David Kirkpatrick

September 3, 2010

Balancing national security and privacy on the internet

An interesting breakdown on the current state of online privacy versus national security.

From the link:

In the wake of revelations that the US military network was compromised in 2008, and that US digital interests are under a relative constant threat of attack, the Pentagon is establishing new cyber security initiatives to protect the Internet. The Pentagon strategy–which is part digital NATO, part digital civil defense, and part Big Brother–may ruffle some feathers and raise concerns that the US Internet is becoming a military police state.

The mission of the United States Department of Defense is to provide military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of the nation. The scope of that mission includes emerging threats and the need to deter cyber war and protect the digital security of the nation as well. To fulfill that mission in an increasingly connected world, and with a rising threat of digital attack, the Pentagon wants to expand its sphere of influence.

This really is a tough issue. Certainly you want the nation to be safe, but at the same time the internet is largely a borderless “pseudo-nation” and clamping down too hard — not unlike the great firewall of China — can stifle much of what makes the net great. No easy answers here, but dramatically increasing the power of the government — particularly the military — over the private sector is not an acceptable solution.

September 2, 2010

Food for not so easy thought

Everyone thought the biggest threat from China was the sheer volume of Treasuries held by that nation and the potential stranglehold it has over the U.S. economy. Realistically that has never been a real issue because as such a heavy investor in the U.S. economy, China has a vested interest in our financial sector remaining strong.

Now squeezing us on manufacturing vital elements of computing and electronics by taking complete control over rare earth metals is a different angle of attack altogether. You know the U.S. government is taking this very seriously when it has both the energy department and the DoD on the job.

The release:

China’s monopoly on 17 key elements sets stage for supply crisis

China’s monopoly on the global supply of elements critical for production of computer hard disc drives, hybrid-electric cars, military weapons, and other key products — and its increasingly strict limits on exports — is setting the stage for a crisis in the United States. That’s the topic of the cover story of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Editor Mitch Jacoby and Contributing Editor Jessie Jiang explain that the situation involves a family of chemical elements that may soon start to live up to their name, the “rare earths.” China has virtually cornered the global market on them, and produces most of the world’s supply. Since 2005, China has been raising prices and restricting exports, most recently in 2010, fostering a potential supply crisis in the U.S.

The article describes how the U.S. is now responding to this emerging crisis. To boost supplies, for instance, plans are being developed to resume production at the largest U.S. rare-earth mine — Mountain Pass in southern California — which has been dormant since 2002. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Defense are among the government agencies grappling with the problem.

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ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Securing the Supply of Rare Earths”

This story is available at http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/88/8835cover.html

July 8, 2010

US Cyber Command’s coded message

Can you crack the code?

From the link:

9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a. That’s not garble, it’s the coded message inscribed in the logo of the newly created US Cyber Command

This US Department of Defense (DoD) image shows the logo for the The US Cyber Command. 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a. That’s not garble, it’s the coded message inscribed in the logo of the newly created US Cyber Command.

Also:

A Cyber Command spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Steve Curry, said Thursday that including 32 letters and numbers in the organization’s official seal was the idea of a female contractor who designed the logo. Otherwise, the command’s symbol looks like a lot of other government and military seals, depicting an American eagle, stars and the globe.

Wired.com’s Danger Room last week offered a T-shirt or ticket to the International Spy Museum to the first person to crack the code, which is: 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a.

October 12, 2009

Pentagon’s cloud computing availability claim off …

… by a thousandth of one percent. That ‘s some retraction.

From the link:

Days after claiming 99.999% availability for its newcloud computing service, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman says he misspoke and meant to say the agency is achieving 99.99% availability instead.

June 17, 2009

The latest cybersecurity news

This release is from todayand covers the most up-to-date cybersecurity work done for national defense. Given the information society and interconnectedness of today’s world, cybersecurity is a very real matter of national defense. At the same time it’s an area frought with privacy and other concerns.

The release:

NIST, DOD, intelligence agencies join forces to secure US cyber infrastructure

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), the Intelligence Community (IC), and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS), has released the first installment of a three-year effort to build a unified information security framework for the entire federal government. Historically, information systems at civilian agencies have operated under different security controls than military and intelligence information systems. This installment is titled NIST Special Publication 800-53, Revision 3, Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations.

“The common security control catalog is a critical step that effectively marshals our resources,” says Ron Ross, NIST project leader for the joint task force. “It also focuses our security initiatives to operate effectively in the face of changing threats and vulnerabilities. The unified framework standardizes the information security process that will also produce significant cost savings through standardized risk management policies, procedures, technologies, tools and techniques.”

This publication is a revised version of the security control catalog that was previously published in response to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002. This special publication contains the catalog of security controls and technical guidelines that federal agencies use to protect their information and technology infrastructure.

When complete, the unified framework will result in the defense, intelligence and civil communities using a common strategy to protect critical federal information systems and associated infrastructure. This ongoing effort is consistent with President Obama’s call for “integrating all cybersecurity policies for the government” in his May 29 speech on securing the U.S. cybersecurity infrastructure.

The revised security control catalog in SP 800-53 provides the most state-of-the-practice set of safeguards and countermeasures for information systems ever developed. The updated security controls—many addressing advanced cyber threats—were developed by a joint task force that included NIST, DOD, the IC and the CNSS with specific information from databases of known cyber attacks and threat information.

Additional updates to key NIST publications that will serve the entire federal government are under way. These will include the newly revised SP 800-37, which will transform the current certification and accreditation process into a near real-time risk management process that focuses on monitoring the security state of federal information systems, and SP 800-39, which is an enterprise-wide risk management guideline that will expand the risk management process.

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 NIST Special Publication 800-53, Revision 3, is open for public comment through July 1, 2009. The document is available online at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsDrafts.html#800-53_Rev3. Comments should be sent to sec-cert@nist.gov.

April 23, 2009

Pentagon creating new cybercommand

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:58 pm

Probably a good move given the technology out there. I’m a little surprised we didn’t already have a separate cybercommand in the DoD.

Via KurzweilAI.net

Sources: Pentagon planning new cybercommand
AP, April 22, 2009

The Pentagon is planning to create a new military command to focus on cyberspace and protect its computer networks from cyberattacks, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

 

Keywords:cyberattacks
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