6 September 2019

Research and Development in Cyber Domain and Indian Perspective

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

… India has to develop its own technologies, an electronic manufacturing base, R&D infrastructure and a highly skilled human resource… talented professionals available in the cyber eco system have to be brought in for research on indigenization of cyber technologies… Though a little late, but given the required priority, funding and impetus India has the capability to develop indigenous technology in cyber domain …

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A New India-France Alliance?

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Late last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to France for the annual bilateral summit which lasted from August 22-23. He was also invited by the French President Emmanuel Macron to the G-7 summit, which occurred from August 25- 26 at Biarritz, a reflection of the growing depth of the partnership between India and France.

The consolidation of this strategic partnership could not have come at a better time for New Delhi. India has just taken a major political gamble by removing the special status of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, a state that is the focus of a long dispute between India and Pakistan. But India and France are also coming closer because of other common interests, and because India is looking for more options when it comes to its international partners.

India’s decision on Kashmir created some diplomatic difficulties, with Pakistan demanding UN Security Council debate and China supporting that demand, putting in question the slowly warming ties between India and China. Russia’s position also raised some concerns in Delhi: Its support for India was lukewarm, with Russia clearly feeling squeezed between China (with which Russia has increasingly become closer) and India (its traditional friend). After Russia climbed on the fence and adopted a somewhat ambiguous stand, India needed to nurture its relationship with other important strategic partners such as France and the United States.

India's Water-Stressed Future Is Now

By Ambika Vishwanath

With its demand for water expected to double over the next decade, India will experience increasingly severe water shortages unless it takes steps to improve its supplies. Depleted groundwater, urbanization, poor management and pollution contribute to India's water crisis. The day is not far off, if it isn't already here, when water will be the most critical factor shaping India's economic growth.

Large parts of India experienced severe drought early this summer, followed by a delayed monsoon that arrived in a full deluge. The rain filled lakes and reservoirs, flooded plains and swelled rivers, resulting in displacement, destruction and loss of life. This pattern is not unusual. With a shifting monsoon pattern, increasing demand for water, relentless urbanization and depletion of groundwater, severe droughts and floods have become an annual feature in India. Yet old attitudes remain. Indians continue to think they will have enough water to see them through the coming year, especially when the monsoons fill the lakes and water bodies.

Shattering Taliban Attack in Kabul Even as US Deal Nears

By Rahim Faiez and Cara Anna

The Taliban on Tuesday defended their suicide bombing against an international compound in the Afghan capital that killed at least 16 people and wounded 119, almost all local civilians, just hours after a U.S. envoy said he and the militant group had reached a deal “in principle” to end America’s longest war.

Angry Kabul residents whose homes were shredded in the explosion climbed over the buckled blast wall and set part of the compound, a frequent Taliban target, on fire. Thick smoke rose from the Green Village, home to several foreign organizations and guesthouses, whose location has become a peril to nearby local residents as well.

“People were screaming and saying, ‘My children are trapped in the rubble,'” one witness, Faiz Ahmad, said. A large crater was left in the street from a tractor packed with explosives. Five attackers were killed in the Monday night attack and some 400 foreigners rescued, Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

Inevitable Withdrawal: The US-Taliban Deal – OpEd

By Binoy Kampmark

It took gallons and flagons of blood, but it eventuated, a squeeze of history into a parchment of possibility: the Taliban eventually pushed the sole superpower on this expiring earth to a deal of some consequence. (The stress is on the some – the consequence is almost always unknown.) “In principle, on paper, yes we have reached an agreement,” claimed the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on the Afghan channel ToloNews. “But it is not final until the president of the United States also agrees to it.”

The agreement entails the withdrawal (the public relations feature of the exercise teasingly calls this “pulling out”) of 5,400 troops from the current complement of 14,000 within 135 days of signature. Five military bases will close or be transferred to the Afghan government. In return, the Taliban has given an undertaking never to host forces with the intention of attacking the US and its interests.

Exactitude, however, is eluding the press and those keen to get to the marrow. Word on the policy grapevine is that this is part of an inexorable process that will see a full evacuation within 16 months, though this remains gossip.

Shattering Taliban attack in Kabul even as US deal nears

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Tuesday defended their suicide bombing against an international compound in the Afghan capital that killed at least 16 people and wounded 119, almost all local civilians, just hours after a U.S. envoy said he and the militant group had reached a deal “in principle” to end America’s longest war.

