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What can cyber do for you, the commander?

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The Army is focusing on commanders as it continues to work on cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA) Support to Corps and Below pilot, which is gaming what types of cyber, electronic warfare and information capabilities should exist at what echelons. “Being able to have the [brigade combat team] commanders lay out for us … what effects you want to achieve, don’t worry about the buttonology and the capability and all that, tell me what it is you want [from] effects in the battlefield and let some of the CEMA experts be a... Read More
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IT specialist indicted on hacking charges

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CHICAGO (AP) — Federal authorities in Chicago say an information technology specialist has been indicted on charges of hacking after he allegedly damaged the servers of a suburban company after he was fired. In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s office says that in the indictment this week, Edward Soybel is accused of accessing servers of the Lake Forest-based W.W. Grainger Inc. several times last year and damaging the company’s automatic inventory management program. ... Read More
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Feds move to cash in on seized bitcoin now worth $8.5M

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. attorneys in Utah prosecuting a multimillion-dollar opioid drug-ring are moving quickly to sell seized bitcoin that’s exploded in value to about $8.5 million since the alleged ringleader’s arrest a year ago. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah cites the digital currency’s volatility in court documents pressing for the sale. The bitcoin cache was worth less than $500,000 when Aaron Shamo was arrested on drug charges, but the value of the digital currency has skyrocketed since then. ... Read More
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Cyber, EW, signals and space mean realigning the Army’s force structure

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The Army is undertaking several initiatives to reorganize itself to integrate emerging technologies, capabilities and concepts within formations and maneuver units. The first is the introduction of cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA) cells within all operational units. Over the summer, Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence, explained that the service is looking to insert CEMA cells into operatio... Read More
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US firm: Hackers interfered with industrial facility

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LONDON (AP) — A U.S. cybersecurity firm says that hackers disrupted the operations at an industrial facility using malicious software that interfered with safety equipment. Milpitas, California-based FireEye Inc. provided a technical breakdown of the hack but provided few further details about the incident, refusing to identify the facility involved, the country... Read More
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DevSecOps: The best way to deliver dynamic security at mission speed?

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IT organizations at federal agencies hear conflicting messages. On one hand, they’re urged to accelerate development of new systems and capabilities to meet rising user expectations. On the other, everyone from the president on down is clamoring for greater system security in the face of a growing barrage of cyberthreats. How can federal IT organizations answer both calls? Talk with any developer about application security and some themes are likely to emerge. Most will point out the immense pressure they face to deliver end pro... Read More
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Men plead guilty to creating botnet used to crash the web

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Three men pleaded guilty to creating a botnet known as Mirai that was used to paralyze chunks of the internet in 2016. Paras Jha, Josiah White and Dalton Norman admitted to one count of conspiracy in plea agreements filed Dec. 5. They face up to five years and $250,000 fines when sentenced. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that the men created a collection of computers and internet-connected devices — i... Read More
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Senator calls on administration to act on election cybersecurity since Congress won’t

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In a recent letter to, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s assistant for national security affairs, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called on the executive branch to take action to secure political elections in the U.S., citing unwillingness by Congressional leadership to take action through legislative means. “Cybersecurity experts have complained for decades about the risks associated with insecure electronic voting machines and the need for paper audit trails. Their warnings have largely gone unheeded,” Wyden wrote. “Unfo... Read More
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3 lessons agencies can learn from OPM’s cyber challenges

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The Office of Personnel Management’s own inspector general recently completed an audit of the agency’s security programs and practices and the findings were, at best, a mixed bag. Thorough and extensive, the resulting report could easily be applied to many agencies and is a piercing commentary on the state of cybersecurity in many federal agencies today. Interestingly, the audit used the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to measure the overall maturity level of the OPM security program with five levels of maturity ranging from “A... Read More
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Uber: No evidence hackers took rider credit card numbers

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DETROIT (AP) — Uber says an outside cybersecurity firm hired after a massive data breach has found no evidence that rider credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers were downloaded by hackers. The company also says in a response to demands for information from U.S. senators that it has not seen evidence of fraud or misuse due to the breach. Uber found the theft Nov. 14 and revealed it a week later. Hackers took names, ema... Read More
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Greek court backs extraditing Russian bitcoin suspect to US

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of extraditing a Russian cybercrime suspect to the United States to stand trial for allegedly laundering billions of dollars using the virtual currency bitcoin. Alexander Vinnik made his final appearance at an Athens court Wednesday amid an ongoing legal battle between the U.S. and Russia, who are both seeking his extradition. Greece’s justice minister will ultimat... Read More
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CNN says Anderson Cooper’s Twitter account apparently hacked

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NEW YORK (AP) — CNN says Anderson Cooper’s Twitter account was hacked after a since-removed tweet from his handle called the president a “tool” and a “pathetic loser” following Democrat Doug Jones win in Alabama’s Senate election. The cable network tweeted early Wednesday that “someone gained access” to Anderson’s account and sent the tweet to the president. “We’re working with Twitter to secure the account,” it said. ... Read More
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Italian prosecutors seek to shelve Hacking Team breach case

