You would think that radioactive isotopes, even those used for commercial purposes, would be tightly monitored and controlled. You would also be wrong. Radiological materials were reported as missing not once, but twice at the beginning of 2016. In February, it became publicly known that a case containing 10 grams ...

In February, a radiological source went missing in Iraq. There was concern that ISIS might have gained control of the radioactive material and planned to create a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD, commonly referred to as a “dirty bomb”) by using explosives to scatter the material over some target area. Fortunately, the ...

It’s no secret that violent extremist groups around the world are seeking to buy, steal, or build destructive weapons to use in a relentless campaign of terror.  One potential weapon is a radiological dirty bomb, which is also known as a “weapon of mass disruption.” Unlike an improvised nuclear device ...

Like a slow-motion tsunami, the Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to wash over an ever-greater portion of our lives, and now, our bodies. The use of smart, networked medical devices has been on the rise for years. These include both external devices, like ventilators, and internal devices, like pacemakers. ...

The Internet of Things is continuing to grow and expand, with some aspects of smart technology even entering the human body through pacemakers and other smart medical implants. However, as medical devices become smarter, they are also becoming more vulnerable to hackers and other malicious actors. The Cipher Brief asked ...

Connected medical devices account for some of the most insecure points within a hospital’s infrastructure. They present an issue not only for the continuity and integrity of direct patient care, but they also present numerous ways into a hospital network, as well as exfiltration points for medical records data being ...

The cybersecurity startup market has been hot. On fire is probably more accurate. The graph above shows how investment has been ramping up over the last seven years. Spending on cybersecurity in 2015 exceeded $75 billion according to Gartner. The market is over $100 billion (according to Market and Markets) ...

On Thursday, May 19, EgyptAir flight 804 crashed over the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 66 people aboard.  Although terrorism is on the list of possible culprits, the cause of the crash is still under investigation. But the flight joins a list of similar tragedies that have struck since 2014. These ...

Today, commercial aviation is growing at a rapid rate.  Unfortunately, commercial aviation is also the primary target of several terrorist groups and other malicious actors around the world.  Since the late 20th century, commercial aviation has been attacked from a variety of threat vectors—the methods used to hit a target ...

Commercial aviation is an industry in which safety and security are paramount. However, as with other critical infrastructure, consumer demand has brought the systems that run the aviation industry into greater contact with the Internet – and created more opportunities for cyber attack. The Cipher Brief asked Chad Gray of ...

Although often hamstrung by bureaucratic inefficiency, the U.S. government has achieved considerable success in the field of scientific research. In fact, many indispensible products have been created in government labs, such as GPS navigation and the Internet. The government also produces people who are able to become entrepreneurs or add ...

In 2009 I left a job at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and started Siege Technologies. My goal was to fill the vacuum of small, innovative companies building advanced, disruptive technical solutions in offensive and defensive cyber warfare left by recent large corporate acquisitions. The last day at ...

The tech sector is known for its rapid innovation, but that quality is often believed to be absent from the federal government. However, that may not really be the case, as federal research programs often result in innovative products for commercial consumers. The Cipher Brief spoke to Linda Burger, director ...

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Wednesday announced shakeups to the Pentagon’s tech-sector outreach, with a new outpost in Boston and major changes for the original Silicon Valley office. The Department of Defense’s Silicon Valley hub, known as the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental (DIUx), will be joined by a sister office ...

What do you use your phone for in a given day? Texting, checking the news, social media, banking, getting directions, playing games – most people will use their phones for all of this and more. At this point, they are an essential aspect of modern life. Due to all this ...

Bring-your-own-device culture is very convenient, but with a growing amount of malware targeting mobile devices, it is also creating new vulnerabilities. The Cipher Brief spoke to Daniel Ford, a forensic analyst at Rook Security, about the growing threat of mobile phone malware as it relates to businesses. His recommendation: limit ...

As malware continues to grow and change, the number and types of at-risk devices will do the same. Currently, malware oriented towards mobile devices is on the rise, with hackers focusing on smartphones and tablets. Ryan Olson, the director of threat intelligence at Palo Alto Networks, says that the targeted ...