Angry Kabul residents whose homes were shredded in the explosion climbed over the buckled blast wall and set part of the compound, a frequent Taliban target, on fire. Thick smoke rose from the Green Village, home to several foreign organizations and guesthouses, whose location has become a peril to nearby local residents as well.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis condemned the attack, “which, unfortunately, ended the life of a Romanian citizen and seriously wounded another one. I reiterate our profound commitment to combating terrorism at the international level.”

I Served 10 Tours in Afghanistan. It’s Time for Us to Leave


Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc (Ret) is a former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa and a fellow at the American College of National Security Leaders. He is a candidate for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.

On the evening of July 15, 1979, a solemn and weary President Jimmy Carter sat in the Oval Office and addressed the nation about what he termed a “fundamental threat to American democracy.” Known historically as the “crisis of confidence” speech, President Carter used his prime-time slot to empathize about a general malaise hovering over the country. It was a particularly perilous period for America, whose economy was trapped by high Inflation and energy shortages and whose political elite was distrusted by the very citizens they were supposed to represent.

Forty years after that momentous speech, America is undergoing a similar crisis of confidence with its foreign policy and defense establishment.

China Aims to Rev Up Shale Gas Drive, Wean Itself Off Imports Amid US Trade Row

BEIJING/SINGAPORE - China aims to slash its growing dependence on gas imports by boosting domestic projects like shale fields as the security of its energy supply comes under the spotlight amid a festering trade war with the United States.

The row with Washington has overshadowed China's economy, likely slowing gas demand growth considerably this year, a new government research report shows. But Beijing is funding new efforts to boost domestic production, particularly from so-called unconventional sources like shale gas, as weaning China off its import reliance takes on new importance.

The report, released on Saturday by the oil and gas department at the National Energy Administration (NEA) and a State Council research arm, calls for boosting natural gas production in key resource basins in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the Erdos basin in the north and offshore China.

According to the report, China's gas consumption will rise by about 10% this year to 310 billion cubic meters (bcm), and to continue growing until 2050. Though slowing from last year's 17.5%, 2019's growth still represents an annual addition of 28 bcm, faster than the annual average growth of 19 bcm during 2007-2018, the report said.

China broke its promises to Hong Kong. That’s why the protest movement is back with a vengeance

Markus Shaw

The expression 
“Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong”, which is still referred to in official documents as one of the principles underpinning the Basic Law, has almost completely fallen out of usage. Concurrently, one often hears from sources that the central government just wishes Hong Kong would get on with solving its own problems. Really?

Far from wanting Hong Kong to solve its own problems, let alone allowing Hong Kong people to rule Hong Kong, the central government seems to wish to interfere in all aspects of Hong Kong’s life and governance: it handpicksour chief executive; it determines who can or cannot serve on the Executive Council; it must  approve all ministerial and senior civil service appointments; it blatantly interferes in Legislative Council and District Council elections; it handpicks Hong Kong representatives to the National People’s Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from a narrow coterie; it determines who is politically reliable enough to serve on our myriad advisory bodies… I could go on.

The U.S. Military Needs to Fix This If It Wants Any Shot at Winning a War with China

by David Axe

The U.S. military’s fleet of sealift ships is too small reliably to resupply farflung American forces in the event of a major war. And the U.S. Navy lacks the warships to escort and protect what few sealift ships the military does possess.

That’s the dire warning that a range of experts have sounded as the Pentagon shifts its focus from counterinsurgency campaigns, which heavily rely on civilian logistics networks, to the possibility of war with a major power such as China.

In a war with China, America’s logistical forces would be a prime target. But the U.S. sealift fleet can neither defend itself nor absorb heavy losses, the Washington, D.C. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment explained in a May 2019 report.

“Failing to remedy this situation, when adversaries have U.S. logistics networks in their crosshairs, could cause the United States to lose a war and fail its allies and partners in their hour of need,” CSBA warned.

Seapower magazine reporter Otto Kreisher outlined experts’ growing concern.

How AI Will Predict Chinese and Russian Moves in the Pacific


As Pacific Air Forces builds a picture of normal traffic, they'll start looking for suspicious patterns — and even predict what's coming.

