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Category Archives: Cyber Warfare

Defence Industry Seeking IT Solutions to Match Big Data Needs

Modern defence systems are required to gather, disseminate and store more information than ever before. The challenge of meeting the technology demand in a cost-effective manner is one that is shared by all governments and military organisations.

To solve this problem, military information leaders will assemble in Brussels, to get to grips with the latest strategies and equipment, which will enable global armed forces to assess the rapid increase in digital data.

The Defence IT 2013 conference, taking place in June, will build on the success of Defence IQ’s information technology portfolio, which includes the renowned annual Cyber Defence & Network Security (CDANS) conference. The full Defence IT conference agenda is available to view at http://www.defence-it.com.

Defence IT 2013 will include key presentations from several EU and UK MoD programme leaders. With the budget for improving IT infrastructure in the European Commission reaching into the billions, Defence IT will provide the platform where government agencies seek to engage with leading solution providers.

Topics under discussion include, enterprise application platforms, Big Data, Cloud Computing, online learning, codification and standardisation. Additionally, the workshop day on 20th June 2013 will focus on the tools and applications required to visualise data and how to develop information systems for situational awareness.

Belgian Minister of Defence, Pieter De Crem, hailed Defence IQ’s CDANS conference as “an exceptional platform to discuss new ideas and initiatives; to identify benchmarks, as well as to coordinate existing capabilities”. A post-show report highlighting key findings of the conference, alongside insight on CNI-targeting malware and regional digital security strategies is available to the Defence IT community at http://www.defence-it.com.

Further information on Defence IT, including the agenda, speaker lists and topics to be discussed are available online at http://www.defence-it.com, where you will also be able to register for the conference.

Notes to editor:

Defence IT will be taking place in Brussels, Belgium between 18-20 June 2013. If you would like a press pass for the conference, please contact Samantha Tanner at enquire@defenceiq.com or call +44 (0) 207 368 9300.

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Rumoured Chinese computer espionage to be analysed by defence leaders

At a US hearing last month, two Chinese telecoms firms formally denied allegations that their products are being built for purposes of espionage.

Shenzhen-based Huawei and ZTE stated before the committee that the ‘backdoors’ believed to be built into some of the technology are merely ‘software bugs’ and that neither company is controlled by the Chinese government.

Lt Col (Rtd) William Hagestad, former US Marine and author of ‘21st Century Chinese Cyber Warfare’, has spent several years flagging this type of vulnerability to the digital security world, but many had previously not considered the idea to be a genuine threat.

Asked in an interview with Defence IQ about the recent developments that are finally bringing the issue to the attention of the wider public, Hagestad replied: ‘I wish I had been wrong.’

Explaining that the possibility of major telecommunications manufacturers violating their respective hardware for espionage purposes has always existed, Hagestad points to evidence to suggest that this is not a case of mistaken identity.

‘When you look at the recent DEFCON 20 presentation that describes in great detail some of the Huawei routers and some of the compromises that have led to buffer overflow, you can see that it is not a software bug,’ he said.

‘These are actual, no kidding, compromises to the hardware and software of the telecommunications manufacturers. Now whether they are overt, covert or unknown is irrelevant – the fact that they exist… is a concern not only commercially but also to the national security of the countries that are using them.’

Hagestad was speaking ahead of his involvement in the annual Cyber Defence & Network Security (CDANS) conference, set to take place in London from January 24–27, which bring together the world’s defence chiefs and heads of CERT, systems security, military IT, counterterrorism, and cybercrime professionals. Last year’s BBC-covered event hosted over 150 attendees and over 25 speakers from 24 nations.

This year, much of the focus will rest on dealing with the ongoing threat to critical national infrastructure and cloud computing, but there will also be inevitable discussion on the potential of the use of cyber weapons and foreign state responses to the evolving cyber domain.

Asked whether these allegations are likely to change how the technology industry manufactures its products, or if we are in fact too late to counter the threat, Hagestad is philosophical.

‘I would hope that we’re never too late,’ he said.

‘And I’m not one to say that we should ban every Chinese product. That doesn’t do international trade, cooperation, and geopolitical agendas any good – that’s actually counterproductive.’

You can listen to the full interview here.

Do you have an opinion on this topic? Can East and West ever see eye-to-eye in the digital realm? Email haveyoursay@defenceiq.com with comments, views and questions, or simply post your comments below.

More information on attending the event can be found on the Cyber Defence & Network Security website here.

Public confidence in national cyber defence strategies is lacking

Defence IQ’s Summer Cyber Defence Report has confirmed that 65% of respondents to our survey on national cyber defence strategies have no confidence in their government’s strategy to stop cyber weapons and protect public services.

The report, published last week, asked the question of global cyber defence strategies and asked respondents if their own national cyber strategies were made clear and were performing as expected. Over 60% of respondents for the report were directly responsive for cyber security solutions or decision makers and which a large proportion of respondents claiming that they were ‘unconfident’ with national strategies in cyber defence, this brought up the debate in whether countries should be doing more to protect their infrastructure.

But there has been some improvement in this arena, according to Defence IQ’s report. Over 47%of respondents claim that there has been some improvement in securing networks over the past two years, showing that strategies are heading in the right direction but not necessarily at the speed those in the industry has envisaged. However, slightly more worryingly, 9% claimed that their governments had made no significant improvement over the past two years, potentially leaving themselves open to an attack.

The findings of the report are to be used as a point of reference during discussion sessions at the Cyber Defence Forum, which will focus specifically on the challenges, operations and solutionsfacing armed forces and governments as they formulate national strategies to keep their defensive and offensive cyber capabilitiescurrent and in-line with the international community.

