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VIDEO: Pentagon & Raytheon Innovate New "Cyber Resilience" Tools

By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven

(Washington D.C.) The flight trajectory of ICBMs, targeting accuracy of an Abrams tank 120mm cannon, sharing of enemy location intelligence in real time or the decreasing of critical sensor-to-shooter times for small arms, missile attacks, bomber strikes and other weapons systems … increasingly rely ….. on computer systems.

Therefore, the scope of impacts potentially delivered through cyberattacks continues to multiply in an exponential fashion, thus helping to explain the Pentagon’s current massive push to innovate new cyber resiliency tactics, techniques and technologies.

Part of the equation pertains to a recognition that cyber defenses must continue, if not even accelerate and increase in intensity, after an attacker succeeds in gaining some kind of access or privilege on a system. This dynamic forms the key premise of cyber resilience which, unlike a pure cybersecurity approach, looks at cyberdefense beyond the perimeter or initial points of entry and boundaries of protection. The two are intertwined, yet cybersecurity and cyber resiliency are also somewhat distinct for this reason.

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“A lot of technologies are focused on preventing attacks. We have put together technologies to recover files or recover critical memory. If an attack were to be detected, we want to fight through that attack and recover a system’s critical functions. Our R&D pushes the envelope in that direction,” Jacob Noffke, Principal Cyber Engineer, Raytheon Intelligence and Space, told Warrior in an interview.

Given these realities, cyber resiliency needs to be multipronged, meaning protections need to involve various aspects of the system, such as hardware, software, operating system functionality and methods, and networks in a coordinated manner.

Noffke explained that Raytheon is now working internally on some new innovations aimed at securing both access to data through a cryptographically oriented hardware device called Boot Shield and an operating system information verification system called Countervail. The plan is to further refine these systems and collaborate with or offer them to the US military services.

“Cyber resiliency involves many emerging requirements and is more than just hardening a system. Advanced adversaries will eventually find a way to gain access to a system, so it is critical for components of computing ecosystems to determine information they receive is authentic,” Noffke said.

-- Kris Osborn is the Managing Editor of Warrior Maven and The Defense Editor of The National Interest --

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest*. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.*