5 June 2019

The Encryption Debate in India


Despite being a rapidly maturing digital economy, India has not yet experienced its version of the Crypto Wars. However, policy developments—such as the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, the draft e-commerce policy, and the proposed amendments to India’s intermediary liability laws—indicate that regulation on encryption based on its perceived hindrance of lawful data collection is imminent. The exact nature of the regulation remains undecided because of a need to balance law enforcement needs, apprehensions about the proliferation of unsecured devices, concerns about the security of digital payments and freedom of expression. Whatever the outcome of this debate, it will significantly affect India’s newly recognized fundamental right to privacy, burgeoning economic activity in cyberspace, and security architecture as a whole.


The technology policy debate in India has undergone a tectonic shift in the past few years. This can be generally attributed to the natural progression of technology-based services and their growing importance for commerce and the delivery of welfare. However, three specific developments have made cyber governance a top policy priority. First, in 2014, the Modi government set an unprecedented goal for Aadhaar—India’s national biometric identity program—to enroll over 1 billion Indian citizens and their sensitive personal information into a centralized database. By February 2018, there were 1.17 billion Aadhaar card holders. Aadhaar has not only made data a part of the public infrastructure but also made technologies like encryption critical to protecting India’s national security. In fact, the Indian government often touts the strength of encryption used by Aadhaar’s central database when it is accused of mismanaging the identity program.

3.5 Million Afghans Displaced Since 2012: IOM

A new Displacement Tracking Matrix report published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Afghanistan shows that one in three Afghans has migrated or been displaced in the past six years.

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is a system that captures information on the movements and evolving needs of displaced populations, whether on-site or en route. In the most recent round of data collection completed in December 2018, IOM covered 11,443 communities in 390 districts of all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. 

The study found that since 2012, 3.2 million Afghan migrants and refugees have returned from abroad. The vast majority (95%) returned from neighboring Iran and Pakistan. The remaining five percent came mainly Europe and Turkey (170,000).

While they settled in all 34 provinces, many of them (15% or 49,000) stayed in the eastern province of Nangarhar on the border with Pakistan. 

Taliban says progress made at Afghan talks in Moscow

A Taliban official says "decent progress" has been made at talks with a group of senior Afghan politicians in Moscow, but there is no breakthrough and further talks would be needed, Russian news agencies reported.

The Taliban delegation, led by chief negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund, met Afghan politicians, including senior regional leaders and candidates planning to challenge President Ashraf Ghani in this year's presidential election, as diplomatic efforts to end the 18-year-long war gather pace.

The Taliban insists that international forces must leave Afghanistan for peace to be agreed.

"The Islamic Emirate wants peace but the first step is to remove obstacles to peace and end the occupation of Afghanistan," Baradar said, appearing openly on television in what appeared to be a calculated move to establish his legitimacy as one of the main public faces of the Taliban.

Pentagon Report Slams China for Pursuing ‘Predatory Economics’

By Ros Krasny

A Pentagon report slammed China for “eroding the values and principles of the rules-based order” just as acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was in Singapore attempting to downplay a spat between the world’s two largest economies.

In the more than 50-page “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report,” released on Saturday, the U.S. criticized China’s actions in the region on several points, and affirmed the U.S. commitment to boost multilateral efforts with other Asian countries.

China, under Communist Party leadership, “seeks to reorder the region to its advantage by leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce other nations,” according to the report, which included a message signed by Shanahan.

Speaking in Singapore on Saturday, Shanahan knocked Beijing for employing “a toolkit of coercion,” but predicted nonetheless that the two nations would eventually resolve their differences on trade and other matters.

China 'rigs' 5G test to favour Huawei

Anna Isaac

China is accused of rigging a test of 5G mobile equipment in a campaign to discredit Western rivals of its embattled telecoms champion Huawei, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Whitehall and industry sources said Beijing is feeding secret details of security vulnerabilities in new network kit to a team of IT specialists.

More than 100 computer security experts are conducting a security test of 5G equipment, from makers including Huawei and Western rivals Nokia and Ericsson, in which hacking techniques are used to check for weak spots. The ostensibly legitimate exercise is part of planning for 5G and its leap forward in speed and data capacity in the world’s biggest mobile market.

However, British...

What Derailed the U.S.-China Trade Talks?

By: John Dotson

PRC Vice-Premier Liu He, the lead Chinese negotiator in recent U.S.-China trade talks, speaks with reporters upon his May 9th arrival in Washington. Negotiations formally broke down the next day with the U.S. announcement of another major round of tariffs on Chinese goods. 

