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15 Apr 21. Secure Cyber Defense’s Managed Security Services Now Powered by Fortinet’s FortiSOAR. Secure Cyber Defense announced they have partnered with Fortinet to add FortiSOAR to its offerings. With FortiSOAR, Secure Cyber Defense has been able to expand its services to include orchestration and automation for managed detection and response customers, enterprise SOAR implementation, and to support its Incident Response and digital forensic services.
“We saw the potential for using automation to support the IT teams and Security Operations Centers (SOCs) run by our clients. Most security teams are overwhelmed by the volume of alerts they receive and see value in automating response to lower-level threats. Our team has used many of the out of the box capabilities of FortiSOAR as well as customizing features to better serve both our clients and our own SOC,” says CEO Shawn Waldman. “The addition of FortiSOAR allows for more detailed investigations, automated responses, threat hunting, and incident response activities.”
Our customers are experiencing faster response times and they also benefit from the expanded threat intelligence the SOAR platform delivers. The need to coordinate and investigate increasing volumes of threat alerts can only be handled by automating and orchestrating threat response so IT teams do not get overwhelmed.
“We challenge ourselves daily on how we can we best serve our clients and protect their networks in new and innovative ways. We want to move our clients from a purely defensive posture, giving them breathing room to take more proactive steps to minimize their vulnerabilities,” Waldman says. “We have to not only adopt automation for our own managed security services but be able to translate those benefits to our customers.”
About Secure Cyber Defense
Secure Cyber Defense delivers expert cybersecurity consulting and managed detection and response services to manufacturing companies, local governments, government contractors, utilities, K-12 schools, and aerospace companies. The company is recognized as an Advanced Fortinet partner and a leading MSSP for FortiSOAR in the North Central region. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
14 Apr 21. AFWERX invests in 5G-enabled IoT security. The growth of internet-of-things technologies combined with the rollout of 5G has the Air Force’s innovation arm looking for new ways to secure its networks.
AFWERX has awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract to Phosphorus Cybersecurity. Under the contract, the company will help the Air Force build a scalable security infrastructure to ensure the 5G-enabled IoT devices it plans for its installations do not increase the network attack surface.
The company’s technology automates IoT inventory, patching and credential management, enabling organizations to more easily scale applications.
Currently, most automated security policy compliance solutions — taking inventory, rotating passwords and updating firmware — are designed for desktops and traditional network services. It’s now time to bring that approach to IoT and 5G-enabled devices, company officials said.
“What’s needed now is a solution for the other third of the network consisting of IoT to prevent the next ‘Verkada’ [surveillance camera hack] while enabling the warfighter to adopt next-generation technology,” Phosphorus Founder and CEO Chris Rouland said.
“Adapting Phosphorus’s solution to 5G in support of this effort is critical to promoting the zero-trust environment necessary to secure our defense networks,” he added.
Last year, Phosphorus won another Phase I SBIR from AFWERX to work on IoT security. The new award adds in 5G devices. (Source: Defense Systems)
14 Apr 21. Cloudy vision: Can NATO’s new deployable combat system focus the field? NATO is on a time crunch to develop new cloud technologies to help set interoperability standards for its members’ own nascent computing infrastructures.
One of NATO’s core duties has long been to establish technology standards and ensure interoperability across its member nations. Traditionally, that manifested in areas such as radio frequencies or data protocols. But with recent advances in cloud computing and storage in the private sector, the alliance also needs to move quickly to ensure standardization in that technological domain.
NATO members France, German and the United States began fielding their own strategies and directives for using artificial intelligence. Cloud technologies will enable AI systems, and achieving results in cloud platforms “can help accelerate AI development and use,” said Erica Pepe, a senior coordinator for research and a conflict, security and development analyst at the International Institute for Security Studies in London, England.
“Member nations are developing their own artificial intelligence strategies, and NATO plays an important role in establishing interoperability standards. In this context, showing results quickly is important for NATO to give a common direction,” Pepe said.
The field is already becoming ever cloudier, with countries setting up their own cloud-enabled technology hubs and joint-European programs developing separate combat-driven systems, such as the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System program.
Observers say these systems will need to be interoperable if they are to provide a full range of capabilities, and they see NATO as the natural lead to develop common standards across its members’ individual efforts.
NATO is well aware of its need to embrace cloud technologies and move ahead on tangible efforts — defense leaders were heralding its importance for in-theater operations back in 2015.
