,” according to the national police.

The police said the drug ring paid a “gram tax” on marijuana to the country’s largest armed rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Colombian government has accused the FASRC of involvement in drug trafficking  — as has the United States. The rebels deny the charge. The FARC and the government are currently holding peace talks in Havana, Cuba, to put an end to five decades of fighting.

Both sides ended their 14th round of negotiations Thursday (September 19), issuing a joint statement saying they had made progress, according to Reuters.

The statement said the parties “continue advancing in developing and writing up accords … around the second point of the agenda on political participation,” including rights and guarantees for the exercise of political opposition, Reuters said. But the FARC accused the government of trying to impose unilaterally the conditions on any future peace agreement.

The government in Bogota wants a peace accord by November when the national electoral cycle starts. But both sides say that deadline won’t be met and may complicate the presidential vote in May 2014.

September 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

TECHNOLOGY: Pentagon’s Cyber Warriors

More Than 40

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander at Aspen Security Forum (Photo courtesy Aspen Institute)

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander at Aspen Security Forum (Photo courtesy Aspen Institute)

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency — and the Pentagon’s Cyber Command — made headlines back in March when he told Congress that the Defense Department was readying 13 teams to go on the offensive against enemies in cyberspace.

Another 27 teams will be created to support the needs of the military’s regional combatant commands in the cyber world, he said.

But that’s not all.

Many more teams are planned to safeguard the Defense Department’s information networks. Your 4GWAR editor writes about them and the manpower needs they will require in the Aug. 19 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology (subscription only).

Defending cyberspace and acquiring the tools and talent was a hot topic at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado and we wrote about that July 19 on 4GWAR. We got additional information and details about planning for the cyber teams from some top officials, like the commander of the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command, at the Global Intelligence Forum, sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) in Washington.

 

August 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm 2 comments

TECHNOLOGY: Pentagon officials say they’re plugging Snowden Leaks

Cleaning up after Snowden

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter answers questions at Aspen Security Forum (Defense Dept. photo)

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter answers questions at the Aspen Security Forum (Defense Dept. photo)

ASPEN, Colorado – Two top Defense Department leaders say the National Security Agency (NSA) is taking several steps to secure its data following the embarrassing revelation of two U.S. secret surveilance programs by a rogue NSA contractor.

Both Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director and head of U.S. Cyber Command, told the Aspen Security Forum Thursday (today) that the intelligence gathering agency would be changing how it stored sensitive data and who would be allowed access to it.

Carter told the annual national and homeland security gathering in Aspen, Colo. that the release of classified information by the contractor, Edward Snowden, was a failure to protect the military’s own cyber networks. “I’ll tell you right now, the damage itself was very significant,” he added. Asked if the information Snowden had transported out of the country was “a lot,” the Alexander replied “Yes.” He said NSA had “concrete proff that terrorist groups are taking action, making changes” in the wake of the information revealed by the Snowden leaks.

Carter called for measures to remove what he calleed “the root causes” of the Snowden failure: too much classified information stored in one place and a single employee with unsupervised access to that data. He suggested a system similar to that used in handling nuclear weapons – a “two-man rule” – where no single person can access a nuclear bomb.

Alexander said changes like that and closed and locked server rooms that can only be accessed by two people working together “makes our job more difficult.” He urged moving to a joint information environment where data can be encrypted, so if stolen, it would be useless to thieves and spies.

“We also have to ensure that people who need information to do their job have access to that information,” he said, adding that both needs have to be balanced and since the Snowden leak occurred on NSA’s watch the agency would oversee the changes for both the Defense Department and the larger federal intelligence community.

4GWAR is in Aspen, Colorado this week, covering the Aspen Security Forum.

July 19, 2013 at 1:57 am Leave a comment

TECHNOLOGY: Intel That Leaders Can Act On

Avoiding Nasty Surprises

The uproar over the National Security Agency’s wide-ranging cell phone and Internet surveillance revived a national debate about the necessity of intelligence gathering and what the federal government does with what it learns.

Cyber operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo by William Belcher)

Cyber operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo by
William Belcher)

But the accumulation of “Big Data” – millions and millions of phone calls, text messages and emails — whether by government agencies or private corporations, underscores the urgency of acquiring intelligence that can be acted upon in real time. This is especially true in an era when the United States is confronted by near peer competitors like China and Russia, hostile nation states such as North Korea and Iran and non-state, violent extremist networks like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Actionable intelligence is simply that: information gleaned from a range of sources that enables decision makers – from political leaders to field commanders – to take appropriate and timely action when faced with a security threat like an imminent terrorist attack or the shipment of weapons of mass destruction.

 The bottom line: preventing nasty surprises.

To read more of this story, go to the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) website or click here.

June 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment


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