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LONDON (AP) — A legal document obtained by The Associated Press says that Italian prosecutors want to drop their investigation into the 2015 breach of surveillance company Hacking Team, leaving a question mark over a dramatic leak which embarrassed intelligence figures across the globe. A redacted, three-page court document shared with the AP on Tuesday says that prosecutors have asked that an investigative judge in Milan shelve the case. ... Read More
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Missouri attorney general weighs in on Confide messaging app

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s attorney general said Monday that he’s weighing whether to appoint a special investigator to check into use of the secretive Confide messaging app by several senior members of Gov. Eric Greitens’ office. Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, was asked by Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton of the St. Louis area to investigate after The Kansas City Star reported last week that it determined Greitens and some of his staff have Confide accounts connected to their personal cellphones.... Read More
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Following the developing Iranian cyberthreat

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Iran is one of the leading cyberspace adversaries of the United States. It emerged as a cyberthreat a few years later than Russia and China and has so far demonstrated less skill. Nevertheless, it has conducted several highly damaging cyberattacks and become a major threat that ... Read More
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German intelligence warns of increased Chinese cyberspying

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BERLIN (AP) — The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warned Sunday that China allegedly is using social networks to try to cultivate lawmakers and other officials as sources. Hans-Georg Maassen said his agency, known by its German acronym BfV, believes more than 10,000 Germans have been targeted by Chinese intelligence agents posing as consultants, headhunters or researchers, primarily on the social networking site LinkedIn. ... Read More
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University of Georgia, Army Cyber Command eye partnerships

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The University of Georgia and the U.S. Army’s Cybersecurity Command could soon be exchanging students and workers. A civilian Army official, Ronald Pontius, says the command would take up University of Georgia Vice President for Research David Lee’s offer during a UGA conference on informatics, or big data. Pontius is deputy to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, The Athens Banner-Herald... Read More
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What’s the military’s role in fighting fake news?

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The U.S. military has numerous teams and major funding directed toward fighting cyber adversaries, dedicating serious resources to protecting networks and delivering effects in the cyber domain. But what’s the military’s role when it comes to combating information warfare and the “fake news” that continues to evolve as a battlefront? While not a primary mission for U.S. forces, understanding information warfare and how it impacts areas of responsibility is something that is taken into consideration in U.S. cyber trai... Read More
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How US Army Cyber Command plans to increase employee morale

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WASHINGTON ― Despite a rocky start in its inaugural year being assessed by the Partnership for Public Service for its annual Best Places to Work in Government, U.S. Army Cyber Command is taking steps to help create a healthier work-environment for the future. U.S. Army Cyber Command was ranked 147th out of 150 agency sub-components on the list. Partnership crafted the list by quantifying employees’ engag... Read More
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$322M NGA cyber contract trains war fighters, protects their eye in the sky

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Virginia-based information technology and cybersecurity company ManTech has its work cut out for it as it works to secure war fighters’ eyes in the sky. The company received a five-year, $322 million IT and cybersecurity contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency last year, and ever since the company has been working “24/7 monitoring the secure environment within the classified systems,” said Damian DiPippa, senior vice president and general manager of ManTech’s Mission, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions grou... Read More
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After ransomware attack, much of county’s business done on paper

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s largest metro area was discovering just how hard it is to conduct business without county computers that handle numerous transactions on Thursday, a day after local leaders refused to pay hackers who froze their system. Mecklenburg County computer systems that collect property taxes, handle building permits and process jail inmates were out of commission while technology workers made digital repairs with backed-up data. Officials say the fixes will take days. ... Read More
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County says hackers tried another attack

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A North Carolina county says hackers have tried new attacks on its computer systems after it refused to pay them a ransom for frozen data. Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio sent an email Thursday to county employees advising them that hackers were targeting the county primarily through fraudulent email attachments. No further damage to the systems was reported. Diorio said the county was disabling employees’ ability to open at... Read More
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One-third of US businesses hit by hacks, data breaches

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WASHINGTON ― A leader in business cyber-insurance reports how a lack of cyber knowledge and neglected hardware leads to data breaches and, in turn, lost resources and damaged reputations. A press release from The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) found that one-third of U.S. businesses (29 percent) suffered from data breaches in 2016. ... Read More
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DNA has gone digital ― what could possibly go wrong?

