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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…

China still poses major cyber threat despite drop in U.S. attacks

Over the last year China-based threat actors have lessened their activity against US organizations, according to new findings from cybersecurity specialists FireEye. FireEye’s observations are based on 262 intrusions that occurred in 26 countries – including the US, UK, Canada, and Japan – including insights into 72 China-based threat actors. The firm says the shifts in operations are reflective of ongoing military reforms, widespread exposure of Chinese cyber operations, and actions taken by the US government. However, despite this decline, FireEye predicts that China will almost certainly remain an aggressive cyber…

Keyboard warriors: South Korea trains new frontline in decades-old war with North

In one college major at Seoul’s elite Korea University, the courses are known only by number, and students keep their identities a secret from outsiders. The Cyber Defense curriculum, funded by the defense ministry, trains young keyboard warriors who get a free education in exchange for a seven-year commitment as officers in the army’s cyber warfare unit – and its ongoing conflict with North Korea. North and South Korea remain in a technical state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armed truce. Besides Pyongyang’s nuclear and rocket program,…

NATO to invest billions to tap industry cyber security know-how

NATO is dangling roughly 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in funding for future cyber-based initiatives to match—and then surpass—the increasingly sophisticated attacks against its 28-member alliance, officials announced Tuesday on the inaugural day of the NITEC 2016 conference. Increased Russian aggression, instability in Europe’s south, the Syrian refugee crisis and evolving cyberthreats all have contributed toward new strategic realities, but also jockey for the same pot of limited financial resources—mobilizing the alliance to strengthen collaborations with industry for vital solutions. The NATO Communication and Information (NCI) Agency launched its small business…

Cyber espionage: Chinese malware in Indian government system

Top cyber security experts claim to have found a Chinese group which practices cyber espionage. This group has been identified as Danti and it is believed that they could have breached the computer of top ranking bureaucrats in the government. Russia based company called Kaspersky Labs which is regarded as one of the top cyber security firms, was the first to raise the alarm regarding Danti. They also feared that Danti possibly breached dozens of systems which are used by cabinet-rank Officials in India. In an interview to India Today, Kaspersky Labs…

How to define cyberwar

One of the things that keeps our intelligence and military leaders from sleeping soundly is the problem of cyberwar and its subsets, cyber-espionage, cybersabotage and what most people call “hacking,” which isn’t something that only teenagers do from their parents’ basements. For years, there has been a continuous string of attempted penetrations of U.S. military, intelligence, defense contractor and related networks. It now occurs literally thousands of times a day. The Chinese “Titan Rain” computer attacks began in about 2003 and continued for at least three years, penetrating networks and stealing…