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Tears and threats as Ukrainians quit navy HQ

Ukrainian servicemen filed out of navy headquarters in Sevastopol on Wednesday with tears in their eyes after the base was seized by pro-Moscow militants, Russian troops and Cossack forces.

The assault began when some 200 unarmed militants — some of them in balaclavas — sawed through a fence and overran the base before heavy heavily armed Russian troops and Cossacks arrived on the scene.

Ukrainian sailors were seen leaving their barracks without their weapons and taking a few belongings with them as uniformed Russian soldiers with rifles patrolled the gate.

“We have been temporarily disbanded and everyone now has to make a choice” — serve the new pro-Moscow government of Crimea or leave the peninsula altogether, one sailor, Vlad, told AFP as he walked away in his military uniform with lieutenant chevrons.

“I was born here and I grew up here and I have been serving for 20 years. Where am I going to go?” said Vlad, one of an estimated 22,000 Ukrainian military personnel stranded in Crimea as it transitions to Russian rule.

“These are Russian soldiers, most likely special forces. I have been serving a long time, I know what Russian special forces look like,” he said of the troops now controlling the headquarters.

“We cannot use guns here. We don’t need a conflict,” he said, despite orders from the Kiev government that soldiers in Crimea can use their weapons for “self-defence”.

Asked whether he is quitting the Ukrainian army, he said no.

“I’m leaving for a while… while time passes and while our superiors make a decision.”

Women were waiting for the officers outside, loading the hastily stuffed plastic bags into cars.

A few soldiers were seen gingerly carrying out their parade naval coats.

“We will come back for the rest tomorrow if they allow us,” one said.

A pro-Russian crowd with Russian flags outside the headquarters clapped when two dozen pro-Russian militia marched out of the premises and formed a a line before a commander who thanked them to the cries of “Hurray!”.

– ‘I am not a partisan’ –

The Ukrainian servicemen looked on warily. “Some of them believe in what they are doing, some are FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), and some are just looting,” sighed one man named Sergiy who said he had worked at the headquarters.

He denied Ukrainians were surrendering or switching sides, but said they felt betrayed.

“Those serving in Crimea have been betrayed by the admiral, the commanders in Kiev. We will wait for what they decide now. If the (new pro-Russian authorities) tell me to leave Crimea, I will leave. I am not a partisan,” he said.

“The vote was a farce,” he said of the Sunday referendum on the peninsula which overwhelmingly supported joining up with Russia.

No shots were fired by either side and the militants said they had captured the head of the Ukrainian navy, Sergiy Gayduk — a report later confirmed by Ukraine’s defence ministry.

“The military base is now under control. There was no use of guns,” said Igor Yeskin, a representative of the pro-Moscow militants, referred to in Crimea as the “self-defence forces”.

He said the aim was to overtake all Ukrainian military outposts without bloodshed. The servicemen had been told that if they resigned “they could stay in Sevastopol or they can leave the territory of Crimea”.

If they stay in the military and want to stay “they can serve the people of Crimea or in the future they can join the Russian army,” he said.

Yeskin gave few details about Gayduk’s capture but said: “He was blocked and he had nowhere to go. He was forced out and he has been taken away.”

Gayduk was only appointed this month after his predecessor, Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky, deserted his post and pledged allegiance to the new pro-Moscow authorities in Crimea.

Asked why and where Gayduk had been taken, Yeskin said it had been in order “to have another conversation” with him.

“The authorities are dealing with this,” he said.

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US Reinforcing Pacific Defenses to Counter North Korean Threats

B2 Spirit escorted by two F-22A Raptors flying over Anderson AFB, Guam. US Air Force photo

B2 Spirit escorted by two F-22A Raptors flying over Anderson AFB, Guam. US Air Force photo

After weeks of listening to war-like threats from North Korea, the United States has embarked on a campaign to ensure Pyongyang is painfully aware of America’s military superiority and the nation’s willingness to defend the South from military attack. Washington has also recently decided to strengthen its missile-defense posture in the Pacific in response to Pyongyang’s continual threats to launch ballistic missile attacks against US targets in the region and targets as far away as the US mainland.