HONOLULU—On the site of the most infamous sneak attack in American history, U.S. Pacific Air Forces is collating tens of millions of radar contacts and other data in a bid to stave off a latter-day surprise — and even reveal the adversary’s weaknesses.

Airmen and researchers at PACAF’s Pearl Harbor headquarters are using the data — as old as a year and as new as real-time — to draw up a portrait of normal air traffic in the vast Pacific region. Ultimately, that should make it easier to spot abnormal events, such as an impending attack, the deputy chief of PACAF’s C3 Integration Division said at the Defense One-Nextgov Genius Machines event here last Tuesday.

Arab States Give China a Pass on Uyghur Crackdown

Haisam Hassanein

Leaders in the Middle East have calculated that defending the Muslim minority is not worth the risk of losing Chinese economic, political, and military assistance.

On August 21, Qatar informed the UN Human Rights Council that it was withdrawing from a multilateral letter it had signed in support of China’s actions against the Muslim Uyghur minority in the restive Xinjiang province. Although it is unclear what exactly spurred this reversal, the decision is hardly a sign that Doha is preparing to call Beijing out publicly or scale down its bilateral ties. Ali al-Mansouri, Qatar’s permanent representative to the UN, explained the move in innocuous terms: “We wish to maintain a neutral stance, and we offer our mediation and facilitation services.” That careful wording is unsurprising given that Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has met with Chinese president Xi Jinping twice in the past six months and agreed to enhance strategic cooperation with Beijing.

More important, Qatar’s stance highlights a wider trend: when given the opportunity to address the issue alongside their fellow UN members, every Arab government in the Gulf region and beyond has chosen to either ignore or voice support for China’s human rights violations against Muslim Uyghurs, two million of whom live in Xinjiang alone. How to explain the fact that so many Muslim-majority states are essentially giving China a pass on well-documented abuses against their co-religionists?


30 Years After Reunification, Germany Is Still Two Countries

By Anna Sauerbrey

BERLIN — Nov. 9 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There will be no lack of commemoration — but there will also be very little celebration. Today the country is once again divided along East-West lines, and growing more so. As it does, the historical narrative of what really happened in the years after 1989 is shifting as well.

Only a few years ago, when my country consecutively celebrated the 25th anniversary of the wall’s demise and of German reunification in 1990, the official mood was one of victory and hope.

President Joachim Gauck, a former East German pastor who had played a role in the Communist regime’s demise, then later oversaw the declassification of the archives of the Stasi secret police, praised the East German masses who, in their “desire for freedom,” stood up to “overwhelm” the “oppressor” — an uprising, he said, in the tradition of the French Revolution. A year later, he spoke optimistically about German reunification, stressing the dwindling differences between eastern and western Germans.

Analyzing Toxic “Fake News”: Are Key Concepts Promulgated by Master Propagandists of the Past Still in Practice Today?

William Darley
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We know that it is not at all necessary to have the sympathy of a majority of the people in order to rule them. The right organization can turn the trick.

—Roger Trinquier

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Because war is, as Clausewitz famously quipped, politics (policy) by other means, the dynamics of war-related political dispute conducted through public information channels today should be of keen interest to members of the military since such communications so heavily influence the operational environment in which they now must operate.1 As a result, it is exceedingly important that military members gain greater sophistication in their understanding of the dynamics governing public information affecting this environment by increasing their ability to critically analyze the more salient of assumptions about human nature that some have contended underlie effective information strategies.2

The importance of gaining a measure of sophistication of understanding on the use of propaganda is highlighted in a speech that was given recently before the Russian Academy of Science by Russian General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, who asserted that two of the most important features of modern warfare were first, that modern wars and the equivalent of wars will be fought without being declared (some of which should be regarded as already ongoing); and second, that such conflicts will be largely waged by means other than the use of kinetic destructive military weapons. He went on to specify that among the most important of those “other means” employed would be so-called information warfare (of which propaganda is a significant part).3

Gerasimov’s comments closely parallel official positions taken by Chinese government officials. In a 2013 report titled “Communique on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere” (frequently referred to as “Document 9”), Chinese communist strategists promulgated as principle that “Western constitutional democracy is an attempt to undermine the current leadership and the socialism with Chinese characteristics system of governance.” To defend against purported ongoing Western attacks against the Chinese government and system, it went on to assert, “We must reinforce our management of all types and levels of propaganda on the cultural front, perfect and carry out related administrative systems, and allow absolutely no opportunity or outlets for incorrect thinking or viewpoints to spread.”4

