The Cyber Initiatives Group is a group of public - private and academic thought leaders who share their unique expertise with the greater cyber community through a series of CIG webcasts and in-person events throughout the year. This is a preview webcast exclusively for The Cipher Brief, where readers were briefed ...

NSA Director General Paul Nakasone announced last week that he is creating a new cybersecurity directorate that will focus on – among other things – aligning the agency’s resources on both offense and defensive cyber operations. “What I’m trying to get to in a space like cybersecurity is speed, agility ...

Few today would argue that the threat surface in cyberspace has expanded significantly in the past decade.  Just ask your fridge.  From the new risks we’ve brought into our own kitchens, to the increased capabilities of nation states to disrupt everything from electricity to elections, there is an even greater ...

Cipher Brief Expert Thomas Donahue retired from CIA after 32 years of service. He served as the Chief Editor of the President’s Daily Brief and other CIA daily production during the second term of the Clinton administration, and spent the last 18 years of his career focused on cyber threats ...

The Cipher Brief is engaging with dozens of Cipher Brief experts, government speakers and private industry executives this week on the national security challenges that are impacting the public and private sectors.  We will have special coverage of the 2019 Threat Conference and will be re-posting some of our most ...

Predicting the future of Cloud computing is a bit like predicting the weather:  there are certain knowns that you can set a clock by, but there are unknowns about the environment, and how conditions can collide as the volume of information placed in the Cloud increases. A Gartner survey conducted ...

When DHS was established shortly after 9/11, terrorism was the focus. But in the 16 years since the Agency’s creation, the threat landscape has changed dramatically and cyber now plays a leading role in overall threats. Four months ago, President Trump signed the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, ...

Bottom Line: The dark web has long been a place where stolen personal data is bought and sold in staggering numbers, criminals run lucrative drug and pornographic businesses and terrorists have found relatively safe territory from which to organize and communicate.  But the future of the dark web may look ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former Senior Director for Cyber Operations at the National Security Council, Thomas Donahue, provides critical perspective on the strategy needed to protect the sovereignty of the U.S. telecommunications backbone. The U.S. Government - by blocking the sale of U.S. high technology firms to foreign companies for ...

Last week, The Cipher Brief told you how and why the U.S. has been working to convince its allies to ban Chinese vendors from contributing to the development of 5G networks as well as offering some basics about what 5G actually is, and what we should be most focused on as ...

Fresh off the heels of the Munich security conference, a rift remains between the U.S. and its allies over their approach to 5G networks and managing the potential national security risks of allowing Chinese vendors to participate in the development of the technology.   The U.S. has been working to ...

Bottom Line Up Front:  The Trump Administration is confronting China on issues that have been developing for years and have percolated to the top of a list of concerns that are affecting bilateral relations.  The current 10% tariff on $250 billion of goods could escalate to 25% or higher if ...

At a recent private D.C. dinner, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gathered with academics and cyber experts from the private sector to talk candidly about urgent cyber threats and actions that DHS is taking to address them. It was an intimate event, hosted by Atlantic Council President Fred Kempe and ...

This brief is part of The Cipher Brief’s 2018 Annual Threat Report.   Bottom Line: There are three prominent technological security concerns for the United States with a growing Chinese strategic competitor to the east: Beijing’s push toward cyber and electronic warfare, its development of counter-space capabilities that threaten U.S. space ...

China's state news agency Xinhua, has shown the world just how far China has come in the artificial intelligence race with the introduction of a digital news anchor. The digital anchor not only read the news at China's World Internet Conference last week, but it also demonstrated the capabilities of ...

Twitter is releasing a trove of known accounts and posts that it says were used to meddle in U.S. elections dating back to 2016.  According to the company, the data includes more than 4,600 accounts and more than 10 million tweets, photos, GIFs and broadcasts linked to Russia and Iran.  ...

While much of the focus on North Korea has been on efforts by the U.S. to negotiate a denuclearization deal, the cyber threat posed by Pyongyang remains a real threat, just out of view of the headlines. Bottom Line: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) foreign doctrine in cyberspace is ...