On 8 March and again on 26 March, the United States dispatched B-52 bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to overfly South Korean territory as part of the ongoing joint US-South Korean Foal Eagle military exercise. These flights were, according to US Department of Defense sources, routine flights intended to demonstrate America’s capability of maintaining a “continuous bomber presence” in the region.

In a second operation highlighting America’s ability to conduct long-range airborne bombing missions, two United States Air Force (USAF) B-2 Spirit stealth bombers flew roundtrip from Whiteman Air Force Base to the skies over the Korean Peninsula where they unloaded inert munitions on a South Korean bombing range on 28 March. Flying nonstop with the assistance of in-flight refuelers, Pentagon officials called this mission a clear demonstration of “the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will.” Under less ouvert mission, a flight of seven B-1B bombers was deployed over the Pacific, using open communications to transmit their destination of interest – Guam. Although it was not clear if their destination Guam, the use of open comms channel to deliver what would be considered classified information could have been a signal to Pyongyang. (Foreign Policy)

In a third demonstration of US airborne might, two F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were deployed to Osan Air Force Base in South Korea from their base of operations in Okinawa on 31 March. A US Forces Korea (USFK) announcement referred to this deployment as a routine mission in support of Foal Eagle and not a response to North Korean threats. The Pentagon’s decision to send only two Raptors to South Korea appears to be Washington’s attempt to cultivate a razor-thin balance between demonstrating America’s commitment to regional allies and limiting the potential for provoking a confrontation with Pyongyang. This deployment is the fourth time the US has deployed F-22 Raptors to South Korea and it appears these two aircraft are now being used primarily as a centerpiece in a static display.

The matrix of T/R elements mounted on the plannar array of the Active Electronically Steering Array of the SBX-1 radar. Photo: MDA

The matrix of T/R elements mounted on the plannar array of the Active Electronically Steering Array of the SBX-1 radar. Photo: MDA

Sailing out of its berth in Hawaii on 23 March, the US Military Sealift Command’s Sea-based X-Band Radar vessel (SBX-1) embarked on what the Department of Defense (DoD) claims to be routine sea trials, but is believed to be enroute to the Pacific as additional radar defense to counter potential North Korean missile launches. The SBX-1’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is mounted on a Russian-built fifth generation CS-50 twin-hulled semi-submersible drilling rig designed to function in the type of adverse conditions often encountered in ocean operations.

A US land-based X-Band Radar system, positioned in northern Japan, has been operational since 2006 and a second installation is scheduled to be emplaced in central Japan soon, but is not likely to be fully functional for several more months to come. The land-based systems have been tasked with monitoring missile launches in the region, but lack the mobility of the SBX-1.

The SBX-1 is part of the US Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) project and forms a vital link in the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The SBX-1 can locate, identify, and track suspicious missiles at a range of 4,700 kilometers while feeding targeting data to land-based and seaborne anti-missile batteries. Traveling at an average speed of nine knots, it takes approximately 16 days for the SBX-1 to reach the western Pacific.

In addition to other assets moving closer to North Korea, the United States Navy has also dispatched two guided-missile destroyers to the region on 1 April. According to George Little, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) and the USS Decatur (DDG-73) “have arrived at predetermined positions in the western Pacific, where they will be poised to respond to any missile threats to our allies or our territory.”

The USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) is also believed to be prowling the waters of the region after completing a training mission as part of the Foal Eagle exercise. These three warships are Arleigh Burke-class destroyers fitted with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (ABMD) designed to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles using Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Weapon System and the Raytheon RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3).

On 3 April, in light of Pyongyang’s specific threats against Guam and Hawaii, the Pentagon also announced plans to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) ballistic missile defense battery to Guam within the next few weeks. The Pentagon said this move is a precautionary measure intended to reinforce US defense capabilities in the region.