Since then, the alliance has invested in multiple cloud-enabled technologies — much of which remained in research and testing phases — and has begun developing policies and strategies to define NATO’s stake in this technology.
“We already have a cloud-first strategy in NATO. Now we need to live it and adopt it,” NATO Communications and Information Agency General Manager Kevin Scheid said at the alliance’s June 2020 virtual discussion on cloud computing, as reported by Mönch Publishing Group. “It’s time to adopt and stop admiring the problem.”
One program under the microscope is NATO’s Firefly effort to field NCI Agency’s first theater-level, deployable defense cloud capability. The system will enable troops working under the NATO flag to receive, analyze and transmit data in real time among static headquarters and across operational theaters. It will build upon and complement the alliance’s deployable communication and information systems, and provide a suite of command-and-control services in fewer, lighter hardware boxes.
French company Thales was selected in late 2020 to develop the Firefly system, and the team is expected to complete the design phase as well as perform factory testing this year, with production to begin in 2022 and finish in 2023.
The contract includes 42m euros ($49m) for up to eight expected systems, but no funds will be allocated until the completion of the preliminary design review, per the alliance’s NCI Agency.
The goal of Firefly is to bring “new modern technologies” to “the edge of our networks, in hostile environments,” said Antonio Calderon, acting chief technology officer at the agency.
Thales is performing the majority of the work in-house, but will use “best-of-breed solutions” from the commercial sector for features such as cloud storage and firewalls, said Jean-François Connan, the company’s sales director for institutions, network infrastructure and group strategic alliances.
While NATO may have recognized the benefit of such a system years ago, the cloud technology itself had to mature enough to make a system like Firefly a reality — and to convince government customers that cloud solutions are indeed viable. That confluence only happened over the past two or so years, Connan noted.
“Cloud providers have been offering solutions that today are satisfying more of the criteria of the customer: scalability, sustainability, security and, of course, price,” he said.
Time is of the essence to field this system before the technology becomes obsolete and requirements must be reset. Connan noted that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Firefly’s schedule for contract negotiations. “We had to reconsider and reevaluate, [and] the technical solutions had to be refreshed to be up to date.”
It is crucial for NATO to have a cloud-based system in the near term to ensure operators have secure and rapid access to information, Pepe noted.
“It is important to show that the technological edge is still kept within the alliance,” she said.
Firefly’s all-in-one system architecture, which includes application management, IT networks and security, represents a “holistic” approach to NATO’s deployable C2 assets, said Lauren Speranza, director of trans-Atlantic Defense and Security at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington.
The Firefly program is “exactly the type of approach NATO should be moving toward — away from having different platforms and [toward] building an overarching system-of-systems approach that we hear so much about,” she added.
But as member nations and other stakeholders develop separate cloud solutions, the key for NATO is ensuring these systems can communicate and interface among themselves.
“Even though NATO has adopted [a system] that should work across all of the nations, if there are other capabilities out there at use in the national context, we still have limited interoperability,” Speranza said. “So that, I think, is going to be the challenge going forward.”
NATO will need to develop more rigid guidelines and standards for cloud solutions as well as ensure those guidelines resolve the inevitable disagreements related to intellectual property sharing and data sharing between member nations, she noted.
“As we get into more dual-use technologies, like the cloud, there’s going to be a whole bunch of regulatory and governance issues [related to] how we actually gather and store and share the data that’s needed to power these software systems,” Speranza said.
For Thales’ Connan, interoperability and open standards are part and parcel with working on NATO programs.
“When you work with NATO, in terms of IP [intellectual property], it has to be very open and it has to be as standard as possible,” he said. “For me and for my company, the point is to make sure this solution will be the cornerstone of the coalition. I don’t want that at the end of the day we have a jigsaw [of systems].” (Source: Defense News)
13 Apr 21. Lockheed Martin contracts L3Harris for Viper Shield F-16V Block 70/72 electronic warfare system. Lockheed Martin in February sole-sourced L3Harris a cost-plus development contract to put its new AN/ALQ-254(V)1 Viper Shield electronic warfare (EW) system on the F-16V Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft.
The Viper Shield will have software-defined technology components that reveal digital radar threats and provide robust countermeasure capabilities in a fully-integrated, internally-mounted system, according to a company statement. The baseline version of the Viper Shield will be integrated into the aircraft’s fuselage, saving space for additional capability such as a fuel pod that could be attached externally to increase mission range. Ted Damaskinos, L3Harris vice president and general manager for electronic defensive solutions, told Janes on 18 March that the company has a full design of the Viper Shield and is in discussions with Lockheed Martin about production, timing, and deliverables.