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Biology is becoming increasingly digitized. Researchers like us use computers to analyze DNA, operate lab equipment and store genetic information. But new capabilities also mean new risks – and biologists remain largely unaware of the potential vulnerabilities that come with digitizing biotechnology. The emerging field of cyberbiosecurity explores the whole new category of risks that come with the increased use of computers in the life sciences. ... Read More
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Senior leadership taking aim at cybersecurity in weapon systems

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The Defense Department ― both on its own and at the direction of Congress ― has been taking aim at the cybersecurity vulnerability of all its weapon systems, to include legacy systems. While “cyber” has been a concern among a small cadre of the workforce, namely the networking community, leadership is beginning to take this vulnerability very seriously. “We have always treated out networks and our weapon systems” differen... Read More
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Senior leadership taking aim at cybersecurity in weapon systems

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The Defense Department ― both on its own and at the direction of Congress ― has been taking aim at the cybersecurity vulnerability of all its weapon systems, to include legacy systems. While “cyber” has been a concern among a small cadre of the workforce, namely the networking community, leadership is beginning to take this vulnerability very seriously. “We have always treated out networks and our weapon systems” differen... Read More
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Bitcoin tops $15K; hack raises concerns ahead of US trade

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TOKYO (AP) — The frenzy surrounding bitcoin amped up further Thursday as the virtual currency soared above $15,000 for the first time, just days before it starts trading on major U.S. exchanges. At the same time, there are fresh concerns about the security of bitcoin and other virtual currencies after NiceHash, a company that mines bitcoins on behalf of customers, said it is investigating a breach that may have resulted in the theft of bitcoin valued at about $70 million. ... Read More
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Duke Energy vendor’s hack may mean stolen customer bank info

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Nearly 375,000 Duke Energy Corp. customers may have had personal and banking information stolen in a data breach. The country’s largest electric company said Tuesday the customers paid a bill by check or cash at 550 walk-in payment processing centers in the Carolinas, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky since 2008. Those payments were processed by TIO Networks, which was hacked in an attack disclosed after ... Read More
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North Carolina county’s ransomware recovery will take days

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A North Carolina county was working Thursday on the lengthy process of fixing its computer systems after refusing to pay off a hacker who used ransomware to freeze dozens of local government servers. It will take days to restore Mecklenburg County’s computer system, local officials said, leaving residents in North Carolina’s most populous metro area facing delays or disruptions to county services. Deputies were processing jail inmates by hand and building code inspectors switched to paper records after a county employee unleas... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 7
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1control room0.865indoors, control room
2indoors0.865
3control center0.863building, control center
4building0.916

Army offers direct commissions to boost cyber force

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The Army is now offering direct commissions to experienced cyber professionals who want to serve as officers and bring in technical skills considered crucial to the service’s growing cyber force. Candidates who are accepted for the Army’s new Cyber Direct Commissioning Program will enter active duty as first lieutenants after taking two courses that total 16 weeks of instruction. A major incentive for civilians with four-year deg... Read More
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Bridging the Gap: Why feds struggle to act on cybersecurity mandates [Commentary]

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You’re undergoing a digital transformation whether you planned to or not. Agencies understand that digital transformation offers huge benefits and many recognize security’s role in making it a reality, but why is it so hard to get right? A recent survey of federal IT decision makers found that 58 percent of respondents recognized identity and access management (IAM) is an essential piece of both the digital transformation and cybersecurity puzzle. Yet there is still a clear gap between the understanding of IAM’s value, and the actual realization of its benefits. In fact, 85 percent of respondents report that their agencie... Read More
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Deadline looms for North Carolina county hit with ransomware

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A deadline is approaching for one of North Carolina’s largest counties to respond to a hacker who froze county servers and is demanding ransom. Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio told reporters that local officials face a deadline of 1 p.m. Wednesday to decide whether to pay a ransom of two bitcoin, or more than $23,000. On Wednesday morning, some county sites such as the jail inmate search function wer... Read More
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Greek high court to rule on Russian bitcoin suspect Dec 13

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ATHENS, Greece — Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik, who is wanted in the United States on charges of laundering billions of dollars’ worth of the virtual currency bitcoin, appeared Wednesday before Greece’s Supreme Court for a hearing into his extradition to the U.S. Vinnik is the subject of a judicial tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia, which is also seeking his extradition on lesser charges. Court officials said... Read More
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Have you been ‘pwned’ in a data breach? Troy Hunt can tell

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Troy Hunt has collected a trove of 4.8 billion stolen identity records pulled from the darkest corners of the internet — but he isn’t a hacker. Instead, he uses that repository to help ordinary people navigate the growing scourge of the corporate data breach. All that personal information was originally taken from brand-name services such as LinkedIn, Kickstarter, Dropbox, MySpace and the cheating website Ashley Madison, and later assembled by Hunt. ... Read More
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Trial delayed for man who tried to get Trump’s tax returns

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal trial has been postponed for a Louisiana private investigator accused of trying to illegally obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns during last year’s presidential campaign. Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday for Jordan Hamlett’s federal trial, but a filing from the court says it must be delayed due to an “unforeseen conflict with the court.” The new trial date is Dec. 11. The 32-yea... Read More
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SEC’s new Cyber Unit files first criminal charges

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The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Cyber Unit, created in September 2017 to enhance the agency’s ability to pursue cyber-related threats and crimes, recently filed charges in an Initial Coin Offering fraud scheme, the unit’s first filing since its creation. The charges were filed against Dominic Lacroix and his company, PlexCorps, for selling securities called PlexCoin on the internet, claiming that investors would receive a 1,354 percent profit in less than 29 days. According to an SEC press release, Lacroix is a reci... Read More
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Documents: UK lawmakers flout explicit password-sharing ban

