Feeds

Pentagon plans massive surge in Cyber Command staff

Boosting online warrior numbers from 900 to 4,900

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The US military is planning a massive increase in the capabilities of its Cyber Command online-warfare department as it seeks to exert dominance over the digital battlefield.

"Given the malicious actors that are out there and the development of the technology, in my mind, there's little doubt that some adversary is going to attempt a significant cyberattack on the United States at some point," William Lynn III, a former deputy defense secretary, told the Washington Post.

"The only question is whether we're going to take the necessary steps like this one to deflect the impact of the attack in advance or . . . read about the steps we should have taken in some post-attack commission report," he said.

Currently there are around 900 uniformed and civilian staff employed by the Pentagon in its Cyber Command, which is separate from the National Security Agency – at least in principle. In practice, however, the two work side-by-side, and both are headed by the same man, General Keith Alexander

A senior defense official told the paper that the Pentagon would primarily focus on online activity outside of US domestic borders, and would only be involved in major online attacks, not minor hacking and phishing annoyances. US companies and those international companies that use American-hosted services won't be touched.

"There's no intent to have the military crawl inside industry or private networks and provide that type of security," the official said.

The staffing increase is scheduled to begin later this year and next, but there are likely to be problems simply finding that many people with the right skills to do the job. The military was at last year's Black Hat hacking conference looking for recruits and support from the private security industry, but weren't finding many takers.

Security researchers who have worked with the Pentagon have complained that all too often the government wants to know their security tricks, but isn't willing to share its knowledge or pay the kind of rates that researchers can make in private industry.

There's also the fact that other government agencies are increasingly targeting the security community for special investigation over the last few years, since WikiLeaks started releasing US State Department cables. Many in the industry are feeling little love for the US government at the moment, and this could reduce its ability to hire the best talent.

General Alexander has agreed to stay on in his roles until at least 2014 to manage the increase in numbers.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?