‘Dream the Impossible’: Life Lessons from Keshub Mahindra

Keshub Mahindra, the senior-most Wharton alumnus in India, is chairman emeritus of India’s Mahindra Group, a $20.7 billion conglomerate. His father and uncle founded the company in the mid-1940s. Mahindra joined the business soon after its inception, took over as chairman in 1963, and retired in 2012 after leading the group for five decades.

For Mahindra, who is widely respected for his philanthropy, values such as being honest, compassionate, respecting everyone, and giving back to society are very important. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Mahindra, 95, discusses what life has taught him and lessons he would like to share with younger generations.

This conversation is part of an ongoing series of interviews that Knowledge@Wharton is producing in collaboration with Wharton Magazine.

Excerpts from an edited transcript of the conversation appear below.

On Mentors

Trump’s Assault on the Global Trading System And Why Decoupling From China Will Change Everything

By Chad P. Bown And Douglas A. Irwin 

Donald Trump has been true to his word. After excoriating free trade while campaigning for the U.S. presidency, he has made economic nationalism a centerpiece of his agenda in office. His administration has pulled out of some trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and renegotiated others, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Many of Trump’s actions, such as the tariffs he has imposed on steel and aluminum, amount to overt protectionism and have hurt the U.S. economy. Others have had less obvious, but no less damaging, effects. By flouting international trade rules, the administration has diminished the country’s standing in the world and led other governments to consider using the same tools to limit trade arbitrarily. It has taken deliberate steps to weaken the World Trade Organization (WTO)—some of which will permanently damage the multilateral trading system. And in its boldest move, it is trying to use trade policy to decouple the U.S. and Chinese economies.

Britain is mired in democratic crisis – but it goes much deeper than Brexit

Aditya Chakrabortty
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Growing up, I learned that leaders who threaten democracy normally came decked out in khaki green, in front of troops toting shiny hardware. They commandeered broadcast studios, captured national buildings and imposed curfews on the streets. What is happening in Britain this week looks nothing like those grainy TV pictures, but it nonetheless marks an assault on our democracy.

The government wants to shut down parliamentary democracy, claiming it is acting for the good of parliamentary democracy. From within No 10 Dominic Cummings threatens to end the career of elected MPs. And David Gauke, the Conservative MP who just six weeks ago was secretary of state for justice, wrote to his former government colleagues on Monday to ask them to obey the rule of law

In his own pseudo-bumbling fashion, Johnson is taking a leaf out of the book of Trump, Modi, Bolsonaro

Just because the paradoxes are so glaring makes them no less dangerous. The self-proclaimed party of law and order has this summer dropped the first bit to become merely the party of order. In this battle of Brexit-blocking politicians versus the people, the tribune of us plebs is none other than Jacob Rees-Mogg. His leader is Boris Johnson, perhaps the most slovenly would-be authoritarian in contemporary history.

Bewitched by Brexit: Referendums and modern democracy

Chatham House 

Brexit is putting parliamentary democracy in question

Brexit may well become a textbook example of the damage that a referendum can wreak on parliamentary democracy. To understand what a referendum is, one need only look at Tarrenz, a mountain village in the Austrian state of Tyrol. Its inhabitants also call it Hexendorf (witch village), because visitors are easily bewitched by its breathtaking natural beauty. But, in 1938, villagers in Tarrenz were bewitched by something else: political sentiment. We know how treacherous this sentiment can be because, by accident, this village held two referendums on the same issue in quick succession – two referendums that, just like the one the United Kingdom held on membership of the European Union in June 2016, concerned the future of the country.

The first Tarrenz referendum, held on 13 March 1938, was organised by then Austrian chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg. Schuschnigg was intimidated by Hitler, who increasingly threatened to invade Austria. On 9 March, the chancellor tried to push against the tide by announcing a referendum on the preservation of Austrian independence. But, two days later, he cancelled it under pressure from Hitler, who promised to invade if the vote went ahead. Hitler side-lined Schuschnigg anyway, and replaced him with a loyal Austrian Nazi, Arthur Seyss-Inquart (who later came to control the occupied Netherlands on behalf of Hitler). Then, on 12 March, Hitler’s forces marched into Austria. But Tarrenz had not received the news that Schuschnigg’s referendum had been cancelled. There, the referendum went ahead as planned, with 100 percent of residents voting for Austrian independence – and, therefore, against Nazi domination.

