Returning Our US Drone

chinese

So I love and respect China, and think they are one of the greatest nations of the world.


However, it is wrong that their military stole a US drone in international waters. 


Bullying and theft is a violation of the rule of law and a challenge to America on the international stage. 


So far, our leadership from behind approach has again done virtually nothing, except like a child, ask for it back (after they have already taken whatever they wanted from it). 

Moreover, this is not the first time China has captured our assets and people–less than 6 years ago, they collided into one of our EP-3E surveillance aircraft and captured, interrogated , and held the crew for 11 days!


And hence our planes and ships keep getting buzzed, our citizens captured and humiliated, our assets confiscated illegally, and our secret intellectual property unabashedly hacked and copied.


Moreover, we are seeing a resurgent Russia in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria; a militarized China expanding and weaponizing the South China Sea, a belligerent North Korea with ever further reaching ballistic nukes, and an Iran that violates their nuclear deal at will and now runs amuck with military operations from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and more. 


Oh, and surely let’s not forget ISIS and the global wave of Islamic terrorism that is unabated from Paris to Orlando. 


Despite our outspending the next leading 8 nations combined on the military, we continue to be the laughing stock internationally with world leaders calling our Presidents everything from the devil to an SOB


No one would dare do this with Putin’s Russia!


Why? Because they know the ridiculous price they would pay. 


We have long since passed the time when we should’ve stopped the whining, begging, and acting the victim, and instead start to do something real to defend ourselves and once again establish a no-nonsense deterrent, rather than a joke of red lines and hollow threats.


Our Commander-in-chief, instead of laying blame at the doorstep of Congress or world leaders doing the wrongdoing, should start to act his position. 


Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s a single phone call to whoever has our drone that says something like, “You have exactly 2 hours to return the drone unharmed or the ship that was responsible for stealing it will pay the consequences–and the clock starts ticking now!”


The funny-sad thing is that bullies don’t stop bullying until you stand up to them once and for all. 


A real Commander In Chief protects his nation and his people and doesn’t let them be victimized in a endless cycle of violence and shame…and he does it before something really bad can happen. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Can’t We Keep Our Secrets

keepign-secrets-jpeg

Well after the now notorious email scandal and other information security mishaps galore, this advertisement in Washington, DC is really quite the rage. 

“Keeps classified data classified.”


As parents tell their children about keeping private things private:

“If you can’t keep it a secret, then how do you expect the other kids to keep it to themselves?”


There are lots of secrets in DC, but there are also a lot of big mouths, security negligence, and even corruption. 


This gives our adversaries the opportunities they need to get our countries vital information. 


We work too hard to develop the best intellectual property for national security and our economy as well as the critical policies for advancing human rights and democracy around the world to let it just be easy fodder for others to help themselves too. 


Technology won’t solve the gap in certain big mouths and sloppy Joes around town. 


Only vigilant, smart people can protect the nations vital information that is the fuel for our success and survival. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Preventing Cyber Disaster

prevention

So I liked this ad from Palo Alto Networks on the side of the bus, over the windows:

“Dinosaurs react.
Professionals prevent.”

That’s some very good marketing for a cyber security company.


It’s almost a daily occurrence now to hear about the infiltrations into our networks and exfiltrations or manipulations of data that is taking place across government and industry.


Just today again, another NSA contractor accused of stealing highly classified computer code.


The day before Guccifer 2.0 and Wikileaks releases trove of stolen documents from the Clinton Foundation


And again, J&J reveals that it’s insulin pump is vulnerable to hacking following allegations in August that St. Jude heart devices were subject to life-threatening hacking. 


Certainly, we can’t afford to sit back and wait to react to the next attack…damage control and remediation is much harder than getting out in front of the problem in the first place. 


Prevention and deterrence is really the only solution…keep the hackers out and make sure they know that if they mess with us and our systems that we can identify who they are, find them, and take them out. 


These are the capabilities we need and must employ to dominate the cyber realm. 


In the presidential debates, candidates struggled to articulate how to deal with cybersecurity


But this is not a game of cyberopoly, rather national security, critical infrastructure, vital intellectual property, and our economy is at risk. 


Giving away Internet control and trying to plug leaks after the fact on a sinking cyber ship is no way to manage our vital technology resources.


