Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The evolving challenge of cybersecurity | Cyber War Waged on the United States with Massive Security Breach | Obama vows to boost U.S. cyber defenses amid signs of China hacking | FBI Alert Reveals ‘Groups’ Behind OPM Hack | OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: Scope of fed hack still unknown | The German Government’s Surveillance Hypocrisy | Islamic State Militants Eye Mecca, Medina

Cyber War Waged on the United States with Massive Security Breach



Islamic State Militants Eye Mecca, Medina



The evolving challenge of cybersecurity

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Several recent cyberattacks have refocused the public's attention on what the U.S. government is doing -- or should be doing -- to keep our data secure.
CBS News spoke with cybersecurity expert Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout Technologies, about the attacks on the U.S. Army website and the Office of Personnel Management, and the constantly evolving threat from hackers around the globe.
"There is a lot of effort going in by the U.S. government, by corporations, to try and secure this," he said. "But there's a lot of effort going into the adversaries on the other side of this as well."
DeCesare said the recent theft of the personal information of at least 4 million current and former federal workers highlights the fact hackers can lurk in computer systems far longer than most people realize.
"In almost all of these [hacking instances] that we read about, it's undetermined how long the adversaries were on the system," he said. "They get on, they try to sit in some stealthy part of the environment and just observe for as long as they can until they get caught."
In an interview with "Face the Nation" on Sunday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said the hack was intended to gain information for exploitation and espionage purposes.
DeCesare said most hackers are after one of three things: prestige, intellectual property or money. In an attack on Monday, hackers claiming to be from the Syrian Electronic Army, apparently seeking prestige and an audience for their message, infiltrated the website of the U.S. Army and posted a pop-up message that read "your commanders admit they are training the people they have sent you to die fighting."
"When you look at a government website, it wouldn't be surprising to hear that there's over a thousand attacks a day coming at that individual website," DeCesare said. "It's a game of cat and mouse."
When the U.S. government is quick to point fingers about the source of an attack, it usually means the U.S. has access to the hacker's system as well, DeCesare said.
"When that quickly there is speculation about who it is, it usually means we're on their system monitoring traffic so that we know it's coming," DeCesare said. "It's very easy for attackers to mask their footprint."
Watch the video above for more of DeCesare's insights into cybersecurity and what we can do to enhance our defenses.
© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Congress Is Poised To Make Illegal Torture More Illegal

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WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers did Tuesday what rights groups and a broad chorus of government officials have urged for years: In this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers proposed Congress formally outlaw torture.
In an amendment sponsored by Armed Services Committee chair Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) and Senate Intelligence Committee vice-chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- who spearheaded that panel’sgruesome report released late last year on the Bush-era CIA torture program -- lawmakers in no uncertain terms forbid the use of torture by any element of the United States government and affirm the U.S. Army Field Manual as the accepted guide to interrogation practices.
For what it's worth, torture is already illegal under several different statutes, including both national law and international law. But McCain's amendment, if passed, would further close certain loopholes that have allowed the U.S. to dance around those legal hurdles in the past.
The amendment would effectively make into law the Obama administration’s 2009 executive order forbidding the use of torture by any element of the United States government. Torture critics have voiced concern in recent years that the executive order, while effective, does not have the same staying power as a congressionally passed law, and that a future administration could easily rescind it.
In addition, the amendment would require that the Army Field Manual, which some have said is antiquated, be routinely updated every three years.
McCain and Feinstein were joined by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in proposing the amendment.
Though the amendment isn’t officially tacked on to the bill yet, the proposal marks a notable victory for Feinstein, who has fought -- particularly in the aftermath of the release of the torture report’s 500-page executive summary -- to reform the nation’s interrogation practices so the dark days of the Bush years aren’t repeated.
She proposed a wide swath of reforms in the immediate aftermath of the summary’s release, but did not propose anything before the then-Democratic majority Senate switched hands.
It has long been rumored that Feinstein was working to bring McCain, a staunch critic of the use of torture, on board for any legislative proposals. His support very likely will be the only hope the amendment has of getting through a GOP-majority Congress -- filled with Republicans who still defend the CIA’s use of harsh tactics, including waterboarding and rectal feeding, against terror suspects in the wake of Sept. 11.
Even just last month, it remained unclear if Feinstein would be able to enlist McCain’s support on any torture proposal. Though the Armed Services chair has consistently chastised the agency’s prior use of torture, he suggested cryptically that there were elements of Feinstein’s proposal he wasn't completely on board with, and sources had previously expressed skepticism that the two would find common ground.
Rights groups hailed the proposal, though they pointed out that, while a vital first step, there were still gaps.
“Today’s proposal is a needed reform, but one that does not go nearly far enough,” Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International's U.S.-based Security and Human Rights Program, said in a statement. She pointed out that the legislation doesn’t include a prohibition against the CIA operating detention sites overseas.
“This effectively leaves the door open to future CIA secret detention operations should a future US administration withdraw the president’s order, potentially an imminent risk given next year’s election,” she said.
But allowing those gaps may be the only way to get anything through a Congress that’s still stacked with defenders of the CIA’s now-defunct torture program.
Laura Pitter, senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, also praised the proposal. But, she said, it doesn’t hold much water if those responsible for the CIA program continue to not be held accountable.
“Requiring the CIA and other US agencies to abide by one uniform set of interrogation rules will help prevent torture,” she said in a statement. “But such legal fixes won’t carry weight in the future if those responsible for torture in the past aren’t brought to justice.”
McCain confirmed earlier this year to HuffPost that he was working to insert a torture provision into the NDAA, which his committee spearheads. Yet to be seen is whether he can rally enough of his GOP colleagues to support it with him.
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OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: Scope of fed hack still unknown

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Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We're here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry wrap their arms around cyberthreats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you're a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we're here to give you ...
THE BIG STORIES:
--AIN'T SAYIN' NOTHIN': House Intelligence Committee leaders were pretty tight-lipped Tuesday night following a briefing with Office of Personnel Management Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour and other administration officials. Questions have been swirling about exactly what data was taken by suspected Chinese hackers since the OPM said last week that 4 million employees' records had been breached. The Intel panel's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), told reporters that the administration said it has "made a lot of progress on the attribution front." But he warned that "the scope of the exposure" and "the extent of the damage" were still being investigated. "I don't think we can say with any kind of certainty that anyone is beyond impact here," he said. To read our full piece, click here.
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--HERE WE GO:
 Senate leaders are going to try and attach the stalled cybersecurity bill to the annual defense budget. "The national defense of the country is extremely important given the cyberattacks that occurred earlier this week," Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Tuesday. The Senate's sidelined cyber bill, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), would boost the public-private exchange of hacking data. Privacy advocates, who maintain the bill would create a new surveillance authority, were predictably less than pleased at McConnell's tactic. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a CISA critic, spoke out quickly: "If Senator McConnell insists on attaching the flawed CISA bill to unrelated legislation, I will be fighting to ensure the Senate has a full debate and a chance to offer amendments to add vital protections for American privacy." To read our full piece, click 
here
.
UPDATE ON CYBER POLICY:
--SET THE STANDARD. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on Tuesday introduced the Cyber Standards Act, which would direct the Director of National Intelligence to study how we measure cyberattacks. Currently, there's no commonly used metric for quantifying how damaging an attack is, either from an economic or a national security perspective.  
"The complicated nature of cyber defense means we need a clear standard of measurement for assessing the damage of attacks to our citizens and affected systems," Wilson said.
Wilson believes such a standard would help the government determine its response, an issue that has befuddled lawmakers and officials alike.
"This bill will be the first of many steps in building a comprehensive cyber defense system," Wilson said. Check out the bill here. Watch Wilson stump for it on the floor here.
LIGHTER CLICK:
--THE THUMPER RULE. The sage rabbit in Bambi once said, "If you can't say nothin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." Might want to keep that in mind next time you go to anonymously make a snarky, mean or vile threat online. The Department of Justice is apparently seeking the identities of people who made negative comments about the judge that recently sentenced dark market Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht to life in prison.  
Per ArsTechnica: "The hunt for commenters was revealed yesterday, when the legal blog Popehat published a grand jury subpoena (PDF) that DOJ investigators gave to Reason.
"Why is the government using its vast power to identify these obnoxious asshats, and not the other tens of thousands who plague the internet?" wrote Popehat blogger Ken White. "Because these twerps mouthed off about a judge."
Check out the rest here.
A REPORT IN FOCUS:
--THAT'S A LOT OF BILLIONS. D.C.-based think tank the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is out with a report that argues the fallout from government leaker Edward Snowden's disclosure of secret U.S. spying programs will "far exceed" an initial $35 billion estimate. The tech sector has argued that it has suffered overseas since the revelations. They argue foreign consumers lack trust in U.S. products, fearing that the government has compromised them.
"It has become clear that the U.S. tech industry as a whole, not just the cloud computing sector, has underperformed as a result of the Snowden revelations," the ITIF report said. Check out the full thing here.
A LOOK AHEAD:
WEDNESDAY
--The House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on "Defense Support of Civil Authorities: A Vital Resource in the Nation's Homeland Security Missions."
--Politico will hold an event on the future of campaign technology at noon.
--Microsoft will hold a TechFair open house at 1 p.m.
FRIDAY
--The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on lawsuits to block the FCC's net neutrality rules before they take effect Friday.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.
The personal information of current and former Cabinet secretaries might have been stolen as part of the OPM breach. (The Hill)
Two major tech industry groups sent a letter to President Obama dissuading the White House from proposing any type of policy to guarantee law enforcement access to encrypted data. (The Hill)
Two senators are pressing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to punish China's currency until the Asian power scales back its overseas hacking. (The Hill)
Intercepted WhatsApp messages led to Belgian terror arrests. (ArsTechnica)
ISIS supporters are circulating a small catalog of various spy tools and tutorials on hacking Wi-Fi networks in a package called the "Book of Terror." (Motherboard)
Amazon wants to be a root Certificate authority. (GeekWire)
Australian Internet provider iiNet Ltd warned its customers of a possible hack. (Reuters)
ICYMI: Chinese law-enforcement officers are using secure smartphone software developed by Alibaba as part of a government push to purge foreign technology from the most sensitive agencies. (Bloomberg)
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Former CIA Director: We're Not Doing Nearly Enough To Protect Against The EMP Threat