Introduction: The U.S.-China “Trade War” Since Early 2018

For over a year, the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been engaged in a contentious trade dispute initiated by the Trump Administration over a host of alleged unfair Chinese trading practices: ranging from intellectual property theft, to industrial subsidies, to artificial barriers to market access for U.S. and other international companies. The first shots of the “trade war” were fired in January 2018, when the Trump Administration imposed import tariffs affecting Chinese-built solar panels and washing machines (PIIE, January 25, 2018). This was followed shortly thereafter by punitive tariffs imposed by the PRC on U.S.-grown sorghum (PIIE, February 6, 2018). By early 2019, the escalating trade frictions had resulted in U.S.-imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, across a range of sectors; with reciprocal tariffs imposed by the PRC on $110 billion in U.S. products, with many of the duties falling in the agricultural sector (CNBC, March 1).

The “16+1” Becomes the “17+1”: Greece Joins China’s Dwindling Cooperation Framework in Central and Eastern Europe

By: Horia Ciurtin

Introduction: China’s (Junior) European Partners in the “16+1”

On the heels of People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping’s busy bilateral tour in Western Europe in March, PRC Premier Li Keqiang started his own multilateral tour in Eastern Europe in April. Designed primarily to visit Beijing’s established partners in European Union (EU) central institutions (EU-China Joint Statement, April 9), Li’s visit nonetheless touched upon a side project of no marginal importance for the larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): the “16+1” framework of cooperation with countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). [1]Thus, on April 11 and 12, participants met in the Croatian town of Dubrovnik for the framework’s 8th Summit, as well as for its 9th Business Forum (Agenda of 8th Summit of Central and Eastern European Countries & China – 9th Business Forum of CEEC & China, April 11-12).

Perhaps not coincidentally, the same venue witnessed the advent of the “Three Seas Initiative” in 2016, a sub-regional project meant to increase integration of EU countries in the area—an event in which the PRC took part as an observer (with Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Haixing in attendance). [2] The symbolic value of this place—which was chosen instead of the more convenient Croatian capital—offers a glimpse into Beijing’s intentions in the area: a strand of economic and diplomatic engagement that runs parallel to European integration, without explicitly doubling or challenging it. Thus, the PRC seeks influence in Europe when encountering little or no resistance—seeking to fill an opening when available, but without confronting established players head-on. [3]

Business (Not) as Usual: A Changing Landscape in CEE

Shangri-La Dialogue: Dealing with cyber threats requires greater partnership, say cyber defence chiefs

Rachel Au-Yong

SINGAPORE - As malicious cyber attacks increasingly target civilian arenas like finance or healthcare, preparing for them requires a mindset change on the part of cyber security agencies.

Mr David Koh, chief executive of Singapore's Cyber Security Agency, said agencies must learn to rely on partners across government because the wider attack surface requires whole-of-government vigilance.

"Agencies that may not be used to security threats have to be alert and know when to share information with security agencies and determine whether an incident was just a benign glitch or the first indicator of a sophisticated cyber attack," he said.

Mr Koh was part of a five-member panel discussing cyber capabilities at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue defence forum on Saturday (June 1).

He also said security agencies should learn to work more closely with two other groups: civilian industry partners, and technology and academic researchers.

The New Tiananmen Papers Inside the Secret Meeting That Changed China

By Andrew J. Nathan

On April 15, 1989, the popular Chinese leader Hu Yaobang died of a heart attack in Beijing. Two years earlier, Hu had been cashiered from his post as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for being too liberal. Now, in the days after his death, thousands of students from Beijing campuses gathered in Tiananmen Square, in central Beijing, to demand that the party give him a proper sendoff. By honoring Hu, the students expressed their dissatisfaction with the corruption and inflation that had developed during the ten years of “reform and opening” under the country’s senior leader, Deng Xiaoping, and their disappointment with the absence of political liberalization. Over the next seven weeks, the party leaders debated among themselves how to respond to the protests, and they issued mixed signals to the public. In the meantime, the number of demonstrators increased to perhaps as many as a million, including citizens from many walks of life. The students occupying the square declared a hunger strike, their demands grew more radical, and demonstrations spread to hundreds of other cities around the country. Deng decided to declare martial law, to take effect on May 20.