The advanced digital radar warning receiver technology will fold into the F-16V Block 70/72’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to give pilots situational awareness. The digital radio frequency (RF) memory-based jamming system will fight advanced threats.
An expert said that Lockheed Martin is investing in F-16V Block 70/72 upgrades to prepare it for possible future acquisition by the US Air Force (USAF). Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, told Janes on 6 April that investing in an EW suite such as the Viper Shield is an affordable way for Lockheed Martin to give the aircraft self-protection and sensor capability improvements to have the F-16V Block 70/72 perform in modestly-contested environments such as air base protection or homeland defence air patrols. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Apr 21. US Navy completes airworthiness test of RFCM prototype for P-8A. US Navy has announced that an Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) successfully completed an ‘airworthiness test of a pod-mounted radio frequency countermeasure (RFCM) prototype’. The US Navy has announced that an Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) successfully completed an ‘airworthiness test of a pod-mounted radio frequency countermeasure (RFCM) prototype’.
The airworthiness test was completed at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Atlantic Test Ranges on 12 March.
According to a press statement released by NAVAIR, the advanced RF defence decoy is designed to allow the P-8A to ‘thwart enemy radio frequency missile attacks’.
NAWCAD Aircraft Prototype Systems Division leading project engineer Michael Hansell said: “A lot of the challenge and effort went into designing, to our best estimates, for what BAE was expected to put in the pod.
“We had to adapt and redesign rapidly. We worked as fast as possible to support PMA-290 and RPED to make sure we could pivot and adjust to meet established timelines.”
Constant changes were needed in the implementation as the teams ‘continued to hone in on a capable design’.
The P-8A is a long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare (ASW) aircraft used by the US Navy.
It is a military derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation aeroplane and features a modern open mission system architecture, bomb bay and pylons for weapons.
APSD project lead James Sherman said: “Michael Hansell and his team’s flexibility and willingness to go above and beyond, to work through issues and prepare for BAE, was key in getting (the pod design and build) done in a timely manner.”
After the testing, the pod went to Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake in California where it successfully completed effectiveness testing during 21-26 March.
The pod will now continue to be tested at a system level leading to ‘platform integration’ via ‘planned capability fielding phases’. (Source: naval-technology.com)
12 Apr 21. Paratroopers testing the US Army’s latest communications equipment jumped into a sprawling field surrounded by dense woods and moved north upon landing in an effort to secure the area.
Significant equipment improvements allowed the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division to communicate clearly across greater distances than in the past — up to about 28 miles, said Lt. Col. Andy Harris, commander of the brigade’s 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Mapping on hardened cell phones, another new capability, showed teammates’ locations in near real time across the training environment’s miles of fields and forests. The devices gave team leaders new options to text if needed or follow the mission route on their screens instead of using paper maps alone.
“It’s 100 times better,” Harris said of the equipment. “If you can establish the mesh network and [connected] bubbles throughout, you can communicate as far as you want as long as those networks are established.”
The exercise, a regular training rotation last month at the Joint Readiness Training Center at this installation in rural Louisiana, was the culmination of three years of work to collect more soldier input and speed up how the Army procures and fields the equipment.
Soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division used new networking equipment during a training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. (Sgt. Justin Stafford/U.S. Army)
The test was the first time an entire brigade used the updated radios, tactical phones and network gear the Army will field to units this year. It will also help determine millions in acquisitions for years to come.
For example, the Army’s budget request last year for commercial off-the-shelf IT gear was about $94m, which includes the bulk of its Integrated Tactical Network gear, such as gateways and high-frequency and single-channel radios. The communications kits, part of the ITN, include a variety of additional items dispersed across many budget lines.
The exercise will help the Army make final decisions about what gear — and how much — to send out this year. The Army Test and Evaluation Command also used the demonstration to evaluate whether the new design is survivable and effective.
The Army hasn’t had soldiers’ insights from large-scale rotations in the past, said Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the Army Network Cross-Functional Team.
“As we’ve scaled this up, this is really the first opportunity at the brigade level to shake this system out at scale with a force-on-force active enemy in an environment like this,” he said in a secluded field in the middle of the training range, the site of a major command post the day prior. “Tremendous opportunity for getting soldier and leader feedback on the performance … shaping our iterative improvement of this network.”
The modernized equipment provides units with speed and range needed to defeat advanced adversaries in a multidomain battlefield, officials said.
