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Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security
information on the convergence of illicit global criminal and terrorist networks and their impact on national security.
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CRS - Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons

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CRS summarizes information on one of the nuclear powers in a dangerous neighborhood.

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Iran Unveils a Second Underground Missile Base

Iran Unveils a Second Underground Missile Base | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
News that Iran contains precision-guided, nuclear-capable missiles will likely trigger sanctions.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Jedi says "No threat here just move along please.  These are not the missiles you are looking for"

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New Catalonia leader pledges secession within 18 months - BBC News

New Catalonia leader pledges secession within 18 months - BBC News | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
The new leader of the Spanish region of Catalonia pledges to continue his predecessor's plans to secede within 18 months.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

More small, incompetent governments, that is what Europe needs!

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The Henrybasset Blog: More "Getting to the left of Kill Chain"

The Henrybasset Blog: More "Getting to the left of Kill Chain" | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Need to have more folks getting to the left of the kill chain.

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India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say

India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

This is not a good development.

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Two Steps to Crack Down on Islamic State Financing Options

Two Steps to Crack Down on Islamic State Financing Options | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
The finance ministers gathering at the UN this week should focus on taking actionable steps against the Islamic State's backdoor funding schemes, some of which involve continued access to the international banking system.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Seems governments cannot stop the money rolling into Daesh.

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Air Travel and Communicable Diseases: Comprehensive Federal Plan Needed for U.S. Aviation System's Preparedness

Air Travel and Communicable Diseases: Comprehensive Federal Plan Needed for U.S. Aviation System's Preparedness | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

GAO found that some lessons from the ebola outbreak regarding the importance of an air travel plan were not learned by anyone.

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World nations reach landmark deal on using satellites to track flights

World nations reach landmark deal on using satellites to track flights | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
Geneva (AFP) Nov 11, 2015 - World nations struck a landmark deal Wednesday on using satellites to track flights, which could prove key to preventing a repeat of the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 in March 2014.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

A positive improvement. Took long enough.

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Charting European Immigration

Charting European Immigration | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
The sheer number of migrants this year and the shift in arrival routes have led to deeper structural problems.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Great STRATFOR graphic on this continuing challenge for the West. 

 

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5 Ways to Spot a Coerced Insider Threat - Nextgov.com

5 Ways to Spot a Coerced Insider Threat - Nextgov.com | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
For traditional insider threat risk, there are traditional warning signs, but for a coerced threat, their outward behavior will likely not change at all.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

This article begins a discussion of the motivation behind the huge OPM breach.

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The Henrybasset Blog: Are we finally in an era when a new CISO can put the pedal on the floor??

The Henrybasset Blog: Are we finally in an era when a new CISO can put the pedal on the floor?? | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Some thoughts on whether Corporate Info security Officers are going deliver or flounder.

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Hacker accused of passing U.S. military data to ISIS - CNNPolitics.com

Hacker accused of passing U.S. military data to ISIS - CNNPolitics.com | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
Authorities have detained alleged hacker Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovo citizen accused of stealing personal information of U.S. military members and giving it to ISIS.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Daesh wants recruits from everywhere.

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CRS - Internet of Things some FAQ

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CRS provides a useful update and FAQ about the Internet of Things, many of which are already in your businesses and homes.

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CRS - Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP Brief

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CRS provides a great overview of the TPP.

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People are starving in East Africa -- again -- as the world looks away

People are starving in East Africa -- again -- as the world looks away | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
Humanitarian groups are growing increasingly concerned about two hunger emergencies unfolding in East Africa -- one caused by drought, the other by war.
Millions of people in Ethiopia and South Sudan are short on food, international agencies say, and in South Sudan, conflict has made it difficult...
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Sad  song remains a hit.

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Mexican drug lord’s dreams of biopic aided in his capture

Mexican drug lord’s dreams of biopic aided in his capture | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
The drug lord’s own apparent vanity helped authorities discover his hideout six months after he escaped from prison.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Power, money, but still needed a Hollywood connection.

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Hostage Project | Combating Terrorism Center at West Point

ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Another good stocking stuffer for Christmas.

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RPT-Finance and tech heavyweights join forces as blockchain initiative grows

RPT-Finance and tech heavyweights join forces as blockchain initiative grows | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
Big names from the worlds offinance and technology such as Deutsche Boerse, JP Morgan, Ciscoand IBM have come together to work on an open-source frameworkfor using the "blockchain" technology that underpins theweb-based cryptocurrency bitcoin.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Criminals of the world celebrate.

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U.S. leaves French requests on terror financing information unanswered: source

U.S. leaves French requests on terror financing information unanswered: source | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
U.S. authorities have left unanswered French requests for access to financial information concerning suspects tied to last month's attacks in Paris, a French Finance Ministry source said.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Terrorist financing is supposed to be important, but the privacy laws seem to trump meaningful cooperation.  Stopping terrorist finance tools sounds like a great idea, but no countries seem able to put an effective plan into practice.

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Critical Infrastructure Protection: Measures Needed to Assess Agencies' Promotion of the Cybersecurity Framework

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Measures Needed to Assess Agencies' Promotion of the Cybersecurity Framework | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

GAO found that what is not measured is not valued.  Measuring a weak Cybersecurity program may not add value in any case.