But the demonstrators dug in, and Deng ordered the use of force to commence on the night of June 3. Over the next 24 hours, hundreds were killed, if not more; the precise death toll is still unknown. The violence provoked widespread revulsion throughout Chinese society and led to international condemnation, as the G-7 democracies imposed economic sanctions on China. Zhao Ziyang, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, had advocated a conciliatory approach and had refused to accept the decision to use force. Deng ousted him from his position, and Zhao was placed under house arrest—an imprisonment that ended only when he died, in 2005.

US takes aim at Chinese surveillance as the trade war becomes a tech war

Arjun Kharpal

China continues to build its domestic surveillance capabilities, powered by artificial intelligence and lots of data. Multi-billion dollar technology firms sell their products to the government. The United States is increasingly critical not just of that tech, but of Chinese surveillance itself.

Surveillance cameras are mounted on a post at Tiananmen Square as snow falls in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

China and America's trade war looks more and more like a tech war, and the United States appears to be widening its focus on to another category of Chinese technology: surveillance.

The U.S. may put Chinese surveillance equipment company Hikvision on a blacklist that would limit its ability to acquire American components — expanding the tech rivalry between the countries and even bringing attention to the ways China monitors its own people.

China Prepares To Drop Microsoft Windows, Blames U.S. Hacking Threat

Davey Winder

The ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. shows no sign of ending in the near future. Although steel tariffs acted as the catalyst for this protectionist policy, cybersecurity soon got caught up in the political mix and Huawei has been the highest profile target, or victim, depending upon how you see things. It was inevitable that China would fight back and from the cybersecurity perspective that's certainly been the case.

First there have been the drafting of cybersecurity regulations that could see U.S. technology imports blocked on national security grounds. Now comes the news, first broken online by the Epoch Times this week, that China is preparing to replace the Windows operating system with an alternative that is being developed within China in order to "prevent the United States from hacking into China's military network."

Europe Redefined

By George Friedman

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs and the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures. Dr. Friedman is a New York Times bestselling author and his most popular book, The Next 100 Years, is kept alive by the prescience of its predictions. Other best-selling books include Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, The Next Decade, America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages. Dr. Friedman has briefed numerous military and government organizations in the United States and overseas and appears regularly as an expert on international affairs, foreign policy and intelligence in major media. For almost 20 years before resigning in May 2015, Dr. Friedman was CEO and then chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996. Friedman received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University.

How Trump’s approach to the Middle East ignores the past, the future, and the human condition

Shibley Telhami

While the specific details of the Trump plan remain unknown, we already know the troubling principles on which the plan is based.

Details aside, Trump’s approach not only breaks with international law and long-held U.S. policies, it also enshrines historic U.S. responsibility in an unjust process that will ultimately backfire against Israel, the Palestinians, and American interests.

Let’s start with the principles of the approach as revealed by Kushner and other members of Trump’s team. While ignoring prior peace agreements, U.N. resolutions, and international law, Trump’s approach is anchored on three flawed principles: “realities” on the ground as they are, appeal to ethnic/religious justifications of Israeli control of occupied territories, and economic incentives to appease Palestinian political aspirations. The first ignores the history of the U.S. role in creating these realities; the second ignores the future consequences of framing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as an ethnic/religious conflict, instead of a nationalist conflict; the third misses not only the nature of the Palestinian struggle, but of the human condition.

Russia’s New Electronic Warfare Capabilities in the Arctic

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

Last fall, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) massive Trident Juncture 2018 military exercises, 31 allied and partner countries, over 50,000 personnel, 10,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and some 60 warships, including the carrier USS Harry Truman, gathered to practice large-scale maneuvers in Norway as well as the airspaces of neutral Finland and Sweden and the surrounding seas. Moscow expressed vehement disapproval over the scope and location of that year’s Trident Juncture. Whereas, Norwegian and Finnish authorities alleged that, during these exercises, the Russian military deliberately suppressed GPS positioning signals, endangering civilian air traffic and other legitimate day-to-day non-military activities in the northern regions of Norway and Finland. Long after the Trident Juncture 2018 war games wound up, in December 2018, both Oslo and Helsinki continued to complain about Russian GPS interference. But the Kremlin denied knowing anything about any such interference (Interfax, February 11, 2019).

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration continued to play ignorant this spring, when Scandinavian leaders again complained about GPS suppression during a Russian-organized Arctic Summit in St. Petersburg (TASS, April 9). However, the Russian military somewhat undermined the credibility of these denials by boasting about recently acquired electronic warfare capabilities that will reportedly allow Russia to dominate the entire northern Polar region.