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Last week we were reminded of what Elliott Management's Paul Singer highlighted as the "one risk that stands way above the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence" - an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Specifically, we covered the release of an open letter written to President Obama on the country's concerning level of vulnerability to a natural or man-made EMP. What is stunning about the former CIA Director's comments below is not just the carnage an EMP could wreak, but the apparent rabid intransigence with which the electrical power lobby is fighting any responsibility for defending against one.
On Monday we covered the release of an open letter written to President Obama, issued by a committee of notable political, security and defense experts  -- which includes past and present members of Congress, ambassadors, CIA directors, and others -- on the country's concerning level of vulnerability to a natural or man-made Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP).
An EMP has very real potential for crippling much of our electrical grid instantaneously. Not only would that immediately throw the social order into chaos, but the timeline to repair and restart the grid in most estimated scenarios would take months to a year or more. Those curious on learning exactly how devastating an EMP can be can read our report on the topic from last summer.
This week, we've been fortunate enough to get several of the authors of that open letter to join usand explain in depth what they conclude needs to be done to protect against the EMP risk: former CIA Director and current Ambassador James Woolsey, Executive Director of the EMP Task Force Dr Peter Pry, and security industry entrepreneur Jen Bawden.
What's frightening in this story is not just the carnage an EMP could wreak, but the apparent rabid intransigence with which the electrical power lobby is fighting any responsibility for defending against one:
Chris Martenson:   Now, we’ve had a commission to assess the threat to the United States from an EMP attack, which delivered a report back in 2008. In fact, I found no less than two congressional commissions, a National Academy of Science report, other U.S. government sponsored studies, including your own. All have raised heightened concerns about this issue. All have found, all of them, that the EMP threat poses a significant and existential threat to the United States, and yet here we are still talking about this. Why is that?
Dr. Pry:   Well, the short answer to that is it’s called the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. They used to be a trade association or a lobby for the 3,000 electric utilities that exist in this country. And, their relationship with the federal government, with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is a 19th century-type relationship. There is no part of the U.S. government that has the legal powers to order them to protect the grid. This is unusual, because in the case of every other critical infrastructure, there’s an agency in the U.S. government that can require them to take actions for public safety. For example, the Food & Drug Administration can order certain medicines kept off shelves to protect the public safety. The Federal Aviation Administration can ground aircraft and require protective devices, put locks on aircraft doors, for example, to protect people from having the aircrafts hijacked by terrorists.The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t have those legal powers or authorities.
And, the NERC, which owns half of K Street and has got very deep pockets, has been successful in lobbying against legislation like the Grid Act and the SHIELD Act, both bipartisan bills supported almost unanimously by Democrats and Republicans. They’ve been able to stall for years and keep these bills held up. One time when we got a bill passed: the Grid Act actually, in 2010, unanimously passed the House. Everybody supported it. But Washington is so broken, one senator put a hold on a bill—if they know which senator to buy, they can buy that one senator and the person can put a hold on the bill so it can’t come to the floor for a vote and they can do it anonymously. The senator doesn’t have to identify themselves. So, you never know who stopped the bill.
And, that’s been the problem in Washington. We’ve been trying to overcome resistance by the electric power lobby to try to protect the grid.
They’ve basically been successful in stymying efforts at the federal level. Now, we’ve got another bill, Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, that we’re hoping will pass this year. Again, we’ve got a lot of support, but it’s already under attack by the utilities. And, they’re trying to change the language of the bill to basically gut the bill.
Ambassador Woolsey:  And, when NERC is studying a problem, it doesn’t exactly operate at breakneck speed. After the ’03 outage in Cleveland that started with a tree branch touching a power line and took out the electricity for several days of Eastern Canada and much of the northeastern United States, NERC was finally prevailed upon to do a study. And, they did one and focused entirely on how to cut tree branches so that they won’t interfere with electric power lines. And, that tree branch study took them three years and eight months. What’s interesting about that lapse of time is three years and eight months is exactly the amount of time the United States was engaged in World War II, from beginning to end. So, one wonders how many wars worth of time it would take NERC to deal with a more complicated problem such as say, squirrels.
Chris Martenson:  I understand that NERC is against this and they think this is overbearing regulation and they don’t want to be more highly regulated. I think possibly understandable concerns from any industry, but in this case, what kind of money are we talking about here? How much would it take to really begin to remedy this issue and how much time would it take? What is NERC fighting here?
Dr. Pry:  Sure. Interesting question, because there are different numbers, depending upon how much security you want to buy. One of my colleagues on the, who served on the EMP Commission, had a plan that would cost $200 million. That’s not billions, but millions with an ‘m’. Now, that would be a very minimalist plan, and it would just protect the extra high voltage transformers that service the major metropolitan areas. It would by no means—we would still be at a very high level of risk, but it would at least give us something like a fighting chance to save all those people in the big cities, in the hundred largest big cities from starving to death, if you just invested $200 million.
At this point, as I recently testified to Congress, I think the U.S. FERC is so broken and untrustworthy that we probably need to scrap the regulatory system we’ve got now and go to something completely different. I think what you’ve got is a situation of what’s called regulatory capture. You’ve got a rotating door between FERC and NERC and these guys are basically in cahoots with the electric power industry .
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Dr. Peter Pry, Jen Bawden, and Ambassador James Woolsey (48m:35s)
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Pentagon: More labs got shipments of live anthrax samples - U.S.

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says the number of laboratories that received shipments of live anthrax samples has grown to 68, including one in the United Kingdom.
Defense officials disclosed in late May that low concentration samples of live anthrax were shipped to labs from the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, beginning in 2005 or 2006.
Army Col. Steve Warren says the new tally includes labs in 19 states and the District of Columbia and four countries, and involves samples from five batches, up from the four previously reported.
The anthrax was supposed to have been killed with gamma rays before being shipped for use by commercial labs and government facilities in research. But for reasons not yet explained, the anthrax apparently remained alive.
Officials say there is no public health risk.

Canada to station troops at NATO command centre in Poland

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Canada is contributing Canadian Armed Forces personnel to a NATO command centre being set up in Poland as a defence against further Russian aggression and is considering further commitments such as joining a rapid-reaction force being formed by the military alliance.
Stephen Harper announced the deployment of senior Canadian officers to the Szczecin, Poland-based NATO headquarters during a visit to Warsaw Tuesday, during which he met with Polish leadership to discuss security measures NATO allies are putting in place to counter the threat of Russian expansionism in Europe.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney also says he’s considering whether to contribute soldiers to a spearhead NATO reaction force that could very quickly send troops into hot spots in Europe or other facets of the military alliance’s response to Russia.
Mr. Kenney said he’s deliberating on what else Canada could do and will discuss the matter at an upcoming NATO meeting.
“I am in meetings with senior military advisers just in the past week on that question and there is a NATO defence ministers’ meeting on June 24 and 25 in Brussels, where that will be discussed,” Mr. Kenney told reporters in Warsaw.
The NATO Multinational Corps Northeast, with its headquarters in Szczecin, is part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization plans announced last September to shore up readiness along the military alliance’s eastern flank.
Another part of this NATO action plan is an ultrarapid reaction force of 4,000 to 5,000 troops designed to deploy within 48 hours and make the alliance’s presence felt in a crisis zone even before hostilities explode. It includes permanent supply hubs and forward operating bases across Eastern Europe.
A new NATO mission would add to a host of other commitments for the Canadian military.
Canada has six CF-18s bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria and two surveillance planes monitoring the battle from the air as well as one air refuelling plane. About 600 personnel are supporting this work from Kuwait.
The military also has nearly 70 special-forces soldiers training peshmerga fighters in their battle against Islamic State forces.
There are about 200 soldiers conducting training with NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe and Canada has contributed one frigate to the NATO reassurance mission as well.
Mr. Harper’s Polish trip didn’t go entirely as planned Tuesday.
Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz spilled the beans on a top-secret visit that Mr. Harper was making to a Canadian warship in the Baltic Sea Tuesday in a diplomatic faux pas that undid plans by the Conservative government to keep it under wraps for operational security.
Ms. Kopacz scooped Mr. Harper’s Baltic Sea plans during a public appearance with him at a Polish palace in Warsaw on Tuesday.
“You may want to know the Prime Minister is going to Gdansk … where he will be visiting the Canadian frigate participating in the military exercises,” Ms. Kopacz told a press conference.
The Canadian military and Mr. Harper’s Prime Minister’s Office had been trying to keep the Canadian leader’s visit to HMCS Fredericton a secret until after it was concluded and had warned media covering Mr. Harper that to report on it ahead of time would jeopardize the security of both the warship and the Prime Minister.
HMCS Fredericton, the Canadian frigate in the Baltic, has been conducting exercises in European waters as part of NATO’s efforts to reassure alliance members along its eastern edge that they will be protected in the event of further Russian aggression in Europe.
Captain John Hart is one of more than 200 Canadian soldiers based in northwestern Poland right now. He’s with Papa Company of the 3rd Battalion with the Royal Canadian Regiment, a light infantry battalion.
He said the training was highly successful, as Canadians impart lessons on planning, shooting and co-ordinating elements on the battlefield.
“They’re coming a long way. They have an old-school mentality, very Warsaw Pact-oriented, and they’re not quite up to the same speed as Western armies [but] you can see the leaps and bounds they’ve made,” Capt. Hart said. “Our presence demonstrates that Canada is not forgetting its NATO allies … and it has a great impact on their view of how the future will unfold.”
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Big companies no better at cybersecurity than small ones, CSOs admit - CSO

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Large organisations aren't necessarily any better at cybersecurity than small ones, according to a new survey of CSOs that found Asia-Pacific organisations consider themselves the most-prepared in the world – even though fully three-quarters of respondents believe their organisation lacks the maturity to address cybersecurity risks.
Asked to rank their cybersecurity maturity on a five-stage scale against the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), the more than 400 security professionals participating in RSA's first Cybersecurity Poverty Index – spread across organisations of all size in 61 countries – admitted they were still failing to measure up.
Fully 83 percent of respondents from large companies – those with more than 10,000 employees – said they were below 'developed' in maturity, while nearly 45 percent categorised their ability measure, assess, and mitigate cybersecurity risks as being 'non-existent' or 'ad-hoc'; by contrast, only 21 percent of respondents rated themselves as being 'mature' in this area.
Smaller companies were actually more positive about their cybersecurity preparedness, with 27 percent saying they had 'developed' capabilities as against just 17 percent in larger organisations.
“This research demonstrates that enterprises continue to pour vast amounts of money into next generation firewalls, anti-virus, and advanced malware protection in the hopes of stopping advanced threats,” RSA president Amit Yoran said in a statement. “Despite investment in these areas, however, even the biggest organisations still feel unprepared for the threats they are facing.”
Contrary to popular wisdom about the progressive security posture of banks and insurance companies, only one-third of respondents from financial-services companies ranked themselves as being well-prepared to deal with cybersecurity threats.
Telecommunications providers had the highest self-reported preparedness, with 50 percent having 'developed' or 'advantaged' capabilities, while government was the worst-ranked with just 18 percent of respondents rating themselves as 'developed' or 'advantaged'.
Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) organisations rated themselves as having the most mature security strategies, with 39 percent ranked as 'developed' or 'advantaged'. This was well ahead of the percentage in the EMEA (26 percent) and Americas (24 percent) region.
The broad range of maturity ratings is, Yoran said, “a result of the failure of today’s prevention-based security models to address the advancing threat landscape. We need to change the way we think about security and that starts by acknowledging that prevention alone is a failed strategy and more attention needs to be spent on strategy based on detection and response.”
The CSF aligns organisations' security policy-building process along five key axes including Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. It is one of a growing number of frameworks designed to direct the cybersecurity efforts of organisations of all sizes; another is Australia's Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF), which outlines 36 different areas to be addressed as part of a security framework.
The low showing for government organisations reflects the immense task ahead of Australian government organisations, which were recently given until September by the newly-formed Digital Transformation Office (DTO) to produce a formal plan for ensuring their compliance with PSPF guidelines.
This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.
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Obama administration considering more U.S. troops for Iraq