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LONDON — British lawmakers are flouting explicit instructions to lock their computers and not to share their passwords, documents obtained by The Associated Press show, a revelation that raises questions about the security of Britain’s parliamentary network only months after a well-publicized email break-in. Conservative Member of Parliament Nadine Dorries first drew attention to the practice on Saturday when she said in a message posted to Twitter that her staff and even interns had access to her log-in details. Dorries defen... Read More
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Gov. Deal announces expansion of cybersecurity complex

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — The next phase of a multimillion-dollar cybersecurity training center taking shape in downtown Augusta is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recently announced an additional $35 million in funding for the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center. The second building will be an incubator hub for technology startups and a training space for state cybersecurity initia... Read More
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Russian cybercriminal sentenced to 14 years in prison

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ATLANTA — A Russian cybercriminal who officials say helped hackers get fraudulent access to millions of debit card numbers and steal millions of dollars was sentenced this week in Atlanta to spend 14 years in prison — a sentence that will be served simultaneously with a 27-year term he was already serving. Roman Seleznev, 33, coordinated with hackers to infiltrate an Atlanta-based company that processed credit and debit card transactions for financial institutions, the U.S. attorney’s office said Friday in a news release. Th... Read More
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DoD continues to get poor marks for cyber incident response

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The Department of Defense has again received unsatisfactory marks from the Government Accountability Office regarding how it would assist the U.S. government in the event of a major cyber incident. The GAO’s report, released Nov. 30, discovered that not only did DoD not develop a comprehensive plan for Cyber Command, but DoD submitted a report that only fully addressed two of the six elements required by the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authoriza... Read More
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Congress prioritizes cyber issues for homeland security funding in 2018 [Commentary]

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Last week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released the FY2018 chairmen’s recommendation for next year’s Department of Homeland Security appropriations. Significant in the marks were the increased allocations of cybersecurity spending for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). The Senate recommendations includes $3.3 billion, over $9 million above the FY2017 level, to accelerate cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection. The language states: “This funding will enhance cybersecurity capabilities across nearly every agency of the federal government while supporting cooperation with states... Read More
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Alleged UK hacker fights extradition to the US

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LONDON (AP) — An alleged computer hacker appealed to British judges on Thursday to block his extradition to the United States, arguing that he’d be subjected to inhuman conditions in the American justice system. Lauri Love, 32, faces 99 years in prison on cyber-hacking charges for allegedly compromising networks between October 2012 and October 2013 and stealing data. He has been charged in three U.S. states — New Jersey, New York and Virginia. ... Read More
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Competition to test skills at defending against cyberattacks

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Officials say the inaugural competition for Ohio’s cybersecurity virtual training ground will test some high school and college students’ skills at defending against cyberattacks in real-world scenarios. They say Friday’s virtual capture-the-flag competition kicks off the first phase of the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee’s Cyber Range. That virtual practice space can be used for training and competitions and as a testing environment for government, schools and businesses. ... Read More
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Voting machines require low-tech solutions to high-tech security problems

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Cybersecurity and election experts recently told members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the use of paper ballots and a defined auditing process – traditionally low-tech solutions – present some of the best methods for protecting U.S. election systems and restoring voter confidence. “The two important properties are, first, that there be a paper artifact of the voter. Optical scan paper is an example of a system that does that. That’s probably the best state-of-the-art technology that we have ri... Read More
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‘Hacker-for-hire’ pleads guilty to Yahoo breach

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Canadian man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges stemming from a massive breach at Yahoo that authorities say was directed by two Russian intelligence agents and affected at least a half billion user accounts. Karim Baratov appeared in a jail jumpsuit before a federal judge and entered the pleas to one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and eight counts of aggravated identity theft. He gave “yes” and “no” answers to questions from the judge about his pleas but said nothing more.... Read More
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State lawmakers: Election hacking will be long-term challenge

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Officials say New York managed to dodge Russian hacking attempts last year — and they’re aiming to keep it that way. Lawmakers at a hearing on election security Tuesday said the state must take steps to protect the democratic process because the risk of hacking is here to stay. Possibilities include statewide cybersecurity guidelines for county election boards and more aggressive auditing of ballots after an election to look for discrepancies. ... Read More
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Cybersecurity company finds classified NSA, Army data online

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WASHINGTON — A cybersecurity company said Tuesday it found top secret files related to classified Army communications systems sitting unprotected online for anyone to see. The data belonged to the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, a division of both the Army and the National Security Agency. It’s the latest known setback linked to the NSA where former agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed a cache of classified material in 2013. ... Read More
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Could an air conditioner take down a military base? The Pentagon is worried

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WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon is looking to take steps against the possibility that a cyberattack could take down the crucial infrastructure at its bases, both domestically and overseas, per a top department official. Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, said over the next year his team will be focused on finding solutions to potential vulnerabilities in the industrial control systems ― the devices that control major pieces of equipment such as air conditioning units ― throug... Read More
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Chinese cybersecurity company employees accused of hacking Moody’s, Siemens, Trimble

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WASHINGTON ― Three Chinese nationals are accused of conspiring to hack into U.S. and foreign based private corporate entities to steal their trade secrets. Wu Yingzhou, Dong Hao and Xia Lei of the Chinese-based internet security company Bo Yo Information Technology Company Limited (Boyusec) were indicted on computer hacking charges against Moody’s... Read More
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Is the US behind in cyber-enabled info operations?

