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09 Sep 22. Le TacCis/Morpheus update. Sources close to BATTLESPAE suggest that the whole Morpheus Programme will be rebaselined following the cancelation of the GDUK EVO Programme. The MoD is now believed to want a Delivery Partner, not a Systems Integrator. An RFI is expected now in the May/June 2023 timeframe.
08 Sep 22. Albania-Iran: Tirana’s severing of diplomatic relations with Tehran will heighten the threat posed to critical infrastructure operators by retaliatory cyber attacks. On 7 September, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that the country has formally severed ties with the Iranian government after attributing a cyber attack in July to the Islamic Republic. This cyber attack reportedly caused widespread disruption, including taking several online public services provided by the e-Albania platform offline. Prime Minister Rama has in response ordered all staff at the Iranian embassy to leave the country within 24 hours. The severing of the two countries’ diplomatic relations will highly likely further strain the growing regional tensions between Iran and the West. This will particularly affect NATO member states which have also attributed the July cyber attack to Iran. While this formal attribution is indicative of NATO member states’ tactic of “naming and shaming” malicious cyber attacks to deter future incidents, the action is likely to have the opposite effect. Further Iranian state-linked and hacktivist cyber attacks will highly likely emerge in the coming months to express Tehran’s political grievances over Albania’s decision. Such activity is likely to take the form of ransomware, data wipers or Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, targeting Albania’s critical infrastructure, such as government agencies or energy firms. Patching vulnerabilities often exploited by Iranian hackers will minimise organisations’ exposure to this threat (see Sibylline Cyber Daily Analytical Update – 18 February 2022). (Source: Sibylline)
08 Sep 22. Tehran’s cyber espionage activity will remain a persistent threat to medicine and technology firms due to Iran’s growing ‘brain drain’ concerns. On 7 September, cyber security firm Mandiant disclosed the discovery of a seven-year-long Iranian state-linked cyber espionage campaign. This campaign reportedly utilises spear phishing emails and custom Android malware to track targets’ locations, access their devices’ storage, and extract communication data. This threat actor – tracked as APT42 – has targeted industries such as education, legal and professional services, healthcare and non-profile organisations across several jurisdictions, including the US, Italy, Australia and the UK. Given its targeting and geographic distribution, there is a realistic possibility that this campaign is at least partially aimed at helping address Iran’s declining socio-economic stability. Iran has been experiencing a ‘brain drain’ of highly skilled workers in recent years, which has negatively impacted its economic development in areas such as medicine and technology. As such, Tehran’s cyber threat actors have been increasingly targeting these sectors to exfiltrate critical intellectual property or data that can supplement its R&D deficiencies. With Iran’s economic woes highly unlikely to subside in the foreseeable future, there is a high likelihood of further cyber espionage campaigns over the next three months. Sectors critical to Iran’s economy, such as technology or pharmaceutical, will remain at greater risk for this activity. (Source: Sibylline)
08 Sep 22. Cold Calling.
The United States is taking an important step forward towards enhancing its satellite communications coverage over the arctic.
The Arctic is not well served by military Satellite Communications (SATCOM) coverage. This is problematic. Global warming is reducing the polar ice gap. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says that polar ice has reduced at a rate of 13 percent each decade. Chillingly (no pun intended) it says the Arctic could be ice-free by 2040. Melting ice puts more liquid water into oceans and this increases the risk of flooding for those living in coastal areas. An article published this June on the World Bank’s blog warns the risk of flooding already affects almost two bn people globally. An article published by Brown University warns that “the future of the Arctic Ocean looks grim”. As the ice caps recede, so new parts of the Arctic open to shipping. Commercial traffic could potentially use shorter routes from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans skirting Russia’s Arctic coastline.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the international legal framework for marine and maritime activities with 167 signatories. The Convention’s Article 234 deals with ice-covered stretches of water stipulating that “(c)oastal States have the right to adopt and enforce non-discriminatory laws and regulations for the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution from vessels in ice-covered areas within the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)”. This can be done when “particularly severe climatic conditions and the presence of ice covering such areas for most of the year create obstructions or exceptional hazards to navigation”.