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The United States is preparing to expand its military footprint in Iraq as the Obama administration races to help the country regain momentum in its fight against the Islamic State.
Alistair Baskey, a White House spokesman, said officials were considering a number of options, including sending additional trainers, “to accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces in order to support them in taking the fight to ISIL.” ISIL is another name for the Islamic State.
If the plan is approved, the administration is expected to send around 400 additional troops to advise Iraqi forces. There are now 3,080 U.S. service members in Iraq.
The changes come as U.S. officials come to terms with the continuing shortcomings of Iraqi forces, on whom the U.S. strategy against the militant group relies. A year after Islamic State fighters captured much of northern and western Iraq, a U.S.-led campaign of airstrikes and renewed military training has not translated into decisive Iraqi victories.
The vulnerabilities of Iraqi forces were evident in May when they retreated from the city of Ramadi, handing the capital of western Iraq’s Anbar province to Islamic State fighters. That defeat showed that despite a nascent U.S. training effort, Iraqi troops still suffer from discipline and morale problems that have often made them ineffective against a much smaller insurgent force.
A U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing deliberations, said the United States would probably expand its presence in Anbar province. Several assessment visits have been made to a military base near the town of Habbaniya, with a view to moving U.S. advisers to the site. That would put the American troops less then 20 miles outside Ramadi and allow them to help Iraqi forces and tribal fighters prepare for a battle to retake the city.
“We are looking at it closely,” the official said. “We need to firm up our presence out there. There’s been a debate about getting a site in the eastern part of Anbar for some time. Iraqis had asked for it. Ramadi forced the issue.”
This week, President Obama noted the need to intensify the training effort in Iraq, promising as he wrapped up a meeting of world leaders in Germany to find ways to accelerate training and delivery of weapons to U.S. allies in Iraq.
“All the countries in the international community are prepared to do more to train the Iraqi security force if they feel like that additional work has been taken advantage of,” Obama said.
But American officials, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, have questioned the Iraqis’ will to fight with increasing openness. In late May, Carter asked Pentagon officials to develop options for tweaking the current strategy in order to bolster Iraq’s military power, a defense official said, also speaking on the condition of anonymity. Since then, officials from the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command, together with the White House, have examined possible actions in what the official called an “iterative” process. Last week, Obama’s top aides met in a White House meeting to discuss Iraq strategy.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks in Israel on Tuesday. JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Also on Tuesday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggested that the number of training sites could be increased.
Currently, U.S. and allied trainers are working with Iraqi and Kurdish forces at five training sites around Iraq. But, speaking to reporters during a trip to Israel, Dempsey cautioned there would be no radical change to the U.S. strategy.
Officials hope in particular to increase the participation of Sunni Arab fighters, whose role in the on-the-ground military effort led by the government of Shiite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has fallen short of U.S. expectations. But the White House, mindful of Obama’s vows to end the last Iraq war and keep U.S. troops out of ground combat in the Middle East, will be eager to limit U.S. involvement.
Moving additional troops to Anbar reflects the seriousness with which U.S. officials see the loss of Ramadi last month.
The second official said that increasing U.S. presence is important “given the centrality of getting Sunnis in the fight.”
Around 300 U.S. Marines are already in the province, based at Ayn al-Asad, around 50 miles northwest of Ramadi. There, they have been playing an advise-and-assist role to local Sunni tribesmen, but the site is surrounded by Islamic State-held territory and Habbaniya is currently the focus for the operation to retake Ramadi.
Shiite militias have expanded their presence in the area since Abadi ordered them to the province after Iraqi security forces there collapsed. Kitaeb Hezbollah, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is among those with fighters at the base in Habbaniya. “It’s a very big base,” the U.S. official said.
The militiamen are expected to vacate the base if American soldiers are sent there.
The administration is expected to unveil the changes to its training plan in the next few days.
Morris reported from Baghdad.
Missy Ryan writes about the Pentagon, military issues, and national security for The Washington Post.

Loveday Morris is a Beirut-based correspondent for The Post. She has previously covered the Middle East for The National, based in Abu Dhabi, and for the Independent, based in London and Beirut.
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Islamic State Militants Eye Mecca, Medina

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by Jeff Seldin June 09, 2015
From the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, the terror group known as the Islamic State is preparing yet another front in its quest to reestablish an Islamic caliphate, this time hoping to wrest Saudi Arabia from a royal family that has long maintained its grip on power.
Saudi Arabia might seem to be an unlikely target for the Islamic State. Unlike countries such as Iraq, Syria and Libya, it is not a failed state. Also, just like the Islamic State's leadership, Saudi Arabia's rulers are adherents of Sunni Islam.
Still, counterterrorism officials, former diplomats and analysts say the threat to Saudi Arabia from the Islamic State is one that cannot be dismissed.
"Their ambitions don't stop at Ramadi," former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told VOA via Skype, referring to the Islamic State's conquest of the contested capital of Iraq's Anbar province.
"What they would really like to be able to do is penetrate into Saudi Arabia and take the holy cities of Mecca and Medina as the capital of their caliphate," he added.
The latest barrage in the terror group's opening salvo came just weeks ago with the Islamic State claiming credit for two suicide bombings targeting Shi'ite mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia.
More than 20 people died in the attacks on May 22 and May 29, and a recording issued by the Islamic State's Saudi branch at about the same time called for more bloodshed.
"You must all come to burn the thrones of the tyrants,' it said, according to the U.S.-based SITE monitoring center.
U.S. counterterrorism officials say such threats are in line with other Islamic State propaganda, which has often tried to incite attacks against Saudi authorities and which has claimed responsibility for shootings targeting Saudi police and Westerners.
"The group's apparent attempts to establish cells inside Saudi Arabia would be consistent with their strategy," a counterterrorism official told VOA on condition of anonymity.
Whether the Islamic State has the wherewithal to follow through, however, remains a question. By most accounts, the group's presence in Saudi Arabia is small. Its sympathizers have also come under heavy pressure from Saudi authorities, who in April announced the arrests of 93 suspects, 65 of them Saudi citizens.
"ISIS, though it has a small presence in Saudi Arabia, is doing what it can to launch spectacular, explosive attacks that can incite sectarian tension and lead to internal strife," said Harleen Gambhir, a counterterrorism analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.
Gambhir and others warn the presence may be even bigger due to Islamic State "sleeper cells" in Saudi Arabia and nearby Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has also been fertile ground for extremist groups, including the Islamic State, looking for jihadist recruits.
A study earlier this year by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) found that of the more than 20,000 foreign fighters thought to have gone to Syria and Iraq, 1,500-2,500 had come from Saudi Arabia. At the time, researchers said only Tunisia had been thought to have sent more fighters to the front.
Other analysts say the numbers may be even higher.
'We're talking thousands of people, probably two- to three-thousand people from Saudi Arabia who have gone to fight for the Islamic State," said Patrick Skinner, director of special projects at the Soufan Group.
If some of those foreign fighters decide to return, or if would-be foreign fighters decide to stay, Skinner said it will put the Islamic State in position to give the Saudi government a fight.
"They won't be able to topple anything but that's not probably even what they want," Skinner said. "They just want to keep picking at it until it's a thousand cuts and the government overreacts and then they can kind of feed into some popular resentment."
Unlike in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the Islamic State group will not be able to take advantage of a weak or non-existent central government. Current and former U.S. officials say Saudi police, intelligence and counterterror units are more than capable of cracking down.
"The Saudis really cleaned house for a while," Skinner said. "The problem is, it's such a dirty house that it's near impossible to clean."
Another part of the problem is the longstanding undercurrent of support for extremist thinking, especially among youth, combined with what had been a constant flow of funding for radical religious leaders who straddled the fine line between ultra-conservative teachings and extremist ideology.
"I think the Saudis have done a lot better," said former U.S. ambassador Mark Wallace, now the chief executive officer at the Counter Extremism Project. 'Certainly there are always individual power brokers that we have to be vigilant about and that the Saudis have to be vigilant about as well."
Still, the temptation or pressure to restore that funding may be growing as Riyadh's proxy war with rival Tehran becomes more intense, with some analysts warning the conflict is already causing many Saudi officials to view events in the Middle East through a Sunni-Shi'ite lens.
"As this clash between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensifies, I think it's going to be pretty unavoidable that the Saudis are going to support the Islamic State or support militant groups that are under the Islamic State's umbrella," said Reuel Marc Gerecht with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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Pentagon Anti-Bias Policy Extended to Gays - NYTimes.com

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The Pentagon has extended its equal opportunity policy to gay and lesbian troops, granting them an added layer of protection from discrimination and harassment, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Tuesday at a gay and lesbian pride event at the Pentagon. But he, along with the rest of the Pentagon’s leadership, remained silent on the fate of transgender troops, who can still be forced out of the military because of their gender identity. The announcement was another step toward the acceptance of gay and lesbian troops, who could have been expelled from the military because of their sexual orientation until the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011. Extending equal opportunity protections to gay and lesbian troops ensures the military treats “sexual-orientation-based discrimination the same way it treats discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, age and national origin,” Mr. Carter said.

