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Experts concerned Trump's plan targets only radical Islam, ignores neo-Nazis, anti-government extremists

February 03, 2017

Reports of the Trump administration’s plan to revamp a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies and going forward only focus on Islamist extremism, is raising concerns among those working to counter violent extremism at the international, national and local levels. Reuters reported Wednesday that the federal government program “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE), would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” This would mean the program would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out attacks in the United States, according to Reuters. Such an approach could strip some of the benefit from having a CVE program, which was established in February 2015 to counter radicalization and terrorist acts through community partnerships, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

Experts concerned Trump's plan targets only radical Islam, ignores neo-Nazis, anti-government extremists

February 03, 2017

Reports of the Trump administration’s plan to revamp a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies and going forward only focus on Islamist extremism, is raising concerns among those working to counter violent extremism at the international, national and local levels. Reuters reported Wednesday that the federal government program “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE), would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” This would mean the program would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out attacks in the United States, according to Reuters. Such an approach could strip some of the benefit from having a CVE program, which was established in February 2015 to counter radicalization and terrorist acts through community partnerships, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

Cybersecurity veteran John Lainhart joins Grant Thornton; Brings decades of experience to firm’s Public Sector clients

January 26, 2017

John Lainhart has joined Grant Thornton LLP’s Cyber Risk Advisory practice, within Advisory Services, as a senior strategist. Based in the firm’s Alexandria office, he is responsible for leading the development of Grant Thornton Public Sector’s cybersecurity offering. Lainhart has extensive experience in cybersecurity. Before retiring in 2016, he was IBM Global Business Services’ U.S. Public Sector Cybersecurity & Privacy leader. During his 14-year tenure at IBM, Lainhart led IBM’s cybersecurity and privacy area, building it from a team of 15 to 250 professionals. Among the major clients supported by his team were the Department of Defense, National Security Agency and Social Security Administration, and Lainhart led engagements at Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

DHS leadership picks elevate cyberdefense mission

January 25, 2017

Experts say the Department of Homeland Security is unlikely to relinquish its day-to-day role in sharing cybersecurity threats with the private sector, despite hints from President Trump that he would pass some duties to the U.S. military. Trump's choice of retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly to lead the sprawling civilian agency last month — the third general offered a senior position in the new administration — fueled early speculation about a more militaristic government strategy for securing cyberspace (Energywire, Dec. 12, 2016). Such an approach appeared to be consistent with Trump's pledge to set up an infrastructure-focused "cyber review team" led by the Department of Defense, scouting out potential weak spots in crucial U.S. energy and water computer systems. After Kelly easily won Senate confirmation Friday, one of his first actions as secretary of Homeland Security was to hire a former cyber risk consultant with expertise in critical infrastructure security to be chief of staff. While many political vacancies remain in DHS leadership, Kirstjen Nielsen's chief of staff appointment drew accolades from former colleagues and cybersecurity experts.

Predicting Corporate Intelligence Agencies in the 1960S

January 24, 2017

The recent tumult around the emergence of a dossier suggesting salacious things about President Donald Trump has cast light on a series of for-profit intelligence firms with names like “Orbis International” and “Fusion GPS.” Such organizations are part of a huge industry providing information, analysis, and “decision advantage” for companies, investors, political parties, and often government agencies. It is a giant industry, and one that was predicted with remarkable insight in 1966. Every time one of us applies for a car loan, a mortgage, or myriad other modern conveniences, we agree to a credit check. One of the major providers of this service is Fair, Isaac and Company (NYSE: FICO), which provides the ubiquitous “FICO score,” one of the analytic building blocks of modern consumer lending. Earl Isaac and William “Bill” Fair founded this California-based company in 1956. Fair, an engineer, with degrees from Cal Tech, Stanford, and Berkeley, was a pioneer in “statistically-based decision processes and automated processing technologies.” He was also ahead of his time in thinking about something else: private sector intelligence.

DHS tags election systems as critical

January 09, 2017

To the consternation of some state government officials, the Department of Homeland Security on Jan. 6 moved to make state election systems part of the critical infrastructure sectors under its protection. The move comes in the wake of allegations of Russian hacking into political targets during the recent election period, and specific complaints of attempts to penetrate state election and voter data systems. On Jan. 6, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson formally designated state election assets -- including polling places; centralized vote tabulation locations used to support the election process; storage facilities; and related information and communications technology -- as U.S. critical infrastructure.

