Australia is Spending Millions on Cyber-Security

In this day and age, cyber-security is a huge issue for countries and companies alike, and everyone wants to upgrade and protect their systems. The latest to join this barrage of countries if Australia who recently announced a new strategy in cyber-security.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched the new strategy in Sydney, with a budget of $178 million, the scheme will look to bolster their defensive and offensive capabilities. That’s right while he didn’t confirm if the country had used its offensive capabilities against other countries, Turnbull did acknowledge it had hacking capabilities by saying that it “adds to [Australia’s] credibility as it promote norms of good behaviour on the international stage and, importantly, familiarity with offensive measures enhances [its] defensive capabilities as well.”

The funding will create new centers for cyber-security and give 5,000 companies the means to test their security. Supporting the country and the companies based within the new funding will look to support an already growing cyber economy, something which the schemes document claims is “growing twice as fast as the rest of the global economy”.

With GCHQ stating that a recent investment into cyber-security didn’t go as well as planned and a recent survey showing that executives thinking cyber-security is an IT problem, any investment to protect people from malicious hackers online should be welcome.

Cyber Warfare Could Become A Specialist Combat Unit In The US

The saying goes that “to be prepared is half the victory”, this is never more the case in the modern day when everything can change in a split second. With the modern day battle happening months and even years before the first shot is fired, warfare happens every day on the internet attacking the minds and systems of countries with no warning. In response to this growing threat, cyber warfare could soon become a specialist combat unit within the United states military.

Currently, anything relating to cyber warfare is united as part of a “sub-unified command” beneath the U.S. strategic command, but reports are coming in that Defence Secretary Ash Carter may be looking at turning the cyber command unit into a full combatant command.

This would put cyber warfare on bar with the nine that currently operate within the U.S. military including six commands based on their geographical areas (Pacific, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Central and Southern command) and three based on their areas of specialty, such as the transportation command, strategic command (those in charge of nuclear forces) and special operations command groups. Moving out from strategic command to become the 10th COCOM (Combat Commander Exercise combatant command) would be a big step in realising the threat of cyber warfare and the steps that countries need to take to protect people beyond the lines of maps.

Harvard Human Rights Clinic Tells UN: “Ban Killer Robots”

A new 38-page report, written by a partnership of Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, is warning the United Nations to “ban killer robots”.

The report, entitled Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots, expresses the fear that “Fully autonomous weapons, also known as ‘killer robots,’ raise serious moral and legal concerns because they would possess the ability to select and engage their targets without meaningful human control.”

In the report, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School deal with the concern that fully autonomous weapons will lack the sophistication to always be able to differentiate between hostile and friendly targets, or military and civilian targets, on the battlefield.

The issue is further compounded by the lack of accountability for “unlawful harm caused by fully autonomous weapons,” which, under current laws, absolves operators, commanders, programmers, manufacturers from any responsibility for the actions of such a robot.

The only solution that the report suggests is for a global ban on fully autonomous weapons, similar to the pre-emptive ban on blinding laser weapons in 1995 and the forced removal of unexploded cluster bombs initiated in 2006.

The UN will begin a week-long international meeting in Geneva next Monday that will debate the issue of autonomous weapons systems, with additions to The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons being considered.

Thank you Digital Trends for providing us with this information.

Players Want to Make ArmA III Even More Realistic with Latest ACE3 Mod

If you are looking for the ultimate military warfare simulation game, then ArmA III is for you. Yet with all its realism, modders apparently tweaked a lot of its features and added even more realism as they saw fit.

The modders come from three communities, namely the modders behind ACE2, AGM and CSE, who have joined their forces to release ACE3. The modders are said to have spent months on tweaking and polishing their project in order to get what they call “the most comprehensive and realistic gameplay experience for Arma III.”

Core Features

  • Completely new 3D Interaction/Action System
  • Performance and reliability framework
  • Focus on modularity and customisation
  • New flexible client and server settings & configuration
  • Improved medical system with various levels (Basic/Advanced) focus on gameplay/realism
  • Proper & consistent network synced weather
  • Wind and Weather Advanced Ballistics
  • Captivity System
  • Explosives System including different trigger types
  • Map screen improvements, marker placement and map tools
  • Advanced missile guidance and laser designation

Additional Features

  • Carrying and dragging
  • Realistic names for vehicles and weapons
  • Realistic ballistics/FCS calculated in C/C++ extensions
  • Backblast and overpressure simulation
  • A fire control system for armoured vehicles and helicopters
  • Disposable launchers
  • Realistic G-forces
  • Vehicle Locking
  • Realistic Night and Thermal vision modes
  • Magazine repacking
  • Realistic weapon heating
  • Combat deafness simulation
  • Improved Ragdoll Physics
  • Improved interactions for AARs and ammo bearers
  • Adjustable sniper scopes
  • No Idle Animation with lowered weapon
  • No talking player Avatar
  • Jumping over obstacles, climbing over walls and cutting down fences
  • Vector, MicroDAGR and Kestrel devices

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information.

