National Security

National Security

Pentagon Chief Weapons Tester: Almost All Military Programs Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

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As the President pushes dated cybersecurity legislation and Band-Aid solutions, the Department of Defense reminds us that we have much bigger threats to our cybersecurity than shared our HBO Go passwords.

After a year of running dozens of tests and simulations on over 40 military weapons systems, Pentagon Director of Operations Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) Michael Gilmore found that almost all of them have some kind of major cybersecurity weakness.

“Cyber adversaries have become as serious a threat to U.S. military forces as the air, land, sea, and undersea threats represented in operational testing for decades,” Mr. Gilmore wrote in his annual report for 2014. “Any electronic data exchange, however brief, provides an opportunity for a determined and skilled cyber adversary to monitor, interrupt, or damage information and combat systems.” Read More

National Security

Gene Parmesan of Cybersecurity Wears Costumes and Tricks People Into Falling for Cyberattacks

(Photo: Facebook)

If you’ve recently received an email–not sent by your kooky aunt–with the subject line “Check out these kitties! :-),” you may have been the victim of a fake cyberattack. The Wall Street Journal reports that companies are hiring “ethical hackers” to build fake phishing scam emails to test which employees are dumb enough–or big enough cat lovers–to fall for them. Read More

National Security

President Obama Authorizes Secret Directive to Fight Cyber-Attacks

President Barack Obama does not want Wikipedia to shut down again. (Photo: Wikimedia)

At some point in October this year, President Obama signed the slightly creepy-sounding and secret Presidential Policy Directive 20, a source tells The Washington Post. According to the Post, the directive gives the military license to “act more aggressively” when combating cyber-attacks directed at major U.S. networks.

In essence, anyone waging war on the country via the internet is on notice: Read More

National Security

Hey, Internet Meme Trackers: The Pentagon Wants YOU!


We told you the Pentagon was getting serious about its war strategy for the internet, but we didn’t realize that meant getting social. The New York Times Bits blog reports that the Pentagon’s R&D arm is offering $42 million in funding to people that can help it use sites like Twitter and Facebook as both an early detection system and a weapon. In a document circulating among potential researchers, the military says that post-Arab Spring it’s interested in being able to find and track the spread of ideas.

In fact, they’re soliciting proposals to build what Bits calls, “at its most basic level, an Internet meme tracker” that would use tools like “linguistic cues, patterns of information flow, topic trend analysis, sentiment detection and opinion mining.” Read More