U.S. Embracing a New Approach on Battling ISIS in Iraq

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WASHINGTON — In a major shift of focus in the battle against the Islamic State, the Obama administration is planning to establish a new military base in Anbar Province, Iraq, and to send up to 450 more American military trainers to help Iraqi forces retake the city of Ramadi.
The White House on Wednesday is expected to announce a plan that follows months of behind-the-scenes debate about how prominently plans to retake Mosul, another Iraqi city that fell to the Islamic State last year, should figure in the early phase of the military campaign against the group.
The fall of Ramadi last month effectively settled the administration debate, at least for the time being. American officials said Ramadi was now expected to become the focus of a lengthy campaign to regain Mosul at a later stage, possibly not until 2016.
The additional American troops will arrive as early as this summer, a United States official said, and will focus on training Sunni fighters with the Iraqi Army. The official called the coming announcement “an adjustment to try to get the right training to the right folks.”
The United States Central Command’s emphasis on retaking Mosul depended critically on efforts to retrain the Iraqi Army, which appear to have gotten off to a slow start. Some Iraqi officials also thought the schedule for taking Mosul was unrealistic, and some bridled when an official from the Central Command told reporters in February that an assault to capture the city was planned for this spring.
Now, pending approval by the White House, plans are being made to use Al Taqqadum, an Iraqi base near the town of Habbaniya, as another training hub for the American-led coalition.
Alistair Baskey, a National Security Council spokesman, said that the administration hoped to accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces, and that “those options include sending additional trainers.”
The United States now has about 3,000 troops, including trainers and advisers, in Iraq. But the steps envisioned by the White House are likely to be called half-measures by critics because they do not call for an expansion of the role of American troops, such as the use of spotters to call in airstrikes.
There has long been debate within the administration about what the first steps in the campaign should be.
Led by Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the Central Command has long emphasized the need to strike a blow against the Islamic State by recapturing Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which was taken by the group in June 2014. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh Province in northern Iraq and was the site of a sermon that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, defiantly delivered in July. The Baiji refinery, a major oil complex, is on a main road to Mosul.
While General Austin was looking north, State Department officials have highlighted the strategic importance of Anbar Province in western Iraq.
Anbar is home to many of Iraq’s Sunni tribes, whose support American officials hope to enlist in the struggle against the Islamic State. Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, is less than 70 miles from Baghdad, and the province borders Saudi Arabia and Jordan, two important members of the coalition against the Islamic State.
The differing perspectives within the administration came to the fore in April when Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asserted that Ramadi was not central to the future of Iraq.
The Islamic State’s capture of Ramadi last month also punctured the administration’s description that the group was on the defensive.
Suddenly, it appeared that the Islamic State, not the American-led coalition, was on the march. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq scrambled to assemble a plan to regain the city.
The Islamic State now controls two provincial capitals, as well as the city of Falluja. With the help of American air power, the Iraqis have retaken Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad, but so many buildings there are still rigged with explosives that many of its residents have been unable to return.
To assemble a force to retake Ramadi, the number of Iraqi tribal fighters in Anbar who are trained and equipped is expected to increase to as many as 10,000 from about 5,500.
More than 3,000 new Iraqi soldiers are to be recruited to fill the ranks of the Seventh Iraqi Army division in Anbar and the Eighth Iraqi Army division, which is in Habbaniyah, where the Iraqi military operations center for the province is also based.
But to the frustration of critics like Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who say that the United States is losing the initiative to the Islamic State, the Obama administration has yet to approve the use of American spotters on the battlefield to call in airstrikes in and around Ramadi. Nor has it approved the use of Apache helicopter gunships to help Iraqi troops retake the city.
General Dempsey alluded to the plan to expand the military footprint in Iraq during a visit to Israel on Tuesday, saying that he had asked war commanders to look into expanding the number of training sites for Iraqi forces.
The United States is not the only country that is expanding its effort.
Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, said this week that his country would send up to 125 additional troops to train Iraqi forces, including in how to clear improvised bombs.
Italy is also expected to play an important role in training the Iraqi police.
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CIA chief paid secret visit to Israel ahead of Iran nuclear deal

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John BrennanThe director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency visited Israel in secret last week to discuss the Jewish state’s refusal to endorse an emerging deal with Iran over its nuclear program. Citing “two senior Israeli officials”, the Tel Aviv-based Israeli newspaper Haaretz said on Tuesday that CIA Director John Brennan arrived in Israel last Thursday. Although he was officially hosted by Tamir Pardo, director of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, Brennan used the opportunity to hold secret meetings with several senior Israeli officials, said Haaretz. Among them were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, as well as Major General Hartzl Halevi, who heads Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate.
According to Haaretz, Brennan’s visit to Israel had been planned “long ahead of time”, and should not be interpreted as a sudden diplomatic move from Washington. However, it came just weeks ahead of a deadline for a far-reaching settlement next month between Iran and six world powers over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. If successful, the much-heralded deal will mark the conclusion of ongoing negotiations between the Islamic Republic and a group of nations that have come to be known as P5+1, representing the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. Israel, however, has strongly criticized the negotiations, referred to as ‘the Geneva pact’. Last year, the Israeli Prime Minister called the pact a “historic mistake” that would enable “the most dangerous regime in the world” to get closer to “attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world”.
It is not known whether Brennan brought with him a message from US President Barack Obama addressed to the Israeli Prime Minister, said Haaretz. On Monday, just 72 hours after Brennan’s departure, another senior American official landed in Tel Aviv —openly this time. It was General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was hosted by his Israeli counterpart, General Gadi Eisenkot. Like Brennan before him, General Dempsey met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon. Haaretz contacted the CIA about Brennan’s secret visit to Israel, but an Agency spokesperson refused to comment.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 10 June 2015 | Permalink: http://intelnews.org/2015/06/10/01-1712/
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Report: Ex-Army doctor's courses included bizarre medical procedures - U.S.

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A former Army doctor is under investigation by a state medical board over allegations that he instructed medical students to perform macabre procedures, according to a Reuters report.
The Virginia Board of Medicine issued a report stating that during instructional sessions in 2012 and 2013, former Army Lt. Col. John Henry Hagmann gave military medical trainees drugs and alcohol and instructed them to perform bizarre procedures on one another, Reuters reported.
The medical board's report alleges that Hagmann provided ketamine, an anesthetic, to at least 10 students and instructed them to insert catheters into the genitals of other trainees, and two students were subjected to penile "nerve block" procedures.
Hagmann also is accused in the report of conducting "shock labs," which Reuters described as "a process in which he withdrew blood from the students, monitored them for shock, and then transfused the blood back into their systems."
Two participants of a July 2013 course were "exploited, for personal gain and sexual gratification," Reuters said of the medical board's report.
In a statement to Reuters, Hagmann denied wrongdoing.
"The mechanisms and protocols utilized in the training all comply with standard practices for training medical students and are, in fact, utilized in medical schools in Virginia,” he said.
He also denied the allegations that he committed the acts for sexual gratification.
Hagmann's license was suspended temporarily in March, and a board hearing is set for June 19.

Thousands of US paratroops head for Iraq. Tehran braces for onset of ISIS terror attacks on cities

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Thousands of US paratroops head for Iraq. Tehran braces for onset of ISIS terror attacks on cities
The United States this week began transferring to Iraq and Gulf bases elite units of the US 82nd Airborne Division. debkafile’s military sources report that the first batch of 500 officers and men will be deployed in Baghdad and the Kurdish republic’s capital of Irbil, followed by another 500 in July and 250 in December. Altogether, by the end of 2015, the US will have posted another 1,250 officers and men to augment the American force already present at a base ner Habbaniya in the western Iraqi Anbar province. This force, roughly the same size as the incoming contingents, came from the US 3rd Division’s Combat Team which set up the base six months ago to train Iraqi troops to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIS.
By the end of the year, therefore, the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq will rise to several thousand. Our military sources define their mission as being to intensify raids on ISIS commanders, command centers and bases and striking columns on the move. Their operations will draw on the successful attack mounted by SEAL commandos on May 16 in the heart of the Islamist stronghold in eastern Syria. The group’s chief of finances was killed in that raid and, according to American sources, the troops carried off a rich intelligence trove of digital and telephone data on the Islamist State’s tactics and structure.
The 82nd division has abundant experience of combat in the Iraqi arena. Between the 2003 US invasion and up until 2009, its members fought in critical engagements, especially in Anbar province, which ISIS has made the its main depot for large military concentrations and a launching pad for attacks across Iraq.
The figure of 3,000 American soldiers in Iraq understates the case by far. A much larger pool of combat forces is available close at hand for inserting into the cycle of war on ISIS.
Posted in Jordan just across the border from Anbar is a sizeable number of US special operations forces, and air units of F-16 fighter bombes and UH-60 Black Hawk assault helicopters. Their numbers have never been released.  Another several thousand troops are stationed in Kuwait. The Pentagon therefore has a reserve force present and available for a directive to go into action, oncef a decision for the US military to step into combat against the Islamists in Iraq and Syria is confirmed by President Barack Obama.
All these units are geared to fighting in the two arenas in the framework of the 82nd Airborne Division.
This week, too, the Pentagon started pumping new weapons to the Iraqi army under the US commitment of $1.6 billion from the Iraq Train and Equip Fund – ITEF - to equip its units with appropriate arms for combating ISIS.
Tuesday, June 9, ISIS appeared unfazed by the United States inching ever closer to a direct confrontation.  Iranian cities included Tehran were placed on terror alert, debkafile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources report, after intelligence discovered that the Islamic State had started sending squads of terrorists and lone suicide bombers to execute Baghdad-style terrorist attacks on urban areas in Iran.
ISIS tacticians were said to be so encouraged by their success in blowing up two Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in recent weeks that they decided to have a go at Iranian cities too.
Also Tuesday, ISIS claimed in a new video that it had come up with a new strategy for taking Baghdad, not to conquer, but to “liberate” the Iraqi capital.
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Cyber-Espionage Case Reveals the Shabby State of Online Security