The THAAD system is a land-based ballistic missile defense system featuring an integrated fire control unit, a truck-mounted launcher, an enhanced AN/TPY-2 tracking radar, and a healthy supply of interceptor missiles. THAAD batteries are designed to detect, track, and intercept potentially hostile missiles.

The island of Guam is a key US territory in the Pacific located approximately 3,380 kilometers southeast of the Korean Peninsula. It is home to more than 10,000 US military personnel, civilians, and military dependents. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base provide extensive facilities in support of US Navy submarines, US Coast Guard surface vessels, and forward deployed USAF strategic bombers.

Shortly after the Pentagon announced the deployment of the THAAD battery to Guam, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) announced that “final approval” had been received authorizing Army commands to initiate a nuclear attack against the United States.

North Korea has moved Musudon (BM25) ballistic missiles to a launch site at the east coast, from where it could launch such missiles on a test flight that could fly over Japan.

North Korea has moved Musudan (BM25) ballistic missiles to a launch site at the east coast, from where it could launch such missiles on a test flight that could fly over Japan.

On 5 April, South Korea’s Yonhap News Service filed a story quoting an unnamed South Korean official as saying Pyongyang had redeployed two intermediate-range missiles, loaded aboard mobile launchers, to the east coast of the Peninsula. The missiles are believed to be BM25 Musudan mid-range missiles with an estimated range of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers. These missiles bring Japan and possibly Guam within range of an attack. Many analysts speculate that the missiles are being positioned for a test launch, but no announcements have been received from Pyongyang explaining the purpose of the redeployment. Some sources indicated such test could take place by April 14. Anticipating the upcoming test the US is set to deploy a Global Hawk unmanned spy plane in Japan to boost surveillance capabilities over North korea. The Global Hawk will be stationed at the US airbase in Misawa, in northern Japan. This will be the first ever deployment of the aircraft in the country, the Sankei Shimbun reported, quoting government sources. Two years ago Global hawk drones were assigned surveillance missions over japan, 48 hours after earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s east coast. On that mission the drones flew from Guam, maintaining continuous coverage of the Japanese coastline for 21 days, spending 300 hours on-station and 500 hours in the air including transit time to Japan. The US military informed Japan last month about plans to deploy the plane between June and September but may bring the date forward, it said, following reports about North Korea’s preparations for missile launches.

Seoul, in a precautionary move, has dispatched two Aegis destroyers to monitor any missile launch that may be forthcoming. The 7,600-ton warships are outfitted with SPY-1 radar giving them the capability to track multiple airborne targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers. One ship has been posted to the east of the Peninsula and one to the west.

Republic of Korea Navy Sejong the Great (DDG-991) KDX-III class AEGIS destroyer

Republic of Korea Navy Sejong the Great (DDG-991) KDX-III class AEGIS destroyer

Unfortunately, the public display of all this firepower and warfighting capability appears to have failed to intimidate Pyongyang. On 5 April North Korea began notifying foreign diplomatic missions that the regime could no longer guarantee their safety and advised them to remove their personnel. The following day, Pyongyang announced that foreign missions in the North had a deadline of 10 April to evacuate.

While most experts believe the North does not possess the military might required to carry-out many of its threats, the fear that Pyongyang will initiate local attacks aimed at South Korea is shared by many and would be in keeping with the North’s historical pattern of armed intervention. Some experts have noted that Pyongyang has engaged in some form of military provocation following every South Korean presidential inauguration to date.

Some sources are making much of the possibility the North may initiate some provocation to commemorate the birthday of the North’s founder, Kim Il-sung, on 15 April or some action might be scheduled to mark the founding of the KPA on 25 April. Given the illogical rhetoric emanating from Pyongyang, just about anything seems possible.

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Guam heightens alert level after North Korea threats

By on Friday, April 12th, 2013

Guam has raised its official threat level and on Thursday tested its emergency alert system after warnings from North Korea identifying the island as a potential missile target.

