02 Nov 16. John Brennan’s attempt to lead America’s spies into the age of cyberwar. The CIA director has put the U.S. spy agency through a historic restructuring to cope with the era of digital warfare. Many in the agency are unhappy with the shake-up. In a series of interviews, Brennan outlines his strategy. “I think CIA really needs to up its game.” . . . Citing an array of new cyber, conventional and terrorist threats, Brennan announced the most sweeping reforms of the CIA in its 69-year history 18 months ago. Weakening the role of the Directorate of Operations, the agency’s long-dominant arm responsible for gathering intelligence and conducting covert operations, Brennan created 10 new “mission centers” where CIA spies, analysts and hackers work together in teams focused on specific regions and issues. He also created a new Directorate for Digital Innovation to maximize the agency’s use of technology, data analytics and online spying. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
03 Nov 16. First cyber security challenge organised by “Pôle d’Excellence Cyber” cluster in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales
• Contest challenges students to test their knowledge of information systems security.
• Top 48 participants will compete in the final held on 24 November in Rennes during European Cyber Week.
The first edition of a new cyber security challenge organised by the “Pôle d’Excellence Cyber” cluster in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales will see its final competition on November 24 during European Cyber Week in Rennes from 21-25 November. This challenge for all grandes écoles and university students in France specialised in computer science aims to showcase the variety of professions in the high-growth sector of computer security (+ 10% a year on average).
02 Nov 16. MI5 Head: Russia A Growing Threat To UK. Russia poses an increasing threat to the stability of the UK and is using all the sophisticated tools at its disposal to achieve its aims, says the director general of MI5.
In the first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service’s 107-year history, Andrew Parker (pictured) said that at a time when much of the focus was on Islamic extremism, covert action from other countries was a growing danger. Most prominent was Russia.
“It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways, involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today. It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that.”
Parker said Russia still had plenty of intelligence officers on the ground in the UK, but what was different now from the days of the cold war was the advent of CyberWarfare. Russian targets include military secrets, industrial projects, economic information and government and foreign policy.
Parker said he was talking to the Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files and a consistent skepticism about the need for extra powers for the security services. “We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it,” he said.
The spy chief also:
• Said that 12 jihadi terror plots had been foiled by the security services in the past three years.
• Identified the size of the homegrown problem: there are about 3,000 “violent Islamic extremists in the UK, mostly British”.
• Said that budget increases would see MI5 expand from 4,000 to 5,000 officers over the next five years.
• Rejected criticism that the investigatory powers bill, due before parliament this week, was going too far in enabling intrusive surveillance, arguing that it correctly balances privacy and security.
• Dismissed claims that Brexit would affect cooperation with European intelligence services.
• Said his aim was to equalise the gender balance in MI5 and recruit many more operatives from ethnic m