In a New World of Cyber Warfare, a Good Defense Is the Best Offense
By: Chris Swan
The nature of warfare continues to shift from the physical to the cyber world, with an increasing number of state-sponsored assaults so severe that in 2018, the UK and US made an unprecedented joint statement blaming Russia for cyber-attacks.
This announcement marked the first time two nations with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI warning businesses and citizens that Russia is exploiting network infrastructure devices (including servers and routers) which authorities warned could be blueprints for future attacks on critical infrastructure such including power stations and energy grids.
Since that announcement came out, dozens of reports have surfaced showing that while Russia is arguably the most accomplished nation when it comes to digital disinformation, espionage and attacks on physical infrastructure, China, North Korea, and Iran are also known to have developed the new “bombs” of the 21st century: dedicated cyber arsenals that are of increasing threat to the US and its allies.
When it comes to the frightening pivot to attacking critical infrastructure, the Stuxnet worm ambushed the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems at a nuclear power plant in Iran. This was ten years ago, and what some believe was the birth of weaponized malware which has grown to an alarming maturity.
Another infamous cyber-assault targeted health and financial institutions; the WannaCry cryptoworm tore through the UK’s NHS when hundreds of machines were taken offline and operations canceled.
Action is being taken even as hackers continue to invest in improving their techniques. State-sponsored cyber-assaults will continue, and governments are stepping up their game as world super-powers continue to build their digital war chests.
As we announced last week, Dispersive was invited to demonstrate our cybersecurity solutions at the US Special Operations Force Innovation Battle Lab, a two-week-long event where we shared our military-grade, ultra-secure networking along with other companies providing tactical experimentation of their intelligence and technology to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the intelligence community.
Demonstrating our Dispersive™ Virtual Network (DVN) multi-path solution, we were proud to serve as a TIER 1 resource for the entire event.
The event has been running for 15 years. It establishes a collaborative work environment for SOF, Department of Defense (DoD), Intelligence Community (IC), & Federal Law Enforcement (FLE) organizations to push systems and concepts to failure in a controlled environment. The contributors receive instant feedback on functionality and are allowed to incorporate technology from other attendees to build a more-beneficial solution.
Inspired by battlefield-proven wireless techniques, DVN is a multi-path software-defined networking overlay solution. It sends packets via multiple streams to deliver new levels of security, reliability, and performance. By splitting and encrypting the individual streams, the network becomes immune to man-in-the-middle attacks as interceptors can’t see what is being shared. During the JIBL, the solution was tested on various strategic scenarios. It successfully supported and facilitated communications across diverse and disparate networks and enhanced mission capabilities on multiple platforms.
Supporting MilGov operations is something our company has been dedicated to since we launched several years ago.
The SOF JIBL is hosted annually on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, VA. During the two weeks, there were hundreds of experiments performed on scenarios designed to be implemented over integrated maritime, air, ground, and individual tactical platforms and technologies.
To find out more about DVN and how it can support MilGov operations, check out www.dispersive.io/milgov.
Critical Infrastructure On Edge: Colonial Pipeline Is Only the Latest Example of the Massive Risks Associated with Attacks
This past week Colonial Pipeline company, which operates a pipeline that carries gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas along a 5,500-mile path from Texas to New Jersey, was forced to take itself offline after being attacked by a criminal cyber gang. The pipeline, which carries 2.5 million barrels a day, nearly 50% of the East Coast supply of diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel, is still working to restore service and gain access to their systems after the malicious cyberattack, while its four mainlines remain offline.
Financial Services Companies Struggle With The Work from Home Digital Perimeter With Serious Cyber Attacks on the Rise
When pandemic lockdowns turned many jobs into work-from-home almost overnight, some industries experienced relatively seamless transitions; however, the banking industry was not one of them. These institutions were forced to pivot from traditional office environments, but the switch to remote working came with an abundance of challenges, the most serious being cybersecurity.
With physical retail re-opening, large retailers with hundreds or thousands of locations are rethinking their security strategies, especially when it comes to Point-of-Sale (POS) systems.
Retailers need reliable, resilient networks, as downtime leads to slow checkout lines and unhappy customers.