Showing posts with label ICTEC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ICTEC. Show all posts

29 March 2020

On the Integration of Psychological Operations with Cyber Operations

By Herb Lin 

In a story released on Christmas Day, 2019, the Washington Post reported that U.S. Cyber Command is “developing information warfare tactics that could be deployed against senior Russian officials and oligarchs if Moscow tries to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections through hacking election systems or sowing widespread discord.” According to this story, one option being explored is the targeting of “senior leadership and Russian elites (though probably not President Vladimir Putin, which would be considered too provocative)” to demonstrate that the “sensitive personal data” of these individuals could be hit if the election interference did not stop. The Post article also quotes Lawfare’s Bobby Chesney saying that such actions would send “credible signals to key decision-makers that they are vulnerable if they take certain adversarial actions.”

The Post described these activities as psychological operations, the internet-based equivalent of “dropping hundreds of thousands of leaflets in Iraq to persuade Iraqi soldiers to surrender to the U.S.-led coalition during the Gulf War.” Elsewhere in the story, the paper refers to such actions as influence operations and information warfare. However, the story is careful to note that the options being considered “do not envision any attempt to influence Russian society at large.”

The Intelligence Contest in Cyberspace

By Joshua Rovner 

Editor's note: This article is part of a series of short articles by analysts involved in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, among others, highlighting and commenting upon aspects of the commission's findings and conclusion.

The ongoing competition in cyberspace is largely an intelligence contest. Although the technology is different, the underlying contest exhibits all the characteristics of traditional spy-versus-spy battles.

An intelligence contest is an effort to steal secrets and exploit them for relative advantage. Great powers today are using cyberspace with vigor, seeking to steal communications in transit and data at rest. China’s effort to steal intellectual property via cyberspace was famously described as the “most significant transfer of wealth in history.” China has attempted to exploit this effort to improve its military capabilities, with mixed results. Russia has also become more active in cyberspace espionage, targeting the United States and its partners abroad.

Measuring Strategic Success in Cyber Operations

By Brandon Valeriano 

Editor's note: This article is part of a series of short articles by analysts involved in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, among others, highlighting and commenting upon aspects of the commission's findings and conclusion.

The international community lacks a firm grasp of the cyber domain as an operating space—a key point recognized by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission early in the process of putting together its report. Many grand statements are made about the structure of the system with little knowledge of the basic patterns. Strategies in development all promise some sort of impact in relation to a threat, but how should threat be measured? How should the government plan to evaluate effectiveness and success?

The data available in cybersecurity are generally drawn from rival interactions, painting a picture of the domain skewed toward conflict because of the focus on the actors most likely to fight. In other cases, the data are selected in an ad hoc fashion with no consideration of statistical methodologies. A complete picture of cyber interactions would highlight the diversity of players and the dynamic patterns of conflict globally, illustrating a much different vision of cyber conflict than the current focus on major players.

Doctrinal Confusion and Cultural Dysfunction in the Pentagon Over Information and Cyber Operations

By Herb Lin 

In a Lawfare post earlier this year, I questioned the wisdom of referring to cyber operations as psychological operations. These campaigns are the bread and butter of U.S. Cyber Command’s operational activities. My interest in this question stemmed from two recent articles, one on NPR and one in the Washington Post. The former discussed past activities of U.S. Cyber Command and the latter discussed possible future activities. Taken together, both articles used terms such as “information warfare,” “information operations,” “psychological operations” and “influence operations” to describe these activities.

I closed that post with a promise to comment on the doctrinal and conceptual confusions within Defense Department policy regarding all of these concepts. This post makes good on that promise.

Here’s a review of Department of Defense doctrine on “information warfare” and related terms. This review suggests that even within the Department of Defense, the terms have had elastic, imprecise and ambiguous meaning and are often used interchangeably to describe activities that are divergent in nature.


By Michael Gelles and Joe Mariani 

At the end of 2019 the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSDI), in cooperation with WAR ROOM, announced an essay contest to generate new ideas and elevate thinking about insider threats and how we respond to and counter the threat. There was a fantastic response, and we were thrilled to see what everyone had to write on the topic. Ultimately, after two rounds of competitive judging, two essays rose to the top. Last week we presented the runner up’s submission. And now we are pleased to present to you the winning submission.

obedient to their words, we lie.