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month in the U.S., an initiative started 15 years ago as a collaborative effort between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance in hopes of raising awareness about the growing cyber threat. As part of The Cipher Brief’s cyber coverage this ...

In our first installment of expert reaction to the new National Cyber Strategy announced last Thursday, The Cipher Brief tapped a number of our experts, including former senior leaders from DHS, NSA, DoD, and the NSA's UK counterpart, GCHQ as well as private sector partners, to get their take on ...

The U.S. Administration released its new National Cyber Strategy on Thursday, covering a broad number of security-related issues that fall into four main categories, it refers to as ‘pillars’. The first pillar includes securing federal networks and information, securing critical infrastructure, fighting cybercrime and seeking improved incident reporting.  The second ...

On Wednesday, the Department of Defense (DoD) quietly released an unclassified summary and fact sheet on its 2018 Cyber Strategy, which replaces the 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy. Here are ten things you need to know about the new strategy: The cyber strategy is deeply influenced by the National Defense Strategy, ...

The world’s malicious cyber actors -- Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – have spoiled cyber’s original, idealistic vision and instead use cyberspace to advance competitive interests to undermine Western laws and norms and pursue a clandestine means (cyber theft) to catch up with the West in technology, political influence, ...

Up Front:  The U.S. government is taking on a more aggressive role in its mission to protect software supply chains from being infiltrated, as the government’s public-private cyber lead agency announces new initiatives to share information and improve response to cyber threats. The Department of Homeland Security announced the launch ...

Bottom Line: In the past decade, Iran’s cyber capabilities have evolved from a tool used to lash out against domestic opponents of the Islamic Republic to a central pillar of its national strategy of holding adversaries at risk and gleaning crucial foreign intelligence. Despite a fall in disruptive Iranian cyberattacks ...

Few would argue that in a world of consistent, emerging cyber threats, the role of the Chief Information Security Officer is one that requires a special kind of calm as well as a steady stream of credible, timely information.  Some of the information that is used to build a strong ...

As details are released about the upcoming summit between the U.S. and Russia, Intelligence Officers are expected to ramp up collection efforts in order to prep the field ahead of talks. “Whenever you’ve got a summit coming up, your intelligence community, and your opponent’s kicks into high gear,” says Cipher ...

In part two of The Cipher Brief’s two-part series on how Russia is building its virtual battlefield, we look at the U.S response to the tools and tactics that the Kremlin is employing and ask whether it’s enough.  Response: The U.S. has responded to Russian activity in cyberspace through diplomatic ...

As the world focuses on the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the President’s Treasury Secretary announced sanctions against five Russian entities and three individuals for their ties to Russian cyber activities, prompting some to question the Administration’s mixed signals on Russia over ...

Bottom Line:  The risk posed to U.S. national security by what are believed to be Russian-backed hacking groups, is similar to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis according to Cipher Brief Experts, but different, in that the U.S. has no clear and obvious deterrent this time around. Recent Developments:  The ...

This article has been updated to include comments from Cipher Brief experts. On Monday, the U.S. and UK jointly blamed Moscow for cyber intrusions into the backbone of the internet – the routers and switches that are the gateway for internet access in major corporations and your home office. “Since ...

The United States is in the midst of the most resounding policy shift on cyber conflict, one with profound implications for national security and the future of the internet. The just-released U.S. Cyber Command “vision” accurately diagnoses the current state of cyber conflict and outlines an appropriate new operational model ...

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has released the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and ...

The shooting incident at the entrance to the National Security Agency had nothing to do with targeting the intelligence center, and there were no fatalities, a former U.S. official briefed on the incident tells The Cipher Brief. Up to three suspects in an SUV were being chased by police, and ...

After reports that highly classified intelligence material was taken from a NSA contractor’s private computer through the individual’s use of Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus software, all eyes turned to the Moscow-based company’s relationship with Russian intelligence and the Kremlin. As private companies using the antivirus software scramble to assess their exposure, ...

