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CYBER WARFARE AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE

31 May 12. Speaking at an EU Cybersecurity and Digital Crimes Forum organized by Microsoft here May 31, a senior NATO official outlined four areas for potential European Union-NATO cooperation: training and education; information exchange; protecting national communications and information systems; and harmonizing crisis management procedures.
“If there is a major incident, we should be ready to harmonize our response,” said Gabor Iklody, NATO’s assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges. NATO has a mandate to protect national communications and information systems, he said, “but we’re not fully comfortable without getting the EU onboard.” He cited the area as a “new domain” because it entailed working with civilian actors. Describing cybersecurity as a “cooperative environment,” he said “NATO may be part of the answer but may not be in the driving seat.” Iklody also stressed the “need to tear down walls between homeland security and defense [but] drawing a clear line between cybersecurity and cyber defense is practically impossible” because the methods are the same. (Source: Defense News)

28 May 12. Cyberwar fears after bug targets Tehran. The discovery of a malicious computer program that appears to be collecting sensitive information from Iran and others indicates the global cyberwar has moved to a new level, warn security experts. Kaspersky Labs, the Russian internet security company that discovered the malware, codenamed Flame, said it was more complex and sophisticated than any of the cyberweapons it has seen to date. “The Flame malware looks to be another phase in this war,” said Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder of Kaspersky Lab. At the end of April, computers at Iran’s oil ministry were reported to have been attacked by hackers, and experts at Symantec, the US IT security company, said on Monday that parts of the Flame program were identical to the malware used in that attack. The incident was played down by the government at the time and it was unclear if any data was lost. Earlier this year the head of Iran’s Civil Defence Organisation had also said that the country’s energy sector had been subject to an increasing number of cyberattacks over the past two years. Flame is thought to have been in operation since 2010. The Stuxnet virus raised widespread panic when it was discovered in 2010, because it was believed to have caused physical damage at Iran’s nuclear facilities, the first known computer worm to target industrial controls. While Flame is not thought to have caused this kind of damage, it appears to be able to spy on organisations in a number of ways, including switching on microphones attached to a computer to record conversations and sounds. (Source: FT.com)

29 May 12. Thousands of computers in Iran belonging to government agencies and private companies have been infected with a highly sophisticated virus, dubbed Flame, in the latest cyberstrike against the Islamic Republic, said cybersecurity experts and Iran’s telecommunications ministry. The malware was widely detected across the Middle East in Syria, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as in other parts of the world, but Iran has the largest number of infected computers, experts said. At least three times since 2010, Iran has been targeted with sophisticated computer viruses such as Stuxnet, Duqu and Wiper. These viruses have disabled centrifuges for enriching uranium, stolen data from nuclear facilities and erased computers at the oil ministry. (Source: WSJ)

31 May 12. Harris Corporation has been awarded a five-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to provide commercial off-the-shelf equipment and services to support tactical communications for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its partner agencies. Harris was one of 22 large prime companies selected for this contract, which has a $3bn ceiling and is required to be considered for the procurement of all tactical communications equipment and

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