For all the recent press, the most famous instance of insider threat remains nothing to do with leaks, websites, intelligence documents, or hacking tools. You may not recognize the name Ephialtes, but you know him and his story all the same. Because 2,500 years ago, at a small mountain pass in Greece called the Hot Gates, he betrayed his country by showing the invading Persian army a small mountain track to flank the small defending force of 300 Spartans and allied Greeks. Ephialtes’ name means “nightmare” in Greek, and for the next two and a half millennia that is what the insider threat could be to virtually every organization facing a crisis or adversary.

28 March 2020

Don’t Buy More SATCOM Bandwidth; Better Manage What You’ve Got: Hughes


SATELLITE 2020: Instead of buying more satellites and bandwidth access, DoD should better manage the satellite communications networks it already uses so troops on the battlefield can stay connected even when those networks are under attack, say top executives at Hughes.

Gen. Jay Raymond’s new Enterprise SATCOM Vision is a step in that direction, according to Rick Lober, vice president of the Defense and Intelligence Systems Division (DISD) at Hughes Network Systems.

“We’re tracking very, very closely General Raymond’s white paper. That talked about more emphasis on network management, which is something I feel Hughes does very well,” he said. Hughes, a subsidiary of SATCOM giant Echostar, provides terminals that link with a number of different satellite networks.

“I think they need to move away from the stovepipe systems to an overarching network management system,” he added. “They need to use network management techniques that give them a lot more efficiency in the use of bandwidth. They waste a lot of bandwidth right now.”

Infographic Of The Day: Work Smarter, Not Harder

In the past few decades, technology has changed how we work - In 2016, 85% of global business was done by virtual teams.

27 March 2020

US Army eyes robot tanks with AI


Imagine you’re in the George S. Patton firefight of your life, and forward operating robot “tanks” are taking the lead, acquiring targets, discerning and organizing war-crucial information, combat zones and even firing weapons when directed.

A bridge too far, one might say? Not really …

“For the first time the Army will deploy manned tanks that are capable of controlling robotic vehicles able to adapt to the environment and act semi-independently,” said Dr. Brandon Perelman, scientist and engineer at the Army Research Laboratory, in an interview with WarriorMaven and reported by Kris Osborn in National Interest.

The concept is aligned with ongoing research into new generations of AI being engineered to not only gather and organize information for human decision-makers but also advance networking between humans and machines, wrote Osborn, who previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army — Acquisition, Logistics & Technology.

“In the future we are going to be incorporating robotic systems that are larger, more like the size of a tanks,” he said.

Bias and Misperception in Cyberspace

By Miguel Alberto Gomez
Source Link

A Psychological Turn. Our understanding of interstate behavior in cyberspace over the past decade rests firmly on systemic and technological attributes as determinants of strategic choices in this increasingly relevant domain. Scholars and policy specialists alike invoke established concepts such as the offense-defense balance, coercion, and signaling to account for state-associated cyber operations. Yet despite technological advancements, cyber operations continue to deliver limited strategic outcomes. This is paradoxical when accelerating investments in cyber capabilities are contrasted against lackluster performance thus far. Consequently, one may argue that attempts to frame strategic choices as a function of material and strategic realities hinders rather than enlightens attempts to comprehend state behavior in cyberspace. This, however, is not necessarily the case.

Recent cybersecurity scholarship acknowledges the importance of micro-level attributes. Whereas emphasis is commonly placed on the balance of power, dependence, and technological expertise; it is becoming apparent that cognition plays a crucial role in the decision-making processes that influence strategic choices. This psychological “turn” is not a novel occurrence as associated disciplines such as political science and international relations long recognized its importance. With cyber operations serving as an instrument of foreign policy, it is fair to posit that cognitive factors that account for behavior in the physical domain are equally applicable to cyberspace. Consequently, this ARI demonstrates this by discussing recent scholarship and how these affect the stability of cyberspace. In doing so, it surfaces the importance of taking a simultaneous top-down and bottom-up approach in evaluating state behavior in this man-made domain.

Analysis: uncertainty and cyberspace

26 March 2020

Renowned Economist Nouriel Roubini Warns of 2020 Cyber War


Economist Nouriel Roubini, a professor at the New York University Stern School of Business and one of the world’s most prominent Keynesian economists, has predicted that 2020 could be the year the world bears witness to the first-ever cyber war.

Speaking on Yahoo Finance’s ‘On The Move’ on 28 February, Roubini told the debate panel that “[The U.S.] will have the first global cyber warfare this year,” explaining his belief that the coming cyber war will like play out between the United States and any one of its several major geopolitical rivals, either North Korea, Iran, China or Russia.

“We imposed sanctions against Russia, China, [North] Korea, and Iran,” Roubini explained, “and they cannot respond to us with conventional power, because we are stronger from a conventional point of view.”