Just as criminals conduct business in the dark allies of cities, they also trade in illicit products such as drugs, guns, and counterfeit documents through online bazaars hidden behind anonymizing technology in a place known as the darknet. Last month, law enforcement agencies led by U.S. and Dutch authorities took ...

On July 20, 2017, U.S. and European law enforcement authorities announced they had jointly taken down two major darknet marketplace sites: AlphaBay and Hansa. These sites, which aspire to operate in the shadows beyond the reach of national and international police forces and organizations, present a significant risk to national ...

No consensus report resulted from the yearlong negotiations of the 5th United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on the Developments in the Field of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). As the meeting drew to a close in June, the 25 government officials ended their work with a disappointing acknowledgement ...

Unsurprisingly, the fifth UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) ran into difficulties that proved fatal. Previous GGEs operated in a more favorable international climate. The substance of the GGE’s work peaked with its 2013 Report and by the end of the 2015 session, it was clear that the GGE format ...

On Friday, Ben Wallace, the Minister of State for Security for the United Kingdom, said in a BBC radio interview the UK government believes a North Korean hacking group was responsible for the “WannaCry” malware attack, which shut down Britain’s National Health Service data system in May. “I obviously can’t ...

In December 2014, while many were still preoccupied with the aftermath of the North Korean cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, South Korea was in a crisis of its own. An entity identifying itself as an “Anti-Nuclear Power Group” demanded that the country shut down three of its civilian nuclear reactors by ...

As more and more business is conducted online and cyber criminals target in on a very lucrative market, both the public and private sector face increasing cybersecurity risks.  The Cipher Brief sat down with Scott Keoseyan, the leader for Deloitte’s Cyber Threat Analysis and Research Teams, and Keith Brogan, a ...

Whether it’s your phone, your computer, TV, or even a refrigerator, all those connected devices that we depend on in our daily lives have become targets for an ever-growing cadre of cyber criminals.  The Cipher Brief spoke with two Flashpoint officials, Chief Scientist Lance James and Subject Matter Expert Vitali ...

Cyber threats pose a challenge to banks and firms operating in the financial sector, primarily due to the fact that “vulnerability really exists everywhere,” both on the technological side and the business side, says Michael Orozco, Managing Director in Accenture Strategy Security. To help improve security in the financial sector, ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Steven Grossman, VP of Strategy and Enablement at Bay Dynamics, to discuss the current cyber threat landscape facing the financial sector. According to Grossman, insider threats pose the greatest risk to the global banking industry and that “being able to track, manage, and understand ...

The controversial new movie “Snowden,” which is provocative director Oliver Stone’s take on NSA leaker Edward Snowden, was released in the United States on Friday.   The release of the film, along with his recent departure from Booz Allen Hamilton,  prompted Snowden’s former boss to speak out for the first time ...

The Cipher Brief’s Luke Penn-Hall sat down with Steve Grobman, Intel Fellow and Chief Technology Officer for Intel Security, at the annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference, which took place in early August. Steve discussed how he views the threat from ransomware evolving. The Cipher Brief: How do you see ransomware ...

The Cipher Brief’s Luke Penn-Hall spoke to Tom Parker, Chief Technology Officer for FusionX, at the annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference that took place in early August. Parker shared his view of the threat landscape to Supervisory Control and Data Acqusition (SCADA) systems and other critical industrial infrastructure. The Cipher ...

Hillary Clinton may have dodged an indictment when the FBI announced it would not recommend criminal charges against her for using a private email server while Secretary of State, but the State Department itself took a hit on account of its overall security culture. During the FBI announcement last week ...

It has been a little over a year since the Office of Personnel Management announced that it had been breached. Since that time, the federal government has taken an array of steps to improve its cybersecurity posture and avoid another major breach. The Cipher Brief spoke to John Davis, Vice ...

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was the victim of a cyber-attack in 2014.  Hackers (the Chinese are suspected) gained access to OPM’s local-area network on or about May 7, 2014 by stealing credentials and then planting malware and creating a backdoor for exfiltration.  Actual exfiltration of data on background ...