Paranoid Technology All things cybersecurity


President given “broad authority” to order cyber attacks

cyber-warfareEnter the era of official cyber warfare. According to a report by The New York Times; a secret White House legal review has cleared the way for preemptive cyber attacks if the president determines there is credible evidence of a pending attack. Granted certain countries are really trying hard to steal corporate secrets, but hopefully, this will not end-up like conventional warfare - remember the (on-going) misguided UAV attacks and now the new enemy cyber terrorists....  Officials who had been involved in the review told The Times' David Sanger and Thom Shanker that the new rules give the president "broad power" to order computer-based attacks on adversaries that disrupt or destroy their systems, without requiring a declaration of war from Congress. The rules also govern how intelligence agencies can monitor networks for early warnings of imminent attacks, and when the Department of Defense can become involved in dealing with domestic network-based attacks.


Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age

LA Times - At the University of Tulsa school, students learn to write computer viruses, hack digital networks and mine data from broken cellphones. Many graduates head to the CIA or NSA.


Stalking is part of the curriculum in the Cyber Corps, an unusual two-year program at the University of Tulsa that teaches students how to spy in cyberspace, the latest frontier in espionage.

Students learn not only how to rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives.

It may sound like a Jason Bourne movie, but the little-known program has funneled most of its graduates to the CIA and the Pentagon's National Security Agency, which conducts America's digital spying. Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.

The need for stronger cyber-defense — and offense — was highlighted when Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned in an Oct. 11 speech that a "a cyber-terrorist attack could paralyze the nation," and that America needs experts to tackle the growing threat.

"An aggressor nation or extremist group could gain control of critical switches and derail passenger trains, or trains loaded with lethal chemicals," Panetta said. "They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country."

Panetta said the Pentagon spends more than $3 billion annually for cyber-security. "Our most important investment is in skilled cyber-warriors needed to conduct operations in cyberspace," he said.


Read the original article here.


President Signs Secretive Cybersecurity Policy Directive

President Obama has long said cyber security is one of his priorities and it appears he is now acting on his words.

According to the Washington Post, he is said to have signed a secret policy directive last month that will give the military and other government authorities the ability to act quickly if the country comes under cyber attack.

Dubbed the "Presidential Policy Directive 20," this classified document allegedly outlines the rules of how federal agencies are allowed to react when it comes to online breaches of security, hacking, cyber threats, and attacks.

One of the major elements of the directive, according to the Washington Post, is that it deals with "offensive" versus "defensive" action and makes the distinction between network defense and cyber operations.


“Olympic Games” to include Cyber Warfare ;-)

Who knew?!! Stepped up by President Obama apparently "Olympic Games" was the code name for the cyber warfare program initiated under President Bush. According to the experts the program caused havoc at the Iranian nuclear facilities in Natanz and set back Iran in its enrichment efforts about 18 months to 2 years. It is not clear at this time if Iran is working on some retaliatory cyber weapon, but if not Iran someone else will attack our infrastructure sometime soon - and the utilities companies should seriously consider spending some major cash on fortifying systems that are on the field.

Read the article at NY Times.


Pentagon opens classified cyber program to all defense contractors, ISPs

Here is a move that will be very interesting and in the direction of improving security in the age of BYOD...

The Obama administration is expanding to all military contractors a computer security program that shares classified threat information, Defense Department officials announced Friday. After a year of trials with select vendors, the Defense Industrial Base, or DIB, cybersecurity pilot program will invite all military vendors and their Internet service providers to voluntarily join the two-way information-sharing initiative.


Foreign spies ‘penetrate’ US military networks

"Low pay, delays over promotion and wage freezes made it very hard for the US government to attract and keep talented computer security staff" according to Dr Kaigham Gabriel, current head of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.