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19 Aug 22. Worldwide operational coverage underlines significant threat of cyber espionage from Beijing-backed hackers. On 18 August, Singapore-based cyber security firm Group-IB published a report highlighting recent activities of the Chinese state-sponsored advanced persistent threat group APT 41 (also known as Wicked Panda or Winnti). The report revealed that the prolific threat actor targeted 13 organisations worldwide in four separate campaigns in 2021, which hit public and private entities in Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, the US, the UK, and others. As a state-backed group, APT 41 typically undertakes cyber espionage campaigns in support of Beijing’s geopolitical interests, which include monitoring foreign governments’ relevant policies or important political events, such as elections (see Sibylline Cyber Daily Analytical Update – 9 March 2022). From the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) analysed by Group-IB, APT 41 hackers used spear-phishing emails, exploitation of a range of system vulnerabilities, and supply chain attacks to gain initial access of the target’s IT systems. The group then deployed malware (mainly customised Cobalt Strike Beacon) as well as various scanning tools to monitor and exfiltrate sensitive data from compromised machines. With Beijing facing a challenging geopolitical climate, Chinese state-linked threat actors will conduct more cyber espionage campaigns in the coming months. Organisations in government, education, media, manufacturing and telecommunications will remain at greater risk of being priority targets. (Source: Sibylline)
18 Aug 22. Pentagon’s command and control concept needs work, Army official says. The burgeoning nature of Joint All-Domain Command and Control, the Pentagon’s overhaul of military communications, means coordination across the armed services and broader governance are still a work in progress, a top U.S. Army IT official said.
“I think we’re all on a bit of a journey,” Lt. Gen. John Morrison, deputy chief of staff, G-6, said Aug. 17 at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference. “There is work to be done on making sure that we synchronize all the service efforts. But I know that senior leaders in the Department of Defense and senior leaders in the Army are working it very hard.”
JADC2 calls for a wholly connected military, with links across land, air, sea, space and cyber enabling speedy and accurate responses to threats. The concept is a significant departure from past and present, where disparate technologies and networks operated by different services impede the flow of information.
The Army, Air Force and Navy have their own contributions to JADC2 realization: Project Convergence, the Advanced Battle Management System and Project Overmatch, respectively. An overarching strategy and implementation plan exist, as does a cross-functional team meant to harmonize investments.
The different approaches, though, have led lawmakers, analysts and military officials to publicly worry about coordination — whether the services, in attempting to create seamless connectivity, are actually reaching beyond their own siloes.
Wanda Jones-Heath, the principal cyber adviser for the Air Force and Space Force, has said she believes JADC2 efforts are disjointed.
“I’ve looked at all of the documentation associated with all three,” she said at a July event hosted by the Potomac Officers Club. “We are not aligned with what we need to be to be interoperable.”
Morrison on Wednesday said he was not familiar with Jones-Heath’s comments while emphasizing JADC2′s emerging fashion and the ongoing joint experimentation meant to lock in the correct approach.
“The good news that I would tell you is that, through venues like Project Convergence, especially using Project Convergence 22 as an example, you have the services talking to each other, working together to get after this notion of not interoperability, but integration of effects,” Morrison said.
Project Convergence 22, often referred to as PC 22, takes place later this year and will involve the Army and the other services and will be the first to actively involve international partners. The U.K. and Australia will participate in the massive experiment, while Canada and others observe.
Specific attention will be paid to the Indo-Pacific and European theaters. Russian and Chinese threats informed the exercises, Defense News reported.
The Army earlier this year verified the services and international forces participating in PC 22 could exchange information and connect over long distances, from Maryland to Texas to the U.K. and on further. The critical milestone came during a communications exercise known as COMMEX 1B.
More than 50 technologies were tested during the three-week event. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
17 Aug 22. Russian military to develop weapons using artificial intelligence. The Russian Ministry of Defense said it formed a department dedicated to developing weapons that use artificial intelligence.
The announcement was made Aug. 17 by Alexander Osadchu, the head of Russia’s military’s innovative development department, at the Army 2022 summit, according to the state-owned news agency TASS.
“In order to intensify work on the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the interests of creating models of weapons for military and special equipment, a department for the development of artificial intelligence technologies has been created,” he said in a statement.
The program could serve to counter the Pentagon’s top AI authority, the newly formed Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office, which is tasked with expanding the use of AI throughout U.S. the military. The CDAO launched in February and reached full operational capability in June.
Mikhail Osyko, a member of Russia’s Military-Industrial Commission, announced plans to create an AI military department in May 2021. According to Osyko, the department will have its own budget, TASS reported.
As the U.S. and China make large investments in AI and machine learning technologies, Russia has similarly sought to compete in the AI field.