The Three Russian Attitudes Toward Belarus

By: Grigory Ioffe

Russians are not unanimous in their attitude toward Belarus. According to popular Belarusian online portal Tut.by’s Artyom Shraibman, politically influential Russians fall into three camps: Technocrats-Monetarists (e.g., Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev or former deputy prime ministers Arkady Dvorkovich and Anatoly Chubais), Imperialists (many “siloviki”—representatives of the military and security apparatus), and Friendly Autonomists (like former mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov and former Russian ambassador to Belarus Alexander Sourikov). The first camp sees the relationship between the two countries in purely fiscal terms and insists on cutting back on what its members consider unjustified subsidizing of Belarus. The second camp underscores Russia and Belarus’s common heritage; the mouthpieces of this grouping (e.g., the online “patriotic” news agency Regnum) tend to worry about Belarus following in the footsteps of Ukraine and insist on interference in Belarus’s cultural politics to steer it away from the West. The third camp does not endorse this interference but sees the monetarist approach to Russian-Belarusian ties as narrow-minded. Instead, it wants to facilitate consensus between the two countries by all means (Author’s interview, May 23).

The People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force: Update 2019

By: Adam Ni, Bates Gill


China established the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) (zhanlue zhiyuan budui, 战略支援部队) in late 2015 as part of a sweeping military reform that overhauled the PLA’s organizational structure, command and control systems, and operational paradigm. At its core, the reform aimed to improve the PLA’s ability to fight informationized conflicts (xinxihua zhanzheng, 信息化战争), and enhance joint operations and power projection capabilities in support of China’s strategic aims (Xinhua, January 1, 2016).

In the three and half years since the creation of the SSF, a trickle of Chinese language sources has allowed foreign analysts to piece together a coherent, albeit incomplete, picture of this young but opaque organization (China Brief, February 8, 2016; China Brief, December 26, 2016; RAND, November 10, 2017; Cyber Defense Review, July 31, 2018; Project 2049 Institute, September 25, 2018;NDU, October 2, 2018). This article aims to provide an up-to-date outline of the SSF’s missions, leadership, and organizational structure. Note that the SSF is still in the process of consolidating, reorganizing and integrating the assorted capabilities and organizations that have fallen under its banner. This extensive effort will likely take years to complete.

Russia’s New Electronic Warfare Capabilities in the Arctic

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

Last fall, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) massive Trident Juncture 2018 military exercises, 31 allied and partner countries, over 50,000 personnel, 10,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and some 60 warships, including the carrier USS Harry Truman, gathered to practice large-scale maneuvers in Norway as well as the airspaces of neutral Finland and Sweden and the surrounding seas. Moscow expressed vehement disapproval over the scope and location of that year’s Trident Juncture. Whereas, Norwegian and Finnish authorities alleged that, during these exercises, the Russian military deliberately suppressed GPS positioning signals, endangering civilian air traffic and other legitimate day-to-day non-military activities in the northern regions of Norway and Finland. Long after the Trident Juncture 2018 war games wound up, in December 2018, both Oslo and Helsinki continued to complain about Russian GPS interference. But the Kremlin denied knowing anything about any such interference (Interfax, February 11, 2019).

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration continued to play ignorant this spring, when Scandinavian leaders again complained about GPS suppression during a Russian-organized Arctic Summit in St. Petersburg (TASS, April 9). However, the Russian military somewhat undermined the credibility of these denials by boasting about recently acquired electronic warfare capabilities that will reportedly allow Russia to dominate the entire northern Polar region.


by Heather Grabbe and Tomáš Valášek

This report is a rallying cry for Europeans to pull together and mobilize the EU’s assets to manage the three biggest changes of our times. Each section briefly diagnoses the consequences of climate change, aging populations, and digital revolutions and then explores the role the EU could play in supporting the inevitable transitions. The purpose is not to provide a detailed blueprint for each transition, but rather to launch a new kind of debate about the EU—a debate that does not revolve around how to tweak the current institutions but instead how to address a reordered set of priorities.

The insights and recommendations presented draw on ideas and analysis that emerged from a series of discussions between a group of Europeans with innovative ideas and a pro-reform mindset. This group, referred to as the European Reformists, was brought together by the Open Society European Policy Institute and Carnegie Europe between October 2017 and December 2018 to discuss the continent’s biggest challenges over the next fifteen years.

America is an empire, not a nation

Every time some tinpot nationalist Euro-huckster wins a meaningless election — a local council seat or control of a given country's delegation in the European Parliament — we are told that we are witnessing the rise of a movement. This Nationalist International is, we are told, both dangerous and unstoppable. The latter at any rate looks increasingly true.