“This is all about speed and range. You start getting after what we want to do for decisive operations, decisive decision-making. We want to get after sensor-to-shooter,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, program executive officer for command, control, communications-tactical. “How do we do that quickly at speed, how do we extend the range? … I think this fundamentally is a game-changer and allowing this airborne unit to be able to extend across those areas of speed and range.”
Another important upgrade is that the equipment set includes multiple, resilient communications options with more hardened waveforms. Previously, soldiers had limited options if communications failed or were jammed.
The technology provides them a PACE plan: primary, alternate, contingency and emergency, Gallagher said. “This gives them options, which I think is good. Give them the resilience to fight through what an adversary might throw at them.”
The Army started to modernize key pieces of its network after internal and external reviews three to four years ago found its network would not withstand a sophisticated threat. The service is adopting new technology alongside legacy systems, using various training events to collect soldiers’ opinions to adjust the equipment.
The kits fielded this year are Capability Set ’21, which creates a baseline to which the Army will add equipment. The service plans incremental delivery of new capability sets every two years.
What was learned?
Army leaders gleaned some immediate feedback from the exercise, including a need to simplify the network for pre-mission deployment. The system is somewhat complex to get ready to deploy, involving technical radio programming. Though once up and running, the system is much easier to use.
Networking equipment, such as a variable height antenna on a tethered drone, increased soldiers’ communication range at a recent exercise at Fort Polk. (Sgt. Justin Stafford/U.S. Army)
Part of the fix involves automated planning tools the program team is reviewing. There are larger questions for the Army about what type of training on the equipment is needed — be it at the schoolhouse for signal officers or at home station training.
Officials expected to come away from the training with a better understanding of which echelons should receive some of the equipment. It’s possible that lower echelons, such as squads, might not need the equipment, or the increased situational awareness could hinder their ability to do their mission because they were too focused on their tactical cell phones’ location information.
The Army is fielding the ITN equipment to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Europe and plans to field four infantry bridges in fiscal 2021, with four more and a Stryker brigade in 2022. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
12 Apr 21. Collins Aerospace’s Military Communications Legacy Continues With ARC-210 Airborne Radio.
- 50,000 delivered and still going strong
- Most widely fielded tactical airborne radio in the world, operating on more than 200 platform variants worldwide in over 50 countries
- Newest version of radio brings the latest encryption and anti-jam technologies to the warfighter
Collins Aerospace recently celebrated a monumental milestone with the delivery of the 50,000th ARC-210 software-defined airborne radio to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Air Combat Electronics (PMA-209), a key customer of the program since it began in 1990.
The delivery of the 50,000th radio continues a 30+ year relationship between Collins Aerospace and the U.S. Navy on the ARC-210 program — a model for government-industry teaming. This radio, which has continued to evolve with the needs of the Navy, is standard for multi-band, multi-mode communications and plays a key role in allowing joint and coalition forces to communicate in various theaters of operations worldwide.
The Collins Aerospace ARC-210 radio was the first tactical airborne radio to embed encryption and modem operation to support satellite communications in tactical aircraft. The ARC-210 radios have transmitted millions of critical messages in the air and at sea, mission after mission. Now available in its sixth iteration, the ARC-210 RT-2036 brings the latest encryption and anti-jam technologies, as well as integrating next-generation networking waveforms that include the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) and Second Generation Anti-jam Tactical UHF Radio for NATO (SATURN).
The ARC-210 radio has the widest frequency range of any tactical airborne radio and includes those used by civil first responders, allowing for communications interoperability by military and national guard aircraft in emergencies such as hurricane relief and fighting wildfires. The latest generation ARC-210 now also includes L-Band frequency capability for tactical networking.
“As the market leader in airborne communications, Collins Aerospace remains committed to bringing tomorrow’s technology to the warfighter today,” said Ryan Bunge, vice president and general manager, Communication, Navigation and Guidance Solutions. “We’re proud to hit this delivery milestone, continuing our legacy of providing our military and allied nations with reliable communications when it matters most.”
As the most widely fielded airborne radio in the world, the ARC-210 is operating on more than 200 platform variants worldwide in over 50 countries. The ARC-210 is part of the Collins Aerospace’s TruNet™ networked communications family of products, which includes airborne and ground radios, advanced networking waveforms, applications, and support and services. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Apr 21. JORN program secures ISO certification. BAE Systems Australia has announced its receipt of formal ISO certification for the JORN program. International certification body TQCSI Yaran has granted an ISO 55001 Asset Management certification for BAE Systems Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) program.