Brown University’s article says that Russian law requires all vessels passing through the Northern Sea Route along the country’s northern coast to have a Russian pilot. Tolls are imposed on vessels and advanced notice must be given of plans to navigate this route. The problem for Russia is that Article 234 will no longer be relevant if there is no longer any ice. Might the Russian government flex its maritime muscles in other ways in an ice-free Arctic increasingly used by commercial shipping? Would this necessitate a firm response from US or allied nations? Might we see warships from these countries escorting commercial vessels through newly ice-free international waters close to Russia’s EEZ?
These emerging maritime security questions place a premium on robust over-the-horizon communications. Ships will need to talk to each other over vast distances, and communicate with their commanders and governments back home, distances which stretch to many thousands of miles.
Current Arctic SATCOM coverage is scant. An article published this February by International Defence, Security and Technology said no geostationary SATCOM coverage exists above 81 degrees north. Fortunately emerging constellations like Starlink, which offers global broadband internet coverage, will encompass Arctic regions. However, the situation at present for the US military is concerning as it suffers a dearth of coverage. The US Department of Defence’s (DOD) Boeing Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation provides coverage up to circa 70 degrees north, the edge of the Arctic polar region.
This dearth of dedicated military SATCOM coverage in the Arctic is beginning to abate via the US DOD’s Northrop Grumman Enhanced Polar System (EPS). The EPS comprises two payloads equipping the same number of satellites carrying an Extremely High Frequency (EHF) SATCOM package. They complement the DOD’s Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman Advanced EHF constellation. These offer uplinks on 44 gigahertz/GHz and downlinks on 20GHz frequencies.
Northrop Grumman is building the satellites on behalf of Space Norway. The latter is a Norwegian government-owned strategic space infrastructure company. Known as ASBM-1/2 the two spacecraft will also include a Ka-band (26.5-40GHz uplink/18-20GHz downlink) Inmarsat SATCOM package. This will extend the company’s Global Xpress broadband coverage into the Arctic. The Norwegian Ministry of Defence will also benefit from military X-band (7.9-8.4GHz uplink/7.25-7.75GHz downlink) coverage provided by the satellites. Launch is due in March 2023.
The EPS payloads will primarily be used to carry strategic communications between the Continental United States (CONUS) and US Navy Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBNs). The Arctic is the likely firing location for these boat’s Lockheed Martin UGM-113A Trident-II/D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles against targets in Russia. For understandable reasons, ensuring robust communications between the SSBNs in the far north and CONUS is paramount.
There is still much work to be done improving dedicated US and allied SATCOM coverage over the Arctic as the strategic seascape changes. The EPS initiative is nonetheless an important step in this direction.
08 Sep 22. September Radio Roundup. Armada’s monthly roundup of all the latest news in the military communications product, programme and operational domains.
Persistent Systems announced in early August that it received orders from QinetiQ for its Wave Relay networking devices. These will equip the Common Robotic System – Individual (CRSI) apparatus QinetiQ is supplying to the US Army. The CRSI provides dismounted soldiers with an uninhabited ground vehicle supporting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Wave Relay provides a radio link between the CRSI and its operator. QinetiQ is providing its SPUR system to satisfy the US Army’s CRSI requirement. Persistent Systems’ press release stated that this latest order covers the supply of “thousands” of Wave Relay systems.
Hanwha Systems revealed it is developing a tactical communications system which will use fifth-generation wireless protocols and the OneWeb Satellite Communications (SATCOM) system, Janes reported in late July. The company’s architecture will include a SATCOM antenna and terminal. The latter uses a smartphone-style architecture known as the Integrated Versatile Terminal (IVT). The company said the IVT can connect with several modules including tactical radios along with SATCOM and 5G systems. Future plans call for these modules to eventually be embedded within the IVT.
Lockheed Martin will launch three satellites in 2023 to help demonstrate the United States’ Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept of operations, satellitetoday.com reported on 5th August. Of the three satellites, two will be configured for tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance collection. The third will be used for communications. The company said the three spacecraft, which use its Pony Express-2 cubesat bus, will support orbital demonstrations and experiments pertinent to JADOC. More details regarding JADC2 can be found here.
Indian media reports on 5th August announced that the country’s army was looking at potential applications for quantum technologies. The force is reportedly interested in quantum communications. It is liaising with academia and industry on the benefits of quantum technology for military communications. The technology has garnered interest in recent years, particularly concerning how it may strengthen encryption. Specifically, quantum key distribution which immediately determines if someone has attempted to interfere with a transmission, shows promise.