It’s high time for the equivalent Cold War determination and investment that ensures we win a free and safe cyberspace with all our networks and data intact. 


This is the only way that we don’t go the way of the dinosaurs. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cybersecurity Lost In Unknowns

Security

Today unveiled is a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan


This in the wake of another Federal data breach on Sunday at the Department of Justice where hackers stole and published online the contact information for 9,000 DHS and 20,000 FBI personnel


And this coming on the heels of the breach at OPM that stole sensitive personnel and security files for 21 million employees as well as 5.6 million fingerprints.


While it is nice that cybersecurity is getting attention with more money, expertise, public/private poartnerships, and centers of excellence. 


What is so scary is that despite our utter reliance on everything cyber and digital, we still have virtually no security!


See the #1 definition for security–“the state of being free from danger or threat.”


This is nowhere near where we are now facing threats every moment of every day as hackers, cybercriminals, cyber spies, and hostile nation states rapidly cycle to new ways to steal our secrets and intellectual property, commit identity theft, and disable or destroy our nation’s critical infrastructure for everything from communications, transportation, energy, finance, commerce, defense, and more. 


Unlike with kinetic national security issues–where we regularly innovate and build more stealthy, speedy, and deadly planes, ships, tanks, surveillance and weapons systems–in cyber, we are still scratching our heads lost in unkowns and still searching for the cybersecurity grail:


– Let’s share more information


– Let’s throw more money and people at the problem.


– Let’s seek out “answers to these complex challenges”


These have come up over and over again in plansreviewsinitiatives, and laws for cybersecurity.


The bottom line is that today it’s cyber insecurity that is prevailing, since we cannot reliably protect cyber assets and lives as we desperately race against the clock searching for real world solutions to cyber threats. 


Three priorities here…


1) Build an incredibly effective intrusion protection system

2) Be able to positively tag and identify the cyber attackers 

3) Wield a powerful and credible offensive deterrent to any threats 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Peace To All Mankind

Peace
I liked this post in downtown Washington, D.C. inscribed with the following:



“May Peace Prevail On Earth.”



It left me wondering, if Earth includes:



1) ISIS advances into large swathes of Syria and Iraq

2) Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan including the one that left 132 children dead in a Peshawar school last week.

3) Boko Haram kidnappings and killings in Nigeria including the hundreds of children taken and given as wives to their captors 

4) Al-Shabaab fighting in Somalia including attacks in the capital, Mogadishu

5) Hamas in Gaza and their barrage of rocket attacks on and terror tunnels into Israel

6) Hezbolah in Lebanon as a proxy for Iran-sponsored terror

7) Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and threats to annihilate Israel off the face of the map.

8) Russia in Ukraine and Georgia and ongoing threats to Eastern Europe/NATO.

9) China’s military build-up, including nukes, submarines, and anti-satellite weapons.

10) North Korea cyber attack on Sony and threatening “the White House, the Pentagon, and the whole U.S. mainland.”



Peace is more than a wish, right now it seems like a dream. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Data 4 Ransom

Data 4 Ransom

The future of cybercrime will soon become the almost routine taking of your personal and corporate data as hostage. 


Once the hacker has control of it, with or without exfiltration, they will attach malware to it–like a ticking time bomb.


A simple threat will follow:


“I have your data. Either you pay for your data back unharmed OR your data will become vaporware! You have one hour to decide. If you call the authorities, you data is history.”


So how valuable is your data to you?  


– Your personal information–financial, medical, legal, sentimental things, etc.


– Your corporate information–proprietary trade secrets, customer lists, employee data, more.


How long would it take you to reconstitute if it’s destroyed?  How about if instead it’s sold and used for identity theft or to copy your “secret sauce” (i.e. competitive advantage) or maybe even to surpass you in the marketplace? 


Data is not just inert…it is alive!


Data is not just valuable…often it’s invaluable!


Exposed in our networks or the cloud, data is at risk of theft, distortion, or even ultimate destruction. 


When the time comes, how much will you pay to save your data?


(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Dire Warnings On Cybersecurity

Security Camera
This week Adm. Michael Rogers, the Director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command issued a stark warning to the nation about the state of cybersecurity:



With our cybersecurity over the next decade, “It’s only a matter of the ‘when,’ not the ‘if,’ that we are going to see something dramatic.



The Wall Street Journal reports that he gave ” a candid acknowledgement that the U.S. ISN’T yet prepared to manage the threat!”