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U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria's Boko Haram

U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria's Boko Haram | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

This report gives some additional insight to the internal Nigerian political dynamics that fueled Boko Haram growth.

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Keith Alexander's cyber startup draws backing -- Defense Systems

The former NSA director's firm, IronNet, will use the cash infusion to scale his line of cybersecurity products.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

IronNet seems to be offering the strong defense strategy to the private sector.  It may detect problems, but it will not be able to prevent breaches.

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China Military Seeks to Bring Cyber Warfare Units Under One Roof - Bloomberg Business

China Military Seeks to Bring Cyber Warfare Units Under One Roof - Bloomberg Business | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
China’s military chiefs are seeking to unify the country’s cyber warfare capabilities as they build a modern fighting force that relies less on ground troops.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Chinese may find this difficult and there will likely be some resistance to consolidation from the PLA and Police established cyber outfits.

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U.S. GAO - Critical Infrastructure Protection: Cybersecurity of the Nation's Electricity Grid Requires Continued Attention

U.S. GAO - Critical Infrastructure Protection: Cybersecurity of the Nation's Electricity Grid Requires Continued Attention | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
What GAO Found

GAO reported in 2011 that several entities—the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Energy (DOE)—had taken steps to help secure the electric grid. These included developing cybersecurity standards and other guidance to reduce risks.

While these were important efforts, GAO at that time also identified a number of challenges to securing the electricity grid against cyber threats:

Monitoring implementation of cybersecurity standards : GAO found that FERC had not developed an approach, coordinated with other regulatory entities, to monitor the extent to which the electricity industry was following voluntary smart grid standards, including cybersecurity standards.

Clarifying regulatory responsibilities: The nature of smart grid technology can blur traditional lines between the portions of the grid that are subject to federal or state regulation. In addition, regulators may be challenged in responding quickly to evolving cybersecurity threats.

Taking a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity: Entities in the electricity industry (e.g., utilities) often focused on complying with regulations rather than taking a holistic and effective approach to cybersecurity.

Ensuring that smart grid systems have built-in security features: Smart grid devices (e.g., meters) did not always have key security features such as the ability to record activity on systems or networks, which is important for detecting and analyzing attacks.

Effectively sharing cybersecurity information: The electricity industry did not have a forum for effectively sharing information on cybersecurity vulnerabilities, incidents, threats, and best practices.

Establishing cybersecurity metrics: The electricity industry lacked sufficient metrics for determining the extent to which investments in cybersecurity improved the security of smart grid systems.

Since 2011, additional efforts have been taken to improve cybersecurity in the sector. For example, in 2013, NERC issued updated standards to address these and other cybersecurity challenges. NIST also updated its smart grid cybersecurity standards in 2014. It has also developed a cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure, and DHS and DOE have efforts under way to promote its adoption. In addition, FERC assessed whether these and other challenges should be addressed in its ongoing cybersecurity efforts. However, FERC did not coordinate with other regulators to identify strategies for monitoring compliance with voluntary cybersecurity standards in the industry, as GAO had recommended. As a result, FERC does not know the extent to which such standards have been adopted or whether they are effective. Given the increasing use of information and communications technology in the electricity subsector and the evolving nature of cyber threats, continued attention can help mitigate the risk these threats pose to the electricity grid.

Why GAO Did This Study

The electric power industry—including transmission and distribution systems—increasingly uses information and communications technology systems to automate actions with the aim of improving the electric grid's reliability and efficiency. However, these “smart grid” technologies may be vulnerable to cyber-based attacks and other threats that could disrupt the nation's electricity infrastructure. Several federal entities have responsibilities for overseeing and helping to secure the electricity grid. Because of the proliferation of cyber threats, since 2003 GAO has designated protecting the systems supporting U.S. critical infrastructure (which includes the electricity grid) as a high-risk area.

GAO was asked to provide a statement on opportunities to improve cybersecurity for the electricity grid. In preparing this statement, GAO relied on previous work on efforts to address cybersecurity of the electric sector.

What GAO Recommends

In its 2011 report, GAO recommended that (1) NIST improve its cybersecurity standards, (2) FERC assess whether challenges identified by GAO should be addressed in ongoing cybersecurity efforts, and (3) FERC coordinate with other regulators to identify strategies for monitoring compliance with voluntary standards. The agencies agreed with the recommendations, but FERC has not taken steps to monitor compliance with voluntary standards.

For more information, contact Gregory C. Wilshusen at (202) 512-6244 or wilshuseng@gao.gov.

ArthurGPeterson's insight:

This GAO report highlights the long standing cyber threat to the US power grid.  It does not seem that this threat is being taken seriously by industry or government.

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ISIS is attacking the U.S. energy grid (and failing) - Oct. 15, 2015

ISIS is attacking the U.S. energy grid (and failing) - Oct. 15, 2015 | Convergence -- Global Illicit Networks and National Security | Scoop.it
ISIS has tried -- unsuccessfully -- to hack the U.S. energy grid.
ArthurGPeterson's insight:

Well this is good news for now. Although other reporting suggests other hackers have broken in to power grids so maybe Daesh just needs to collaborate or contract it out.

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