Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

7/20/2018
03:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

US Intel Officials Share Their National Cybersecurity Concerns

Leaders in the security sector discuss the most pressing cyberthreats threatening the United States and what can be done to mitigate them.

National Intelligence director Dan Coats put the threat to national cybersecurity into context on July 13, 2018, when he said "the warning lights are blinking red again" in a speech before the Hudson Institute, a Washington, DC-based conservative think tank.

Coats was trying to get our attention, says Tonya Ugoretz, director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She was one of several national security experts to take the stage today at Cyber Live 202, an event hosted by The Washington Post and focused on modern cyber threats to national security.

The system was also "blinking red" back in 2001, when intelligence and law enforcement agencies detected activity signifying a threat to the United States. Now it's happening again, but it's our digital infrastructure that could be under attack, Ugoretz explained. She cited Russia as the most aggressive foreign actor the department sees in cyberspace, "with good reason."

"Aggression is widespread, it's against multiple sectors, it's against multiple types of networks," she said. If we create a dialogue around sharing information, notifying victims if they're hit with intrusion or influence campaigns, we can better plan our defense.

For example, the DHS and FBI issued alerts this year about Russia's efforts against the US and allies, warning defenders to protect against Russian activity in critical infrastructure. The Justice Department now has a brand-new policy to disclose the existence of information warfare attacks against the US political system when there is high confidence in the foreign actor behind it.

These practices are helpful but ultimately weak without leadership from the top. "The President himself does not take seriously the capability of Russian intelligence services," said Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and national security commentator for CNN. "It's very, very concerning to me."

Rogers was referring to the recent meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, during which the US President dismissed Russian interference indictments related to activity during the US presidential election. While Putin was prepared for the meeting and knew what he would get out of it, Trump "was not prepared," Rogers said.

The meeting played right into the information operations Russia had been conducting and will continue, he added. "They're getting better at it and they're getting more aggressive about it … this is what I worry about," Rogers emphasized. Intelligence officials monitor Russian bot operations trying to influence different topics every day, and the volume is getting bigger.

Intelligence experts agree a full government approach is needed to tackle the threat. "One of the things no one's really done a good job of so far is imposing a cost on bad state actors for their activities," said Chris Painter, former and first-appointed cyber coordinator for the US State Department. The cost would both punish them and deter them from future activity, he said.

"The President hadn't said, 'If this happens again there will be consequences' … and I think a lot of people in government are waiting for that leadership," Painter continued.

Jason Matheny, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), spoke to the future and said one of cybersecurity's biggest threats "is sort of boring": 70-80% of threats from nation-states and cybercriminals are social engineering attacks, he noted.

Within the next 5- to ten years, both threats and defenses will become more sophisticated due to machine learning, which is being used to detect phishing emails as they arrive. "There's now an arms race," he said, as people developing phishing attacks use the same technology to create subtle attacks that bypass advanced filters.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 6/5/2020
How AI and Automation Can Help Bridge the Cybersecurity Talent Gap
Peter Barker, Chief Product Officer at ForgeRock,  6/1/2020
Cybersecurity Spending Hits 'Temporary Pause' Amid Pandemic
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  6/2/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: What? IT said I needed virus protection!
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-13881
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
In support.c in pam_tacplus 1.3.8 through 1.5.1, the TACACS+ shared secret gets logged via syslog if the DEBUG loglevel and journald are used.
CVE-2020-13883
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
In WSO2 API Manager 3.0.0 and earlier, WSO2 API Microgateway 2.2.0, and WSO2 IS as Key Manager 5.9.0 and earlier, Management Console allows XXE during addition or update of a Lifecycle.
CVE-2020-13871
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
SQLite 3.32.2 has a use-after-free in resetAccumulator in select.c because the parse tree rewrite for window functions is too late.
CVE-2020-13864
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
The Elementor Page Builder plugin before 2.9.9 for WordPress suffers from a stored XSS vulnerability. An author user can create posts that result in a stored XSS by using a crafted payload in custom links.
CVE-2020-13865
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
The Elementor Page Builder plugin before 2.9.9 for WordPress suffers from multiple stored XSS vulnerabilities. An author user can create posts that result in stored XSS vulnerabilities, by using a crafted link in the custom URL or by applying custom attributes.