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Within the broader realm of cyberwarfare, the prospect of data and information war is becoming much more prevalent. Cyber and information warfare are growing closer in relationship given the ease in which cyberspace enables traditional information campaigns. Campaigns such as the hack of the DNC attributed to the Russians is a perfect example of a cyber-enabled information operation given the information was stolen through cyber means. ... Read More
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FBI didn’t notify many US officials targeted by Russian hackers

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has found. Nearly 80 interviews with Americans targeted by Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, turned up only two cases in which the FBI had provided a heads-up. Even senior policymakers discovered they were targets only when the AP told them, ... Read More
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Austria: Bitcoins stolen over public wireless network

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VIENNA (AP) — Austrian police say cyber thieves transferred bitcoins worth more than 100,000 euros ($117,000) from a man’s account while he was logged in on a restaurant’s public wireless network. A police statement Wednesday says the bitcoins were moved to an “unknown, non-traceable account” after the unidentified 36-year old logged in southeast of the city of Innsbruck on Tuesday to check the value of his digital currency. ... Read More
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Uber reveals cover-up of hack affecting 57M riders, drivers

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is coming clean about its cover-up of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service’s customers and drivers. So far, there’s no evidence that the data taken has been misused, according to a Tuesday blog post by Uber’s recently hired CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. Part of the reason nothing malicious has happened is because Uber acknowledges paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the stolen information. ... Read More
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Tech company alliance gives critical infrastructure cybersecurity a boost

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Defense contractor Raytheon and digital communications company MetTel are teaming up to provide cybersecurity for government agencies and private companies. “The companies will provide a range of cybersecurity offerings and support the migration from legacy technologies to ensure cybersecurity is designed into the government’s telecom infrastructure,” said a Raytheon and MetTel news release. “This alliance is well-positioned ... Read More
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Iran-based hacker charged with trying to extort HBO

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. prosecutors say a member of an Iran-based hacking group tried to extort HBO out of $6 million in digital currency by stealing unaired episodes and scripts of hit shows like “Game of Thrones.” An indictment unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan accuses Behzad Mesri of hacking into the cable network’s computer system in New York. It says he stole episodes from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” ″The Deuce” and other series, along with scripts of “Game of Thrones.” ... Read More
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Vermont governor appoints 10 cybersecurity advisers

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has appointed a 10-member cybersecurity advisory team. When the Republican governor announced the formation of the team last month he said that since January there had been more than 3.3 million attacks on the state’s computers, none of which were successful. The team is charged with developing a plan to protect the state’s information and systems, evaluate the state’s cybersecur... Read More
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Wyoming cyber students offer free ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts’ classes

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LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — With the global number of internet users projected to rise steadily and the profit from cybercrime expected to skyrocket in coming years, cybersecurity is more important than ever. And that responsibility is everyone’s burden to share, according to one group at the University of Wyoming. Defense Against the Dark Arts — a student organization mostly comprised of computer science majors — hopes to teach mem... Read More
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‘Tis the season for CyberCon

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It’s that time of year again. A time when people come together to catch up on the last 12 months and reconnect with friends and colleagues. Join us on Tuesday, Nov. 28, for the annual gettogether of top federal and military officials and academic thinkers in cyber, from information security to offensive and defensive operations. This year’s theme ― Beyond Cybersecurity ― reflects the latest thinking in cyber, moving past c... Read More
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Lifecycle management approach to tech, talent could address cyber skills shortfall [Commentary]

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A magnifying glass has been focused on the significant shortfall in cybersecurity talent in the government. This runs parallel to a similar awareness and focus on this sector’s gap in IT technology sophistication in general. This doesn’t surprise many of us with experience in both government and cybersecurity, as indeed, these issues are tightly interwoven and interdependent. Before we address how these issues interrelate, let’s evaluate the need for cybersecurity skills. First, a shortfall in highly qualified talent is not ... Read More
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University gets NSA/DHS grant to expand cybersecurity training

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Training for cybersecurity specialists will get a boost at a Kentucky university with a $580,000 federal grant to expand programs. The University of Louisville says one program will teach cybersecurity measures to public safety employees, while another will use common hardware and software to come up with new teaching methods. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency designate... Read More
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Florida gov requests $2.4M to counter ‘growing threat’ to election cybersecurity

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Saying there is a “growing threat” to Florida’s election systems, the state may spend nearly $2.4 million in the coming year on cybersecurity efforts designed to protect election-related software and systems from outside hackers. Gov. Rick Scott included the request, which initially came from state election officials, in budget recommendations he gave to the Florida Legislature last week. Scott ask... Read More
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Air Force awards $50M research contract to protect weapons from cyberattacks

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a nearly $50 million contract to a defense contractor to research ways to protect weapons systems from cyberattacks. The Dayton Daily News reports that Colorado-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will conduct the research at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in southwest Ohio. The contract is set to expire in 2023. Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, former Air Fo... Read More
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Where does cyber fit in the Air Force’s multi-domain command and control concept?