The certification was awarded following an extensive audit, which involved the assessment of all aspects of the JORN program across five states, including engagement with all remote radar sites, the sounders and transponders maintenance team and the deeper level maintenance site.
“The JORN team members should be exceptionally proud of their efforts in achieving international recognition,” BAE Systems Australia managing director of defence delivery Andrew Gresham said.
“This certification officially acknowledges our commitment to our role as capability steward for the Commonwealth on this vital sovereign security infrastructure.”
Gresham added, “[The] JORN certification demonstrates that we are developing truly world-class asset management capability to underpin our work sustaining and optimising some of Australia’s most significant sovereign defence assets.”
Earlier this year, BAE Systems Australia and CryoClock secured a $4.8m contract to enhance the performance of JORN through the development of ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology, capable of improving detection capability.
CryoClock’s technology can also be leveraged by other industries, including advanced computing and scientific research sectors.
JORN operates as a strategic defence wide area surveillance system that surveys the northern air and sea approaches of Australia out to a range of 3,000 kilometres.
The radar system is remotely operated from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, with three radar sites located in Longreach (Queensland), Laverton (WA) and Alice Springs (NT). (Source: Defence Connect)
09 Apr 21. Boeing Defence Australia and Northrop Grumman to deliver interface for government’s Joint Data Network Program. Boeing Defence Australia and Northrop Grumman Australia have entered into an agreement to deliver a Joint Interface Control System for the JP 9347 – Commonwealth of Australia’s Joint Data Network Program.
The interface hopes to allow users to control information flows and data from a number of secure networks in one platform. It is expected that the system will improve Defence’s situational awareness.
The interface will include parts from both Boeing Defence Australia and Northrop Grumman, allowing Defence to manage data on an Australian managed platform.
Boeing Defense, Space and Security’s director of global sales and marketing for Australia and New Zealand, Dale McDowall, outlined that the platform will be an Australian managed interface.
“The team offers operationally proven, mission capable communication and Tactical Data Link products,” McDowall said.
“Combined with extensive in-country systems design and development experience to deliver the foundation for a resilient and sovereign-controlled JDN.”
Boeing Defence Australia noted that this follows the success of the battlespace management system Wakulda and the battlespace communications system Currawong. Meanwhile, they will be leveraging Northrop Grumman’s 60 years of communications and network capabilities.
Andrew Pryor, director of business development at Northrop Grumman Australia, outlined that the partnership will utilise both companies’ expertise in the area.
“This partnership brings to bear the best of companies’ technology, talent and expertise in network communications and gateway systems to ensure the ADF maintains the required strategic advantage in an age of data-driven warfare,” Pryor noted.
“We stand ready to meet the JP 9347 mission needs of the ADF today and in the future.” (Source: Defence Connect)
12 Apr 21. Cyber the focus of Defence ICERA grants for SMEs. The Department of Defence has awarded the first $3.6m batch of ICERA grants to 12 Australian SMEs, with a strong focus on cyber security.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price launched the Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (ICERA) initiative in August last year. The ICERA grants will provide $36m over six years, funded through Defence’s Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF). Six of the 22 successful ICERA grants focused on creating innovative cyber security capabilities.
The other research projects cover Enhanced Human Performance, Integrated ISR, Quantum Technologies and Advanced Sensors.
“I am particularly pleased to announce that two of these initial ICERA partnerships are with businesses new to Defence,” Minister Price said. “The ICERA program aims to support small-to-medium businesses that are critical to enhancing our tactical and strategic edge as Australia’s strategic context continues to evolve.”
Twelve ICERA partners will receive up to $300,000 each:
- Breakaway Consulting Pty Ltd, NSW
- InfoSect, ACT
- Insight Via Artificial Intelligence, SA
- Jaywick Group Pty Ltd, NSW
- Mentum Systems, ACT
- Spinlock Security, NSW
- Critus, NSW
ENHANCED HUMAN PERFORMANCE
- Quantitative, NSW
- Biosensis, SA
INTEGRATED INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE & RECONNAISSANCE
- Fivecast Pty Ltd, SA
- Safran Electronics & Defence Australasia Pty Ltd (SEDA), NSW
- Cryoclock, SA
The remaining ICERA outcomes will be announced as arrangements are finalised.
For more information regarding the NGTF visit https://www.dst.defence.gov.au/NextGenTechFund.
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.