Feeds

US Air Force: Looking for a few good cyber warriors

Military wants to fortify cyberspace against China

Top three mobile application threats

Uncle Sam wants you ... to become a cyberspace warrior.

In a document released this week, the US Air Force is laying out plans for a new cyber command, which is scheduled to become operational in October. It tries to make the case that the ability to wage war and parry attacks over electronic networks is crucial to maintaining national security.

"Controlling cyberspace is the prerequisite to effective operations across all strategic and operational domains - securing freedom from attack and freedom to attack," the document, titled Air Force Cyber Command Strategic Vision, states. "We will develop and implement plans for maturing and expanding cyberspace operations as an Air Force core competency."

Its definition of cyberspace is considerably broader than that of many in the security field, encompassing electronic communications that take place over the internet, but also those in the air and space. That includes conducting operations in the electromagnetic spectrum, presumably to fight against electromagnetic pulse attacks, which could disrupt the nation's electronic devices by setting off a high-altitude nuclear blast.

"Cyberspace attacks can be conducted on an adversary's terrestrial, airborne and space-based communication infrastructure as well as his forces, equipment and logistics," the document (PDF here) says. Other areas of expertise include sensor disruption, data manipulation, decision support degradation, command and control disruption and weapon system degradation.

The document is the latest push by US military leaders for more authority and funding for cyberspace. The campaign has been ramping up amid a growing number of intelligence disclosures that finger the People's Republic of China as a threat to the US communications infrastructure.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon released an assessment of China's military might that included cautionary statements about attacks to numerous computer networks, including some belonging to the US government. While it remained unclear if the intrusions were conducted by the People's Liberation Army, "developing capabilities for cyberwarfare is consistent with authoritative PLA writings on this subject," the report warned.

Additionally, Defense Department officials speaking on Capitol Hill last week said enemies are keenly aware of the government's dependence on the internet and continue to look for ways to exploit it.

And according to Federal Computer Week, President Bush issued a classified directive in January designed to fortify government networks, including possible offensive tactical maneuvers.

While some may see the military push as little more than a power grab, Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, is not among them. He says the US military leadership was slow to act on intelligence reports in 1990s that the Russian KGB had founded a school for cyber hacking. He says it's important leaders don't make similar mistakes in response to intelligence reports concerning China.

"The reason that we're willing to spend so much money right now is that the Chinese in particular had visible and massive success in not only penetrating our systems and stealing highly sensitive military information but also taking over our systems so they can control them in the future," he says. "It's essential that we do this." ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.