In other news, on 5th August reports revealed the Indian Army had concluded an exercise to test the operational readiness of its space assets. The exercise, which took place in late July and was codenamed Skylight, included several indigenous satellites. Tests were performed of static, mobile and backpack satellite communications terminals. The exercise occurred alongside an army study of the cyber and electronic warfare dimensions of the ongoing Ukraine conflict. The report added that the force is taking a close interest in the lessons learned regarding military communications. Although the army does not currently possess its own communications satellite, this is expected to change by December 2025. That is when the force is schedule to receive its own GSAT-7B spacecraft built by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
In early August, Defense News reported that the US Department of Defence’s (DOD) Information Systems Agency had extended a contract with Booz Allen Hamilton. The contract extends the provision of the company’s Thunderdome prototype cybersecurity architecture. This helps protect the DOD’s Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET). SIPRNET provides the DOD the wherewithal to securely move classified information around the world. Booz Allen Hamilton was awarded a contract worth $6.8 m in January to develop Thunderdome as a prototype. The contract extension stretches the pilot scheme to apply Thunderdome to SIPRNET until early 2023. The report continued that the contract extension resulted from lessons learned regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. These lessons learned included the effects of Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian targets.
Reports from breakingdefense.com in early August warned of potential cuts to the US Army’s Capability Set-23 (CS-23) communications modernisation initiative. The army is rolling out improvements to its networking every two years via a series of capability sets. CS-21 is currently being implemented. As Armada reported in August CS-23 has been through a series of tests evaluating the architecture. The report stated that CS-23 could be affected by cuts proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee has earmarked reductions of $59.9 m for the procurement of radios supporting the army’s Integrated Tactical Network (ITN). ITN is being rolled out through these respective capability sets. Other cuts include a reduction of $19.8 m for the procurement of the army’s Combat Net Radio.
Ovzon has had its contract to provide SATCOM services to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) renewed, according to a satnews.com report on 3rd August. The contract renewal will run for 18 months, commencing on 1st September and is worth $1.1 m. Ovzon is planning to launch its first communications satellite, Ovzon-3, by the end of 2022. This will help the company provide SATCOM services not only to the UK MOD but also to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members.
The satnews.com website also reported in early August that Iridium subsidiary Skytrac will supply SATCOM terminals to the French armed forces. Skytrac will provide its SDL-700 SATCOM terminals for the French military’s new Airbus H-160M light utility helicopter. This aircraft is fulfilling France’s Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (Light Joint Helicopter) requirement. According to the reports, the SDL-700 terminals will access Iridium’s Certus broadband SATCOM services. This offers data rates of circa 704 kilobits-per-second. (Source: Armada)
09 Sep 22. Portugal: Military cyber security lapse will heighten the risk of leaked NATO documents being used by Moscow to aid its operations in Ukraine. On 8 September, industry reports claimed that the Armed Forces General Staff of Portugal (EMGFA) leaked classified NATO documents as the result of a cyber attack. The unknown hackers reportedly used bots programmed to detect and exfiltrate these types of sensitive documents via “non-secure lines” despite the EMGFA’s computers being endowed with various security measures, such as being air-gapped. If these details are confirmed, there is a realistic possibility that the EMGFA may have ignored its and NATO’s operational security rules regarding how classified data should be stored and protected on agency devices. While the Portuguese government has refrained from commenting on this incident, dark web investigations revealed that the stolen data is currently being offered for sale to interested parties. Such revelations will highly likely heighten tensions between Portugal and other NATO member states over the impact this could have on the military alliance’s security posture in the conflict in Ukraine. While there is no indication that Russian hackers are responsible for this incident, there is a heightened risk that state-linked hackers could buy the stolen data to assess NATO’s policies towards Russia’s invasion and assist its operations in eastern Ukraine. (Source: Sibylline)
09 Sep 22. North Korea: Pyongyang’s targeting of energy sector entities will increase amid worsening energy insecurity due to pandemic border closure. On 8 September, industry reports claimed that the North Korean state-linked hacking group Lazarus was targeting energy sector firms in the US, Canada and Japan. The threat actor is reportedly exploiting vulnerabilities in commercial desktop and app virtualisation firm VMware Horizon’s servers to gain access to its targets’ corporate networks and deploying several malware strains, including MagicRAT, to exfiltrate data. While the aim of this campaign is currently unclear, it is plausible that it is designed to help address North Korea’s growing energy insecurity. North Korea receives more than 95 percent of its energy needs from its biggest and strategically most important trading partner, China. However, the country’s decision to close all its borders in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic has seen trade with China significantly decrease over the last two years, including the shipment of energy products. Such a development has exacerbated the decline of North Korea’s already fragile energy infrastructure, with rolling blackouts a frequent occurrence across the country prior to the pandemic. With these deficiencies likely to persist for the foreseeable future, North Korean state-sponsored cyber campaigns against energy firms are highly likely to continue to help improve the country’s underdeveloped critical infrastructure. (Source: Sibylline)
08 Sep 22. Sat-Com’s panel-mount radio series evolves. Several years ago, Sat-Com launched a new panel-mount radio and this has evolved into a successful new series of user-friendly radios.
