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30 janvier 2015 5 30 /01 /janvier /2015 12:20
Unprecedented Technology Poses Challenges for Special Ops

 

Jan 28, 2015 ASDNews Source : US Army

 

Terrorists are using social media to plan events, recruit, share information, propaganda, and so on. "We can detect (their activities) pretty well, but I'm not sure we know what to do about it," said a terrorism expert.

 

Countering terrorists' leveraging of social media is going to be a challenge, said Robert Newberry, director of the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office. "We're studying it to death, but I'm not sure coming up with any grand solutions."

 

Newberry and other experts spoke at a National Defense Industrial Association panel, "Special Operations Forces Technology Policy & Requirements," held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Jan. 28.

 

He and the other panelists said these growing concerns are challenges not just to the special operations community, but also for the Army and other government organizations tasked with national security.

 

Klon Kitchen, special advisor for cyberterrorism and social media at the National Counterterrorism Center, said he sees "the rapid and seemingly unending advancement of technology" and social media as being one of the biggest threats.

 

The proliferation of social media and technology will impact "every future special operations mission," he said, "whether it be direct action, combating terrorism, information operations, civil affairs or any other SOF (Special Operations Forces) mission. The threat would come from terrorists exploiting social media for their own nefarious causes."

 

DATA DELUGE

 

"Our SOF forces … will be confronted by an almost unimaginable deluge of data and an unprecedented technological capability," Kitchen added.

 

He cited figures. There are 1.8 billion active social network users globally, he said. Every minute of every day, these users produce 200 million emails, 72 hours of new YouTube video, 571 new websites, 3,600 new photos, 100,000 tweets, 34,722 Facebook likes and 2 million Google searches.

 

"We created 1.8 zettabytes, which is 1.8 trillion gigabytes of newly-generated information in 2011," he said. "In 2012 that figure was 2.8 zettabytes. By 2020, it's forecast to be 40 zettabytes in a 12-month period. This is just the beginning of the data deluge."

 

Newberry said that about half of those 200 million emails were probably sent by government workers, as the rest of the world tweets and uses text messaging. He confessed to using a yellow legal notepad most of his career and recalls getting his first electronic device -- a pager -- in the 1990s.

 

Social media can also be used to a special operator's advantage, Newberry said. For example, one can assess the operating environment in a particular region or area by collecting social media from those locations. "There's big value in this," he said.

 

The problem is, there's so much information out there that methods have not been codified on how to collect it, sort through and use it. Also, the authorities and organizational structures are not yet in place to do that, he said.

 

DIGITAL EXHAUST

 

Matthew Freedman, senior advisor at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said social media is just one of many new threats and opportunities out there.

 

The "digital exhaust" trail left behind by terrorists will allow special operators to better track them, whether it's cloud computer, microblogging, crowd sourcing or social media.

 

"Futurists say that 90 percent of what will be known in 50 years has yet to be discovered," he said. For instance, the military is just now beginning to realize the power and potential of augmented reality -- having a real-world direct or indirect view of the environment, augmented by computer-generated sensory inputs.

 

Augmented reality is "blurring the lines between the physical and virtual worlds," he said, adding that non-state actors are increasingly getting their hands on similar technologies.

 

To stay ahead of the bad guys in innovation means the U.S. military "needs to rethink its acquisition strategy from requirement of things to an acquisition of capabilities."

 

During the Cold War, the United States had a good lead on new technologies most of the time, Freedman said. But now, technology is moving so quickly and systems are being integrated in ways unimaginable a short time ago. "Sometimes allocating resources means retrofitting existing systems at much lower costs instead of building new systems," he said.

 

Hard questions need to be asked, he added, such as, "is centralizing all the money a good thing for the warfighters? Sometimes we need to get software developments to the warfighters within 90 days." The system isn't built to handle that.

 

Might warfighters be allowed to purchase a piece of needed gear off the shelf when the need arises? he asked.

 

IRON MAN RETURNS

 

Anthony Davis, director, Science & Technology, U.S. Special Operations Command, pointed to the challenges in protecting the warfighters and making them more lethal.