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On a wall facing dozens of cubicles at the FBI office in Pittsburgh, five guys from Shanghai stare from “Wanted” posters. Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui are, according to a federal indictment unsealed last year, agents of China’s People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398, who hacked into networks at American companies—U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies (ATI), Westinghouse—plus the biggest industrial labor union in North America, United Steelworkers, and the U.S. subsidiary of SolarWorld, a German solar-panel maker. Over several years, prosecutors say, the agents stole thousands of e-mails about business strategy, documents about unfair-trade cases some of the U.S. companies had filed against China, and even piping designs for nuclear power plants—all allegedly to benefit Chinese companies.
It is the first case the United States has brought against the perpetrators of alleged state-sponsored cyber-espionage, and it has revealed computer-security holes that companies rarely acknowledge in public. Although the attackers apparently routed their activities through innocent people’s computers and made other efforts to mask themselves, prosecutors traced the intrusions to a 12-story building in Shanghai and outed individual intelligence agents. There is little chance that arrests will be made, since the United States has no extradition agreements with China, but the U.S. government apparently hopes that naming actual agents—and demonstrating that tracing attacks is possible—will embarrass China and put other nations on notice, inhibiting future economic espionage.
That may be unrealistic. Security companies say such activity is continuing, and China calls the accusations “purely ungrounded and absurd.” But there’s another lesson from the indictment: businesses are now unlikely to keep valuable information secure online. Whatever steps they are taking are not keeping pace with the threats. “Clearly the situation has gotten worse, not better,” says Virgil Gligor, who co-directs Carnegie Mellon University’s computer security research center, known as CyLab. “We made access to services and databases and connectivity so convenient that it is also convenient for our adversaries.” Once companies accept that, Gligor says, the most obvious response is a drastic one: unplug.
Fracking and hacking
Sitting at a small conference table in his office in the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh, David Hickton, the United States attorney for western Pennsylvania, opened a plastic container he’d brought from home and removed and peeled a hard-boiled egg for lunch. Although we were discussing an investigation involving global players and opaque technologies, the homey feel of our meeting was apt: the case had many roots in close-knit business and political circles in Pittsburgh. Hickton showed me a framed photo on a shelf. In the picture, he and a friend named John Surma are standing next to their sons, the boys wearing hockey uniforms, fresh from the ice. Both fathers had attended Penn State. As Hickton rose in the prosecutorial ranks, Surma rose in the corporate world, becoming CEO of U.S. Steel. When Hickton became the top federal prosecutor in the area in 2010, one of his meet-and-greet breakfasts was with Surma and Leo Girard, the boss of United Steelworkers, which represents 1.2 million current or retired workers in several industries. “I was asking them in a completely unrelated matter to serve on a youth crime prevention council,” Hickton recalls. “They said, ‘Can we talk to you about something else?’”
At the time, the American fracking boom was in full swing, with ultra-low interest rates that had been set to stimulate the economy also lubricating the business of extracting previously hard-to-reach natural gas and oil. U.S. Steel had a flourishing business selling pipes specially designed for the extraction process. Among other traits, the pipes have no vertical seams, so they will hold up as they’re rammed thousands of feet into the earth and yet bend to convey oil and gas without breaking.
“We must pay the cost of security, which is inconvenience.”
But U.S. Steel also noticed two unsettling developments. First, Chinese state-owned companies were exporting lots of similar pipe into the United States at low prices. So U.S. Steel filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, accusing China of subsidizing its industries; the resulting cases ultimately led to sanctions against China. Second, both the company and the union were aware that suspicious e-mails had come in. But it wasn’t clear who was behind them or whether any damage was occurring. “There was a general awareness of intrusions, but not ‘when, where, how’ and the scope,” Hickton says.
The e-mails were cleverly designed. They purported to be from colleagues or board members, with subject lines relating to meeting agendas or market research, but they delivered malware by means of attachments or links. For example, the indictment says, on February 8, 2010—two weeks before a preliminary ruling from the Commerce Department—the hackers sent an e-mail to several U.S. Steel employees. It seemed to be from the CEO but included a link to a website that held malware. A few employees clicked it, and their computers were soon infected. The result: the hackers stole host names for 1,700 servers that controlled access to the company’s facilities and networks. The indictment says Wang then tried to exploit that access, but it doesn’t specify what information was exposed.
Debbie Shon, U.S. Steel’s vice president for trade, told me that the information included valuable business intelligence. “It wasn’t high-tech designs,” she says. “It was the equally important stuff—the business strategies, the pricing, the production amounts, and the timing and content of any trade complaints that U.S. Steel, as one of the biggest companies in this area, might be exploring.”
The indictment details several similar attacks. Between 2007 and 2013, Westinghouse was negotiating the details of a contract with a Chinese company to build four nuclear reactors. From 2010 to 2012, one of the defendants allegedly stole at least 1.4 gigabytes of data—roughly 700,000 pages of e-mail and attachments—from Westinghouse’s computers. The files included piping designs and communications in which Westinghouse disclosed worries about Chinese competition. At ATI, the hackers allegedly stole the passwords of 7,000 employees while the company was in a trade dispute focused on its sales to China. At Alcoa, prosecutors allege, the hackers stole 2,900 e-mails with more than 860 attachments around the time the company was negotiating deals with Chinese businesses. (Alcoa, Westinghouse, and ATI all declined to comment for this story.) And in 2012, after the steelworkers’ union started speaking out against Chinese industrial policies, Wen stole e-mails containing discussions among union leaders, the indictment says.
Meanwhile, SolarWorld had brought trade cases accusing Chinese companies of selling solar panels below cost, decimating their rivals. One day in 2012, a phone rang at its offices in Camarillo, California. It was the FBI calling, saying that agents had discovered e-mails stolen from the company, says Ben Santarris, its U.S. spokesman. In a sign of just how bad cybersecurity is, “there was no inkling this was going on until we got the phone call,” he says. Only when the indictment was unsealed in May 2014 did the company learn the full scope of the alleged theft. “There was access to trade-case strategy, company financials, costs, profit-and-loss statements, technology road maps, R&D, and so on,” Santarris says. Ultimately the company won its cases, securing duties on imports of solar equipment from China. During the trade dispute, “we were observing very tight controls over who gets to see what information,” he says. “At the time we were doing that, according to the FBI, the Chinese military was coming in the back door.”
Take it down
The failure of the companies’ supposed security technologies was stupefying. Lance Wyatt, the IT director for the steelworkers’ union, thought he ran a tight ship. An IT audit in 2010 had found no major deficiencies. His e-mail server screened all incoming messages for attachments that contained executable code. He had the latest antivirus software. His network checked IP addresses to avoid sites that contained malware. Yet Wyatt and the FBI eventually found infected computers, one of them used by the union’s travel manager. “None of those machines were on our radar as being infected or suspect,” he says.
According to the indictment, the hackers had various means of disguise. For one thing, they allegedly sent malicious e-mail into companies and the union from hop points—intermediate computers, including one in Kansas, that were under their control. Second, they skillfully manipulated the Internet’s system for naming computer addresses. The hackers set up domain names such as “arrowservice.net” and “purpledaily.com” and programmed malware on the corporate victim computers to contact them. Then the spies could continually change the computer addresses to which the domain names connected. When it was daytime in Shanghai and nighttime in Pittsburgh, the indictment says, they’d set a domain name to connect to hop-point computers and conduct espionage. When the Shanghai workday was done, the hackers would set the address to connect to innocuous sites such as Yahoo pages.
It’s not a surprise that such systems are relatively easy to co-opt for nefarious purposes. Ideas for making the Internet more secure have been around for decades, and academic and government labs have churned out interesting proposals. Yet very few of these ideas have been implemented; they require broad-based adoption and possibly trade-offs in network performance. “You don’t hear about rebuilding the Internet anymore,” says Greg Shannon, chief scientist at the CERT division of Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute.
What’s a company to do? Wyatt tightened things at United Steelworkers; among other things, he now gives fewer employees so-called administrative privileges to their computers, and he searches the network for the telltale signs of communications by malware. But none of this would have prevented the intrusions. Wyatt says it “might have slowed them down.”
The best option, then, could be to get sensitive data off the Internet entirely. There are downsides to that: if e-mail is not used as freely, or a database is offline, keeping up with the latest versions of reports or other data could be more time-consuming. But as Gligor says: “We must pay the cost of security, which is inconvenience. We need to add a little inconvenience for us to make things much harder for the remote attacker. The way to do that is to—how should I put it?—occasionally go offline.”
After all, more attacks like the ones in Pittsburgh are still occurring. “This indictment,” Hickton says, “does not represent the full number of hackers, full number of victims, or full number of defendants.”
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Almost 600 Accounts Breached in 'Celebgate' Nude Photo Hack, FBI Says

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FROM OCT. 8, 2014: Jennifer Lawrence calls nude photo leaks 'sex crime' 2:43
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The stunning leak of nude and intimate photos of scores of celebrities may reach far wider than was previously known, involving the breach of almost 600 online storage accounts, according to unsealed federal court documents.
The "Celebgate" hack resulted in the posting on Aug. 31 of almost 500 purported photos of Hollywood stars, models and other celebrities — including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Kaley Cuoco and U.S. soccer star Hope Solo — to the Wild West-like Internet forum 4chan, from which they quickly spread.
Apple Inc. confirmed the next day that the photos were obtained through a "targeted attack" on personal information used to maintain storage accounts on its iCloud system. The FBI's Cybercrimes Unit launched an investigation.
As early as October, the investigation began zeroing in on an address on the South Side of Chicago, the FBI said in a search warrant affidavit recently unsealed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Using phone records and computer identification information called Internet protocol, or IP, data, investigators found that the compromised accounts were accessed by a single computer linked to two email addresses belonging to Emilio Herrera, 30.
How Safe Are Your iCloud Photos? 1:51
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The FBI — which did not say in the affidavit that Herrera is a suspect — said only that the investigation is ongoing.
It's important to note that the identification of Herrera — who has no apparent criminal record — doesn't mean he is necessarily a suspect. IP and email addresses can be masked or spoofed through a variety of technologies, and Internet data can be routed through third-party computers without their owners' knowledge using any of a number of software packages.
No other documents have been publicly filed in the case since the affidavit was unsealed, so it isn't known what investigators found at Herrera's home. But in asking for the warrant, the FBI revealed that potentially hundreds — theoretically almost 2,500 — iCloud accounts were targeted.
According to the affidavit, the computer address was successfully used to accessed 572 unique iCloud accounts — each of them an average of about six times. In addition, it said, the computer address was used in almost 5,000 attempts to reset 1,987 other iCloud passwords.
The affidavit doesn't specify whether that number includes multiple attempts to hack the same accounts or whether almost 2,000 individual accounts were targeted. Nor does it say how many of those other attempts were successful.
"A number of them were accounts of celebrities who had photos leaked online," and most of the rest — that is, accounts of people whose photos weren't published — belonged "celebrities, models or their friends and families," according to the affidavit.
Only a handful of alleged victims are identified, and even then only by their initials. They are described as "a female celebrity who has appeared in several movies."
The affidavit tends to support Apple's insistence at the time that the underlying iCloud technology itself wasn't breached — instead, it indicates that users' account names, passwords and security questions were the means of entry, as Apple contended.
But Apple did add additional steps to keep hackers out of user accounts, and it launched a campaign to encourage users to take stricter security measures.
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Cybersecurity fears grow as defenses boosted: study

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The recent epidemic of cyberattacks has led to greater investment and spending on security, but fears are rising that hackers are gaining the upper hand, a study showed© AFP/File Thomas SamsonThe recent epidemic of cyberattacks has led to greater investment and spending on security, but fears are rising that hackers are gaining the upper hand, a study showed
Washington (AFP) - The recent epidemic of cyberattacks has led to greater investment and spending on security, but fears are rising that hackers are gaining the upper hand, a study showed Wednesday.
A Rand Corporation study based on a survey of company chief information officers said rising concerns from high-profile incidents have made cybersecurity a priority for many organizations.
The authors cited prior research showing worldwide spending on cybersecurity is approaching $70 billion per year and growing at 10 to 15 percent annually but said that "it would be an understatement to say organizations are dissatisfied with their security."
"Companies know what they spend on cybersecurity, but quantifying what they save by preventing malicious attacks is much harder to tally," said Lillian Ablon, a Rand researcher and co-author of the report.
"Cybersecurity is a continual cycle of trying to eliminate weaknesses and out-think an attacker. Currently, the best that defenders can do is to make it expensive for the attackers in terms of money, time, resources and research."
The researchers found that the effect of a cyberattack on reputation -- rather than direct costs -- caused the most concern for chief information security officers.
The report in coordination with Juniper Networks said the cost of managing cybersecurity is set to increase 38 percent over the next 10 years across all businesses -- largely from investment in tools and training, and dealing handling the use of personal devices such as smartphones which connect to corporate networks.
"One of the most challenging issues facing companies is the countermeasures attackers use to evade defenses," the report said.
"Attackers are constantly developing countermeasures to new security technologies, which limits the relative effectiveness of those tools over time and requires companies to invest in new technologies to take their place."
- Shrouded in secrecy -
The researchers said evaluating cybersecurity is difficult because so much is shrouded in secrecy. Despite the wave of attacks that have become public in recent months, the methods used by hackers use to infiltrate systems and countermeasures are often kept private.
The report noted that "cybersecurity is a hard sell, especially to chief executives" but that there is now greater focus on security measures.
"Despite the pessimism in the field, we found that companies are paying a lot more attention to cybersecurity than they were even five years ago," said Martin Libicki,  a co-author of the report.
"Companies that didn't even have a chief information security officer five years ago have one now, and CEOs are more likely to listen to them."
Read the whole story