Everyone knows that they need to protect their computers from hackers, but have you ever considered what would happen if someone hacked your car? Automakers are incorporating ever more networked computer systems into their products, and this is beginning to create a new set of vulnerabilities with potentially far reaching ...

It is hard to miss the frightening headlines about car hacking scenarios.  But in reality, there’s more to automotive cyber security. Hackers may be individuals seeking financial gain, or groups that have an issue with a particular brand, and even state actors who see vehicles as gateways to massive personally ...

Cars, like many other everyday objects, are now more connected to wireless networks than ever before – and this has caused a corresponding rise in the potential for them to be targeted by hackers. The Cipher Brief spoke to Yoni Heilbronn of Argus Cybersecurity, a firm that specializes in cybersecurity ...

Over the last week, startup CEOs and defense industry experts have been ramping up efforts to push for a more agile, fast-paced way of dealing with the Department of Defense on developing and acquiring new technology and equipment. With the United States’ technological superiority eroding and today’s threat environment presenting ...

When it comes to Silicon Valley buzzwords, “the cloud” is one of the most ubiquitous and one of the most misunderstood. The cloud is essentially a network of computers that share resources amongst themselves in order to work more efficiently. When a business uploads information to the cloud, it is ...

Access to cloud-based infrastructure has revolutionized how businesses store and work with their data, but the convenience of cloud-based systems is not without risk. The Cipher Brief spoke to Eric Chiu of HyTrust, a cloud cybersecurity company that recently released a report detailing trends in and attitudes towards cloud-based data ...

Way back in the 18th century, Ben Franklin said, “Distrust and caution are the parents of security.” That insight is entirely appropriate in the 21st century as companies deliberately and thoughtfully seek to take advantage of the tremendous economic benefits of cloud computing. Migration to the cloud is exploding, and ...

The Internet-of-Things has for years promised to usher in a new wave of innovation. It has sometimes been called the Internet-of-Everything or Internet 3.0—grand language illustrating its potential. That potential would also seem to offer new opportunities for law enforcement and intelligence services. But the promise has thus far not ...

On Friday, Dyn, a company that routes and manages internet traffic, suffered multiple Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks throughout the day.  Major sites such as Twitter, Netflix, airbnb and the New York Times were unavailable throughout the day due to these attacks.  The general counsel for Dyn, Dave Allen, ...

Some stunning things have happened in the past year.  Cars were remotely hacked and run off the road.  Thieves digitally stole cars in volume, at night, and loaded them onto container ships before owners woke in the morning—with the high-end cars stolen through security mistakes in keyless entry and keyless ...

Dark Hotel, Crouching Yeti, Machete, Sofacy, Sandworm – what do these words have in common? They are all names given to hacker groups that have been designated by cybersecurity firms as advanced persistent threats (APTs). These groups have been appearing more often, and their ability to breach networks and cause ...

When hackers recently breached the computer systems of the Bangladesh Central Bank and tried to steal nearly $1 billion from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, cyber security professionals gave it a now all too familiar label  – that of an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). Most ...

The Sony Pictures Entertainment hack served as a very public wake-up call to the dangers posed by malicious hackers. In the course of the attacks, information was both stolen and destroyed by the attackers – and new information is still coming to light about who those attackers were. The Cipher ...

There’s still much to be learned about the unauthorized release of the so-called Panama Papers, the documents exposing the financial interests of prominent world figures in offshore tax havens. What we know so far is that the release represents the single largest leak of data in history, totaling 2.6 terabytes ...

In the nineteenth century, American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan helped define a new understanding of maritime security and the role of the U.S. Navy in ensuring American global influence. Mahan believed that a strong Navy and robust maritime trade were both integral to national and economic security. He also recognized ...

On March 11, President Barack Obama said that smartphones can’t be allowed to be "black boxes," inaccessible to the government.  It is apparent that the government does not understand the evolution of encryption. The computing and telecom revolution has been marked by a shift from centrally controlled communication and computing ...