China and “one or two others” [i.e. Russia etc.] are infiltrating our SCADA networks that manage our industrial control systems, including our power turbines and transmission systems,.



The cyber spies from the nation states are “leaving behind computer code that could be used to disable the networks  in the future.”



Can you imagine…you must imagine, you must prepare–not if, but when. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Security Is A Joke!

Fascinating video with Dan Tentler on the Shodan Search Engine…which CNN calls the “scariest search engine on the Internet.”

The search engine crawls the Internet for servers, webcams, printers, routers, and every type of vulnerable device you can imagine.

It collects information on more than 500 million devices per month and that was as of last year, so it’s already probably a lot more.

Tentler shows the unbelievable amounts and type of things you can access with this, including our critical infrastructure for the country –from utilities to traffic lights, and power plants:

– Private webcams
– Bridges
– Freeways
– Data Centers
– Polycoms
– Fuel cells
– Wind farms
– Building controls for lighting, HVAC, door locks, and alarms
– Floor plans
– Power meters
– Heat pump controllers
– Garage doors
– Traffic control systems
– Hydroelectric plants
– Nuclear power plant controls
– Particle accelerators
– MORE!!!!

Aside from getting information on the IP address, description of the devices, locations (just plug the longitude and latitude into Google for a street location), you can often actually control these devices right from YOUR computer!

The information is online, open to the public, and requires no credentials.

– “It’s a massive security failure!”

– “Why is this stuff even online?”

Where is our cyber leadership????

>>>Where is the regulation over critical infrastructure?

If there is a heaven for hackers, this is it–shame on us. 😦

We’re Giving It All Away

Nice little video from Mandiant on “The anatomy of a cyber attack.”

Despite the typical firewalls, antivirus, and intrusion detection system, cyber attacks can and do penetrate your systems.

This happens through social engineering (including phishing attempts), automated spam, and zero-day exploits.

Once inside your network, the cyber attacker takes command and control of your computers, surveys your assets, steals user names and passwords, hijacks programs, and accesses valuable intellectual property.

Mandiant performs security incident response management (detecting breaches, containing it, and helping recovery efforts), and they are known for their report “APT1” (2013) exposing an alleged significant government-sponsored cyber espionage group that they state “has systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations.”

Another fascinating report on a similar topic of advanced persistent threats was done by McAfee on Operation Shady Rat (2011) that reveals over 70 organizations (governments, commercial entities, and more) that were targeted over 5 years and had terabytes of information siphoned off.

The overall risk from cyber espionage is high and the McAfee report states:

– “Every company in every conceivable industry with significant size and valuable intellectual property and trade secrets has been compromised (or will be shortly), with the great majority of the victims rarely discovering the intrusion or its impact.”

– “What we have witnessed…has been nothing short of a historically unprecedented transfer of [intellectual] wealth – closely guarded national secrets…disappeared in the ever-growing electronic archived of dogged adversaries.”

In short we can’t keep a secret–we’re putting endless gobs and gobs of our information online and are not adequately protecting it in cyberspace, with the result that our adversaries are able to access, exfiltrate, disclose, modify, or destroy it.

In short, we’re giving it all away – why?

Beware of Botnets

Interesting video demonstration of how botnets work and can literally take over your computer.

In essence, your computer becomes a zombie under the command and control of the botnet sender.

Computers get infected through a trojan or worm, and then the sender has you–they control your computer and information.

Generally, they do this to send spam, steal information, or send out other malware, all under anonymity.

Once infected, the sender has complete control over your computer and can exfiltrate, delete, or change your data, turn on the keyboard lights, add a tail to your mouse, and even format your hard drive.

The malware often can even disable your firewall.

The sender can turn on a keylogger and log your keystrokes, and capture your user ids and passwords to banking and financial institutions, and draw out your money.

The video demos an example of botnets with a variant of the Zeus trojan.

Worth a watch.

Makes me wonder whether our adversaries are infecting more and more computers, until they have almost everyone–eventually a virtual army.

Then at the time of their choosing, they can conduct one big massive attack, or incremental ones, logging into peoples accounts, stealing their identities and savings, sending out misinformation, destroying data and computers en masse.

We need to be aware of what’s possible, maybe even probable.

Is your computer infected and you don’t even know it yet?