· · ·

Cyber War Waged on the United States with Massive Security Breach

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Federal cyber security breach has left millions of American citizens as casualties. Cyber security firmLazarus Alliance responds with proactive cyber-crime prevention.
Phoenix Arizona (PRWEB) June 10, 2015
Lazarus Alliance ups the ante with proactive cyber security weapons in the corporate arsenal to fight cybercrime, corporate fraud, espionage and criminal cyber-misconduct.
The egregious revelations following this security breach is that the Office of Personnel Management did not have even entry-level cyber security controls in place as reported on June 4, 2015 by NBC affiliate KPNX 12 News and many other outlets is proof that it's time for the U.S. to take strong action to harden its technological infrastructure with proactive measures instead of the reactive posture demonstrated today.
KPNX went on to report that fundamental controls missing that facilitated this massive security breach affecting millions across the federal space were identified as a lack of data encryption, multifactor authentication and modern endpoint computing platforms all of which are critical in preventing cyber breaches and criminal misconduct.
Michael Peters, CEO of Lazarus Alliance said, "Proactive cyber security measures taken through competent IT risk, audit & compliance and governance assessments coupled with proven assessment tools like the IT Audit Machine are all known to prevent about 96% of all breach potential."
"As long as public and private organizations remain reactive instead of proactive in their approach to cyber security, they will continue to fail the constituents they work to protect. This federal cyber data breach is a painful reminder that not enough is being done even at minimal levels," said Peters.
Cyber-crime prevention is of paramount concern to the federal government and organizations of all sizes, all industries and in all parts of the world. Lazarus Alliance put its extensive experience in cybercrime and fraud prevention in the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) spaces to work for the federal and global business community.
"Survey after survey shows that simple and intermediate controls prevent espionage and cyber-crime and yet breach reports are escalating. These criminal acts could have been prevented through a proactive cyber security plan," continued Peters.
Lazarus Alliance's primary purpose is to help organizations attain, maintain, and demonstrate compliance and information security excellence, in any jurisdiction. Lazarus Alliance specializes in IT security, risk, privacy, governance, cyberspace law and compliance leadership solutions and is fully dedicated to global success in these disciplines.
Learn more about Lazarus Alliance and why Lazarus Alliance is Proactive Cyber Security™
For the original version on PRWeb visit:http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/06/prweb12776595.htm

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News: NATO and Tunisia reaffirm willingness to deepen cooperation, 09-Jun.-2015

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On 9 June, the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Ambassador Thrasyvoulos Terry Stamatopoulos paid an official visit to Tunisia in the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue partnership. He held bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Taieb Baccouche, the Minister of Defense H.E. Farhat Horchani, and with the State Secretary in the Minstry of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, H.E. Mhamed Ezzine Chelaifa.
Ambassador Stamatopoulos and his Tunisian interlocutors discussed the implementation of the NATO-Tunisia Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, which covers such areas as the fight against terrorism, civil emergency planning, defence reform and defence planning, military cooperation, cyber defence, public diplomacy and science for peace and security. They also discussed common regional security challenges, including the situation in Libya, Syria and Iraq, the spread of extremist and terrorists networks, and the strengthening of defense institutions in Mediterranean Dialogue partner countries.
NATO and Tunisia share common security challenges and threats like terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the risk emanating from failing states and they share as well the same aspirations for international security, stability and peace.
During his visit, Ambassador Stamatopoulos and the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Taieb Baccouche,‎ delivered the keynote and opening addresses at a public diplomacy conference in Tunis co-organised by NATO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia.
"In a world that is more and more interconnected and in which our nations face common challenges and threats, only a comprehensive approach to security will prove effective.
NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue is an essential element in this as it provides a regional forum for political consultations and for practical cooperation, bringing together NATO and seven countries from the region. The Mediterranean Dialogue has proven its resilience and relevance over many years and it makes sense to enhance it further.”
The conference brought together senior political and military officials, policy makers, academics and civil society representatives of think tanks, to exchange views on the achievements and future prospects of NATO-Tunisia cooperation, in the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue partnership.
Read the whole story

· · ·

The German Government’s Surveillance Hypocrisy

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BERLIN — Over the last few weeks Germany has been rocked by a series of leaked government documents revealing extensive cooperation between the German foreign intelligence service and theNational Security Agency, including spying on other European governments. At the same time, emails leaked to the news media have revealed that a promised “no spy” agreement, under negotiation since the revelation in 2013 of N.S.A. surveillance on German government officials, was nowhere close to completion, contrary to explicit claims by the office of Angela Merkel, the chancellor.
These revelations have fueled a bitter debate in the Bundestag, with distinctly anti-American overtones. Yasmin Fahimi, the secretary general of the left-of-center Social Democratic Party, told an interviewer that a German chancellor should not be “subservient” in dealing with the United States. “We should not render ourselves vassals to the United States and ignore the rights of the Bundestag.”
Such statements are an attempt to gain sympathies in a certain spectrum of the political left. But there is more to the anti-Americanism in the current spying affair. It is a symptom of the great delusion of German security policy in the post-9/11 era, a delusion maintained by both Ms. Merkel’s right-of-center Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats: For at least a decade, while all German governments have publicly upheld a more or less critical attitude toward American security policy, Germany has secretly cooperated with it — and has privately supported much of what it has publicly condemned.
Spying on friends is a poignant example. In 2013, when news broke that Ms. Merkel’s cellphone had been tapped by the N.S.A., the chancellor reacted indignantly. “Spying amongst friends — that’s a no-go,” she said that October, and seemed to promise that Germany would never spy on its allies.
And yet, as the leaked documents and a Bundestag investigation have shown, her public indignation hid an inconvenient truth: that the German intelligence service, known by its German acronym B.N.D., has helped the N.S.A. spy in Europe, in part unwittingly, but also knowingly. In fact, a 2002 memorandum of agreement founding the American-German cooperation explicitly allowed for the surveillance of European institutions, an interesting detail also brought to light by the Bundestag’s investigation.
It’s an awkward document, not only because it shows the depth of B.N.D. cooperation, but also because when it was signed, in 2002, the head of the chancellor’s office, and thus the intelligence service, was the Social Democratic politician Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is now the foreign minister.
The hypocrisy in dealing with the spying affair is not just embarrassing; it has been an effective means to avoid change. It is telling to compare where Germany and the United States stand, two years after Edward J. Snowden’s leaks set off a debate about security and civil liberties, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Just a few days after Mr. Snowden released his first documents, President Obama stepped up and defended America’s surveillance programs. It was impossible to have “100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said. But as the different sides in the argument have faced off in the American media and in Congress over the last two years, President Obama has shifted his position, becoming more open to reform. Things may not be where civil libertarians would like them, but with the USA Freedom Act now law, a new balance of government practice and democratic values has been struck.
In contrast, in Germany, which is ostensibly anti-surveillance, the prospects for a similar reform, one that would adapt the legal basis of the intelligence agencies to the digital age, are vague at best. Ms. Merkel is clearly willing to cooperate with the N.S.A., but she has managed to avoid entering the debate, on either side. Her administration has managed to portray itself as the ingénue. “The Internet is new to us all” was one of her first statements in reaction to the 2013 leaks.
Meanwhile, on June 1, a few weeks into the latest B.N.D. scandal, Ms. Merkel opened a “citizen dialogue” on “the good life.” Sitting with 60 Germans chosen to represent different age and income groups, she said, “I want to know what is important to you, what your burdens are.” Their responses covered everyday things, like pensions or the decline in grocery shops in rural areas.
These worries are serious, but petty, especially in light of the nondialogue on surveillance. And yet discussing “the good life,” while at the same time suffocating the public debate on Germany’s security policy, is yet another variant of Angela Merkel’s paternalistic way of governing. You guys take care of your jobs and kids, goes her message. Let me take care of the rest. But democracy is about the painful questions, too.
It is true that the B.N.D. and the N.S.A. are different beasts, and that a program like the N.S.A.’s bulk phone-data collection has never existed in Germany. But in managing to avoid debate, Ms. Merkel has ensured that Germany has not faced some painful questions. Should the B.N.D. be allowed to ignore the civil liberties that Germans enjoy at home when acting abroad? How much do we want to spend on our intelligence agencies — or are we willing to accept the price that comes with depending on powerful partners like the N.S.A.?
If Germany wants to play the spy game by its own rules and not be a lackey of the N.S.A., it must strengthen its agencies with a lot of money. The German population would most likely support this. Indeed, for all the concern about American snooping, hardly any political figure in Germany questions the B.N.D.’s right to exist or the need for telecommunications surveillance.
If strengthening the agencies comes with strengthening the oversight of the Parliament, Germans are likely to approve. But to really find out, Ms. Merkel must have the guts to actually start talking about it.
Read the whole story