With a North Korean missile test expected at any time, authorities said the US territory in the western Pacific was on yellow alert, the middle phase of a three-step “traffic light” system comprising green, yellow and red levels.

“This means we should continue with our daily lives while preparing ourselves for any potential of an emergency,” the government said in a statement, describing the risk to the island as “medium”.

“It also means the government pulls its resources together through the emergency operations centre to ensure we are prepared to respond to emergencies.”

Guam’s emergency alert system, which sets off sirens across the island and interrupts regular television and radio broadcasts to deliver information, was tested at 10:00 am (0000 GMT) Thursday.

Governor Eddie Calvo said the test had been successful and the Guam Department of Homeland Security’s joint information centre was now operating 24-hours a day to provide advice to the island’s population of 180,000.

Homeland Security has described the chances of a North Korean attack as remote, noting that Guam “is protected by the greatest nation and military in the world, the United States of America”.

But as a precaution, it launched a campaign this week urging residents to prepare emergency kits and family disaster plans.

Fact sheets have been distributed around the island advising residents on how to protect their families, stay informed and perform tasks such as blast-proofing doors and windows with plastic and tape.

Calvo said he had received assurances from US military commanders on the island, which bristles with American military facilities and bases, that defences were “strong and adequate”.

“Even though we’re protected, it’s important we are vigilant,” he said. “Look at the fact sheets, be prepared and stay tuned for news coming out of the joint information centre.”

Guam, which came under US control in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, lies about 3,380 kilometres (2,100 miles) southeast of North Korea, meaning it is theoretically in range of Pyongyang’s untested Musudan missiles.

Washington has scrambled to deploy its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile shield to Guam, a truck-mounted system capable of tracking and shooting down an enemy projectile.

Despite Pyongyang’s menacing rhetoric, many islanders say their daily life has not been disrupted by the threat of a missile strike.

“At home, we discuss it from time to time but we are not making any preparations because we know that it’s just sabre-rattling,” Gina Tabonares-Reilly told AFP earlier this week.

“There are good enough missile interceptors underneath our waters… North Korea knows that and they are smart (enough) not to commit suicide.”

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US Reinforcing Pacific Defenses to Counter North Korean Threats

B2 Spirit escorted by two F-22A Raptors flying over Anderson AFB, Guam. US Air Force photo

B2 Spirit escorted by two F-22A Raptors flying over Anderson AFB, Guam. US Air Force photo

After weeks of listening to war-like threats from North Korea, the United States has embarked on a campaign to ensure Pyongyang is painfully aware of America’s military superiority and the nation’s willingness to defend the South from military attack. Washington has also recently decided to strengthen its missile-defense posture in the Pacific in response to Pyongyang’s continual threats to launch ballistic missile attacks against US targets in the region and targets as far away as the US mainland.

On 8 March and again on 26 March, the United States dispatched B-52 bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to overfly South Korean territory as part of the ongoing joint US-South Korean Foal Eagle military exercise. These flights were, according to US Department of Defense sources, routine flights intended to demonstrate America’s capability of maintaining a “continuous bomber presence” in the region.

In a second operation highlighting America’s ability to conduct long-range airborne bombing missions, two United States Air Force (USAF) B-2 Spirit stealth bombers flew roundtrip from Whiteman Air Force Base to the skies over the Korean Peninsula where they unloaded inert munitions on a South Korean bombing range on 28 March. Flying nonstop with the assistance of in-flight refuelers, Pentagon officials called this mission a clear demonstration of “the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will.” Under less ouvert mission, a flight of seven B-1B bombers was deployed over the Pacific, using open communications to transmit their destination of interest – Guam. Although it was not clear if their destination Guam, the use of open comms channel to deliver what would be considered classified information could have been a signal to Pyongyang. (Foreign Policy)

In a third demonstration of US airborne might, two F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were deployed to Osan Air Force Base in South Korea from their base of operations in Okinawa on 31 March. A US Forces Korea (USFK) announcement referred to this deployment as a routine mission in support of Foal Eagle and not a response to North Korean threats. The Pentagon’s decision to send only two Raptors to South Korea appears to be Washington’s attempt to cultivate a razor-thin balance between demonstrating America’s commitment to regional allies and limiting the potential for provoking a confrontation with Pyongyang. This deployment is the fourth time the US has deployed F-22 Raptors to South Korea and it appears these two aircraft are now being used primarily as a centerpiece in a static display.