 

The two-year research and development of the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, also known as TALOS, is a good example, he said. There were and still are a lot of TALOS skeptics, he said, who say "Iron Man" is too far ahead of its time. Iron Man is the popular moniker of TALOS, a modern-day suit of armor for Soldiers.

 

But work is quietly continuing, he said. The first year of TALOS development revolved around passive exoskeleton technologies. "This year, we're moving into powered exoskeletons," which require 3 to 5 kilowatts of power, per Soldier to activate. This is all still in development.

 

There's a cost-benefit tradeoff involving armor, Davis said. Current requirements call for about 20 percent body protection, including the head. That's 8 to 12 pounds. To protect the whole body, much like the medieval knights, would take 600 pounds of armor, which obviously isn't going to happen until material and power innovations occur -- "significant challenges."

 

Other hot research areas, Davis said, are control actuators, digital optics and geographically distributed systems. Geographically distributed systems would allow an operator in the middle of the Pacific or Africa to communicate and have situational awareness the same as in Iraq or Afghanistan, which have infrastructures to do that in place.

 

Special operations are occurring in 75 countries every day. Just a handful are "kinetic" operations, he said. Most involve training, humanitarian assistance and security missions with just a handful of operators working autonomously. They need state-of-the-art communications equipment and other gear to do that successfully.

 

Navy Capt. Todd Huntley, head, National Security Law Department, International and Operational Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, said operators face a difficult legal environment here and worldwide.

 

The Supreme Court and district courts have not been definitive when it comes to 4th Amendment privacy concerns and national security concerns, he said. There are still a lot of gray areas when it comes to collecting intelligence on U.S. and foreign nationals. "We'll likely never be as nimble as our adversaries."

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5 octobre 2014 7 05 /10 /octobre /2014 15:20
photo US Army

photo US Army

 

Oct. 3, 2014 – Defense News

 

Soldiers and their families should be warned the Islamic State is calling on its followers in the United States to use social media sites to “find the addresses of service members, show up [at their homes] and slaughter them,” according to the Army Threat Integration Center.

“ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] has called on lone offenders in the U.S. to use the “yellow pages,” social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter to find the addresses,” states the ARTIC special assessment published Sept. 25.

The warning is “based on a law enforcement bulletin citing a jihadist tweet,” ARTIC states.

After U.S. began air strikes in Iraq in August and Syria in late September, IS supporters launched a Twitter campaign threatening to retaliate with violence in the U.S., according to the report.

“A recent audio message from an ISIL spokesman called, for the first time, for lone offender attacks in the Homeland in retaliation for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria,” the ARTIC report states. “According to the U.S. Government as many as 300 Americans are fighting with ISIL. ... There is concern that these Americans could return to the U.S. and commit attacks using the skills they learned overseas.”

Even before the U.S. airstrikes began, ARTIC said, Twitter posts showed Islamic State supporters in front of the White House and other spots in the U.S. states with the message “We are in your state, We are in your cities, We are in your streets” and “we are here #america near our #target…sooooooooooooon.”

The attacks may be “small scale” and targeting individuals with little advance planning or advance warning, rather than large-scale terrorist events, the report cautioned.

That means it’s important to watch out for any signs of surveillance or planned attack, and to take precautions online and particularly on social media, according to ARTIC, which advises taking these steps:

 

Social media precautions

■Think before you post and assume everyone in the world will be able to see what you are posting, or tweeting, even if the site limits your posts to your friends and family.

■Limit who can view your social media sites; but do not trust these settings as absolute.

■Avoid posting your home or work address and phone numbers; and any government or military affiliation.

■Avoid providing detailed accounts of your day (e.g., when you leave for or return from work).

■Never allow applications to geolocate your location.

 

At home

■Always lock doors, windows and garages.

■Make sure home entrances are well-lighted, and minimize bushes where intruders can hide before their ambush.

