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Cyber Intelligence

by John Reed on January 3, 2011

By Kevin Coleman — Defense Tech Cyberwarfare Correspondent.

Few people would dispute that countries around the world are rushing to establish centers for cyber defense. Successful attacks like Stuxnet, Ghostnet, as well as those against Georgia and Estonia and others have governments concerned about their cyber defense capabilities and the risks cyber attacks pose to their countries. Cyber defense like defense against convention and nuclear threats requires intelligence from a number of assets. Traditional intelligence activities, Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) are critical components of Cyber Intelligence (CYBINT). Unlike conventional and nuclear threat intelligence, cyber intelligence needs to be near real-time and include Technical Intelligence (TECHINT) about vulnerabilities and the use/release of cyber weapons. In addition, CYBINT must identify and track those developing, selling and using cyber weapons on a global basis. This will create an intelligence challenge far greater than the one during the cold war. Cyber weapons require no special materials, virtually no facilities for development and only a modest level of funding, knowledge and skills that are widely available. This will pose and unprecedented intelligence challenge and require new skills and knowledge and extensive interaction with critical infrastructure providers as well as major players across the technology industry.

Effective CYBINT, like in traditional forms of conflict, could provide a country with information that would create a distinct advantage in cyber conflicts. The culmination of all source intelligence must generate threat profiling of state and sub-state actors and update these profiles on a near real time basis. The mechanisms needed to identify and gauge cyber capabilities and intentions as well as the ability to penetrate, neutralize threats are, for the most part, being researched and under development.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Musson January 3, 2011 at 11:35 am

Following the success of Stuxnet, how soon before Airbus drops a cyber bomb on Boeing? And, since Boeing can’t seem to build their 787 – maybe they already have?

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jasoncsimmonn s January 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

How r those newly found steaoth planes from the chinese this is no problem by nato atandards they do have airspace lets not make such a big deal out of this Holloman is not housing the b2s out there in new mexico maybe virgin galactic has there program up and running thank god there here ha ha !! Spc.simmons

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kim January 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Ever heard of the small black dots, like the ones at the end of this sentence?…..

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Kevin January 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Digital MIcrodots!

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Dylan January 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Whoever wrote this article has no idea what he is talking about. I'm not going to read it, because the first thing I saw was "Human Intelligence (HUMIT)" and "Signal Intelligence (SIGNET)." Anyone who knows anything about Human Intelligence or Signal Intelligence knows the proper abberviations and HUMINT and SIGINT respectively.

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Kevin January 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Voice recognition to text programs do have their ink

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stark0311 January 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

HUMINT was fixed, but SIGINT is still written incorrectly as "SIGNINT". Come on, guys. We know what you mean, but you should really get those correct for the article to be professional.

Also, is the "article" just those two brief paragraphs, or am I missing the link to the rest of it? (Very likely; sometimes I'm slow.) Is this is intended as an intro to cyber intelligence, or perhaps as an effort to get "CYBINT" established as an accepted term? If an "Intro to Cyber Intelligence", it would have been useful to mention the new US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and probably NSA. If a polemic for the term CYBINT, maybe I'm out of the loop but I've yet to see that adopted widely, let alone officially. I'm not against it, but the term is just not at that point yet.

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Kevin January 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Cyber Intelligence must be defined, established and fully integrated within the DoD and Intel communities as well as the private sector. The idea for the article came from a defense/intelligence organization that contacted me about the general issue of cyber intelligence and the need to rapidly spin up what was called a Hybrid model that integrated traditional intelligence collection and analysis with the collection of cyber intelligence. The rest of the conversation went into classified info and data so all the nifty supporting facts and figures that can't be discussed here. So, your point about cyber command not being mentioned – that was on purpose. It is unclear at this point the model for cyber intelligence and if it will be within cyber command or integrated within NSA, CIA, Cyber Command and other organizations! There was , believe it or not, a suggestion that a NEW org be established.

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stark0311 January 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

Thanks for the follow-up, Kevin. I still think that Cyber Command should have been mentioned, as even if they are not designated the lead agency for national cyber intelligence, they will have a large role to play in it. They are also a new command and just topically very relevant. The article is a very quick summary of the issue, and to not mention them I think is missing a simple and good data point. Regardless, it's not the end of the world, either. :)

Your mention of a suggestion for yet another new org to be established……lord help us! ;)

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stark0311 January 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Thanks for the follow-up, Kevin. I still think that Cyber Command should have been mentioned, as even if they are not designated the lead agency for national cyber intelligence, they will have a large role to play in it. They are also a new command and just topically very relevant. The article is a very quick summary of the issue, and to not mention them I think is missing a simple and good data point. Regardless, it's not the end of the world, either. :)

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donkeydo@Israel January 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

It seems to me that as long as such cyber monsters like Microsoft, IBM, etc. keep on trying to destroy each other, some ordinary services responsible for cyber safety won't be able to do much about it. It is a well-known fact that software companies which are striving for prosperity are ready to use any means and methods to get rid of their competitors.

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hooi yew January 9, 2011 at 8:43 am

The only answer is everyone learn how to hack and program and we create our own organization to protect our own.
I am not going to rely on gov.
coz they will also check wat i looking at also.
Sam u gov and every gov in the world

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hooi yew January 9, 2011 at 8:43 am

sam write wrongly.
is dam u all gov and also the whole world gov who involve here

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