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 ...

Cybersecurity firm Finite State issued a recent report concluding that telecommunications equipment made by Chinese firm Huawei present a higher percentage of security vulnerabilities than equipment produced by other firms. A story in The Wall Street Journal citied numerous sources inside the Administration who pointed to the report as further ...

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 ...

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif confirmed Monday that Tehran has violated the limits imposed on uranium enrichment that were a key part of the 2015 nuclear deal.  The U.S. withdrew its support for the deal last year.  The Trump Administration on Monday responded to the confirmation of increased uranium enrichment, ...

Earlier this week, The Cipher Brief brought you expert insights into How Iran Targets U.S. Businesses, after a warning last weekend by DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Director Christopher Krebs.    “Iranian regime actors and proxies are increasingly using destructive ‘wiper’ attacks, looking to so much more than just steal ...

There are a few more details coming out about last week’s cyber targeting of an Iranian-backed group by the U.S. military. Sources told CNN that the goal was to “disable and degrade” an Iranian-backed group that operates forces in Iraq and Syria by disabling their communications systems. The latest details ...

U.S. businesses are being warned to harden their defenses in anticipation of potential cyberattacks as tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to escalate.  President Donald Trump posted to Twitter on Tuesday that “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.  In some ...

Investigative journalist Joseph Menn, author of the recently released Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World has a history of writing books to explain the often-complicated intersection of history, technology and moral decision-making. His latest book traces the origins of a once ...

Defending New Yorkers against criminals and terrorists has been a priority for city leaders and law enforcement for quite some time, but in the last couple of years, officials have taken more aggressive steps to protect the city from the threat actors that often go unseen but can wreak havoc ...

Japan’s cybersecurity will be put to the test over the next 18 months. The world’s attention will be fixed on the island country as it hosts two major events: the Rugby World Cup in September and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The tournaments will likely be an attractive target for ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Cult of the Dead Cow – How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World  By Joseph Menn  Reviewed by Christopher Messina Joseph Menn has good timing. The topic of cybersecurity has attained a degree of cultural currency that is still waxing. His book is part historical ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former Director of the NSA, General Keith Alexander  (Ret.) and Jamil N. Jaffer, founder of the National Security Institute at George Mason University, weigh in on possible Iranian responses to recent U.S. actions in a column first published in The Hill. General Keith Alexander (Ret.), Former ...

The White House issued a recent Executive Order on America’s Cybersecurity Workforce in an effort to put a renewed focus on the federal government’s deficit of some 300,000 cybersecurity practitioners. The EO directs federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the White House Office of ...

The advent of 4G technology in 2006 and subsequent Smartphones completely changed the world of communication. Now 5G, which will be able to support billions of newly connected sensors and new classes of devices, stands to make an exponentially larger global impact. With 5G’s expanded accessibility to internet services across ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations Edited by Herbert Lin and Amy Zegart, Brookings Institution Press Reviewed by George M. Moore, scientist-in-residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.  This collection published by the ...

Christopher Painter has been on the vanguard of U.S. and international cyber issues for over twenty-five years and serves as a current Commissioner on the Global Commission for the Stability of Cyberspace.  He is also a Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Painter ...

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 U.S. and China are rapidly sliding into a full-court confrontation in and over cyberspace. This portends serious risks and disadvantages for both sides in light of their economic and technological interdependence. It is bound to have even greater reverberations internationally, given that both countries serve as the world’s leading ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Nils Puhlmann, a co-founder of the Cloud Security Alliance, about the security challenges he sees ahead as demand for Cloud services increases. The Early Days of the Cloud When the Cloud came about, it was really convenient and easy.  You had your browser, you logged ...

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, ...

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 ...

The debate on cyber conflict has gotten so locked into deterrence, escalation, coercion, and signaling we pundits often forget that conflict is sometimes straightforward and you just have to stop adversaries from punching you. This ought to be the main lesson from Ellen Nakashima’s article that U.S. Cyber Command disrupted ...

U.S. officials recently detailed an offensive cyber operation undertaken by U.S. Cyber Command to The Washington Post, revealing how the military blocked Internet access to St. Petersburg’s Internet Research Agency on the day of the U.S. midterm elections last year. “The operation marked the first muscle-flexing by U.S. Cyber Command, ...

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 ...