In 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that AI is “the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” according to a report carried by the state-funded media organization RT.
“It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict,” he said at the time. “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”
Also at the Army 2022 summit, being held this week in Moscow, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko noted that Russia will launch its National Center for AI in September.
The center will focus on searching and analyzing AI across fields, from business and science to government, according to TASS. It will also facilitate the expansion of AI programs at different organizations, such as research institutes and technological corporations. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Aug 22. CodeMettle, an innovative developer of NetOps software, today announced the launch of Terminus 2.0 at TechNet Augusta 2022. Developed with a strategic focus on Warfighter requirements, Terminus 2.0 is the only commercial grade software developed from the ground up to manage and control tactical diverse communications nodes at scale in contested and congested networks.
“Tactical DoD networks are critical infrastructure that need to adapt to changes at the speed of battle,” said Richard Graham, CEO of CodeMettle.
“Terminus 2.0 was built in collaboration with soldiers, for soldiers. It is a complete nodal management product designed to make the stand-up and operation of any tactical node simple. Terminus 2.0 has been designed to meet or exceed the Army’s known objectives for Unified Network Operations at the tactical edge.”
CodeMettle software simplifies node management by reducing the software tools and the cognitive load required to run the network at the tactical edge. Terminus 2.0 is designed to be run out-of-the-box by relatively untrained soldiers with little experience. Because of this, soldiers operating with Terminus 2.0 can more quickly and easily than ever before stand up and run a node for critical communications services at the edge.
In the 2.0 release, Terminus is now compatible with any baseband kit out the box, i.e., it manages baseband systems with no specialized configuration required. In 2.0, the process of setting up systems has been streamlined to lower training requirements and accelerate node setup. The UI is built to the Google Material UI standard, making it intuitive for anyone to use, enhanced by a visualization technique called progressive disclosure to expose only what is needed, when it is needed to simplify node operations.
CodeMettle serves defense, government and commercial partners through innovative and scalable commercial software products. Our agile solutions solve the most complex data integration, network operations and process challenges. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, CodeMettle provides a suite of distributed and scalable Network Operations products that enable enterprises to analyze, organize and consolidate complex data, processes and operations.
17 Aug 22. NetVIPRTM – A pioneering new military communications network. BAE Systems has unveiled its latest deployable networking product, NetVIPRTM, which provides intelligent and secure military communication networks linking everything from small reconnaissance drones to combat vehicles, fighter jets, aircraft carriers or military commands.
The modern, multi-domain battlefield that comprises land, sea, air, space, cyber and electronic warfare is hugely contested and it is vital that militaries maintain control of their communications in this challenging environment. NetVIPRTM uses the full spectrum of communications infrastructure to avoid being solely reliant on satellites or fixed infrastructure which are often targeted by adversaries, so will be much more able to sustain a communications network through a myriad of offensive challenges.
NetVIPRTM is made up of a series of nodes and each node in the secure network is able to add, access and move data. This means that even if some nodes are damaged in warfare, the rest automatically re-route to maintain optimum network speed and flow of information, making it highly resilient.
Traditional military networks rely on hardware being set up and then maintained by specialists. As NetVIPRTM uses software to perform functions usually carried out by hardware it can be updated from remote locations instead of the frontline, providing uninterrupted network access and data transmission.
This ‘plug and play’ approach works with communications hardware found in most military platforms. Over the past two years, BAE Systems has demonstrated NetVIPRTM’s capability on a range of equipment, integrating it with existing military radio systems. The team has also demonstrated the network management interface, enabling military users to configure and monitor the NetVIPRTM network.
Dave Sullivan, development lead of NetVIPRTM explained: “Building deployable communications networks in an operational battlespace is a complex challenge. NetVIPRTM is a software solution providing an intelligent, flexible and secure network that can be deployed from Command Headquarters all the way down to uncrewed air vehicles or other new autonomous platforms.”
16 Aug 22. QNu Labs to deliver quantum communication systems to Indian Army. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided to procure quantum key distribution (QKD) systems from Bangalore-based QNu Labs to enhance secured communication for the Indian Army.
CEO and co-founder of QNu Labs, Sunil Gupta, confirmed to Janes that the company has secured a contract to provide its ‘Armos’ QKD system to the Indian Army.
Armos is an appliance that protects sensitive data by leveraging quantum mechanics to create and transmit secure encryption keys for symmetric cryptography.
The introduction of quantum computers has made it possible to break the mathematical complexity used in traditional encryptions, Gupta told Janes on 16 August. Therefore, the new generation of data security or encryption “is trying to move away from mathematics to physics”, he added.
“We [QNu Labs] use principles of quantum physics to build a security that is unbreakable even by quantum computers,” Gupta said. (Source: Janes)
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.