Will our future Internet be paradise or dystopia?

What we learned from an Atlantic Council event discussing digital trends and possible scenarios for the world’s online future.

What does the perfect Internet look like?

The paradisiacal vision of its future – a scenario Atlantic Council senior fellow Jason Healey calls “Cyber Shangri La” – is one in which the dreams of Silicon Valley come true: New technologies are born and implemented quickly; secure online access is a human right.

There’s also what Mr. Healey, a Passcode columnist, dubs “Clockwork Orange Internet.” In this dystopian future, criminals and nation-states knock down attempts to secure networks and devices; people are afraid of shopping online or communicating freely with friends.

Passcode was the exclusive media partner for an event hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative on Wednesday focusing on alternate realities for the future of the Digital Age. Here are three things we learned from some of the country’s leading thinkers. Continue reading

How mature is PyongYang’s submarine launched missile program?

Nov 22, 2014

North Korea recently conducted a test of an ejection launcher that U.S. intelligence agencies assess is part of Pyongyang’s recently discovered submarine-launched ballistic missile program. Despite those alleged facts, analysts question the maturity of the North Korean missile submarine program.

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North Korea recently conducted a test of an ejection launcher that U.S. intelligence agencies assess is part of Pyongyang’s recently discovered submarine-launched ballistic missile program – the 38 North website last month.

 

The U.S. publication said that U.S. intelligence agencies observed the land-based test of the ejection launcher in late October at a facility known to be a key development center for the communist state’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program. The source speculated that the launcher also could be used by North Korea to launch ballistic or cruise missiles from the deck of a freighter or other kinds of surface vessels. Continue reading

In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web

ICANN Logo

ICANN Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net

On February 8, 2000, the US government signed a contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to run the so-called “IANA functions” – which glue together the internet as we know it.

Ever since that day, people have been trying to end that contract. This time next year, it will finally happen.

Unfortunately, despite having had nearly 14 years to think about it, the process for deciding how to move the global internet and its addressing systems out from under a US government contract will be decided in the next four weeks. By 100 people. Mostly over email.

The CWG, or Cross Community Working Group (CWG) to Develop an IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal on Naming Related Functions, to give it its full title, has until 27 November to complete its deliberations. Continue reading

The Iranian Cyber Offensive during Operation Protective Edge

INSS Insight No. 598, August 26, 2014
Gabi Siboni , Sami Kronenfeld
 Although the IDF’s abilities to handle the rocket and attack tunnel threats have garnered most of the attention during the latest campaign in the Gaza Strip, it is now clear that Israel was also forced to confront cyber challenges during Operation Protective Edge. A senior officer in the C4I Corps noted that in the course of the campaign Iranian elements launched a widespread cyber offensive against Israeli targets, including attempts to damage security and financial networks. While these attempts were neutralized relatively easily and quickly by Israeli cyber defenses, it seems that Iran is investing heavily in the development of effective offensive capabilities against infrastructure systems, and might present a serious challenge to Israeli defenses within the foreseeable future. In 2013, a series of attacks on the websites of major US banks and financial institutions was attributed to Iran. An information security expert described these attacks, which included sophisticated techniques and demonstrated an ability to act in significant scope against high quality targets, as unprecedented in degree and effectiveness.

Image Bank/Getty Images

Attacks on a nation’s financial infrastructures have serious repercussions, liable to result in heavy financial damage as they disrupt routine financial activity of commercial enterprises and households alike. However, the focus of the cyber offensive during Operation Protective Edge was the civilian internet. Iranian elements participated in what the C4I officer described as an attack unprecedented in its proportions and the quality of its targets. The attack targeted IDF websites such as the Home Front Command and the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, as well as civilian internet infrastructures. The attackers had some success when they managed to spread a false message via the IDF’s official Twitter account saying that the Dimona nuclear reactor had been hit by rocket fire and that there was a risk of a radioactive leak. Some of the attacks against Israel were attributed to the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a group of Assad-supporting hackers that in recent years has developed significant attack capabilities and described by Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and the NSA, as a veritable Iranian proxy. Continue reading

Cybersecurity and the Potential Need for Cyber Chairs

The true cost of cybercrime is not easy to tabulate. While many companies have experienced its wrath first hand, even more have suffered from cybercrime unknowingly through higher cost, operational issues, brand erosion and lower-quality products. Moreover, consider the lost benefit from products that never even made it to the market as a result of intellectual property theft.

As a result, boards of directors have a responsibility to take a more active role—in fact they have a duty—to ensure that management protects and maximizes the value of their digital assets both within and outside the company walls; and to position the organization for the opportunities and disruptions that arise through digital technology. These risks and opportunities may even warrant board-level leadership: a Cyber Chair.

Continue reading

Al Shabaab forces telecom to switch off service

English: War flag of al-Shabaab

English: War flag of al-Shabaab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By AHMED OSMA Special Correspondent

Posted  Saturday, February 22   2014 at  16:13

Osman Ali, the owner of an electronics shop in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, has been hard-hit since Al Shabaab forced the biggest telecoms company to switch off its mobile Internet service in the Horn of Africa nation.

“I don’t understand why the government has not done anything to deal with the situation. It could at least find an alternative for the people. This has thrown the country into darkness. We are left behind,” Ali said from his shop, explaining that his sales had dropped dramatically since the shutdown. Continue reading

Warnings of North Sea helicopter pilot shortage

 

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North Sea operators are struggling to find sufficient helicopter pilots. Picture: TSPL

by FRANK URQUHART

Published on the 09 February 2014 00:00

NORTH Sea helicopter operators are struggling to attract experienced pilots to operate crucial offshore flights.

The once steady stream of trained crew, drawn from former military personnel, has “all but dried up”, forcing operators to look for people willing to pay £100,000-plus to fund their own pilot training.

Flying helicopters in the North Sea remains an “aspiration career”, according to Captain Colin Milne, chairman of the helicopter affairs committee of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, but unless fresh recruits can be found the industry will face a shortage of skilled pilots.

“The Central and Northern North Sea, operating out of Aberdeen and Shetland, is the helicopter equivalent of long-haul Boeing 747 flights for fixed-wing pilots. It is highly demanding and we need people of the top calibre,” he told Scotland on Sunday. “But I’d say we have mopped up everybody at all suitable for that very top layer of the industry. Where are the next lot of pilots going to come from?”

Significant new investment in the North Sea is expected to increase the pressure on operators to have a healthy supply of qualified pilots. Milne said the industry should be braced for a “huge ramp-up” of demand for their services.

Continue reading