US aims to draw line with Russia over hacking

December 30, 2016

With reprisals against Russia over what it says was meddling in the US presidential election, the Obama administration aims to draw a virtual line in the sand without sparking a war -- cyber or otherwise. The measures announced Thursday by President Barack Obama, who accused Moscow of "efforts to harm US interests," include the expulsion of 35 intelligence agents and financial sanctions on Russia's top intelligence agencies. Obama also warned of additional, unspecified actions "at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized." Analysts say Washington is seeking to punish Russia and warn other nations against taking similar action.

Beat back the hack: Cyber-deterrence is a difficult task with huge potential

December 27, 2016

Cyberattackers pose many threats to a wide range of targets. Russia, for example, was accused of hacking Democratic Party computers throughout the year, interfering with the U.S. presidential election. Then there was the unknown attacker who, on a single October day, used thousands of internet-connected devices, such as digital video recorders and cameras compromised by Mirai malware, to take down several high-profile websites, including Twitter. From 2005 to 2015, federal agencies reported a 1,300 percent jump in cybersecurity incidents. Clearly, we need better ways of addressing this broad category of threats. Some of us in the cybersecurity field are asking whether cyber deterrence might help.

Director Frank Cilluffo speaks on efforts to address terrorism

December 01, 2016

Recent terrorist attacks both in the United States and abroad have underscored the need for tools and strategies that can anticipate and mitigate the dangers of terrorism—whether attacks occur on city streets, in workplaces, at social gatherings, or online in the form of cyberattacks on corporate or government computer networks. As governments and businesses work to provide security protection from terrorists for the benefit of their citizens, employees, representatives and customers, many have turned to technology for assistance.

New report: Into the Gray Zone: The Private Sector and Active Defense against Cyber Threats

October 31, 2016

New Report: Into the Gray Zone: The Private Sector and Active Defense against Cyber Threats

U.S. Chief Information Officer Seeks To Upgrade Government's Computers

October 31, 2016

The man who oversees the federal government's computer infrastructure is seeking more than $3 billion to upgrade and make the system more secure.

MI6 Chief Alex Younger says Islamist Terror Threat to Remain for Years

September 22, 2016

Alex Younger, the head of UK's intelligence agency, MI6, has warned that taking back territory occupied by Islamic State (Isis) militants will not resolve the issue of global terror threats. Speaking at a national security conference in the US, Younger warned that terror groups like IS (Daesh) will pose a "persistent threat" that is likely to last a "professional lifetime".

UK slams Iraq War runup; NATO summit faces tall tasks; What next for Syria?; What’s with Russia buzzing US planes?; and a bit more…

July 07, 2016

British report slams Iraq War runup: What did UK Prime Minister Tony Blair do wrong as U.S. President George W. Bush and his senior national-security team barreled toward invading Iraq in 2003? He failed to insist upon having, you know, a plan for what came next. “Blair did not press President Bush for definitive assurances about US post-conflict plans or set out clearly to him the strategic risk in underestimating the post-conflict challenge and failing adequately to prepare for the task,” reports the Guardian, writing about the so-called Chilcot report, the UK government’s official inquiry into the war.

Buyers Beware: The Latest Wave of Retail Cyber Scams

July 07, 2016

When it comes to cybersecurity, consumers want to trust that retailers are protecting them in some way, shape or form. But with high-profile breaches at Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus, among others, it behooves buyers themselves to know what to watch for, what scams can happen and what retailers can do.

Horrific ISIS Attacks During Ramadan Disguise a Retreating and Fracturing Terror Group

July 06, 2016

An airport in Istanbul. A nightclub in Malaysia. A Shiite mosque in Qatif, Saudi Arabia. Christian towns in Lebanon. The deadliest bombing in Iraq since 2003.

Attacks claimed by, linked to or with the hallmarks of the so-called Islamic State during the final week of Ramadan set a new standard for terrorism. Each day, ISIS members or affiliated supporters struck targets of nearly every ethnicity and religion. No group — Shia, Sunni, Christian, Western, Arab — was spared from their deadly campaign. They even closed the week by striking at the heart of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad’s burial site in Medina.

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