Feeds

US Military cyber forces on the defensive in network battle

Operation Screaming Whimpering Fist

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The US 24th Air Force - the first dedicated American military cyber force to go operational - is "not yet a warfighting organisation" and needs to "create an awareness of the battlespace", according to its commander.

Major-General Richard Webber, a former nuclear-missile and satellite-jamming officer, took over the 24th in August. Speaking at a recent symposium in Los Angeles, the cyber general indicated that America's uniformed netwar forces have some way to go before they're ready to put digital boot to network ass.

“We need to know how to set up and defend the enterprise. It’s going to be a crawl/walk/run process,” said Webber, quoted by Aerospace Daily and Defense Report. “We’re under attack literally every day."

The 24th's main base at Lackland in Texas, which will cover 50,000 square feet, is still being built and equipped with its panoply of fearful cyber weaponry. It's set to be complete and manned up by some thousands of netwar specialists late next year.

Under Webber's command are two main units, the mainly defensive 688th Information Operations Wing (formerly known as the Air Force Information Operations Center) and the doing-unto-others outfit, the 67th Network Warfare Wing. The 67th has a subsidiary role in doing tiger-team mock attacks against US networks to test their defences, but its main purpose is "computer network exploitation and attack".

For now though, Webber's main focus seems to be on holding back the constant raids and meddling directed at US military networks, rather than taking the fight to the enemy - whoever that may prove to be.

Webber's boss, General Kevin Chilton, spoke of a "massive" cyber attack against the Pentagon nets last year, which was apparently a major reason for the formation of the 24th.

“One year ago this month we had a wake-up call in cyberspace," said the general. "We had a severe intrusion into the Defense networks. It changed the way people are thinking about cyberspace. This time it’s everybody’s problem — every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine."

It seems that at present, US military sysadmins are often forced to respond to cyberstrikes by simply disconnecting from the wider net - but this could have severe consequences on real-world operations if the timing were bad, and senior officers are keen to do better.

"We must learn to fight through an attack," says Webber.

The Aerospace Daily and Defense Report piece is here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.