A referendum revolves around the sentiments of the masses

The Geopolitical Implications of Future Oil Demand

Professor Paul Stevens
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The global energy economy is undergoing a rapid transition from ‘hydrocarbon molecules to electrons’: in other words, from fossil fuels to renewables and low-carbon electricity. Leading energy industry players and analysts – the energy-forecasting ‘establishment’ – are seriously underestimating the speed and depth of this transition. This in part reflects the vested interests that dominate that establishment. By contrast, the financial sector – which has little or no vested interest in fossil fuels –understands what is going on and is taking the transition on board.

The history of past energy transitions – including the US’s shift from wood to coal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the French adoption of nuclear power on a wide scale in the 1980s –provides useful context for analysis of this trend. Such transitions have been triggered by factors ranging from market upheaval to technological change, with the technological element typically reinforcing the transition.

No, I won’t start spying on my foreign-born students

By Lee C. Bollinger
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Lee C. Bollinger is president of Columbia University and co-editor, with Geoffrey R. Stone, of “The Free Speech Century.”

The FBI has stepped up its scrutiny of research practices at college and university campuses — including mine.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies determined to thwart the illegal transfer of intellectual property to foreign rivals are encouraging U.S. academics and administrators to develop more robust protocols for monitoring foreign-born students and visiting scholars — particularly if they are ethnically Chinese.

With students returning to campus, these policing attempts thrust economic and political concerns into fierce conflict with First Amendment freedoms.

Putin’s Nightmare: The Ballot Box

By Michael Khodarkovsky

On Sept. 8, Russians will vote in municipal and regional elections, and the authorities are afraid. Not of any foreign power’s interference in Russia’s elections — there have been no fair elections in decades — but of Russia’s own people and opposition candidates, who are far more popular than the official nominees.

Moscow’s old bag of electoral tricks survives — for example, moving elections from December to early September so that summer vacations would leave challengers little time to organize. The authorities have resorted to new tricks too, like clogging the electoral system with fake candidates and putting party loyalists on the ballot as independent candidates.

This year’s election will also see a new mobile digital voting system that allows people to vote online from any location. Critics say it is yet another trick to help the authorities.

Leaving nothing to chance, Moscow’s electoral commission found bogus reasons to disqualify all unapproved candidates from running in the elections. And to intimidate those would-be candidates, their homes were raided and many of them were detained, brought to Police Headquarters and interrogated in the middle of the night.

Great Power Competition and Relative Advantage: Lessons from Thucydides for U.S. Strategic Thinkers

Carsten Schmiedl
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What are the limits of a security strategy predicated on relative advantage, and what can be done to mitigate them? Great powers rely on strengths and actively seek to bolster them, particularly vis-à-vis potential adversaries—hence ‘relative advantage’—when considering how to secure themselves. This is seen in the most recent versions of the U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) and National Defense Strategy (NDS). But relative advantage alone does not guarantee strategic success: there are inherent limits to strategy that relative advantage cannot entirely eliminate. For today’s U.S. strategic thinkers, who are tasked with managing geopolitical competition and achieving national security aims, Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) offers invaluable insights into the nature of these limits, their implications for managing great power competition, and how to mitigate them.

Strategic Planning in an Era of Great Power Competition

From the perspective of the United States and its Western allies, today’s globalized world is increasingly complex and unpredictable.[1] The post-World War II rules-based international order is threatened[2] and rivals of the West are gaining ground,[3] with Russia seeking to undermine elements of the system[4] and China attempting to revise it.[5] The question is how to respond – and what a successful strategy looks like.

Small Changes, Big Gains: Low-Cost Techniques Dramatically Boost Learning In STEM Classes

Low-cost, active teaching techniques–particularly group work and worksheets–substantially improve learning in university science classes, according to a new study involving 3,700 University of British Columbia (UBC) biology students.

