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A Shot in the [Defense] Dark for Cybersecurity

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | 12:35 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

As Cybersecurity News reported last week, any last-ditch effort to get a cybersecurity measure through the Senate before the year’s end will likely only come if it’s piggybacked off of one of several defense bills up for harvest on the Hill.

So while National Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “intends next week to bring up the FY11 defense authorization bill,” it seems other provisions being tacked on to the bill could provide additional delays and another Senate hit on the cybersecurity snooze button.

Already drawing GOP heat, Reid’s bill includes a repeal measure for the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, as well as the DREAM Act, which would allow young individuals illegally in the US to become legal residents for military and educational enlistments.

And while Hill inhabitants will be busy defining defense priorities in the week to come, it appears the Department of Defense (DoD) plans to duck out on outlining one area of defense in particular.  Cyber warfare, that is…

According to InformationWeek, “The DoD does not have clear principles for defending against cyber attacks because it has not defined the type of warfare they constitute,” a government watchdog agency found.

The article goes on to mention that while senior military officials have deemed such attacks to be “hybrid warfare,” the department “has not clearly defined what it means by hybrid warfare and has no plans to do so because [it] does not consider [this] a new form of warfare.”

So if the DoD doesn’t currently consider cyber warfare to be a war wave of the future, then what was Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III doing at NATO headquarters yesterday?

According to the American Forces Press Service, Lynn traveled to Belgium “and immediately started a series of meetings at NATO and at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in nearby Mons. Cybersecurity clearly was the focus of the day.”

Meanwhile, a separate report from the American Forces Press Service, noted Lynn’s plans “to meet with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen before briefing the alliance’s North Atlantic Council on US cyber initiatives.”

According to the report, in a speech back in June, Lynn noted that “the cybersecurity threat is real and growing, and an effective defense will require international cooperation… More than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to hack into various aspects of the US information technology infrastructure, and foreign militaries are developing offensive cyber capabilities…”

It appears the only thing that’s hybrid here is the Defense Department’s sense of cybersecurity.

Additional cybersecurity news follows:

HP to buy security software company ArcSight in $1.5B deal (Wall Street Journal)

Other items on the Congressional to-do list, incl. cybersecurity (Washington Post)

Editorial: The left vs. Obama on privacy (Washington Times)

Office of Personal Management seeks input on cybersecurity (NextGov)

NIST to help retrain NASA employees as cyber specialists (National Journal)

We’re in open government’s beta period (O’Reilly Media)

Could cyber terrorists create a market crash? (AOL Daily Finance)

Departing Navy CIO urges IT evolution (InformationWeek)

With defense deals forecast, speculation turns to Boeing, Northrop (The Seattle Times)

Google fires software engineer after breach of its customers’ private info (Wall Street Journal)

Audit finds lapses in DHS US-CERT cybersecurity (Washington Times)

Mozilla halts Firefox security updates (ComputerWorld)

Report: Cyber-crime victims often blame themselves (The New New Internet)

Recent Siemens SCADA cyber attack reflects more pervasive threat (Managing Automation Magazine)

Analysis: Western firms face growing emerging spy threat via electric surveillance (Reuters)

Factbox: Who might be hacking your BlackBerry? (Reuters)

Counterterrorism expert calls for new national cyber defense policy (Global Security – NNS)

UN telecom boss warns of pending cyberwar (Tech News Daily)

An opinion: Defend against cyber attacks (Charleston Post Courier)

Indians number two cybercrime victims, says Symantec report (Hindustan Times)

Can you survive a massive cyber attack? (SecurityWeek)

CSC names Mark Rasch new head for cybersecurity, privacy consulting (The New New Internet)

News on UK Cyber Spending:

UK plans increased spending on cybersecurity (The Register)

Can the UK’s cybersecurity spending boost survive the “Age of Austerity”? (Forbes)

News on Smart Grid Cybersecurity:

A less-than-obvious connection of great import: Secure the smart grid to improve the environment (Huffington Post)

Guarding the grid: Keeping electrical systems secure is a key challenge of the energy industry (Montreal Gazette)

Cyber security a growing concern in energy sector (Calgary Herald)

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