The Badger, Shark and Hawk are based on the company’s flagship Leopard wideband manpack size radio, which is relatively unique in the global military radio market as it offers HF, VHF and UHF communication in a single package – military radios usually operate in one band as communication requirements are usually limited.
The new panel-mount radios feature a new man/machine interface with a bigger screen and larger controls for easier visibility and use, especially in maritime applications where a boat might be moving around wildly. This design came about in response to a customer who said the Leopard is well suited to marine operations with its VHF capability but who required an improved user interface.
Sat-Com explained that the panel mount models also come in a “+” version: they are 19-inch rack-mounted radios with integrated high power amplifier for amplification of a band specific range while still providing communication across the 1.6-512 MHz band. The maritime Shark+, ground-to-air Hawk+ (aimed at forward air controllers and similar applications) and land-based Badger+ are designed mainly for armoured vehicles, temporary base stations, or as an exciter.
“This range of radios are designed for panel and rack mount applications with standard low power capabilities. The performance, features and capabilities are exactly the same as the Leopard1 SDR (software defined radio). The only difference is the larger control head, display and keypad for convenient operations in base stations and mobile applications,” Sat-Com literature states.
The Shark, Hawk, and Badger are some of the many new products Sat-Com has recently developed, aside from an intercom system for armoured vehicles, a small handheld VHF radio (Lynx) and a mesh networking radio (Hornet1). These are joining its core focus of military software defined multiband radios: the Leopard1 HF/VHF/UHF manpack, base station and vehicle radio, and Cheetah3 VHF/UHF tactical manpack radio. Sat-Com is streamlining the design of its flagship Leopard, with the Leopard 2 having only 5 PC boards instead of 13 in the Leopard 1 as customers are becoming more conscious of weight and size. The new design will further improve reliability and performance.
Sat-Com has many new projects in the works but is eyeing other promising areas, such as high power base station and naval amplifiers, a higher powered HF manpack, low power and light weight handheld military software defined radios, antenna tuners for mobile and naval applications, and technology transfer for international customers. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
07 Sep 22. UK condemns Iran for reckless cyber attack against Albania.
The UK has condemned the Iranian state for a cyber attack against Albania’s government that destroyed data and disrupted essential government services
The UK has today (Wednesday 7 September) condemned the Iranian state for a cyber attack against Albania’s government that destroyed data and disrupted essential government services, including paying utilities, booking medical appointments and enrolling schoolchildren.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) assess that Iranian state-linked cyber actors are almost certainly responsible for the series of cyber attacks against Albanian government infrastructure from 15 July, which caused significant impact to online public services and other government websites.
The websites of the Albanian Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office, as well as ‘e-Albania’, a portal that Albanians use to access a number of public services, were attacked and subject to a shut down. The attackers also leaked Albanian government data, including details of emails from the Prime Minister and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:
“Iran’s reckless actions showed a blatant disregard for the Albanian people, severely restricting their ability to access essential public services.