The matrix of T/R elements mounted on the plannar array of the Active Electronically Steering Array of the SBX-1 radar. Photo: MDA

The matrix of T/R elements mounted on the plannar array of the Active Electronically Steering Array of the SBX-1 radar. Photo: MDA

Sailing out of its berth in Hawaii on 23 March, the US Military Sealift Command’s Sea-based X-Band Radar vessel (SBX-1) embarked on what the Department of Defense (DoD) claims to be routine sea trials, but is believed to be enroute to the Pacific as additional radar defense to counter potential North Korean missile launches. The SBX-1’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is mounted on a Russian-built fifth generation CS-50 twin-hulled semi-submersible drilling rig designed to function in the type of adverse conditions often encountered in ocean operations.

A US land-based X-Band Radar system, positioned in northern Japan, has been operational since 2006 and a second installation is scheduled to be emplaced in central Japan soon, but is not likely to be fully functional for several more months to come. The land-based systems have been tasked with monitoring missile launches in the region, but lack the mobility of the SBX-1.

The SBX-1 is part of the US Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) project and forms a vital link in the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The SBX-1 can locate, identify, and track suspicious missiles at a range of 4,700 kilometers while feeding targeting data to land-based and seaborne anti-missile batteries. Traveling at an average speed of nine knots, it takes approximately 16 days for the SBX-1 to reach the western Pacific.

In addition to other assets moving closer to North Korea, the United States Navy has also dispatched two guided-missile destroyers to the region on 1 April. According to George Little, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) and the USS Decatur (DDG-73) “have arrived at predetermined positions in the western Pacific, where they will be poised to respond to any missile threats to our allies or our territory.”

The USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) is also believed to be prowling the waters of the region after completing a training mission as part of the Foal Eagle exercise. These three warships are Arleigh Burke-class destroyers fitted with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (ABMD) designed to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles using Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Weapon System and the Raytheon RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3).

On 3 April, in light of Pyongyang’s specific threats against Guam and Hawaii, the Pentagon also announced plans to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) ballistic missile defense battery to Guam within the next few weeks. The Pentagon said this move is a precautionary measure intended to reinforce US defense capabilities in the region.

The THAAD system is a land-based ballistic missile defense system featuring an integrated fire control unit, a truck-mounted launcher, an enhanced AN/TPY-2 tracking radar, and a healthy supply of interceptor missiles. THAAD batteries are designed to detect, track, and intercept potentially hostile missiles.

The island of Guam is a key US territory in the Pacific located approximately 3,380 kilometers southeast of the Korean Peninsula. It is home to more than 10,000 US military personnel, civilians, and military dependents. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base provide extensive facilities in support of US Navy submarines, US Coast Guard surface vessels, and forward deployed USAF strategic bombers.

Shortly after the Pentagon announced the deployment of the THAAD battery to Guam, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) announced that “final approval” had been received authorizing Army commands to initiate a nuclear attack against the United States.

North Korea has moved Musudon (BM25) ballistic missiles to a launch site at the east coast, from where it could launch such missiles on a test flight that could fly over Japan.

North Korea has moved Musudan (BM25) ballistic missiles to a launch site at the east coast, from where it could launch such missiles on a test flight that could fly over Japan.