With advanced robotics, autonomous machines and nimbler space systems on the agenda for the U.S. military, the Department of Defense has turned its attention to Silicon Valley to find the innovation and technology that will define the future of warfare. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work this week offered a ...

The Justice Department has dropped its legal effort to force Apple to unlock the iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terrorist attack after the government found another way to crack the phone — without the tech giant’s help. With no legal precedent set in the ...

Quantum cybersecurity covers the application of quantum technology to enhance cybersecurity. It includes quantum random number generation, which strengthens security through the delivery of stronger keys and other cryptographic objects, and quantum key distribution, which allows for the secure sharing of keys safe from the most sophisticated attacks, including from ...

When you think of cybersecurity, you probably think about firewalls and passwords – but the ever-changing cyber threat has forced the technology to move far beyond that. The expanding frontiers of cybersecurity are being driven by a need for new, scalable solutions to security problems. Unfortunately, the rate of cyber-attacks ...

After years of public attention around Bitcoin, its underlying technology—the blockchain—is taking over the discussion with its potential to address fundamental challenges across a number of industries. Proponents discuss blockchain’s potential to revolutionize currency, contracts, ownership verification, and supply chain provenance. But for all the talk about Bitcoin and other ...

In the wake of a series of high-profile mass shootings, President Barack Obama initiated an executive action directing the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security to increase their research on gun safety technology. The goal of this initiative is to improve public safety ...

Gun technology itself hasn’t changed for the last 100 years, but now we are starting to see a new period of innovation through the integration of more smart technologies into firearms. The major advantage of smart guns is that their use is limited only to the authorized user. Smart technology ...

The trend of making conventional objects “smart” is continuing unabated, and now even firearms are beginning to have computers integrated into them. The Cipher Brief spoke to Wayne Weber, President of Heckler & Koch USA, about the rise of smart guns. He says that systems which only allow authenticated users ...

The current conflict between Apple and the FBI over developing a means to circumvent security features on the iPhone has reignited the tense debate about the tradeoff between security and privacy in the U.S. The Cipher Brief spoke to Robert Eatinger, former Senior Deputy General Counsel at the CIA, about ...

The current dispute between Apple and the FBI amplifies the ongoing debate between U.S. tech firms and law enforcement agencies about encryption.  At issue in this case is how to access an iPhone that belonged to one of the people responsible for the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015. The ...

Apple should not be coerced into hacking into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, and we must get to a point as a society where law enforcement does not even make such a request. Mobile devices are not mere repositories for addresses, appointments, and email. As many people use them now, ...

In February, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital very publicly paid $17,000 to regain access to its files after being infected with a type of malware called ransomware. As the name suggests, ransomware encrypts all files on a computer until the victim pays a ransom to the attacker. This hack, though limited in ...

Healthcare providers represent an attractive target for hackers due to the wealth of information they store about their patients. The Cipher Brief Spoke to Greg Porter, founder of information security consulting firm Allegheny Digital, about the nature of the cyber-threat for the healthcare industry. He says that healthcare providers should ...

On February 5th, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center lost access to its computers after being infected with ransomware – a type of malware that hold files hostage until a ransom is paid. Eventually, the hospital paid $17,000 to regain control of its systems, and started a national dialogue about cybersecurity in ...

Technologies meant to counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more numerous as people become more concerned about bad actors using UAVs for illicit purposes. The Cipher Brief asked Dr. Robert Griffin, Deputy Undersecretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security, about the risks and benefits of ...

Growing interest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV or drone) has caused a surge in the creation of technologies and systems meant to disable or destroy them. The Cipher Brief spoke to Tyler Black and Sean McGowan of Thompson Coburn LLP about the legal and regulatory implications of these emerging anti-UAV ...

Commercially available unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones, appear to be changing the game in regards to aviation. The market for drones has been expanding rapidly, the applications of drones are growing more diverse, and the cost of the machines themselves is dropping. There are plans to try ...