26 Mar 15. The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to advance a long-awaited bill that would make it easier for companies to share information about cybersecurity threats with the government without the fear of lawsuits. A committee spokesman said the panel approved the measure unanimously, by voice vote, during a closed meeting. The legislation is expected to come before the full House as soon as late April, after lawmakers return from a two-week early April recess. Similar legislation is making its way through the U.S. Senate and backers of both bills say they have a good chance of passing after repeated setbacks. The House bill has been in the works for five years, and previous versions have stalled before becoming law, largely due to concerns by privacy advocates worried that they could lead to more surveillance. (Source: Reuters)
26 Mar 15. Japan Launches Replacement Spy Satellite. Japan on Thursday successfully launched a replacement spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, as an existing device comes to the end of its working life. Tokyo put spy satellites into operation in the 2000s after its erratic neighbor North Korea fired a mid-range ballistic missile over the Japanese mainland and into the western Pacific in 1998. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries launched the H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan, the agency said. The launch at 10:21 am (0121 GMT) went smoothly, a JAXA spokeswoman said, noting “the satellite separated and entered orbit as scheduled.” Five Japanese intelligence satellites are currently in orbit — two optical satellites and three radar satellites, including a backup radar satellite launched last month. The new satellite will succeed one of the two optical satellites that was launched in 2009, a Cabinet Office official said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
26 Mar 15. NATO Chief: Cyber Can Trigger Article 5. NATO leaders on Wednesday reiterated the alliance’s stance on treating cyber attacks against a member as an Article 5 issue, which would potentially draw a military response from the entire alliance. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a key alliance planning summit on Wednesday morning that “cyber is now a central part of virtually all crisis and conflicts, NATO has made clear that cyber attacks can potentially trigger an Article 5 response.” Just last week, Stoltenberg engaged in a contentious back and forth with Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, at an event in Brussels when the Russian representative asked if NATO would bomb countries it suspects have been involved in cyber attacks.
“We will do what’s necessary to do to protect all allies,” Stoltenberg replied. “But I’m not going to tell you exactly how I’m going to do that … that’s the main message.”
On Wednesday, much of the NATO chief’s comments revolved around the topic of hybrid war, which Stoltenberg said combines the power of a state with unconventional means such as cyber and information operations, and disguised military operations, much like the activities of Russia in Crimea and Ukraine over the past year. He said NATO must resist this “Russian model” and “sharpen our early warning and situational awareness … so we know when an attack is an attack. Hybrid warfare seeks to exploit any weakness.” NATO must also “demonstrate that we can and will act promptly,” he added, which it has been doing in doubling the size of its quick reaction force and pushing out thousands of troops for training exercises in eastern Europe. The efforts in bolstering quick reaction capabilities, revamping equipping strategies, and building up cyber capabilities means that the NATO alliance is “implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War,” Stoltenberg said. To accomplish this, “the alliance needs an innovation strategy