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The Air Force is finalizing its study on multi-domain command and control, a top priority for the service’s chief of staff. This concept seeks to orchestrate effects across space, cyber and air seamlessly, and potentially simultaneously, as a way to overwhelm adversaries. However, cyber effects and forces are controlled and governed differently than other traditional capabilities. This can lead to questions about how cyber fits into the Air Force’s overall plans. ... Read More
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Congress to investigate alleged retaliation against HHS cyber whistleblowers

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Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce are looking into whether the Department of Health and Human services retaliated against two cybersecurity employees who made protected communications to the committee by detailing them to unclassified duties, according to a letter sent to the acting HHS secretary by committee leadership. “The committee is examining whether the Department of Health and Human Services retaliated against two key cybersecurity officials for communicating with this committee as well as whether rec... Read More
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US-coalition partners work out cyber defense for joint operations

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The U.S. and coalition partners demonstrated cyber defense concepts during a recent multi-national experiment. Many U.S. officials note they will never fight alone, necessitating the importance of developing templates for coalition operations as coalition cyber operations are still in their infancy. Bold Quest 17.2 – which was hosted this year at a Joint Staff facility in Virginia and seeks to improve interoperability and information sharing – was just the second year that involved a cyber thread during the annual event, now i... Read More
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Access Denied: What you need to know to protect the network [Commentary]

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The story below is true in essence, if not in particulars, and it is one that has played out many times across all sectors. The IT security head of a major federal agency — we’ll call him Sam — comes to work one morning. He meets Susan from cryptography, who mentions that one of their IT admins, Larry, has been working since 5 a.m. Sam finds this strange because Larry is a night owl. Susan tells him that Larry requested access to the agency’s primary database for maintenance purposes. Though his credentials and keys were o... Read More
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Kaspersky Lab releases report into upload of NSA documents

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LONDON (AP) — Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kasperksy Lab is releasing new details about how its software uploaded classified U.S. documents several years ago. The incident is at the center of a controversy over whether the company’s popular anti-virus really works as described. Previous reports alleged that Kaspersky had uploaded National Security Agency files from an intelligence worker’s home computer in 2015. Founder Eugene Kaspersky confirmed the incident in a recent interview with The Associated Press, although he sa... Read More
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CYBERCOM working through intel side of cyber defense

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Defensive cyber intelligence is beginning to mature and take shape within Cyber Command and their subordinate defensive units and maneuver forces. “On the defensive side, [intelligence] was a little bit harder stretch,” Rear Adm. Kathleen Creighton, deputy commander of Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks, Cyber Command’s operational defensive arm charged with defending the global network, said. “[Defense has] been a little bit slower to mature.” ... Read More
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White House calls for greater transparency in cyber Vulnerability Equities Process

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WASHINGTON ― The White House is planning to better disclose the decision making process of whether or not to publicly reveal the federal government’s digital vulnerabilities. “Obtaining and maintaining the necessary cyber capabilities to protect the nation creates a tension between the government’s need to sustain the means to pursue rogue actors in cyberspace and its obligation to share its knowledge of flaws in software and hardware with responsible parties who can ensure digital infrastructure is upgraded,” White Hous... Read More
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Repurposing of cybertools emerging threat vector

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One of the emerging cyber threat trends being observed by U.S. intelligence agencies is that of repurposing and weaponizing existing capabilities. While one actor might use a particular exploit or strain of malware against a target, “another adversary might see that, grab hold of that and say I want to use that for my purposes and I want to combine it with these other techniques or malwares or exploits and really repurpose, combine and use it in ways that the originator of that exploit never intended it to be used,” Jonathan D... Read More
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Rajoy: Spain can handle any cyber-meddling in Catalonia

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MADRID (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he is confident his government can handle any possible foreign tampering of upcoming elections in Catalonia amid a secession bid by the prosperous region. On Monday, Spain’s Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal said in recent months, “many actions” to mount a misinformation campaign to destabilize Catalonia had “come from Russian territory.” She said that Spain had no indication that Russia’s government was involved. ... Read More
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Britain cyber chief says Russian hackers are targeting critical infrastructure

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LONDON (AP) — Britain’s cybersecurity chief says Russian hackers are targeting the country’s telecommunications systems, media and energy networks. Ciaran Martin’s stark warning comes after Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday said Russia was “weaponizing information” and meddling in elections to undermine the international order. Martin, in prepared remarks released before a speech on Wednesday, says “Russian interfere... Read More
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Extradition hearing for Russian cybercrime suspect postponed