“The UK is supporting our valuable partner and NATO ally. We join Albania and other allies in exposing Iran’s unacceptable actions.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 Sep 22. Japan: Pro-Russian cyber attacks will remain a persistent threat to government-linked industries amid growing bilateral tensions over territorial dispute. On 6 September, Japan’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) reported that the Japanese government’s e-Gov web portal was subjected to a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack. pro-Russian hacktivist group Killnet claimed responsibility for the cyber attack via its Telegram Channel and said it was against ‘Japan’s militarism’. As such, there is a realistic possibility that this incident was in retaliation to Tokyo’s recent decision to expand its military capabilities to counter Chinese and Russian threats in contested territories. Indeed, Russia and Japan have been engaged in a longstanding territorial dispute over the Russian-controlled Kuril islands (known as the Northern Territories by Japan). Such activity would be indicative of Killnet’s pledge to aid the Russian government by targeting countries either supporting Kyiv in the ongoing war and/or engaging in inflammatory activities against the Russian government. Further Killnet cyber attacks are highly likely to emerge over the coming months, especially with tensions related to this dispute and Japan’s support of Ukraine set to persist. Such activity will likely take the form of DDoS or defacement attacks, targeting Japanese government agencies and their private sector partners, including defence, IT, and telecoms firms. (Source: Sibylline)
07 Sep 22. R&S FSV and R&S FSVA signal and spectrum analyzers from Rohde & Schwarz extend frequency up to 50 GHz. With the introduction of the new variants R&S FSV3050 and R&S FSVA3050, the frequency range of this signal and spectrum analyzer family is now extended to 50 GHz. An additional option empowers the extension of signal analysis even up to 54 GHz. The high-speed analyzers for lab and production are ideal for 5G NR testing – now also supporting the full FR2 frequency range up to 52.6 GHz and applications in the aerospace & defense industry. The solution will be shown at EuMW from September 27 to 29, 2022 at booth D18 of the Milano Convention Centre.
Munich, September 7, 2022 — The R&S FSV is designed to help users set up complex measurements in the simplest and fastest way possible. With its easy usability, high measurement speed and up to 200 MHz analysis bandwidth, it is the right instrument for labs and production lines. The R&S FSVA, with a high dynamic range and an outstanding phase noise of -127 dBc/Hz (f_center = 1 GHz, 10 kHz offset), delivers performance that was, until recently, reserved for high-end instruments. With up to 1 GHz analysis bandwidth it enables users to perform highly demanding measurement applications such as linearizing power amplifiers, capturing short events and characterizing frequency agile signals.
The main driver for 50 GHz models comes from 5G NR applications. The FR2 band n262 spans 47.2 – 48.2 GHz, which is covered by the new 50GHz models in default configuration. Option R&S FSV3-B54G for the R&S FSVA enables signal analysis up to 54 GHz, which also includes the upper edge of the FR2-1 band at 52.6 GHz. Further demands come from applications in the aerospace & defence industry. The 47.2 – 50.2 GHz and 50.4 – 51.4 GHz are filed at the ITU for GSO satellite systems. Applications are production of components like filters, amplifiers or traveling-wave tubes.
Further, also option FSV3-B710 Enhanced Performance is available for the 50 GHz variants. The R&S FSV3-B710 option provides enhanced performance and better specifications now also for the two new R&S FSV and R&S FSVA variants. It enhances the phase noise performance, lowers DANL (Displayed Average Noise Level) and for R&S FSVA provides low-end frequency range extended to 2 Hz.
The R&S FSV3-B54G und R&S FSV3-B710 options for R&S FSV and R&S FSVA family are now available from Rohde & Schwarz. More information: https://www.rohde-schwarz.com/product/fsva3000
06 Sep 22. Frequentis Australian subsidiary delivers for UK MoD’s Guardian project. Communications capability developed by a Melbourne-based technology company has been leveraged for the UK’s air C2 system.
Frequentis Group subsidiary C4i has delivered its VOICE C2 voice over IP (VoIP) communication system (VCS) in support of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Guardian project, which aims to develop a new air command and control System.
VOICE C2 is billed as an advanced IP communications system based on simplified hardware and software components.
The system is designed to enable users to access and control radio, telephony, intercoms and paging systems using a single intuitive GUI.
Additionally, the system reportedly allows customers to operate securely across multiple security enclaves while maintaining isolation as required.
The communications technology has been specifically designed for fixed and deployable air defence environments.
