28 Jan 13. The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Among other forms of intelligence-gathering, the NSA secretly collects the phone records of millions of Americans, using data provided by telecom firms AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. As the US government depicts the Defense Department as shrinking due to budgetary constraints, the Washington Post this morning announces “a major expansion of [the Pentagon’s] cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold.” Specifically, says the New York Times this morning, “the expansion would increase the Defense Department’s Cyber Command by more than 4,000 people, up from the current 900.” The Post describes this expansion as “part of an effort to turn an organization that has focused largely on defensive measures into the equivalent of an Internet-era fighting force.” This Cyber Command Unit operates under the command of Gen. Keith Alexander, who also happens to be the head of the National Security Agency, the highly secretive government network that spies on the communications of foreign nationals – and American citizens. The Pentagon’s rhetorical justification for this expansion is deeply misleading. Beyond that, these activities pose a wide array of serious threats to internet freedom, privacy, and international law that, as usual, will be conducted with full-scale secrecy and with little to no oversight and accountability. And, as always, there is a small army of private-sector corporations who will benefit most from this expansion. Let’s begin with the way this so-called “cyber-security” expansion has been marketed. It is part of a sustained campaign which, quite typically, relies on blatant fear-mongering. (Source: The Guardian)
30 Jan 13. General Dynamics C4 Systems’ new TACLANE®-1G (KG-175G) encryptor is now certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) to secure classified information at the Top Secret level and below. The high-speed encryptor secures large data and image files 40 times faster than information moving through a commercial 4G network and weighs just eight pounds. The rugged TACLANE-1G can be used in vehicles, remote command posts, data centers or wherever government and military personnel travel or work. With advanced encryption technology, the TACLANE-1G is capable of alerting network personnel when potentially threatening software code, deep within a message “packet,” is detected. It also has enhanced routing capabilities to ensure that classified information reaches its destination, even if part of the network is inoperable or unavailable. The TACLANE-1G can also be controlled and remotely managed by the GEM XTM encryptor manager for greater cyber defense and agility when network operations or conditions change. It is available to U.S. government agencies, the Department of Defense and qualified allied nations.
30 Jan 13. Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu strongly supported EU-NATO cyber defense cooperation at the Jan. 30 Global Cyber Security Conference here. Noting that NATO had agreed on a policy in 2011 and the EU is about to come up with a cybersecurity strategy, he said it would be “unreasonable to duplicate efforts,” and called for a strategic-level vision of goals and measures. Possible actions could include EU-NATO exchanges on standards and regulations plus cyber defense pooling and sharing, for example, in relation to cyber incident management. Joint platforms for cybersecurity exercises also could be explored, he said. In the EU, he cited the European Defence Agency (EDA) as the best structure for work in this area, but noted that its activities were in their early stages. (Source: Defense News)
30 Jan 13. Fortune 500 companies in a range of industries back a system of voluntary cybersecurity standards, according to a Senate survey by a strong backer of a new legislative push to protect computer networks. The findings suggest there might be a disagreement betwe