On 5 April, South Korea’s Yonhap News Service filed a story quoting an unnamed South Korean official as saying Pyongyang had redeployed two intermediate-range missiles, loaded aboard mobile launchers, to the east coast of the Peninsula. The missiles are believed to be BM25 Musudan mid-range missiles with an estimated range of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers. These missiles bring Japan and possibly Guam within range of an attack. Many analysts speculate that the missiles are being positioned for a test launch, but no announcements have been received from Pyongyang explaining the purpose of the redeployment. Some sources indicated such test could take place by April 14. Anticipating the upcoming test the US is set to deploy a Global Hawk unmanned spy plane in Japan to boost surveillance capabilities over North korea. The Global Hawk will be stationed at the US airbase in Misawa, in northern Japan. This will be the first ever deployment of the aircraft in the country, the Sankei Shimbun reported, quoting government sources. Two years ago Global hawk drones were assigned surveillance missions over japan, 48 hours after earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s east coast. On that mission the drones flew from Guam, maintaining continuous coverage of the Japanese coastline for 21 days, spending 300 hours on-station and 500 hours in the air including transit time to Japan. The US military informed Japan last month about plans to deploy the plane between June and September but may bring the date forward, it said, following reports about North Korea’s preparations for missile launches.

Seoul, in a precautionary move, has dispatched two Aegis destroyers to monitor any missile launch that may be forthcoming. The 7,600-ton warships are outfitted with SPY-1 radar giving them the capability to track multiple airborne targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers. One ship has been posted to the east of the Peninsula and one to the west.

Republic of Korea Navy Sejong the Great (DDG-991) KDX-III class AEGIS destroyer

Republic of Korea Navy Sejong the Great (DDG-991) KDX-III class AEGIS destroyer

Unfortunately, the public display of all this firepower and warfighting capability appears to have failed to intimidate Pyongyang. On 5 April North Korea began notifying foreign diplomatic missions that the regime could no longer guarantee their safety and advised them to remove their personnel. The following day, Pyongyang announced that foreign missions in the North had a deadline of 10 April to evacuate.

While most experts believe the North does not possess the military might required to carry-out many of its threats, the fear that Pyongyang will initiate local attacks aimed at South Korea is shared by many and would be in keeping with the North’s historical pattern of armed intervention. Some experts have noted that Pyongyang has engaged in some form of military provocation following every South Korean presidential inauguration to date.

Some sources are making much of the possibility the North may initiate some provocation to commemorate the birthday of the North’s founder, Kim Il-sung, on 15 April or some action might be scheduled to mark the founding of the KPA on 25 April. Given the illogical rhetoric emanating from Pyongyang, just about anything seems possible.

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Georgia Tech releases cyber threats forecast for 2013

By on Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The year ahead will feature new and increasingly sophisticated means to capture and exploit user data, escalating battles over the control of online information and continuous threats to the U.S. supply chain from global sources.

Those were the findings made by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in Wednesday’s release of the Georgia Tech Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2013.

The report was released at the annual Georgia Tech Cyber Security Summit, a gathering of industry and academic leaders who have distinguished themselves in the field of cyber security.

According to GTISC, GTRI and the experts cited in the report, specific threats to follow over the coming year include, among others:

+ Cloud-based Botnets – The ability to create vast, virtual computing resources will further convince cyber criminals to look for ways to co-opt cloud-based infrastructure for their own ends. One possible example is for attackers to use stolen credit card information to purchase cloud computing resources and create dangerous clusters of temporary virtual attack systems.

+ Search History Poisoning – Cyber criminals will continue to manipulate search engine algorithms and other automated mechanisms that control what information is presented to Internet users. Moving beyond typical search-engine poisoning, researchers believe that manipulating users’ search histories may be a next step in ways that attackers use legitimate resources for illegitimate gains.

+ Mobile Browser and Mobile Wallet Vulnerabilities – While only a very small number of U.S. mobile devices show signs of infection, the explosive proliferation of smartphones will continue to tempt attackers in exploiting user and technology-based vulnerabilities, particularly with the browser function and digital wallet apps.

+ Malware Counteroffensive – The developers of malicious software will employ various methods to hinder malware detection, such as hardening their software with techniques similar to those employed in Digital Rights Management (DRM), and exploiting the wealth of new interfaces and novel features on mobile devices.