By leveraging the integrated classified and unclassified modes of operation, the system can reportedly provide operators with internal and external communication and conferencing capabilities. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Sep 22. Korean Peninsula: Pyongyang’s cyber espionage campaigns against South Korea’s public sector will persist as it seeks to gain insights into Seoul’s defence policies. Industry reports claimed on 5 September that a “high-level email account” linked to South Korea’s Unification Ministry’s Korea Global Forum of Peace (KGFP) was subjected to a cyber attack and resulted in a data leak. The KGFP’s secretariat claimed that the perpetrator of the cyber attack is still unknown. However, the focus of the KGFP event was “North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and ways to reduce military tensions”. As such, there is a high likelihood that it was conducted by Pyongyang state-linked hackers. A 2020 investigation found that North Korean hackers launched an average of 1.5 m cyber attacks per day against South Korea’s public sector. Given this information and North Korea’s historical use of cyberspace, this campaign was likely aimed at exfiltrating intelligence on the South Korean government’s plans about North Korea, including military policies toward Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons. Further North Korean-directed cyber espionage campaigns against targets of interest, such as North Korean-focused thinks tanks, NGOs, or government agencies, are highly likely over the coming four months, especially as the US and South Korea’s increasing military cooperation remains a persistent security threat for Pyongyang. (Source: Sibylline)
01 Sep 22. US Army electronic warfare office seeks to adapt now for future threats. A shifting landscape of national security hazards coupled with constant technological advancement is pushing U.S. Army electronic warfare and situational awareness officials to focus on future flexibility.
“We have got to be able to have systems or capabilities that can adapt,” Mark Kitz, the Army’s program executive officer for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors, said Aug. 30 during a media roundtable at the Open Innovation Lab.
The changing nature of theaters and threats means massive buys of rigid equipment can be risky, a factor that influences where money is spent and what research is conducted.
“Just think, the areas you’re going to operate in are going to look very different in spectrum and what you can do, whether it’s in Africa, if it’s in SOUTHCOM,” Kitz said, referencing U.S. Southern Command, which has an area of responsibility covering more than two-dozen countries. “Wherever you may be, it’s going to be just a very different environment. So we don’t want to buy the same thing to operate in all these different environments, right?”
“And that’s where I get to: I don’t think we’re going to get into the business of buying thousands of something,” he said. “I think we’re going to get into the business of buying years of something and evolving it over time.”
PEO IEW&S tests and fields a variety of defense kit, including electronic jammers, missile warning systems and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads for aircraft. A prime example of the adaptive approach, according to Kitz, exists in his shop’s navigation and timing enclave, known as PM PNT.
In the last three or four years, he said, “we’ve gone through three different versions of our dismounted gear. So we’re able to quickly pivot to the next technology and not necessarily go down long-term production of the same solution when the technology is iterating and the threat is iterating.”
The Army is reinvigorating its networks, sensors, EW arsenal and related tools following decades of counterterrorism operations — a period when troops engaged with forces sporting less-advanced gear and communications were less at risk.
The U.S. is now preparing for potential fights against China and Russia, two world powers that spend significantly on military science and technology. The targeting of networks and other battlefield systems seen in the Russia-Ukraine war is only adding to the sense of urgency.
“Jamming and spoofing are a real threat out there,” Maj. Matthew Szarzynski, an assistant project manager at PEO IEW&S, said. “As the threat kind of evolves, we need to kind of match that threat.”
Ukraine’s minister of defense, Oleksii Reznikov, in July described his embattled country as both a testing ground and a fount of information. U.S. defense officials say they are gleaning from the conflict key information about Russian weapons, tactics and capacity.
Kitz, too, is taking notes.
“The threat is going to continually change,” he said. “And that’s one of the things I think we’re really learning in the Ukraine. Even six months ago, the environment looked very different than it looks now.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 Sep 22. Kromek to attend and exhibit at the FOI 14th CBRNe Protection Symposium and the Exhibition of CBRNe protection equipment at Malmö Mässan, Malmo 20 – 22 Sep 2022.
Kromek, the internationally renowned detection technology provider will be actively involved in the famous FOI CBRNe Protection Symposium and Exhibition in September. With an exhibition stand and three posters, Kromek will be showcasing its world leading technologies to the international audience at this important event.