■Use the peephole before opening the door to anyone. Don’t use the chain latch to open the door part-way. Don’t open the door to solicitors or strangers.

■Install solid-core doors, heavy-duty locks and window security systems.

■Establish a safe haven.

■Hold a family meeting to work out home security plans.

 

What to watch for

■Unusual interest in sensitive information about security measures, personnel, entry points, peak days/hours of operation, and access controls such as alarms or locks.

■Someone engaging in overtly suspicious actions to provoke and observe responses by public safety personnel.

■Discreet use of cameras or video recorders, sketching, or note-taking consistent with surveillance.

■Observation of, or questions about facility air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems.

■Repeated visits by the same subjects, including attempts to disguise appearance from visit to visit.

■Attempted or unauthorized access to rooftops or other sensitive areas.

■Observation of or unusual questions about security measures, such as staffing, barriers, restricted areas, cameras, and intrusion detection systems.

■Multiple false alarms or fictitious emergency calls to the same locations or similar venues.

■Unusual interest in speaking with building maintenance personnel.

■Observation of security reaction drills or procedures.

■Attention to or avoidance of surveillance cameras.

■Garments not appropriate for weather/seasons.

If you notice suspicious activity, report it to the appropriate authorities, ARTIC says. Report criminal threat information and suspicious activity to local law enforcement authorities and your chain of command.

According to ARTIC, its special assessment was a collaborative effort with Army CID Command Intelligence Operation Center (CIOC), and the Army CI Center (ACIC), and “does not represent the coordinated views of the U.S. Army.”

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8 septembre 2014 1 08 /09 /septembre /2014 15:50
EDA Symposium on Social Media in Security and Defence
 
Brussels - 21 August, 2014 European Defence Agency
 

On 16 and 17 July, the European Defence Agency (EDA) hosted a symposium to discuss the current and potential role for social media in security and defence.

Social Media is an increasingly pervasive part of global communication with increasing security and defence relevance.  However,  MoD staff and international organization are struggling to fully understand how social media can be used within the broad spectrum of security and defence activities.

The two day symposium hosted by EDA gathered experts Member States, industry, the European External Action Service (EEAS), and NATO, to discuss how analysing social media activities can help enhance situational awareness. This was based partially on the analysis of the results of an EDA study on social media for defence.

 

Enhancing situation awareness in operational circumstances

The symposium, as well as EDA’s other work on social media, contributed to the Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC), of which EDA is a participating member. MCDC is designed to develop and introduce new capabilities to enhance multinational and coalition operations. One strand of MCDC is on how social media can be used as a form of open source intelligence to help enhance armed forces’ situation awareness in operational circumstances.   

The conclusion of the symposium was that social media has great potential to increase the effectiveness of OSINT, Command and Control and StratCom/ Information Ops. However work is needed to manage the risk associated with using social media platforms and to demonstrate how it can effectively enhance information capabilities.

Another outcome of the symposium was demand for the reinvigoration of open source intelligence training,  something that was previously advocated and delivered by EDA.

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7 juillet 2014 1 07 /07 /juillet /2014 11:50
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD

According to cases released under the Freedom of Information Act, the MoD recorded at least 11 instances of restricted and confidential information being leaked by members of the Armed Forces from 2011 to 2013

 

06 Jul 2014 By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent - telegraph.co.uk

 

Social media blunders by members of the Armed Forces have risked compromising operations and national security by leaking patrol times, details of sensitive visits and photos of restricted areas, records show.

Cases investigated by the Ministry of Defence have included servicemen disclosing details of Britain’s submarines, posting videos of people and equipment in Afghanistan and operations in Libya.

The cases show the military hazards arising from the widespread use of social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

The Armed Forces and MoD work under strict rules about using such networks, for fear they are combed by foreign agents and enemies looking for information on the military and operations.

According to cases released under the Freedom of Information Act, the MoD recorded at least 11 instances of restricted and confidential information being leaked by members of the Armed Forces from 2011 to 2013. The scale of the problem is likely to be far higher, because the files do not include civilian MoD cases.

 

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