· · · ·

FBI Alert Reveals ‘Groups’ Behind OPM Hack

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AP
AP
BY: Bill Gertz 
The FBI has disclosed that multiple hacker groups carried out the cyber attack that compromised the records of 4 million government workers in the networks of the Office of Personnel Management.
“The FBI has obtained information regarding cyber actors who have compromised and stolen sensitive business information and personally identifiable information (PII),” states a Flash alert dated June 5. “Information obtained from victims indicates that PII was a priority target.”
Security analysts familiar with the OPM breach, disclosed in a notice last week, said two groups of Chinese state-sponsored hackers appear to be behind the cyber attacks, including one linked to the Chinese military that has been dubbed “Deep Panda.”
Deep Panda is a highly sophisticated Chinese military hacker unit that has been gathering data on millions of Americans. The group was linked in the past to the hacking of the health care provider Anthem that compromised the personal data of some 80 million customers.
The FBI did not directly link its warning to the OPM hacking. But it said cyber investigators have “high confidence” about the threat posed by the cyber attackers based on its investigation into the data breach.
According to the alert, the stolen personal data “has been used in other instances to target or otherwise facilitate various malicious activities such as financial fraud though the FBI is not aware of such activity by these groups.”
The groups were not identified by name or by country.
However, the alert revealed that the software used by the hackers is called Sakula, which security analysts say was the Root Access Tool, or RAT, that was used by the Chinese in both the OPM and Anthem hacks.
Sakula software employs stolen, signed security certificates to gain unauthorized network access and analysts said the use of that technique requires cyber sophistication that is not known to be used outside of nation-state cyber forces.
The software allows remote users to gain computer network administrator access, which permits the theft of large amounts of data.
The FBI warned in the notice that any entity that discovers the Sakula malware and other signatures should seek cyber security assistance and notify the FBI.
“Any activity related to these groups detected on a network should be considered an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement,” the notice said.
The groups involved were observed “across a variety of intrusions leveraging a diverse selection of tools and techniques to attempt to gain initial access to a victim including using credentials acquired during previous intrusions.”
President Obama was asked after the G-7 summit in Germany on Tuesday about the Chinese role in the OPM cyber attacks and declined to name Beijing as the perpetrator.
“We haven’t publicly unveiled who we think may have engaged in these cyber attacks,” Obama said. “But I can tell you that we have known for a long time that there are significant vulnerabilities and that these vulnerabilities are going to accelerate as time goes by, both in systems within government and within the private sector.”
Obama said part of the problem is “very old systems” used in government computer networks.
“And we discovered this new breach in OPM precisely because we’ve initiated this process of inventorying and upgrading these old systems to address existing vulnerabilities,” he said.
“[W]e’re going to have to keep on doing it, because both state and non-state actors are sending everything they’ve got at trying to breach these systems,” the president said.
“In some cases, it’s non-state actors who are engaging in criminal activity and potential theft,” Obama said. “In the case of state actors, they’re probing for intelligence or, in some cases, trying to bring down systems in pursuit of their various foreign policy objectives. In either case, we’re going to have to be much more aggressive, much more attentive than we have been.”
The problem of cyber attacks is “going to accelerate,” he said. “And that means that we have to be as nimble, as aggressive, and as well-resourced as those who are trying to break into these systems.”
The administration has rejected calls by senior U.S. security officials to engage in more aggressive, offensive cyber retaliation against states such as China as a way to develop cyber deterrence.
The president and his advisers are said to fear that offensive cyber attacks will lead to a major conflict. Supporters of taking more aggressive responses to hacking have said demonstrations of U.S. cyber retaliatory strikes will deter future attacks.
The administration has favored using law enforcement and diplomatic policies to deal with the problem.
One private sector cyber security specialist familiar with the OPM hack said that in addition to the government’s personnel database, other major cyber attacks believed to be carried out by Chinese hackers include clandestine intrusions into the networks of a major telecommunications company and a major aviation industry firm.
The hackers’ use of several domain names in the OPM hacking also are similar to domains used by Chinese cyber attackers in the past. The domains were identified as <a href="http://OPMsecurity.org" rel="nofollow">OPMsecurity.org</a> and <a href="http://opm-learning.org" rel="nofollow">opm-learning.org</a>.
Another signature linking the OPM hack to China was the hackers’ use of a program called Mimikatz that is used to gain high-level remote access to networks.
“Mimikatz is a classic of Deep Panda” in terms of tactics, techniques, and procedures, said a security analyst familiar with details of the attack. “This allows the actors to dump password hashes, perform pass the hash and ‘golden ticket’ attacks in the victim environment.”
The private security company CrowdStrike first identified Deep Panda and has called the group among the most sophisticated state-sponsored hackers.
China’s main military intelligence service that has been linked to cyber attacks is the Third Department of the General Staff, or 3PLA, which conducts cyber warfare.
Read the whole story

· · · · ·

Russia: Border tensions - FT.com


U.S. National Security and Military News Review


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» Civilian With U.S. Defense Dept. Killed by Rocket in Afghanistan
11/06/15 00:00 from NYT > United States Defense and Military Forces
The employee, identified as Krissie K. Davis, 54, of Talladega, Ala., worked for the Pentagon agency managing the withdrawal of wartime equipment.
» U.S. Embracing a New Approach on Battling ISIS in Iraq
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The Obama administration is planning to send hundreds of additional military trainers to help Iraqi forces retake Ramadi and repel the Islamic State.
» Rocket Attack in Afghanistan Kills Civilian With U.S. Defense Dept.
11/06/15 00:00 from NYT > United States Defense and Military Forces
The employee, identified as Krissie K. Davis, 54, of Talladega, Ala., worked for the Pentagon agency managing the withdrawal of wartime equipment.
» Russia: Border tensions - Financial Times
10/06/15 08:41 from Nato Russia - Google News
Financial Times Russia : Border tensions Financial Times Part of that response has been the creation of rapid reaction forces in eastern Europe, a move Russia has decried as confrontational, sparking its own counter-exercises. So far thi...
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» Thoughts on Zivotofsky Part One: How groundbreaking is it?
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Marty Lederman There's already been a great deal of valuable online analysis of Monday's decision in  Zivotofsky v. Kerry , and there's sure to be much more to follow.  The case is fascinating in many respects, as it implicates a wide ra...
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» News Roundup and Notes: June 10, 2015
10/06/15 08:00 from Just Security
Ruchi Parekh Before the start of business,  Just Security  provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news. IRAQ and SYRIA The administration is planning to send a further 400 U.S. mili...
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» First Trust Plans for a Cybersecurity ETF - Zacks.com
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Benzinga First Trust Plans for a Cybersecurity ETF Zacks.com Also 'Key Findings from the Global State of Information Security Survey 2015' by PWC indicated that cyber security instances increased at a CAGR of 66% from 2009. These...
» 69452Search 69,452 Articles:
10/06/15 05:50 from United States Defense and Military Forces - News - Times Topics - The New York Times
69452 Search 69,452 Articles: Civilian With U.S. Defense Dept. Killed by Rocket in Afghanistan By MUJIB MASHAL The employee, identified as Krissie K. Davis, 54, of Talladega, Ala., worked for the Pentagon agency managing the withdrawal o...
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Civilian worker killed in Afghanistan had decades of service Krissie K. Davis' laugh was infectious. Ex-Army doctor's courses included bizarre medical procedures June 10, 2015 History made as new general takes command at Wright-Patterson...
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Washington Free Beacon FBI Alert Reveals 'Groups' Behind OPM Hack Washington Free Beacon The FBI has disclosed that multiple hacker groups carried out the cyber attack that compromised the records of 4 million government workers ...
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Multiple high-dollar donors to the Clinton Foundation are associated with the New York Times, including the Times’ top shareholder Carlos Slim.
» FBI Alert Reveals ‘Groups’ Behind OPM Hack
10/06/15 05:00 from Washington Free Beacon
The FBI has disclosed that multiple hacker groups carried out the cyber attack that compromised the records of 4 million government workers in the networks of the Office of Personnel Management. “The FBI has obtained information regardin...
» New York Times: Survey points to challenges NATO faces over Russia - Kyiv Post
10/06/15 04:52 from nato - Google News
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» Israel Border Police shoot dead Hamas bomber in Jenin
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10/06/15 04:35 from anti-Americanism - Google News
The German Government's Surveillance Hypocrisy New York Times But there is more to the anti-Americanism in the current spying affair. It is a symptom of the great delusion of German security policy in the post-9/11 era, a delusion ma...
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» Cyber War Waged on the United States with Massive Security Breach - Benzinga
10/06/15 04:18 from cyber warfare - Google News
Cyber War Waged on the United States with Massive Security Breach Benzinga Federal cyber security breach has left millions of American citizens as casualties. Cyber security firm Lazarus Alliance responds with proactive cyber-crime preve...
» Cybersecurity fears grow as defenses boosted: study - Business Insider
10/06/15 04:11 from Cyberwar - Google News
Business Insider Cybersecurity fears grow as defenses boosted: study Business Insider The authors cited prior research showing worldwide spending on cybersecurity is approaching $70 billion per year and growing at 10 to 15 percent annual...
» Wall Street Journal: Opinion in NATO countries varies widely on Russia, Ukraine - Kyiv Post
10/06/15 04:03 from nato - Google News
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» Almost 600 Accounts Breached in 'Celebgate' Nude Photo Hack, FBI Says - NBCNews.com
10/06/15 03:54 from fbi - Google News
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» Thousands of US paratroops head for Iraq. Tehran braces for onset of ISIS terror attacks on cities
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» Ex-Army doctor's courses included bizarre medical procedures
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» FBI pinpoints Chicago home, suspect in 2014 'Celebgate' nude photo leak - New York Daily News
10/06/15 01:21 from fbi - Google News
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The director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency visited Israel in secret last week to discuss the Jewish state’s refusal to endorse an emerging deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
» Growing Body of Law Allows Prosecution of Foreign Citizens on U.S. Soil
10/06/15 00:00 from NYT > United States Defense and Military Forces
In terrorism cases, the broadening of a key law, the splintering of terrorist groups and a shift away from military detention has led to the prosecutions in federal courts.
» ISIS Proves Its Persistence With Attacks in Libya and Iraq
10/06/15 00:00 from NYT > Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
In Libya, the Islamic State captured a critical power plant, while in Iraq, gunmen in suicide vests attacked a council building in Amiriyat al Falluja, southwest of Baghdad.
» U.S. Adding Military Advisers in Iraq to Reclaim Ramadi, Officials Say
10/06/15 00:00 from NYT > Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
The effort to retake Ramadi and push back the Islamic State effectively delays plans to recapture the city of Mosul this year.
» Rebels Seize Syrian Army Base in a Blow to Assad
10/06/15 00:00 from NYT > Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
The Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army declared that they had seized the base in a six-hour lightning advance, suggesting the group still has some strength.
» ISIS Stages Attacks in Iraq and Libya, Despite U.S. Airstrikes
10/06/15 00:00 from NYT > Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
In Libya, the Islamic State captured a critical power plant, while in Iraq, gunmen in suicide vests attacked a council building in Amiriyat al Falluja, southwest of Baghdad.
» Pentagon Anti-Bias Policy Extended to Gays
10/06/15 00:00 from NYT > United States Defense and Military Forces
The Pentagon has extended its equal opportunity policy to gay and lesbian troops, granting them an added layer of protection from discrimination and harassment.
» Asia shares wallow near three-month lows on Fed anxiety, Greece
09/06/15 23:43 from Search Results
Asia shares wallow near three-month lows on Fed anxiety, Greece DoubleLine's Gundlach sees odds of Fed hike by December under 50 percent Target announces share buyback, dividend boost after disclosure snafu Bank of Japan's Sato warns of ...
» Dempsey: President Seeks Advice on Improving Iraq Mission
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
President Barack Obama has asked the military for recommendations on how to make the effort to train and equip Iraqi security forces more effective, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
» Pentagon Bars Discrimination Against Gays, Lesbians in Uniform
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday unveiled an updated equal opportunity policy to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation in the armed forces, putting it in the same category as discrimination based on race, religion, color,...
» Dempsey, Israeli Leaders Discuss Defense Cooperation
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Discussing threats from Iran or the vicious actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has a different resonance when the conversation is in Israel rather than the United States, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said here today.
» DoD Civilian Personnel Chief Discusses Future Force
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
The Defense Department's top civilian personnel policy chief discussed developments intended to address civilian workforce challenges and improve performance management and resourcing as part of the Future of the Force initiative during ...
» Defense Department Seeks Personnel Systems Reform
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
The model for the Defense Department's personnel system is outdated and a multi-pronged effort led by Defense Secretary Ash Carter is underway to reform it, the Pentagon's top personnel official said today.
» VAQ-139 Returns Home From Deployment
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
The 'Cougars' of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139 returned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island June 4 after a nearly 10-month deployment in support of U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
» Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Strengthens Bond with Ally France During L'Hermione Weekend
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Sailors from Naval Weapons Station (WPNSTA) Yorktown demonstrated the strong ties between France and the United States by volunteering their support during the visit of the replica French frigate L'Hermione in Historic Yorktown, June 5-7.
» USNAVSO/US 4th Fleet Conducts Conference With Peruvian Navy
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet Rear Adm. George Ballance was welcomed by members of the Peruvian Navy to the Centro Naval in San Borja, Lima, Peru for the annual U.S. Navy and Peruvian Navy Operatio...
» Building a Better Grunt: ONR-Sponsored Technology to Lighten Marines' Loads
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced June 8 that the organization was presenting the Marine Corps with a 3-D computer simulation program that measures equipment weight, distribution and effects on body mechanics and ...
» DoD News: Contracts for June 09, 2015
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
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» U.S., Turkish Airmen Train in Exercise Anatolian Eagle
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
U.S. Air Forces in Europe personnel are participating in Exercise Anatolian Eagle with the Turkish air force, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters here today.
» Millions in Iraq need greater humanitarian support, warns top UN relief official
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Millions of people are in need of a greater assistance across Iraq, said Stephen O'Brien, the new Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, following a two-day visit to the strife-torn country.
» Presenting draft proposal, UN envoy urges Libyan parties to 'heal rift that has torn your country apart'
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Telling stakeholders in Libya's dialogue that "mothers across [the country] have their eyes on you," the United Nations envoy for Libya presented draft political proposal and said that the time had finally come for the parties to take th...
» As presidential poll approaches, Côte d'Ivoire will continue to need UN support, Security Council told
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
For Côte d'Ivoire, the October presidential election represents an important milestone in the consolidation of the hard-won gains of recent years, the United Nations envoy for the West African country today told the Security Counci...
» Islamic State Militants Eye Mecca, Medina
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
From the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, the terror group known as the Islamic State is preparing yet another front in its quest to reestablish an Islamic caliphate, this time hoping to wrest Saudi Arabia from a royal family that has lon...
» Administration, Analysts: Better Government, Economies Needed to Fight IS
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
As the United States approaches its second year of combating Islamic State, officials and analysts make clear that military might will not be enough to make good on President Obama's pledge 'to degrade and destroy' the militant group.
» North Korea Bans South Korean Snacks at Kaesong Complex
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
North Korea has asked South Korean businesses at the Kaesong industrial complex to replace all foodstuffs given to its workers at the inter-Korean park with North Korea-made products.
» Ban welcomes 'milestone' agreement on new Nepal constitution
09/06/15 23:37 from GlobalSecurity.org
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the agreement of a new constitution for Nepal as "a major milestone" in the country's democratic development, a spokesperson for the United Nations confirmed today.
» Police-FBI task force executes Milwaukee gang crackdown - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
09/06/15 23:20 from fbi - Google News
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Police- FBI task force executes Milwaukee gang crackdown Milwaukee Journal Sentinel The MPD- FBI Gang Task Force fanned out across Milwaukee's north side just after dawn Tuesday, executing eight search warr...
» U.S. preparing to expand footprint in Iraq to aid fight against Islamic State
09/06/15 23:09 from National Security: National Security, Pentagon & Defense Department News - The Washington Post
The United States is preparing to expand its military footprint in Iraq as the Obama administration races to help the country regain momentum in its fight against the Islamic State.Alistair Baskey, a White House spokesman, said officials...
» Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing - Minneapolis Star Tribune
09/06/15 22:57 from fbi - Google News
Minneapolis Star Tribune Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing Minneapolis Star Tribune A Minneapolis man convicted of threatening FBI agents who arrived on his doorstep to question his brother about alleged ter...
» Big companies no better at cybersecurity than small ones, CSOs admit - CSO Australia (blog)
09/06/15 22:15 from cybersecurity - Google News
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» President Obama vouches for better cyber security at the G7 Summit - Digital Trends
09/06/15 22:02 from Cyberwarfare - Google News
Digital Trends President Obama vouches for better cyber security at the G7 Summit Digital Trends During a news conference on June 8 at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Germany, President Barack Obama made it a point to focus on cyber se...
» NATO starts 'very high readiness' force drills in Poland - RT
09/06/15 22:00 from nato - Google News
RT NATO starts 'very high readiness' force drills in Poland RT NATO's newly formed rapid response force; designed to strengthen the “defensive” alliance's eastern borders against the perceived Russian threat, has launched...
» Canada to station troops at NATO command centre in Poland - The Globe and Mail
09/06/15 21:46 from nato - Google News
The Globe and Mail Canada to station troops at NATO command centre in Poland The Globe and Mail Canada is contributing Canadian Armed Forces personnel to a NATO command centre being set up in Poland as a defence against further Russian a...
» 69450Search 69,450 Articles:
09/06/15 21:33 from United States Defense and Military Forces - News - Times Topics - The New York Times
69450 Search 69,450 Articles: U.S. Adding Military Advisers in Iraq to Reclaim Ramadi, Officials Say By MICHAEL R. GORDON The effort to retake Ramadi and push back the Islamic State effectively delays plans to recapture the city of Mosul...
» Pentagon: More labs got shipments of live anthrax samples 
09/06/15 21:22 from News - Stripes
Pentagon: More labs got shipments of live anthrax samples The Pentagon says the number of laboratories that received shipments of live anthrax samples has grown to 68, including one in the United Kingdom. Camp Bonifas — only a few minute...
» Warriors coach Steve Kerr on hacking Tristan Thompson: "It's a dumb rule" - cleveland.com
09/06/15 21:06 from Cyberwar - Google News
cleveland.com Warriors coach Steve Kerr on hacking Tristan Thompson: "It's a dumb rule" cleveland.com CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Golden State coach Steve Kerr might not like the hack-a-player strategy, but that doesn't mean he ...
» Dennis Hastert pleads not guilty amid claims of hush money, lying to FBI - Chicago Tribune
09/06/15 20:31 from fbi - Google News
Chicago Tribune Dennis Hastert pleads not guilty amid claims of hush money, lying to FBI Chicago Tribune According to the charges, Hastert had already paid $1.7 million to the acquaintance, identified only as Individual A, then lied abou...
» OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: Scope of fed hack still unknown - The Hill
09/06/15 20:13 from cybersecurity - Google News
OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY : Scope of fed hack still unknown The Hill Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY , your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We're here to connect the dots as leaders in gov...
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» Gritty, Little Alternative News Reporter Provokes DIA Response To ISIS Charges
09/06/15 19:56 from ThereAreNoSunglasses
[SEE: 2012 DIA Document Detailing the Rise of ISIS, before the fact] The DIA Gives an Official Response to LevantReport.com Article Alleging the West Backed ‘Islamic State’ by Brad Hoff ON FRIDAY, MAY 22, I contacted the DIA Public Affai...
» Georgia's Perdue pushes bill to boost State Department cyber-security - Florida Times-Union
09/06/15 19:44 from Cyberwarfare - Google News
Georgia's Perdue pushes bill to boost State Department cyber - security Florida Times-Union As news of a massive federal data breach continues to spread, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., introduced legislation Monday to safeguard the c...
» DoubleLine's Gundlach sees odds of Fed hike by Dec. under 50 percent
09/06/15 19:31 from Search Results
DoubleLine's Gundlach sees odds of Fed hike by Dec. under 50 percent Target pulls announcement on share buyback, dividend from website Wall Street ends flat; S&P 500 snaps three-day losing streak Wall Street closes flat as investors ...
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09/06/15 19:13 from cia - Google News
VICE News Congress Is Poised To Make Illegal Torture More Illegal Huffington Post who spearheaded that panel's gruesome report released late last year on the Bush-era CIA torture program -- lawmakers in no uncertain terms forbid the ...
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09/06/15 19:00 from cybersecurity - Google News
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Obama vows to boost U.S. cyber defenses amid signs of China hacking