Kromek specialises in the development and provision of devices that detect and identify Radioactive, Nuclear and Biological Threats. A number of Kromek’s radiological detection systems that are in service around the world will be on show alongside Kromek’s biological threat detection system and sequencing platform, winner of the 2022 NATO Allied Command Transformation Innovation Challenge awards and is being designed to detect both natural and synthetic pathological agents.
Of particular interest in the radiation detection arena will be the D3S, a very small, lightweight, wearable, and easy to use detector, as well as the D5 RIID, a handheld isotope detector and identifier. Both can be used as portable, vehicle-mounted, or remote system units, delivering hard, networkable, operational data to ops rooms, mobile systems, or smart phones. These detectors are especially quick at identifying threats and are extremely specific in identifying the nature and source of the threat.
Kromek’s pathogen detection early warning system and sequencing platform is being designed to be both autonomous and operational from the field. In one, printer-sized, self-contained unit, known and unknown biothreats can be detected, sampled, sequenced, and analysed. From this, a continuous stream of useable data about the threat type, strain and any mutations will be provided in near-real time to command centres to enable decisions to be made remotely. In principle, these units can be networked, enabling the continuous monitoring of biothreats over large areas, such as cities, national entry/exit points, or entire regions.
The three posters entitled ‘Kromek Static Node: Unattended Spectroscopic Radiation Monitoring via Satellite Communication’, ‘A novel fully automated and autonomous platform to detect specific airborne pathogens’ and ‘Agnostic airborne pathogen detection and identification via fully automated Long Read Sequencing’, all of which will be on show during the event in the conference app, on the symposium website and printed in the Poster area.
Speaking ahead of the event Craig Duff CBRN Business Manager from Kromek said “We would like to thank FOI for the invitation to the 14th CBRNe Protection Symposium, one of the most important events in the CBRN calendar. We look forward to demonstrating our industry leading products and skills to the international world class audience they have assembled.”
05 Sep 22. Italy: Ransomware actors’ targeting of Europe’s energy sector organisations will weaken energy security during the upcoming winter period. A dark web investigation revealed that the BlackCat (ALPHV) ransomware gang claimed responsibility for the cyber attack against Italy’s energy agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici SpA (GSE). Italian police and cyber security authorities claimed that the incident occurred on 28 August, with BlackCat alleging that it exfiltrated an estimated 700 GB of files from the energy agency’s servers. This is indicative of the BlackCat gang’s targeting of European energy firms, such as SEA-Tanking, with ransomware activity in February (see Sibylline Cyber Alert – 4 February 2022). Despite its short operational history, BlackCat was named one of the most sophisticated Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) operations in 2021. Its strong technical capabilities and limited history strongly support recent analysis indicating that BlackCat is a rebranded version of the Darkside group responsible for the May 2021 Colonial Pipeline hack. Further BlackCat cyber campaigns against critical infrastructure operators, particularly EU-based energy organisations, are highly likely to emerge over the coming four months. Such cyber attacks are liable to intensify Europe’s ongoing energy crisis, especially during the upcoming winter period when energy demands are likely to be at their peak. (Source: Sibylline)
05 Sep 22. France: Industries of interest will be increasingly targeted by ransomware due to cyber criminal groups’ growing cooperation and vulnerability-sharing activities. Industry reports claimed on 2 September that the French clothing firm Damart’s systems were encrypted by a ransomware attack. Damart and its parent company Damartex have denied the hacking allegations and refrained from providing additional information about this incident. Screenshots from its negotiations with the hackers indicate this campaign was launched by the Hive ransomware group. Hive is a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) gang that grew in notoriety in 2021 after it compromised at least 28 healthcare organisations across the globe. Its tactic of indiscriminate targeting has made it one of the most active ransomware groups in 2022, with it maintaining the third-highest ransomware market share according to cyber security firm Coveware’s Q2 report. The sophistication of Hive’s operation is also attributed to its recent influx of the Conti ransomware group’s operators and affiliate hackers due to their desire to continue launching financially motivated cyber campaigns amid growing law enforcement scrutiny. Further Hive cyber campaigns are highly likely to emerge in 2H 2022, especially as its growing cooperation with cyber criminals, such as Conti, continues to increase its technical capabilities and access to industries of interest, such as retail sector firms. (Source: Sibylline)
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.