A hundred years from now historians will write that one of America’s greatest contributions to the world was the Internet. Though other countries and foreign citizens contributed to the effort, U.S. government funding and American academics and technologists created the Internet. As U.S. dependence on the Internet for our economic ...

Cyber has quickly become the global threat that knows no borders, nor does it distinguish between the public and private sectors.  Executives from the world’s largest tech companies gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month to talk about the problem and try to find solutions that could ...

Like many cyber experts in Washington, Jamil Jaffer wears multiple hats. He’s worked both inside and outside of government and is currently the Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships at IronNet Cybersecurity, Founder of the National Security Institute at George Mason University and a Visiting Fellow with Stanford’s Hoover Institution. ...

Catherine Lotrionte has been the power broker behind Washington D.C.’s International Conference on Cyber Engagement for seven years now and she’s getting ready to host it again this April with The Atlantic Council.  Formerly serving as Counsel to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and former Assistant General Counsel at ...

2018 was a rough year for customers and companies impacted by cyber breaches.  Businesses from Under Armour to Facebook to Marriott were targeted by hackers, leaving the data of hundreds of millions of customers exposed this year.  According to Cipher Brief experts, 2019 isn’t likely to be much better and ...

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 ...

BOOK REVIEW: Dawn of The Code War: Americas Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat By: John P. Carlin with Garrett M. Graff, Public Affairs, New York, 2018 Reviewed by Peter M. Tran In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, 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 ...

In a recent interview, The Cipher Brief sat down with former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden to talk about global threats, and in particular, cyber threats and efforts to address them, specifically within the private sector.  Hayden has famously said before that when it comes to cyber, ‘the cavalry ...

Election security, the migration of people toward the U.S.’ southern border and the public-private critical intersection of cyber security are just a few of the pressing issues facing the Department of Homeland Security.   DHS Secretary Kirsten Nielsen expressed confidence going into the mid-term election, calling it “the most secure election ...

Cipher Brief Editorial Note: On the heels of Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, President Donald Trump has proclaimed November as National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. It’s a mouthful, but the declaration highlights the important need to focus on securing critical infrastructure.  Secretary of State Kirstjen Nielsen released a ...

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.  ...

‘The Homeland’ is bringing you a series of candid, intimate interviews with former Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security throughout the month of October.  DHS was born out of 9/11, when 23 different agencies were pulled into one department in an effort to provide greater organization and communication in ...

The recent release of the Department of Defense (DoD) cyber strategy essentially announced the department’s ambitions to resume the role of the 800-pound gorilla in cyber. The offensively focused plan is a sharp redirect from the strategies of late and unreturned crush on Silicon Valley, both of which made it ...

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 ...

Facebook announced on Friday that as many as 50 million of the platform’s social media accounts had been hacked giving attackers access to user’s personal information.  As some call for greater oversight and regulation, the company is already facing potentially stiff fines in Europe.    Cipher Brief Expert and former ...

Rob Joyce is the Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity Strategy at the National Security Agency.  He was also a key speaker at DEF CON 26, the premiere hacker's convention held every year in Las Vegas.  Following in the footsteps of previous NSA leaders, Joyce's mission at DEF CON this year was ...

The Cipher Brief is bringing subscribers different expert perspectives on cyber threats this week.  Today's perspective comes from Rick Ledgett, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency.  We spoke with Rick about the same issues that we spoke with former NCTC Director Nick Rasmussen about to get his 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 ...

The Cipher Brief is taking a look at different expert perspectives on cyber threats this week.  As one of those perspectives, we spoke with Nick Rasmussen, the former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) about the current cyber threat environment ranging from terrorism to nation state threats, to deterring attacks ...

CEOs, CISOs’ CTO’s and other c-suites are meeting at SINET’s Global Cybersecurity Innovation Summit in London this week. Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly, who is moderating a session on the global cyber influence of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, also had the private sector in mind when ...

A recent article titled, The Untold Story of NotPetya, The Most Devastating Cyberattack in History came out a few weeks ago and I’ve been ruminating on it ever since.  It bothered me because while the NotPetya ransomware attack is old news if you are in the cybersecurity business, there is a lot of ...

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, ...

As part of The Cipher Brief’s 'Academic Innovator' initiative to bring rising, innovative voices into the national security dialogue, we are reaching out to universities and inviting students to contribute their thoughts on pressing national and global security issues. Below is a different twist on a current proposal put forth ...