Where students of the new nationalism err, I think, is lumping Matteo Salvini and Marine le Pen and Nigel Farage in with Donald Trump. There are, one admits, certain incidental similarities between the leaders of the European far right and our president. But these are mostly confined to such questions as who are their mutual enemies — i.e., the cultural and social elite of their respective countries — and in some cases with rhetorical style. What all the former have in common is something that Trump utterly lacks: that is, a political program that could accurately be described as nationalist.

There is a vast amount of commentary on the subject of so-called American nationalism, both pro and contra. But both sides are begging the question by debating the merits of a concept they have willed into existence together.

Huawei Is a Huge Challenge for Europe's Spies

Lionel Laurent

The technological Cold War that’s breaking out between the U.S. and China has exposed Europe’s awkward attempts to walk a fine diplomatic line between the two superpowers.

Super-fast 5G mobile networks are the most visible example. The EU doesn’t want to copy Donald Trump’s ban on China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. (despite his threat to curb intelligence sharing with the British unless they fall into line). But neither does Europe want to turn a blind eye to the Chinese cyber-security threat and evidence of the country’s unfair trade practices. The continent’s leaders are trying to find their own united path. It’s an encouraging ambition, but one that’s still a long way from being realized.

Perceptions of American Decline

By Cameron Munter

The new style of foreign policy practiced by the Trump administration has provoked a great amount of commentary on the waning of an international order created in America's image. But this style of commentary says more about the way experts debate trends in international affairs than about the substance of foreign policy itself. For a better perspective, let’s focus on America’s role and actions in the Middle East.

America historically has had two overriding interests in the Middle East: supporting the state of Israel and ensuring the free world's oil supply. It was generally believed that the United States did this by attempting to balance the interests of others in the region. The Suez Canal crisis of 1956 allowed Washington to supplant the British and French, while the emergence of Anwar Sadat allowed them to supplant the Russians in Egypt. The Americans now presented themselves as the region’s key arbiter. Despite severe challenges from Iran in 1979 and in Iraq in 2003, this was understood to be a region where the Americans called the shots, or at least prevented anyone else from doing so. 



NERDS, WE DID it. We have graduated, along with oil, real estate, insurance, and finance, to the big T. Trillions of dollars. Trillions! Get to that number any way you like: Sum up the market cap of the major tech companies, or just take Apple’s valuation on a good day. Measure the number of dollars pumped into the economy by digital productivity, whatever that is. Imagine the possible future earnings of Amazon

THE THINGS WE loved—the Commodore Amigas and AOL chat rooms, the Pac-Man machines and Tamagotchis, the Lisp machines and RFCs, the Ace paperback copies of Neuromancer in the pockets of our dusty jeans—these very specific things have come together into a postindustrial Voltron that keeps eating the world. We accelerated progress itself, at least the capitalist and dystopian parts. Sometimes I’m proud, although just as often I’m ashamed. I am proudshamed. 

AI, the Mandatory Element of 5G Mobile Security

Tara Seals

The complexity and scale of the 5G ecosystem, combined with a lack of skills and training in software-centric security, will be important drivers for AI deployment in the carrier space.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Artificial intelligence will be a requirement for securing carrier 5G networks – which is shaping up to be a technology juggernaut that presents unique challenges unlike any ever seen in the world of telecom until now.

That was the assessment at the GSMA Mobile 360 Security for 5G conference, taking place here this week.

To understand the challenges and the drivers for artificial intelligence (AI), it’s important to understand that existing telecom networks, even today’s 4G LTE networks, are built from a hardware-centric perspective, using the vertical-stack Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. Features include a heavy reliance on hardware big routers and switches with device-specific software to run them. Functions are hard-coded and largely siloed. Extensive operations support systems/business support systems (OSS/BSS) are relied upon to carry out management and orchestration functions and to provide subscriber management and billing.

New AI Generates Horrifyingly Plausible Fake News


In an attempt to prevent artificial intelligence-generated fake news from spreading across the internet, a team of scientists built an AI algorithm that creates what might be the most believable bot-written fake news to date — based on nothing more than a lurid headline.

The system, GROVER, can create fake and misleading news articles that are more believable than those written by humans, according to research shared to the preprint server ArXiv on Wednesday — and also detect them.

“We find that best current discriminators can classify neural fake news from real, human-written, news with 73% accuracy, assuming access to a moderate level of training data,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “Counterintuitively, the best defense against Grover turns out to be Grover itself, with 92% accuracy.”

