Cyber Roundup (3/28): A glimpse at cyber ROEs, China behind RSA attack, Richard Clarke on Stuxnet and China, and a growing N. Korean cyber threat

A busy night in cyber news . . .

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Carlo Munoz reported for The Hill on the upcoming release of cyber rules of engagement (ROE) for the U.S. military.  Mostly citing to testimony given by Gen. Keith Alexander (CyberComm/NSA), the article explained that the ROEs will "expand existing Pentagon protocols regarding cyberattacks beyond military networks."  The current ROEs only govern cyberattacks on internal DOD networks and control the response if hackers breach them.  DOD should finalize the ROEs in two months, according to The Hill article.

Ellen Nakashima also reported on the upcoming cyber ROEs for the Washington Post.  The WashPo also cited Gen. Alexander.  Specifically, the General believes that cyberattacks on foreign computer systems need presidential approval.  In this sense, individual military commanders would not be able to launch cyberattacks against foreign systems.  The General went on to compare acting defensively with a missle shoot-down, but acting offensively as something that would require "the president and the [defense] secretary to step in and start making decisions, versus us taking that on."

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J. Nicholas Hoover also cited some of Gen. Alexander's comments for InformationWeekGovernment.  Specifically, the General said that China was behind the cyberattack on RSA.  In considering the attack, the General noted that China's "ability to do it against a company like RSA is such a high-order capability that . . .  other companies [are] vulnerable."  What's the response?  Gen. Alexander said that "[w]e need to make it more difficult for the Chinese to do what they're doing."  In essence, the government needs the ability to stop Chinese cyber-attacks in real-time.

Jared Serbu (of FederalNewsRadio) also quoted Gen. Alexander: "If we can't see the attack, we can't stop it . . . We're not talking about putting the military or the NSA into private networks to see the attack. We don't want to do that. But we have to have the ability to work with industry so that when they see an attack, they can share that with us immediately."

***

Jason Healy (of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission) gave testimony on the U.S. government's "Four Cyber Silences."  Generally exploring the U.S. government's reluctance to confront China on its blatant cyber-espionage, Healy concluded that the U.S. government must break the four cyber silences so that we can all understood the scope of the problem.

The silences?

  1. "Silence about how we got here."
  2. "Silence about the threat we face."
  3. "Silence about practical information which could help the private sector."
  4. "Silence to the Chinese about our increasing fury."

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Ron Rosenbaum wrote a fantastic article for the Smithsonian on Richard Clarke, the author of Cyber War.  A few quick points, but the article is definitely worth a longer read:

  • Clarke believes that it is "pretty clear" that the U.S. was behind Stuxnet (with a bit of Israeli help on the side).  Why?  Clarke believes that "[Stuxnet] very much had the feel to it of having been written by or governed by a team of Washington lawyers."
  • Interestingly, Stuxnet only got loose because it didn't obey its TTL, or "Time to Live" (a Blade Runner reference!). 
  • Clarke believes that China has already penetrated every major company in the U.S.  Likely Great Britian, too. 
  • As for China, Clarke fears that the U.S. will die of a thousand cuts (due to Chinese cyber-espionage) as opposed to a cyber-Pearl Harbor.

Again, you can find the Smithsonian article here, there's a lot more to read.

***

According to Paul Eckert of Reuters, North Korea is becoming an increasing cyber threat because it has "added sophisticated cyber attack capabilities to its arsenal."

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One Response to “Cyber Roundup (3/28): A glimpse at cyber ROEs, China behind RSA attack, Richard Clarke on Stuxnet and China, and a growing N. Korean cyber threat”

  1. admin says:

    “DOD should finalize the ROEs in two months, according to The Hill article.” ? We know from Secretary Panetta’s recent speech that the rules of engagement have been updated. Are the rules in the public domain? Do we as citizens know what they are? Or, are they classified?

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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