Cyber security aims at real-time embedded computing, software vulnerabilities, in addition to IT
THE MIL & AERO COMMENTARY, 18 Oct. 2016. Next time you think military cyber security involves only big information technology (IT) like large databases, networks, and intelligence systems, take another look. The realm of military cyber security also aims directly at real-time mission- and life-critical embedded computing in weapons systems, avionics, unmanned vehicles, land vehicles, tactical data links, and software vulnerabilities in battlefield wearable computers.
Military cyber security isn't just about hackers; it also has to do with ways to deal with attempted technology reverse engineering, back doors in weapons application software that an adversary could exploit far in the future, and the kinds of future cyber attacks that no one's even dreamed of.
Cyber security represents a very big technology tent in which many of us live and operate, whether we realize it or not. Today cyber security encompasses system security, system integrity, trusted systems, information assurance, and more.
Even relatively low-level software tools that are designed to segregate classified and non-classified users and data in tactical computer systems are part of the cyber security industry.
Something that's always been a hindrance to military and civil cyber security is the fragmented nature of this industry. No one wants to talk to any one else; people are worried about potentially classified technologies; others working on sensitive systems can be paralyzed by the existence of industry non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), which litiginous companies can exploit to unfair advantage.
The longer that companies operate in such an environment of fear, the longer those in this industry will remain isolated, and the less effective and valuable they will be to those who need cyber security help, fast -- like the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
We know the cyber security industry, by its nature, must operate in an environment of caution; the hackers, software back-door users, and exploiters of known software vulnerabilities want to stay ahead of the game, and they'll do whatever they have to do to stay there.
Still, it's an unhealthy atmosphere when cyber security companies can't freely communicate among themselves and with their customers about the best tools, best practices, and best technologies that are emerging in this business.
I don't have an answer to for the problems that have so divided the cyber security industry. I do know, however, that companies have to start talking to each other before a lot of worthwhile solutions start to emerge.
Perhaps the first step is to acknowledge who's part of the cyber security industry. Please, no more of this, "I don't do cyber security; I do system integrity." Please. That's fragmented thinking.
DOD is pouring millions of dollars into cyber security, and the dire nature of this threat promises billions more in coming years. Admit it, every company out there involved in systems integration, embedded computing, and military networking has at least one person whose job it is to find out how to get a piece of that action.
Here's a suggestion: let's acknowledge that we're all part of one big cyber security industry; then we can start talking and planning.
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