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CYBER WARFARE AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE

10 Nov 11. Lockheed Martin has unveiled its latest NexGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Centre (NCITE) facility in Canberra, joining existing sites in the United States and United Kingdom. The A$10m ($10.38m) center, known as NCITE AU, occupies a reconfigurable, 900-square-meter area of the company’s new headquarters in the nation’s capital. When fully operational, about 200 people will work in the facility. The official opening will occur in March, when the center will reach full operational capability. The company said it will link with the other two labs and bring together leading technologies and talent in a secure environment. (Source: Defense News)

07 Nov 11. The Pentagon’s advanced research arm, which played a key role in developing the Internet 40 years ago, said Nov. 8 it will boost efforts to build offensive cyber arms for possible use against enemy targets by the U.S. military. Kinetic is military parlance for such things as bombs, bullets and troops. The U.S. needs “more and better options” to deal with what she described as the growing threat to industrial and other physical systems controlled by computers that may be penetrated by foes, Dugan told the session. (Source: Aviation Week)

04 Nov 11. I wrote a year ago that Stuxnet demonstrated the difficulties and dangers of offensive cyber warfare. The weapons are too difficult to control to make them effective tools for legitimate warfare. I have changed my opinion somewhat since then. Yes, there have been nearly 50,000 reported infections by the worm outside of the apparent targets in Iranian uranium processing plants, but its apparent success in disrupting those processors without resorting to bombs or bullets and lack of serious collateral damage from the unplanned infections makes it hard to argue with the fact that Stuxnet worked. But the arrival of Son of Stuxnet is a serious reminder that sophisticated malware is a dangerous commodity. Like a bomb, whether it is a threat or a defense depends on who controls it. And the public has no idea who is behind Duqu. Duqu, discovered in the wild in October, appears to share genetic material with the groundbreaking Stuxnet worm, which tells us a little something about its authors, although the new worm appears to be a tool for espionage rather than a weapon. (Source: GCN)

07 Nov 11. The Pentagon’s far-out research agency and its brand new military command for cyberspace have a confession to make. They don’t really know how to keep U.S. military networks secure. And they want to know: Could you help them out? Darpa convened a “cyber colloquium” at a swank northern Virginia hotel on Monday for what it called a “frank discussion” about the persistent vulnerabilities within the Defense Department’s data networks. The Pentagon can’t defend those networks on its own, the agency admitted. Because it’s the blue-sky research agency that helped create the internet, Darpa framed the problem as a deep, existential one, not a pedestrian question of insecure code. “It is the makings of novels and poetry from Dickens to Gibran that the best and the worst occupy the same time, that wisdom and foolishness appear in the same age, light and darkness in the same season,” mused Regina Dugan, Darpa’s director. She’s talking about the internet. “These are the timeless words of our existence. We know it is true of everything.” Put in a blunter way, U.S. networks are “as porous as a colander,” Richard
Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism chief turned cybersecurity Cassandra, told a packed ballroom. (Source: GCN)

09 Nov 11. Countries need to have a good understanding of the cyber capabilities being developed by opponents, said a leading Israeli government official, because “you can’t block an attack by waiting for the attack to come, including in cyber defense.” Isaac Ben-Israel, a senior cybersecurity adviser to the Israeli prime minister, was speaking at a Security and Defence Agenda event on cybersecurity. Maj. G

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