China Admits Having an ‘Army of Hackers’ to Help with Cyberwars

China has finally admitted that it has cyber warfare units after its government previously denied having any organised cyber warfare elements in an investigation blaming the People’s Liberation Army as being the source for hacking attacks on the US.

Expert on Chinese military strategy at the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, Joe McReyolds, stated that this is the first time China admitted that it has digital weapons teams “on both the military and civilian-government sides.”

McReyolds believes that China has split its cyber warfare units into three categories, one being the military operational units, another in civilian organisations with hacking authorisation from the PLA, and another “third-party” category, which sounds more like a hacker-for-hire approach.

“It means that the Chinese have discarded their fig leaf of quasi-plausible deniability,” McReynolds said. “As recently as 2013, official PLA [People’s Liberation Army] publications have issued blanket denials such as, ‘The Chinese military has never supported any hacker attack or hacking activities.’ They can’t make that claim anymore.”

Though analyst have always assumed that China was lying about its cyber warfare units, this may be a small step forward to a more transparent PLA. However, the updated version of The Science of Military Strategy came out back in 2013, but it hadn’t been available to foreign experts up until now.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Thanks to Recent Hacks, US Lauching New Cyber Warfare Agency

Meet the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, or CTIIC for short, the US’ newest department on the cyber warfare front. Being announced later today by the president’s counter terrorism chief. This new department is a direct result of the recent hacks that fell upon Sony and JPMorgan, which caused President Obama to pledge a beefed up digital security for America.

Washing Post originally reported that one of the main purposes of the new CTIIC will be to sit between all the major agencies, to help aid in the shared data between them, hopefully preventing further attacks of similar nature.

After the Sony hack, the FBI, NSA, and CIA all had come to different conclusions, rather than agreeing on a single cohesive response.  This essentially was the final straw, prompting this change, allowing for a more unified analysis. The CTIIC will have rather small intial staff of only about 50, but a nice budget of $35 million a year. Its main focus will keep it from conducting any surveillance work on its own.

Edward Snowden Reveals NSAs MonsterMind Program

Edward Snowden is back once again with another chilling tale from the NSA, this time blowing the covers from their MonsterMind project, an automated cyber weapon located in the high desert near Bluffdale, Utah.

This tremendously powerful system sits atop the data flows into the National Security Agency’s Mission Data Repository, acting as a brute force approach to covert cyber warfare in one single program. The system scans vast amounts of electronic communications as they pass through the 247 acre facility. The system listens for cyber attacks and strikes back without warning or detection thanks to advanced bluffing techniques. The concerning factor here is not just how it scans this much data, but also how it automatically decides when and where to strike.

Much like the Stanley Kubrick film Doctor Strangelove, the misfire of one missile leads to an automatic strike back, resulting in all out nuclear war. This system is much the same, a dumb automation that strikes back blindly and with severe force (in digital terms). If other nations have a similar system in place or plan to in the near future, these systems could one day fight amongst themselves, bumping entire countries offline for god knows how long.

The real question is, do we need systems like this? Are they just out to defend sensitive NSA data, or do they genuinely protect the nation from severe digital attacks? That much remains to be seen, but I’m sure we won’t to wait long for further revelations from Mr Snowden.

Thank you Popsci for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Popsci.

DARPA Working on Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel

DARPA is said to be working on an Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program, which is said to be the first robotic autonomous vessel designed to locate and track even the most quiet diesel submarines at the most extreme depths.

The national security, health and engineering company, Leidos, is part of the DARPA program tasked with building the ACTUV. Based in Reston, Virginia, the company is said to have been granted the ‘OK’ back in February in order to start work on the autonomous unmanned vessel, having it built at Christensen Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington, under the supervision of Leidos and Oregon Iron Works. Actual work on the vessel is said to take 15 months, with a launch date set for 2015 on the Columbia River.

“ACTUV’s advanced sensor technology should allow for continuous surveillance which, combined with the vessel architecture and design, is expected to provide autonomous safe navigation supporting Navy missions around the world,” says Leidos Group President, John Fratamico.

The ACTUV is said to be built out of carbon composite, using a modular design and a parallel workflow method in order to speed up assembly. In addition to the latter, the ACTUV is equipped with navigation and piloting sensors, electro-optics, as well as long and short-range radar. Leidos states tat the ACTUV’s modular design allows it to carry out anti-submarine warfare operations, having the ability to be refitted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well.

Thank you Gizmag for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Gizmag