cyber security

For weeks now rumors have been circulating about the White House working to draft an executive order, which will put in place cybersecurity measures to protect the critical infrastructure of the United States.

A glimpse of the draft’s intent was released in news reports in recent days, including a Washington Post report, which among other points, noted that the plans called for voluntary standards. Keep reading →

Ever consider the massive amount of intelligence that the United States collects and uses in the defense of the country and our allies? It is surely massive given the scope of our collection effort.

Many people do not realize that the U.S. intelligence community is comprised of 16 separate agencies, not including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which is responsible for leading intelligence integration. These agencies are tasked with foreign and domestic intelligence collection, analysis support of military planning, and in some cases performing acts of espionage:

  1. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  2. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA)
  3. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)
  4. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
  5. Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA)
  6. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
  7. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
  8. National Security Agency (NSA)
  9. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
  10. Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI)
  11. Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)
  12. Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI)
  13. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  14. Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA/ONSI)
  15. Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
  16. Dept of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI)

Source: Wikipedia

Now we have to add U.S. Cyber Command to that list.

In addition, we have to add all the private sector organizations that have established their own security intelligence and cyber intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities as well as those in industry protecting against cybersecurity threats as well.

Oh – we should not forget the state and local law enforcement intelligence units that exist around the country.

Now let’s add the black-ops (clandestine) intelligence community members.

Add them all up and that paints a reasonable picture of the intelligence coverage we have in place. It sounds like allot, but given the number of kinetic and non-kinetic threat we face, it’s not!

One has to wonder how much more effective our intelligence efforts could be if regulations requiring separation did not exist and a collaborative/sharing environment along with the systems required for collaborative support were in place.

While those regulations were probably put in place for good reason when they were enacted, times have changed. Maybe it is time to revisit the restrictions.

Kevin G. Coleman is a long-time security technology executive and former Chief Strategist at Netscape. He is Senior Fellow with the Technolytics Institute where he provides consulting services on strategic technology and security issues. He writes a weekly blog for Breaking Gov on the topic of cyber intelligence.

As we approach the 2012 presidential election, concerns are being raised about the likelihood of cyber attacks leading up to and during that event. There are many individuals, groups and rogue nation states that would like nothing better than to disrupt this year’s election.

Several months ago, a video was posted by those claiming to be from the well know hacktivist group Anonymous that alluded to plans for launching cyber initiatives that target the 2012 presidential election. Keep reading →

After years of the public and private sectors having listened to the nearly constant cyber threat warnings issued by military and government officials, as well as industry experts, over the past few years, addressing the threats posed to our systems by cyber attacks is now appropriately considered as a work-in-process.

There are some signs that the private sector might be moving to address the new heightened level of cyber security threats, however. Keep reading →

In the wake of Flame, there have been many interesting headlines bubbling up over the past several weeks regarding policy development of cyber “offensive” measures and the future of overall worldwide cyberwar policy. Perspectives vary greatly as to the future of cyber offensive measures, with one author going so far as to say that the world will be a better place when war strategies shift from the physical to the cyber realm.

One thing is clear – discussions of ‘striking back’ at an entity that has just hacked a government system or retaliating when a breach is identified signals a significant change in the traditional US Government mindset and combat philosophy in general. Will the change from a primarily defensive strategy in securing government systems to an “offense” mentality improve our national security posture? Likely so. Are we prepared to engage? It appears we are even willing to make a first strike. Keep reading →

Intelligence organizations are racing to collect cyber intelligence in efforts to identify and monitor the development, use and sale of offensive cyber capabilities by individual actors, criminal organizations, terrorist groups and nation states. This is a formidable undertaking to say the least. Consider the facilities and infrastructure needed to make a tank. Now think about the facilities and infrastructure needed to make a cyber weapon. All you need is ambition coupled with a laptop, Internet connection, programming skills, a search engine for research and maybe a couple of books – all of which are openly available. Add to that the hacker underground and black-market for malicious code and sale of newly discovered vulnerabilities and you have everything needed for the development and sale of cyber weapons. Keep reading →

Social media is perhaps the greatest tool for mass communication–and for attracting like-minded individuals. That is not new. Back in 2005, for instance, the Journal of International Security Affairs reported on the increased web presence of several major Islamic militias.

Threat intelligence analysis, however, indicates that information and activities within social networking sites is now viewed as one of the primary sources of cyber intelligence on extremist groups and terrorists. Keep reading →

A new report released yesterday by the Department of Homeland Security concluded that the United States has made significant progress in securing the nation from terrorism since the September 11, 2001 attacks, but that the evolving nature of terrorist threats facing the country continues to leave much work still be done.

“America is stronger and more resilient than ever before,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, in announcing the report on the Department’s blog. “But threats from terrorism persist. And challenges remain.” Keep reading →

The world has become addicted to the Internet and all its vast expanse has to offer. Experts have forecast that in 2014 there will be upwards of 2.5 billion devices connected to the Internet.

Whether you access it via a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, game console or other device the socializing, services and content has addicted all of us. This addiction is why criminals, activists, terrorists and rogue nation states have turned the Internet into a weapon. Keep reading →