“So if you are a weaker rival of the U.S., and you want to contain the U.S., what you do is asymmetric warfare. Asymmetric warfare means you try to weaken your enemy from the inside, and how you do it is with cyber warfare.”
A cyber war of many forms

25 March 2020

Data Reveals the True Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak

SOMETHING WAS WRONG with Malaysia’s internet. It was March 13, and the more Simon Angus looked at the data, the more he suspected that the country might be in the midst of a coronavirus crisis.

Angus is an academic at Monash University and the cofounder of Kaspr Datahaus, a Melbourne-based company that analyses the quality of global internet connection to glean economic and social insights. The company monitors millions of internet-connected devices to gauge internet speed across the world. For them, a sudden deterioration in a country’s internet speed means that something is putting the network under strain. In recent weeks Kaspr’s theory is that the “something” is linked to the Covid-19 epidemics – as people who are working from home, or quarantining, or staying home as a precaution start using the internet more intensely than usual.

“For people who are in lockdown, or in panic mode, or in self-isolation, the internet has become a fundamentally important part of their information source, and of their consumption of entertainment,” Angus says.

To put it bluntly, when millions more turn on Netflix, scroll through TikTok, start a Zoom call, play Fortnite, or simply scroll idly through Twitter, that has repercussions on the quality of the country’s internet. (That is why EU commissioner Thierry Breton asked Netflix to restrict high-definition streaming until the emergency is over.)

The Risks of Building Too Many Bio Labs

by K.L. Ricks

On weekday mornings, Kimberly Dodd, a virologist and veterinarian, drives to a marina in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. She parks alongside her colleagues’ cars and, flashing her badge at the guards in a plexiglass booth, walks aboard a white passenger ferry. Inside, her co-workers recline in their seats, reading, listening to headphones, or napping. The ride to Plum Island, where they work, takes about thirty minutes.

24 March 2020

The Value of Open Source Intelligence in a Pandemic Environment

By Travis Wright

The extreme and necessary measures taken to restrict the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have impacted the day-to-day lives of everyone around the globe. From schools and jobs to sports and entertainment such as restaurants, bars and movie theaters – all been closed or impacted. The federal government has not been spared as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has directed agencies to utilize telework to the maximum extent possible.

Many Federal agencies are able to adapt to this new paradigm and can provide provisions for their employees to access the necessary government networks from home using government furnished laptops and sensible security protocols. Not to say there won’t be hiccups in this process. The scale and speed of this shift to telework are unprecedented, and there will certainly be challenges as government workers and contractors shift to this new reality. What is certain is that the nature of work has changed for the foreseeable future.

What has not changed is our adversaries attempts to leverage and exploit this vulnerable situation for their own gain. Recently, a cyber-attack on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by a presumed state actor attempted to overload the Department’s cyberinfrastructure. As the lead agency in the pandemic response, HHS is the trusted source for the latest pandemic information. When trust in the source is compromised or threatened, the public loses confidence and the results can be confusion at best, panic at worst.

Moving to the Unclassified

by Cortney Weinbaum, Arthur Chan, Karlyn D. Stanley, Abby Schendt
Source Link

What policy, legal, technology, security, financial, and cultural considerations should intelligence leaders take into account when determining how to conduct work outside secure government facilities?

This report provides analysis and recommendations for intelligence agencies regarding how to conduct work outside secure government facilities by identifying policy, legal, technology, security, financial, and cultural considerations. This report provides steps that intelligence agencies can take to address these considerations and overcome potential challenges. The advantages of remote-work programs include greater access to outside expertise, continuity of operations, and increased work-life offerings for recruitment and retention. The authors reviewed studies on telework and telecommuting, examined seven federal agencies that conduct work outside government facilities, and conducted interviews inside the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Intelligence agencies could benefit from conducting some unclassified functions outside Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs), with each agency differing in terms of which functions would be most appropriate to move to unclassified facilities. The report provides lessons learned and recommendations for leaders of intelligence agencies to consider.

Key Findings

23 March 2020

A new label to better protect critical infrastructure

Andrew Eversden

Federal agencies should help defend the networks that run critical infrastructure, a new comprehensive report on the government’s cybersecurity suggested.

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s final report, released March 11 by a group of experts from in and out of government, recommended Congress implement the concept of “systemically important critical infrastructure," a designation for entities that operate systems that, if disrupted, “could have cascading, destabilizing effects on U.S. national security, economic security, and public health and safety.”

