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Obama launches first cyber war against ISIS, cuts recruiting by 75 percent

The Obama administration has launched the first cyberwar against the Islamic State, a war that, coupled with real, not virtual, fighting, is producing one of the most encouraging on-the-ground successes in the conflict — sharply cutting into the number of foreign fighters sneaking into Syria to join the group’s terrorist army and its so-called Islamic caliphate. The Pentagon says an Islamic State recruitment drive that attracted 2,000 a month last year to join the fight in Syria and Iraq has slowed to fewer than 500. The squeeze means the army of…

Russia-backed DNC hackers strike Washington think tanks

Last week, one of the Russia-backed hacker groups that attacked Democratic computer networks also attacked several Russia-focused think tanks in Washington, D.C., Defense One has learned. The perpetrator is the group called COZY BEAR, or APT29, one of the two groups that cybersecurity company CrowdStrike blamed for the DNC hack, according to founder Dmitri Alperovitch. CrowdStrike discovered the attack on the DNC and provides security for the think tanks. Alperovitch said fewer than five organizations and 10 staffers researching Russia were hit by the “highly targeted operation.” He declined to detail which…

Report: Know your enemies 2.0

Every device and network attached to the IoT possesses, within itself, a universe of vulnerabilities. Each vulnerability enables the adversary, whether they be state, hacktivist or mercenary hackers, the technological capability to disrupt networks, exfiltrate sensitive data and wreak havoc on organizations of all sizes. Our adversaries stem from an endless stream of agendas and offensive strategies with the singular aim to pinpoint and exploit unpatched applications and vulnerable networks. State and corporate espionage cloaked beneath stealth and technological sophistication continuously plague our Nation’s critical infrastructure and federal agencies.…

Reid asks FBI investigate possible Russian election hacking

In an Aug. 27 letter to the FBI, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he’s “concerned that the threat of the Russian government tampering in our presidential election is more extensive than widely known and may include the intent to falsify official election results.” Reid also mentioned “evidence of a direct connection” between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He is asking the FBI to investigate the “prospect of a hostile government actively seeking to undermine our free and fair elections.” Reid’s request follows reports that the FBI has…

Integrated, agile intelligence key to combatting dynamic threats

The NATO Alliance faces an increasingly complex, diffuse threat environment. Consequently, we are always striving toward more integrated intelligence to stay a step ahead. NATO is positioned to take an important, integrative step in establishing the new Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security. We fully endorse this, having firsthand experience in undertaking similar modernization efforts within the U.S. Intelligence Community. The intelligence business is about collection and analysis, not clairvoyance. We cannot anticipate every attack before it occurs. Our effectiveness is rooted in our ability to…

NSA looks to IT industry to harden vulnerable U.S. nets

U.S. intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, are increasingly turning to commercial solutions in their efforts to head off the alarming number of cyber attacks that culminated in last year’s massive breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. With critics complaining that government agencies have done little since the OPM attack to harden their networks, NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate is seeking vendor solutions through a program called Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program. Among its goals is “developing new ways to leverage emerging technologies to deliver more timely [information…

The ‘cyber jihad’ is coming, says this security think tank

Islamic terrorists are arming themselves with the technical tools and expertise to attack the online systems underpinning Western companies and critical infrastructure, according to a new study from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology. The goal of the report was to bring awareness to “a hyper-evolving threat” said James Scott, ICIT co-founder and senior fellow. Dark web marketplaces and forums make malware and tech expertise widely available and — with plenty of hackers for hire and malware for sale — technical skills are no longer required. A large-scale attack could be just…

Inside the Pentagon’s secretive preparations for a ‘cyber 9/11’

The massive coordinated cyber attack began with rolling blackouts throughout the electrical grid stretching across the Midwest, leaving up to 10 million Americans’ homes without power and businesses unable to process credit and debit card purchases. Then came the inexplicable malfunction at a large oil refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, which spewed an oil-slick five-miles wide along the gulf coast shoreline. The governors of Texas and Louisiana declared states of emergency. In southern California, the attack shut down several major ports by disabling hydraulic systems. Dozens of cargo ships were stranded…