“Many university STEM classes continue to rely on conventional lectures, despite substantial research that suggests active teaching techniques like peer instruction and group discussion are more effective,” said UBC researcher Patricia Schulte, senior author of the study, published this week in PLOS ONE.

“But this confirms that group work significantly enhances how well students grasp and retain concepts. And strikingly, having students go through worksheets in groups–an easily implemented, low cost classroom technique–resulted in particularly strong improvements in scores.”

Increasing class time dedicated to group work just 10 per cent (five minutes in a 50-minute class) correlated with roughly a three per cent improvement in student performance. That equates to almost one letter grade, depending on the institution. Using in-class worksheets–a wide variety of structured handouts that contain a few questions or tasks related to a concept–resulted in even more significant increases in student scores.

The US is unprepared for space cyberwarfare

By: Lawrence Sellin  
Virtually every aspect of American national security, including the detection of threats, the use of weapons, the deployment of forces and their resupply, is now dependent on the integrity of critical space-based capabilities.

In defense parlance those systems are known as command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and integral and expeditionary logistics.

Both our major adversaries, China and Russia, have placed a high priority on developing superiority within the electromagnetic battlespace with already demonstrable capabilities in electronic and cyberwarfare.

Cyberattack on space-based systems can produce data loss, service disruptions, sensor interference or the permanent loss of satellite capabilities. An adversary could potentially seize control of a satellite through a cyberattack on its command and control system, subtly corrupt the data it provides or even redirect its orbit, essentially transforming it into a kinetic weapon against other space infrastructure.

What’s changing in the cyber domain? We ask industry experts

By: Andrew Eversden 

Fifth Domain posed this question to cybersecurity experts at Black Hat, a cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, that ran from Aug. 3-8. With the cyber domain rapidly evolving, we wanted to know how conversations within the cyber community are changing.

Some pointed to a new focus on utility systems and web-connected devices that sit on critical infrastructure.

“It’s only a matter of time until there’s another major disruption in an electric utility somewhere in the world, probably not in the U.S., but elsewhere,” Sergio Caltagirone, threat intelligence director at Dragos, said at the conference Aug. 5. “But oil and gas has the higher likelihood of a major destructive and loss-of-life event. And I think most people did not realize how close to that we actually were.”

Caltagirone was referring to the TRISIS event, malware that struck industrial control systems at a Saudi Arabian petrochemical plant and could’ve caused physical harm. He said that in the aftermath of that attack, threat researchers diving into the details realized just how bad it could’ve been.

Revealed: How a secret Dutch mole aided the U.S.-Israeli Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran

by Kim Zetter and Huib Modderkolk 
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The Dutch intelligence agency, known as AIVD, along with U.S. and British intelligence, infiltrated Khan’s supply network of European consultants and front companies who helped build the nuclear programs in Iran and Libya. That infiltration didn’t just involve old-school tradecraft but also employed offensive hacking operations being developed as part of the burgeoning field of digital espionage.

AIVD’s cyber capabilities are well known now — last year it was revealed that AIVD was responsible for tipping off the FBI to the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, knowledge it had acquired because its operatives had hacked into computers belonging to the Russian hacking group known as Cozy Bear in 2014 and were watching in 2015 when the Russians broke into computers at the U.S. State Department and the DNC.

But during the early days of Iran’s nuclear program, AIVD’s hacking team was small and still developing.

Nuclear physicist Adbul Qadeer Khan. (Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Life Images Collection via Getty Images)

A Cyber Command Operational Update: Clarifying the June 2019 Iran Operation

By Robert Chesney 

Those following the evolution of Cyber Command’s authorities, capabilities, and activities will want to read this article from Julian Barnes in the New York Times, published last week. It picks up the thread of reporting that made considerable waves two months ago, when the United States apparently considered a kinetic response to Iranian attacks on oil tankers and a U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone but ultimately settled on conducting one or more operations in the cyber domain instead. Critically, the reporting on the target(s) of those operations varied in important ways, as I summarized here at the time. The initial scoop (from Yahoo! News) indicated that the target was an Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) component involved in threats to shipping. Subsequent reporting from other sources expanded the story in an important way, asserting that there also was a Cyber Command operation to disrupt the systems supporting at least some of Iran’s missile-launch capabilities. 