Tech giants sign letter condemning UK agency’s plan to spy on encrypted messages


Microsoft Corp., Google LLC, Facebook Inc.-owned WhatsApp and Apple Inc. have signed a letter condemning a U.K. government agency’s proposal to spy on its citizens.

The letter, which has 47 signatories including tech firms, security experts and civil society groups, is highly critical of the Government Communications Headquarters or GCHQ proposal to enable eavesdropping on encrypted chats.

The signatories are urging GCHQ to abandon what it calls the “ghost protocol,” stating that if such spying were allowed, it would pose a serious threat to digital security and human rights. It would also severely impact how users feel about the technology they are using, they said.

“The moment users find out that a software update to their formerly secure end-to-end encrypted messaging application can now allow secret participants to surveil their conversations, they will lose trust in that service,” said the letter.

DAVID IGNATIUS: America is in a constant, low-level state of war, in cyberspace

One of the least-discussed but perhaps most consequential comments by special counsel Robert Mueller in his appearance before reporters this week was his blunt counterintelligence assessment: “Russian intelligence officers, who are part of the Russian military, launched a concerted attack on our political system.”

Here’s why this judgment is so important: The U.S. military, backed by Mueller’s findings and those of the intelligence community, has responded by developing a tough new doctrine to counter cyberattacks by Russia and other rivals. The premise is that our adversaries are engaged in constant cyber-assaults against us, and America should adopt a strategy of “persistent engagement.”

What this means, basically, is that the United States is now in a low-level state of cyberwar, constantly.

This military response to cyber-meddling is entirely independent of the usual headline-grabbing issues that surround Mueller’s report, or Trump’s angry tweets about it, or whether the House of Representatives will launch an impeachment investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. Those political debates will continue, but meanwhile, the military is taking the offensive in dealing with the threat that surfaced so dramatically in the 2016 presidential election.

Should private companies be drafted in the cyber war?


Moody’s recently announced a rating outlook downgrade for Equifax, linking the decision to spiraling costs from the massive 2017 data breach that topped $690 million last quarter and are anticipated to remain high as the company continues investing in cybersecurity infrastructure. In today’s modern cyber threat environment, the impacts of a fumbled incident response are beginning to manifest themselves in new, costly ways.

This decision follows a December 2018 report by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that found Equifax “failed to implement an adequate security program to protect this sensitive data. As a result, Equifax allowed one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history.” 

DISA Seeks Encryption That Quantum Computers Can’t Break


WASHINGTON: Technologists talk about quantum computing the way Scotty on Star Trek mused about the possibility of ion propulsion — in hushed tones reserved for an unknowable but clearly life-altering technology. That’s the way it is today with quantum computing, which is said to be able to break all known encryption and obviate everything we’ve known about cybersecurity up to this point.

To close the gap between what the Defense Department knows and doesn’t know about how quantum computing will affect its ability to secure its algorithms and cryptographic solutions, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is employing its Other Transaction Authority contracting capability to issue a request for whitepapers on a potential encryption model that can’t be broken by quantum computing.

Ahead of the Hack—A Plan to Combat Cyber Threats

By Lieutenant Bill Conway

Is it going to take a cyber Pearl Harbor or a cyber 9/11—where the energy grid, water system, banks, and hospitals are attacked simultaneously—for the United States to develop a cohesive strategy to thwart cyberattacks? 

The Mueller Report detailed how Russian military intelligence, “hacked computers belonging to state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and U.S. companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of U.S. elections.”1 Also, the Wall Street Journal reported last month that a U.S. Navy internal report described the Navy and its contractors as “under cyber siege” by global competitors and adversaries. These actors include Chinese government hackers and others who have exploited critical flaws in U.S. cybersecurity. 

It’s not just the military and the federal government who are under cyber siege, but all Americans.

Army network kit empowers soldiers like never before

By: Mark Pomerleau   

Ongoing Army network modernization efforts are offering soldiers and team leaders unprecedented communication and situational awareness capabilities.

As the Army works through its network modernization efforts, improvements are coming to the individual’s soldier kit.

These include a two-channel radio that allows soldiers on the ground to switch frequencies if one is being jammed by adversaries. Improvements also include what the Army calls the “end-user device,” an Android tablet mounted to a soldier’s chest, providing geolocation and mapping services.

Ultimately, the kit empowers the soldiers to take control of their environment, which is a critical attribute for future operations as the Army prepares troops to operate on sophisticated and evolving battlefields.

For platoon leaders, such a kit replaces the need for a radio telephone operator, someone at the side of the platoon commander who handles the radio communications.