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s Supreme Court on Wednesday postponed until December an extradition hearing for Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik, wanted in the United States on charges of laundering billions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin. Vinnik is the subject of a judicial tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia, which is also seeking his extradition on lesser charges. The U.S. is accusing Vinnik of laundering $4 billion worth of bitcoins through BTC-e, one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges, which h... Read More
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US official: 15 percent of agencies used Kaspersky software

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Computer systems at 15 percent of U.S. government agencies were running Kaspersky Lab software that’s been banned because of concerns about the company’s ties to the Kremlin and Russian spy operations, a top Homeland Security Department official told Congress on Tuesday. In July, the General Services Administration removed Kaspersky from its list of approved federal vendors. In September, the Homeland Security Department directed all U.S. federal agencies and departments to stop using products or services s... Read More
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4 priorities for DoD’s cyber defense arm

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Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks, or JFHQ-DoDIN, acts as Cyber Command’s defensive operational arm, providing global defense, command and control and synchronization of the DoDIN. Rear Adm. Kathleen Creighton, JFHQ-DoDIN’s deputy commander, who assumed the position in August, provided some insights into what her organization is working on during a keynote Nov. 14 in Arlington at the Defense Systems Conference. ... Read More
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Amid feds’ Kaspersky concerns, no easy scapegoat – but some action

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Federal agencies largely are complying with White House orders to remove Kaspersky Labs anti-virus software from government networks, according to a top Homeland Security Department official. After a binding operational directive was issued earlier this year to remove the Russian-backed software products from federal networks amid security worries, roughly 96 of 102 agencies have done so, DHS Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Jeanette Manfra told the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s oversigh... Read More
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Is the US military prepared for cyberattacks on satellites?

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Keeping the U.S. defensive resources safe from cyberattacks means protecting systems in the remote locations throughout the world — and off-world. Securing military satellites against cyberattacks has become increasingly important as various ground-based threats raise questions about vulnerabilities in cyber resources on the ground, in the air and in space. The U.S. Army began to revise their security systems after an examination o... Read More
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NSA veterans catch the eye of Silicon Valley investors

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FULTON, Md. (AP) — With a newly minted PhD in “pure math” in 2004 (it was actually a dual degree in math and machine learning), Ellison Anne Williams saw her work going in one of three directions: the National Security Agency, IBM or academic research. She chose classified government intelligence work and spent the formative years of her career laboring away in secret, immersed in the agency’s mission. She climbed the ranks to become a senior technologist at the agency. ... Read More
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Trump Jr.’s WikiLeaks exchange adds intrigue to Russia probe

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s oldest son released a series of private Twitter exchanges between himself and WikiLeaks during and after the 2016 election, including pleas from the website to publicize its leaks. Donald Trump Jr.‘s release of the messages on Twitter came hours after The Atlantic first reported them Monday. In the exchanges — some of them around the time that the website was releasing the stolen emails from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman — WikiLeaks praises his father’s positi... Read More
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Weaponizing 3-D printers: Cyberattacks could turn battlefield tech into threats

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Realtime 3-D printing has moved beyond trendy trinkets and has moved into businesses, homes and even the battlefield. Now that military branches have created and tested 3-D printed weapons, Navy submarine-like vessels and even MREs, the conversation around additive manufacturing in the military has turned to securing those assets from cyberattacks. For years, the biggest challenge within 3-D printing for the military was getting the technology to work in remote locations. Today, 3-D printing can be used to replace parts, create we... Read More
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Cyberwar’s battlefield: The commercial sector [Commentary]

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Cyberwar is an unprecedented threat to our national security, our economic security our personal lives, fortunes and sacred democracy. How did it come to be this way? We developed open systems and networks including the internet with the idea that a benign world would use it for their betterment, but as with all technology advances we found that the technology that makes lives easier, more efficient, and better can be turned against us. Today, much as the arena of cyberspace has morphed into this same Heaven-Hell configuration. Th... Read More
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Trump: ‘I’m with our agencies’ on Russian election meddling

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday said he believes U.S. intelligence agencies, which have concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But Trump also said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is sincere when he says Russia didn’t interfere. “I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump said of Putin at a news conference with Vietnam’s president in Hanoi. “As to whether I believe it, I’m with our agencies.” ... Read More
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To better fight crime and terror in the digital era, the FBI seeks top STEM graduates

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WASHINGTON ― The field of opportunity for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates continues to grow thanks to the FBI’s increased recruitment efforts. Special Agent Avatar Lefevre runs a cyber-skills recruitment unit within the FBI’s Human Resources Division. For him, the digital landscape will be the setting for future bouts with terrorism, espionage and crime, thus necessitating... Read More
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Spain warns EU about cyber-meddling suspicions in Catalonia

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Spain on Monday warned its European Union partners about a disinformation campaign aimed at destabilizing its volatile northeast region of Catalonia, which Madrid claims appears to be coming from Russia. Spanish Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal told reporters that “many of the actions come from Russian territory,” but that it’s not yet possible to determine what their exact source is or if the Russian government is involved. ... Read More
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Cybercrimes present unique challenges for investigators