The new label means the U.S. government would become more involved in the defense of critical infrastructure, especially those “directly threatened by nation-states” and other cyber criminals, according to the report. For example, the report calls for the intelligence community update its processes to collect and share more information with systemically important critical infrastructure operators.

According to the report, the government “can and should bring to bear its unique authorities, resources, and intelligence capabilities to support these entities in their defense.”

Rethinking Media’s Role in Conflict and Peace in the Middle East

Elie Abouaoun and Alberto Fernandez

How can the power of media be better employed to resolve conflict in the region?

In 2014, the world watched in disbelief, as global news networks covered the stream of gruesome and horrific beheading videos released by the so-called Islamic State. For the first time, by bringing the terror of the Islamic State directly to the devices in the palm of our hands, it felt personal and close by, rather than across the world in a mysterious land.

Without question, the role of the media in peace and conflict is becoming ever more important. While terror groups like IS have been proven effective in their use of media for their sinister agendas, has the rest of the world caught up?

As media technologies advance, so too must our strategies to responsibly and effectively harness their power. Sadly, in some cases in the Middle East and North Africa, media have been employed, by both regimes and terrorists, as a tool to cause harm, incite violence and fuel dangerous narratives.

Intel, Cyber Soldiers ‘Duking It Out’ Daily With Enemy

“Our intelligence professionals and our cyber operators are duking it out,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier said. “I kind of think of ourselves, cyber and military intelligence, as sort of combat arms. I know it’s hard to get your head around that, but we’re the ones who are kind of doing that right now.”

Berrier spoke Wednesday as part of the Association of the U.S. Army’s breakfast series on threats the Army is facing in today’s era of great power competition.


Since the end of the Cold War, the general said Russia has transformed its army to be smaller with new capabilities that it has been able to test in operations in nearby countries.

Using those lessons, he said Russia now uses those capabilities in Syria, which include air and air defense, precision targeting, special operations and contract forces, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.

The capabilities have also created standoff for Russia as it presses back against NATO presence in Europe, he said.

22 March 2020

The Real Threat to Business Schools from Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) will change the way we learn and work in the near future. Nearly 400 million workers globally will change their occupations in the next 10 years, and business schools are uniquely situated to respond to the shifts coming to the future of work. However, a recent study, “Implications of Artificial Intelligence on Business Schools and Lifelong Learning,” shows that business schools remain cautious in adapting management education to address the changing needs of students, workers and organizations, writes Anne Trumbore in this opinion piece. Trumbore, one of the study’s coauthors, is senior director of Wharton Online, a strategic digital learning initiative at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

In the past few weeks, COVID-19 has moved hundreds of millions of students around the globe from physical to online classes. Some schools in Asia are going a step further to use AI to deliver personalized learning to students. All schools in the UK have access to the technology so that when students do return to school, they will not only have kept up with their studies, but their teachers will also have a full report on their progress. And yet very few business schools are deploying these same technologies at scale, even though their future MBA students are getting a crash course in AI-enabled learning right now. How will business schools remain relevant in the age of AI?

When Working at Home Is Productive, and When It’s Not

When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a complete ban on working at home in late February, she sparked an uproar in the media, not to mention in the halls of Yahoo itself. The ban goes into effect in June and impacts everyone, including employees who had previous agreements with the company allowing flexible work arrangements. One irked employee sent an anonymous e-mail to the technology blog AllThingsD saying the new policy is “outrageous and a morale killer.”

Wharton faculty members who specialize in issues pertaining to employee productivity and work/life balance were similarly surprised by Mayer’s all-encompassing policy change. “Our experience in this field is that one-size-fits-all policies just don’t work,” notes Stewart Friedman, Wharton practice professor of management and director of the school’s Work/Life Integration Project. “You want to have as many tools as possible available to you as an executive to be able to tailor the work to the demands of the task. The fewer tools you have available, the harder it is to solve the problem.”

eBrief: Drones An “Immediate Threat” – DoD Plans Rapid Acquisition of Counter-UAS Systems

The urgency to protect troops, bases, and installations from drone attacks changed forever last year when a swarm of small, low-flying drones unleashed by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels targeted Saudi Arabian oil processing facilities. The attack was nothing less than a Pearl Harbor-type wake-up call for the need to counter unmanned aerial systems with defense technology commonly referred to as C-UAS.

This Breaking Defense E-Brief examines U.S. Defense Department and global efforts to stay ahead of the threat. It examines sensor development to detect UAS, the use of artificial intelligence to identify targets, and defeat mechanisms ranging from jamming to lasers to knock them down.