“Every year, security researchers and experts see new evolutions in cyber threats to people, businesses and governments,” said Wenke Lee, director of GTISC.

“In 2013, we expect the continued movement of business and consumer data onto mobile devices and into the cloud will lure cyber criminals into attacking these relatively secure, but extremely tempting, technology platforms.

“Along with growing security vulnerabilities within our national supply chain and healthcare industry, the security community must remain proactive, and users must maintain vigilance, over the year ahead.”

“Our adversaries, whether motivated by monetary gain, political/social ideology or otherwise, know no boundaries, making cyber security a global issue,” said Bo Rotoloni, director of GTRI’s Cyber Technology and Information Security Laboratory (CTISL). “Our best defense on the growing cyber warfront is found in cooperative education and awareness, best-of-breed tools and robust policy developed collaboratively by industry, academia and government.”

Today’s Georgia Tech Cyber Security Summit is one forum where the IT security ecosystem can gather together to discuss and debate the evolving nature of cyber threats, and to chart the course for creating solutions through collaborations among industry, government and academia. The 2012 Summit was keynoted by Brendan Hannigan, IBM Internet Security and included a panel of security experts from Damballa, AirWatch, E*TRADE, MAAWG, Pindrop Security and Symantec Research Lab.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation’s leading public research universities and the home of groundbreaking cyber security research and academic initiatives through GTISC, GTRI and other facilities across campus. These efforts are focused on producing technology and innovation that will help drive economic growth, while improving human life on a global scale.

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Project Gives Computers a More Powerful Way to Detect Threats

By on Monday, September 24th, 2012

UT Dallas computer scientists have developed a technique to automatically allow one computer in a virtual network to monitor another for intrusions, viruses or anything else that could cause a computer to malfunction.

The technique has been dubbed “space travel” because it sends computer data to a world outside its home, and bridges the gap between computer hardware and software systems.

“Space travel might change the daily practice for many services offered virtually for cloud providers and data centers today, and as this technology becomes more popular in a few years, for the user at home on their desktops,” said Dr. Zhiqiang Lin, the research team’s leader and an assistant professor of computer science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.

As cloud computing is becoming more popular, new techniques to protect the systems must be developed. Since this type of computing is Internet-based, skilled computer specialists can control the main part of the system virtually – using software to emulate hardware.

Lin and his team programmed space travel to use existing code to gather information in a computer’s memory and automatically transfer it to a secure virtual machine – one that is isolated and protected from outside interference.

“You have an exact copy of the operating system of the computer inside the secure virtual machine that a hacker can’t compromise,” Lin said. “Using this machine, then the user or antivirus software can understand what’s happening with the space traveled computer setting off red flags if there is any intrusion.

Previously, software developer had to write such tools manually.

“With our technique, the tools already being used on the computer become part of the defense process,” he said.

The gap between virtualized computer hardware and software operating on top of it was first characterized by Drs. Peter Chen and Brian Noble, faculty members from the University of Michigan.

“The ability to leverage existing code goes a long way in solving the gap problem inherent to many types of virtual machine services,” said Chen, the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who first proposed the gap in 2001.

“(Yangchun) Fu and Lin have developed an interesting way to take existing code from a trusted system and automatically use it to detect intrusions.”

Lin said the space travel technique will help the FBI understand what is happening inside a suspect’s computer even if he is physically miles away, instead of having to buy expensive software.

Space travel was presented at the most recent IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. Lin developed this with Yangchun Fu, a research assistant in computer science.

“This is the top conference in cybersecurity, said Bhavani Thuraisingham, executive director of the UT Dallas Cyber Security Research and Education Center and a Louis A. Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Jonsson School.

“It is a major breakthrough that virtual developers no longer need to write any code to bridge the gap by using the technology invented by Dr. Lin and Mr. Fu. This research has given us tremendous visibility among the cybersecurity research community around the world.”

Source: Computer science at UT Dallas

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