The story from the Times this week picks up both the threads of those stories, clarifying the nature of one of those operations while denying the existence of the other. And, in the course of doing so, the article also provides a number of interesting insights about larger questions surrounding cyber operations.

Adversaries Are Eyeing Your IT Staff. Why Aren't You?

Scott Stewart

Information technology (IT) personnel often have access to communications, applications and data storage that contains a company's most valuable proprietary information and trade secrets. As a result, espionage actors often consider disgruntled and underpaid IT employees as prime targets for human intelligence recruitment. To mitigate this risk, companies should take measures to ensure their IT staffers are happy, well-respected and fairly compensated for their work. Because of their access to highly coveted data, they should also be subjected to the same security protocols as the rest of the staff.

Since the advent of encrypted electronic communications, those who operate these communication systems at intelligence, military and foreign affairs agencies have naturally been a prime target of espionage operations. These communicators, or who the U.S. State Department calls "information management specialists," often have access to some of the most sought-after information like encryption keys that could be catastrophic in the wrong hands. Despite this, however, they've historically been treated as second-class citizens next to their affluent, Ivy League-educated colleagues who are conducting the actual diplomacy or intelligence operations.

2018: The Return of Deterrence: Credibility and Capabilities in a New Era

by Prof. William G. Braun III, Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky, Dr. Kim Richard Nossal.
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What are the implications of re-emphasizing deterrence in defense policy? What is the appropriate balance of capabilities and political commitments to restore a credible defense posture while keeping the door open for constructive dialogue with Moscow and Beijing? In Western Europe, NATO’s defense capabilities must be able to both deter adversaries and reassure allies. Canada, along with the United States, Germany and the UK, has become lead nation for one of the four battlegroups in the Baltics and Poland. Yet even with NATO’s enhanced forward presence, it is not yet clear what deterrence will entail: is it a return to the Cold War or is deterrence in a more hybrid conflict environment fundamentally different? What is the respective importance of conventional forces, nuclear weapons and missile defense in upholding deterrence and reassurance?

Those questions—and others—were addressed by panelists and presenters at KCIS 2018. We reproduce eight papers from the conference in this volume. The chapters in this volume focus on both the general applicability of deterrence as a theoretical approach to contemporary global politics, and to particular policy issues confronting Western allies.

Is critical infrastructure now vulnerable? Former GCHQ chief on the new cyber threat

by Alex Dean 

GCHQ turns 100 this year. Photos: Shutterstock

Britain faces a new kind of threat. The digital world has given hostile international actors an entirely new toolkit. Cyberattacks are now one of the foremost security risks. The consequences range from disruption to compromised information and even physical harm. Targets have included banks, the NHS, power systems and notoriously, democratic elections.

The furore over the involvement of Chinese technology giant Huawei in Britain’s telecoms infrastructure brought the cybersecurity issue to national attention. Yet foreign state interference is only one aspect of a multifaceted threat. What precisely does that threat look like? And how can Britain best secure its networks?

Few people are better placed to answer than David Omand. He was head of GCHQ, the government’s central intelligence, security and cyber agency, as well as the UK’s first intelligence and security co-ordinator and permanent secretary at the Home Office. He spent seven years on the Joint Intelligence Committee and is now a visiting professor in war studies at King’s College London. We met at the Prospect offices in June and started by discussing the most serious threat: rogue governments.

Why 5G requires new approaches to cybersecurity

Tom Wheeler and David Simpson

Tom Wheeler recently appeared on the Lawfare Podcast to discuss the cybersecurity of 5G networks with Brookings Fellow Margaret Taylor. You can listen to the podcast episode here.

“The race to 5G is on and America must win,” President Donald Trump said in April. For political purposes, that “race” has been defined as which nation gets 5G built first. It is the wrong measurement.

Former Chief of Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau - FCC

We must “fire first effectively” in our deployment of 5G. Borrowing on a philosophy Admiral Arleigh Burke coined in World War II: Speed is important, but speed without a good targeting solution can be disastrous.[1]

5G will be a physical overhaul of our essential networks that will have decades-long impact. Because 5G is the conversion to a mostly all-software network, future upgrades will be software updates much like the current upgrades to your smartphone. Because of the cyber vulnerabilities of software, the tougher part of the real 5G “race” is to retool how we secure the most important network of the 21st century and the ecosystem of devices and applications that sprout from that network.