At a glance.
- US Cyber Command looks back at the evolution of its mission to match the evolution of the threat.
- Contact tracing in the UK.
- Decentralized exposure notification systems attract governments' interest.
US Cyber Command looks back at a decade of operations in cyberspace.
General Paul Nakasone, Director, National Security Agency, and Commander, US Cyber Command, this week looked back at how his organization has found its place in the spectrum of conflict. US Cyber Command traces its origins to its establishment in 2009 as a sub-unified command of US Strategic Command; it was elevated to full unified combatant command status in 2018.
Since 2009 Cyber Command has seen adversaries move from concentration on espionage into other areas "below the level of armed conflict, from stealing intellectual property to attempting to influence and disrupt democratic processes." General Nakasone said that this evolution has prompted Cyber Command to develop its own approach: "This has led us to our current focus on persistent engagement as our approach to implement the DOD Strategy of Defend Forward — the idea we must always be active in cyberspace by enabling our partners and acting against our adversaries," Nakasone said. With that persistent engagement has come an expanded mission. US Cyber Command now addresses threats to critical infrastructure, terrorism (including recruiting, fundraising, and attack planning), and the influence operations of US adversaries.
Contact tracing in the UK.
Prime Minister Johnson says the UK will have an effective contact tracing system in place by the 1st of June (he was, the Telegraph reports, responding to Labour concerns about staff safety should schools reopen). But in some respects the early favorable reviews Britain's NHS received from its contact-tracing pilot on the Isle of Wight now seem to have represented a false dawn. At the very least more work needs to be done on the security of the app.
Not all areas of the UK will adopt the national contact-tracing app, whatever its final form may be. Northern Ireland won't, for one. Stormont has said, according to the BBC, that it intends to follow the Republic of Ireland's lead. Northern Ireland has some issues with the NHSX app's privacy protections, but more importantly, it values facilitating travel across the Irish border more than it does travel to England, Scotland, or Wales. North-south movement is more important than east-west travel.
Decentralized exposure notification draws government interest.
The Apple-Google decentralized exposure notification system now being rolled out has attracted interest from governments who are proving willing to sacrifice the advantages of centralized data management and analysis in favor of an approach that users may find more congenial. Reuters reports that some twenty-three governments have shown an interest in the Apple-Google solution.