Feeds

Congress warned that military systems may already be pwned

Radical rethink of computer security needed

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Security experts testifying at hearings held by the US Senate Armed Services Committee on cybersecurity have warned that maintaining a perimeter to keep out spies is unsupportable, and that the US should assume that its networks have already been fully penetrated.

"We've got the wrong mental model here," said Dr. James Peery, director of the Information Systems Analysis Center at Sandia National Laboratories. "I don't think that we would think that we could keep spies out of our country. We've got this model for cyber that says, 'We're going to develop a system where we're not attacked.' I think we have to go to a model where we assume that the adversary is in our networks. It's on our machines, and we've got to operate anyway."

The committee heard that the US Department of Defense (DoD) operates over 15,000 networks with around seven million computing devices, and protecting them against hacking was virtually impossible, particularly in light of the increasing complexity of both the devices and the software that runs on them.

The commercial software industry has, of course, realized that the old idea of a perimeter defense is increasingly useless, and groups such as the Jericho Forum have been working on systems to protect data, rather than network boundaries for many years. Such principles might be antithetical to the military mind, but Dr. Kaigham Gabriel, current head of the DARPA, said that the cost of perimeter control would be huge and most likely ineffective anyway.

"Modern operations will demand the effective use of cyber, kinetic, and combined cyber and kinetic means," he suggested. "The shelf-life of cyber tools and capabilities is short – sometimes measured in days. To a greater degree than in other areas of Defense, cybersecurity solutions require that DoD develops the ability to build quickly, at scale, and over a broad range of capabilities."

Cyber arms races are all well and good, but the head of research at the National Security Agency (NSA) Dr. Michael Wertheimer warned that the US is also facing an increasing intelligence gap, as not enough citizens have the skills of online defense. In 2010 there were just 726 computer science PhDs awarded to US citizens, and only 64 of them signed up for government service.

The open session of the committee hearings can be viewed here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
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
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
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.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.