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ATLANTA (AP) — The federal investigators looking into the breach that exposed personal information maintained by the Equifax credit report company are used to dealing with high-profile hacks and the challenges they present. The U.S. attorney’s office and FBI in Atlanta have prosecuted developers and promoters of the SpyEye and Citadel malware toolkits, used to infect computers and steal banking information. They’ve helped prosecute a hack into Scottrade and ETrade that was part of an identity theft scheme, and aided the inte... Read More
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North Korea’s digital divide: Online elites, isolated masses

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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Ever so cautiously, North Korea is going online. Doctors can consult via live, online video conferencing, and lectures at prestigious Kim Il Sung University are streamed to faraway factories and agricultural communes. People use online dictionaries and text each other on their smart phones. In the wallets of the privileged are “Jonsong” or “Narae” cards for e-shopping and online banking. Cash registers at major department stores are plugged into the web. ... Read More
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Does organizing cyberspace actually ratchet up potential for conflict?

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Some in the academic world think so. “I think the elevation of Cyber Command and I think the creation of Cyber Command has expedited the security dilemma,” Aaron Brantly, assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech, said during a panel at the CyCon U.S. conference in Washington Nov. 8. “I think that that has spurred a process by which multiple other states around the world are in the process of developing their own cyber commands. These people are sitting in buildings and they have to do something so they’re ... Read More
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High profile breaches, Jurassic Park and Chinese takeout [Commentary]

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In recent weeks and months, we’ve seen a slew of high profile breaches gain media and consumer attention. The SEC, Deloitte, Equifax and Bupa stories are just a few of these examples. For most people, two of the biggest questions that come to mind are: “How did this happen?” and “How am I affected?” To think about this, let’s shift the focus to user intent, and ask “Why?” We often hear that a vulnerability was left unpatched, or an inadvertent mistake led to the leak of confidential information. For those outside o... Read More
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DHS chief nominee says cyber a top priority

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security says cybersecurity will be one of her top priorities. Kirstjen Nielsen, a former staffer at the sprawling federal agency, says the scope and pace of cyberattacks on federal networks and critical infrastructure are “continually increasing” and grow more complex and sophisticated each day. Nielsen, 45, now serves as deputy White House ... Read More
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Maximizing SIEM with data analytics [Commentary]

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Recent cybersecurity breaches have impacted a range of sectors, from finance to professional services to the public sector, proving that early detection of cybersecurity threats and reducing overall risk are not simple tasks. As the data center continues to become software defined and workloads continue to flow across hybrid environments to take advantage of the lowest cost infrastructure, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage risks. From compliance to cybersecurity, agencies are leveraging Security Information Event Management (SIEM) software to avoid cyber breaches. ... Read More
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Former Yahoo CEO says no company or agency immune from hacks

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has told lawmakers that the threat from state-sponsored hackers has changed the playing field so dramatically that even the best-defended companies can fall victim. Mayer is joining former and current CEOs of Equifax in testifying before a Senate committee examining recent data breaches that affected millions of Americans. In Yahoo’s case, stolen information for billions of users i... Read More
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How the Air Force is doing rapid cyber acquisition for offense, defense

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While many complain about how the slow pace of the current acquisition system cannot keep up with the speed of cyber, the Air Force has been instituting a model for cyber capability development that has engendered capabilities in a fraction of the current process. What makes the Air Force approach different than all the other services? The funding pot they use for this rapid cyber capability development. A new paper published by Rebecca Lively, an attorney with 24th Air Force/Air Force Cyber, outlines how the Air Force uses operat... Read More
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Book: Hackers pursued Democrats into last days of election

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Hackers hounded the Democratic Party into the final days of the 2016 election, breaking into a server carrying critical voter data, according to a book published Tuesday. The breach of the Democratic National Committee captured national attention when it was revealed by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike in June 2016. But a tell-all account of the hacking by former interim DNC chief Donna Brazile reveals that the intrusions continued for months afterward and compromised some of the DNC’s most closely guarded information. ... Read More
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Kelly’s ex-deputy readies for own DHS confirmation hearing

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Kirstjen Nielsen helped shepherd President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security secretary pick through his Senate confirmation process. Now she’s got her own team guiding her through those same hoops. Trump surprised many in his administration when he announced his decision to nominate Nielsen to run the sprawling agency, which has been leading the charge on implementing Trump’s aggressive immigration agenda. Nielsen had served as former DHS Secretary John Kelly’s top deputy early in the ... Read More
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FBI again finds itself unable to unlock a gunman’s cellphone

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Texas church massacre is providing a familiar frustration for law enforcement: FBI agents are unable to unlock the gunman’s encrypted cellphone to learn what evidence it might hold. But while heart-wrenching details of the rampage that left 26 people dead might revive the debate over the balance of digital privacy rights and national security, it’s not likely to prompt change anytime soon. Congress ha... Read More