You can read the report in full here.

We’re keen to hear your thoughts – do you agree or disagree with the findings in this report? Would you like to write a follow-up in response? Email comments or article submissions to: haveyoursay@defenceiq.com

Cyber Defence Survey 2012

Cyber Defence Survey

How confident are we really when it comes to both our personal and national levels of cyber security? Are our methods of protection getting better or worse? Defence IQ wants to know how you feel on the subject by asking you to answer just a few simple questions on the topic in our Summer Cyber Defence Survey.

Those taking part also have the choice of getting the first look at our results and follow-up report due for release in just a few weeks time…

Fill in the survey here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/SummerCyberSurvey

Thanks,

The Defence IQ Team

Can cyber security investment get the UK out of recession?

By Calum Jeffray

During an industry conference last month, Neira Jones, Head of Payment Security at Barclaycard, posed the question, “Can cyber security contribute to getting the UK out of this recession?”

It’s an interesting questions posed by Jones, who backed up with statement by explaining that If we didn’t spend the amount that we currently do on recovering losses as a result of data breaches and other cyber crime, the saving would be so huge our economy would no longer be in recession.

Although there may be a good number who dispute Jones’s logic, it begs the question – is it possible to accurately measure the cost that the UK is paying as a result of hacking, data theft, corporate espionage, and other offences that come under the umbrella of ‘cyber crime’?

The problem, of course, depends on which set of statistics are to be believed the most.

In February 2011 Detica, a division of BAE Systems, made the headlines when it claimed that cyber crime cost the UK economy a remarkable £27 billion every year. It estimated the cost of IP theft at just over £9 billion and espionage at over £7 billion a year. Having been commissioned by the UK Cabinet Office, the report has since benefited from the “according to government statistics” tagline and is widely quoted in the media.

Fast forward to today, and things don’t seem to have improved much. As Jones stated during her presentation, “It is no a longer a question of if you are hacked, but when”. The first six months of 2012 have seen 35% more data breaches than in the same period in 2011. There has also been a 10% rise in identity theft since 2010.

However, The conclusion of ‘Measuring the cost of cybercrime’, this time commissioned by the UK MoD and produced by an international panel of computer scientists, is that the cost of protecting ourselves against cybercrime can far exceed the cost of the threat itself. It argues society should spend less on anti-virus software and more on policing the internet and tracking down the “small number of gangs” that it claims are often behind the majority of cyber crimes.

Lead author Ross Anderson, Professor of Security Engineering at the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory explains:

“Some police forces believe the problem is too large to tackle. In fact, a small number of gangs lie behind many incidents and locking them up would be far more effective than telling the public to fit an anti-phishing toolbar or purchase antivirus software. Cybercrooks impose disproportionate costs on society and we have to become more efficient at fighting cybercrime.”

The report finds that each year the UK spends $1 billion on efforts to protect against or clean up after a threat, including $170 million on anti-virus. By contrast, just $15 million is spent on law enforcement.

So, going solely by this report which suggests that relatively small number of perpetrators are indeed responsible for the majority of cyber attacks, then investing in further policing would be a cost-effective solution to reducing all these costs – even if it doesn’t get the whole of the UK economy out of recession.

Cyber Defence ForumFind out more information on Cyber Defence at Defence IQ’s Cyber Defence Forum in October

Paramount Group the next Google? An African success story

In an interview with Defence IQ, Ivor Ichikowitz, the founder of South Africa’s Paramount Group, discusses the state of the African defence industry and the company’s unique, indigenous AHRLAC programme.

Read the full interview here.

ITEC: The top 5 technologies

Falklands dead honoured at National Memorial Arboretum

Today the National Memorial Arboretum, the UK’s centre of rememberance based in Staffordshire, had a ceremony to officially open its newest memorial – this time to remember the brave that fell during the 1982 Falklands conflict. Here’s a few pictures:

Crowds gather for the unveiling

The Falklands memorial

The Vulcan bomber fly past

Information: The military’s greatest asset

As a decade of operations begin to wind down in Afghanistan, it is clear that the military’s insatiable demand for timely, secure and high quality information will continue to grow exponentially. Some estimates forecast a near 1000% rise in information generation before 2020.

One thing is clear: More than bullets or bombs, information will remain militaries’ greatest force multiplier.

Afghanistan has shown that severe challenges exist in how information is gathered, exploited and shared in the global battlespace. While recent multinational and national networks have gone some way in alleviating a number of these challenges, it is far from certain that future mission networks will not suffer from the same problems.

The solution does not then lie in the military, political or industrial realms alone. A balanced approach will be required so that nations can make the most of the information that is out there.

Industry needs to provide solutions that are simple for people to use, can handle and exploit increasing volumes of data, and not cost the world. Militaries and their political superiors must start to take a serious look at the organisational structures and procedures they employ on operations.

Read the full article here.

India tests nuclear missiles as China looks on (with concern?)

Last month India successfully launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of 5,000km (3,100 miles).

The launch of the Agni-V missile is significant for at least two pressing reasons: the Agni-V missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and its long range brings it within striking distance of China.

It isn’t yet clear if the Agni-V is a symbolic move designed to heighten its defence deference on the world stage, or if it’s something more than that. If, as a recent RUSI article suggests, its ICBM programme is a ‘bridge’ to furthering its nuclear capabilities, then it could indicate a more assertive, strategically assured India is ready to ramp up its military forces significantly over the next decade.

What do you think? To read the full article click here.

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