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U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of the G7 Summit in Kruen, GermanyU.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of the G7 Summit in Kruen, Germany
By Jeff Mason and Mark Hosenball
KRUEN, Germany/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama vowed on Monday that the United States would aggressively bolster its cyber defenses, as U.S. officials said the probe into a massive breach of federal government networks has yielded growing signs of a direct Chinese role.
Obama stopped short of pointing the finger at Beijing for the recent cyber attack, which threatens to overshadow broader annual U.S.-China talks in Washington this month at a time when tensions are already high over Beijing's pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea.
"We have to be as nimble, as aggressive and as well-resourced as those who are trying to break into these systems," Obama told a news conference at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Germany.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have blamed Chinese hackers for breaching the computers of the Office of Personnel Management and compromising the records of up to four million current and former employees in one of the biggest known attacks on U.S. federal networks.
The mission of the intruders, the officials said, appears to have been to steal personal information for recruiting spies and ultimately to seek access to weapons plans and industrial secrets.
Though China has denied involvement, U.S. investigators looking into the computer break-in, which was disclosed on Thursday, have uncovered "markings," or digital signatures, left by the hackers that indicate it was likely an official Chinese government operation, two officials said on Monday.
They did not, however, offer further details as to how they reached that conclusion.
Investigators have all but discarded the notion that Chinese criminal elements might have been behind the hacking and believe it was unlikely the Beijing government hired outside hackers, though one official said that possibility had not been completely ruled out.
U.S. authorities have also begun discussions on whether to go public once they make a final assessment of responsibility, but no consensus on that has emerged, a source familiar with the investigation said.
The White House, which has yet to assign blame, has given no sign whether retaliation might be considered.
In December, U.S. officials moved swiftly to accuse North Korea of being behind a high-profile attack on Sony Corp <6758.T> over a movie depicting the assassination of North Korea's leader, and Obama vowed that the United States would respond.
But the Obama administration is likely to move cautiously in response to any Chinese role, mindful of the potential harm from escalating cyber warfare between the world's two biggest economies whose interests are closely intertwined.
OBAMA CITES "SIGNIFICANT VULNERABILITIES"
In Germany on Monday, Obama declined to say whether he believed China was behind the OPM cyber attack, the second in less than a year on the agency that holds personnel data a security clearance information for the federal workforce.
But he said the United States has old computer systems with "significant vulnerabilities" and needs to be "much more aggressive" in stepping up defenses. He urged the U.S. Congress to move forward on passing cybersecurity legislation.
"In some cases, it's non-state actors who are engaging in criminal activity and potential theft," he said. "In the case of state actors, they're probing for intelligence or in some cases trying to bring down systems in pursuit of their various foreign policy objectives."
Illustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard in WarsawIllustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard in Warsaw
U.S. government officials and cyber analysts say Chinese hackers are using high-tech tactics to build massive databases that could be used for traditional espionage, such as recruiting spies, or gaining access to secure data on other networks.
The latest incident gave the hackers access to a trove of personal information, including birthdates, Social Security numbers, previous addresses and security clearances.
One official said the stolen information would enable an intelligence service to chart out relationships among U.S. government employees and build pictures of individuals and their families, potentially enabling them to figure out ways to target or blackmail people for espionage purposes.
"I see this an intelligence play by the Chinese to get as much high-level information about people as they can," said Mike Walls, a former U.S. Navy cyber warfare commander who is now managing director for security operations at EdgeWave, a private cybersecurity... 


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