The United States Navy League’s 55th Sea-Air-Space Expo took place between the 2nd and 4th of August in Maryland.
Addressing an audience at the event, Gen. John Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited artificial intelligence, unmanned systems and 5G networks amongst an array of emerging technologies that will change the character of war in the future.
Acknowledging the importance of technology, Gen. Milley said the nation that masters emerging technology “is likely to have a distinct advantage”. On the issue of funding, he said “It’s not about how much money we spend, it’s what we’re spending it on”.
The emerging role of cyber was a constant theme throughout the event. Discussing the Maritime Security Program, a panel moderated by Rear Admiral Mark Buzby (US Navy ret.) highlighted supply chain cyber attacks as a significant challenge to the sector.
Indo-Pacific Security Strategy
Cyber security was very much front of mind in the presentation delivered by Ronald Bushar, Senior VP and CTO of FireEye. Worldwide, cyber-attacks have shifted to target critical military infrastructure. This is a move that aligns directly with the global conflict landscape.
The sophistication and persistence of threat actors continues to grow, and new threats are emerging to challenge the status quo. Ransomware and extortion attacks have become a popular attack vector, with supply chain organisations often the point of ingress. The recent attacks on SolarWinds and Kaseya are classic examples of how a supply chain weakness can result in vulnerabilities across hundred, or even thousands of organisations. The knock-on impact of these cyber attacks is not just operational or financial, it’s psychological. It undermines the public’s confidence in Government and public sector institutions.
The principles of cyber security, data sovereignty, mandatory breach notification legislation and more will continue to evolve over the foreseeable future and will shape the security landscape for years to come.
Cyber: Today’s fight, tomorrow’s capabilities
In a cyber-focussed panel, representatives of the US Navy, Coast Guard Cyber Command and Dept of Transportation were joined by Ryan Roberts, Senior Manager Cyber & Strategic Risk Service for Deloitte. The authenticity and confidentiality of data was discussed at length, from the challenges of working across borderless infrastructure to the specifics of GPS/GNSS RF spoofing. In the latter, spoofing can be used to deny, degrade, disrupt or deceive a receiver’s operation. The impact could range from incorrect outputs of positioning data to systems malfunction. A recent example was in June 2021 when the USNI claimed tracking data from two NATO ships was falsified to make the vessels appear they were at the entrance to a major Russian naval base.
“Encryption represents the best, last line of defence against cyber-attacks targeting operational data.”
Managing cloud systems in disrupted and disconnected environments
The world has become increasingly dependent upon cloud infrastructure. Whilst naval forces are no exception, they face uniquely challenging environments where connectivity may be disrupted, unreliable or low bandwidth. Reliable access to data is essential to decision making in any environment, but the stakes are raised when it comes to global conflict scenarios. How much data should be available, where and to whom? Within a WAN environment, how much data could safely be pushed to the network edge?
Team Defence Australia Pavilion
Senetas was proud to be a part of the Team Defence Australia presence at Sea-Air-Space. Australia’s defence industry supports the advanced needs of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that are deployed across the world. Additionally, Australia has a global reputation for innovation in areas such as cyber security. Australian businesses contribute these advanced capabilities to a range of militaries globally, particularly the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.
Summary of cyber themes
• Cyber threats continue to exploit supply chain vulnerabilities
• Attackers are increasingly targeting critical defence infrastructure
• The sophistication and persistence of attacks is on the rise
• Cybersecurity norms will continue to evolve over time
• Prioritize cyber readiness, including data access and control
• Secure network data infrastructure, all the way to the edge