At a glance.
- Task Force Lima examines how generative AI can be used in defense.
- US lawmakers urge FCC to regulate IoT devices.
- US DHS report examines dangers of SIM swapping.
- NSA director speaks out in support of Section 702.
Task Force Lima examines how generative AI can be used in defense.
Yesterday the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced the launch of a generative artificial intelligence task force, aka Task Force Lima, that will be focused on employing AI tech across the DoD in a strategic and secure manner. Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks, who directed the organization of the task force, explained, "The establishment of Task Force Lima underlines the Department of Defense's unwavering commitment to leading the charge in AI innovation. As we navigate the transformative power of generative AI, our focus remains steadfast on ensuring national security, minimizing risks, and responsibly integrating these technologies. The future of defense is not just about adopting cutting-edge technologies, but doing so with foresight, responsibility, and a deep understanding of the broader implications for our nation." As Breaking Defense notes, Task Force Lima will be led by the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) in collaboration with the offices of the under secretaries of defense for policy, research and engineering, acquisition and sustainment, intelligence and security, and the DoD chief information office. CDAO Craig Martell stated, “The DoD has an imperative to responsibly pursue the adoption of generative AI models while identifying proper protective measures and mitigating national security risks that may result from issues such as poorly managed training data. We must also consider the extent to which our adversaries will employ this technology and seek to disrupt our own use of AI-based solutions.” The announcement includes a timeline that indicates Task Force Lima will provide a recommendation and plan for governance and oversight by the next quarter of the fiscal year.
US lawmakers urge FCC to regulate IoT devices.
The US House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party on Monday penned a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting info on the security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, particularly connectivity module devices manufactured by Chinese-based companies Quectel and Fibocom. Nextgov explains, the modules are used in many critical US operations, including smart devices, drones, and body cameras worn by emergency responders. As the nature of the data being submitted via these devices is highly sensitive, the committee is recommending the FCC conduct an investigation and consider whether Chinese-made cellular modules should be banned from use. The letter reads, “Tackling PRC cellular IoT modules is a natural next step for the FCC, in consultation with appropriate national security agencies. For one, Quectel and Fibocom supply companies whose equipment is already on the FCC’s Covered List. The equipment on this list poses a national security threat to the U.S. and may not receive authorization for importation or sale in the U.S.” The security of IoT devices is a matter of interest for the FCC, and it’s worth noting that the agency on Thursday issued a proposed voluntary cybersecurity labeling program for IoT devices. A notice from the FCC reads, With more than 25 billion connected IoT devices predicted to be in operation by 2030, consumers need tools that allow them to understand the relative security risk that an IoT device or product may pose, to compare IoT devices and to have a level of confidence whether the IoT devices they ultimately purchase meet certain cybersecurity standards.”
US DHS report examines dangers of SIM swapping.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cyber Safety Review Board yesterday released a report examining a series of high-profile cyberattacks conducted by the Lapsus$ threat group in 2021 and 2022. Commissioned by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, the report brings to light the dangers surrounding SIM swapping and demonstrates how SMS-based multifactor authentication can be exploited by cybercriminals. As the Record reports, the board is asking the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to more closely monitor SIM swapping and require telecommunications providers to report these attacks. The report also recommends that telecoms “adopt easy-to-use, secure-by-default-passwordless solutions'' instead of relying on SMS and voice-based multifactor authentication, and the board is urging the federal government to develop strategies and guidelines to support these companies in doing so.
NSA director speaks out in support of Section 702.
As we’ve previously discussed, Section 702 of the US’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is set to expire at the end of this year, and there is an ongoing debate among lawmakers over whether it should be renewed. The measure allows intelligence agencies the power to conduct warrantless searches of foreign communications, and Army General Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and commander of US Cyber Command, yesterday voiced his support for reauthorization at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Describing the measure as “perhaps our most important authority that we utilize day in and day out,” Nakasone stated, “It provides us an agility to do so much of what we need to do to provide insights to policymakers and warning to our military commanders. 702 saves lives and protects the homeland.” National Defense explains that while Section 702 is focused on monitoring foreign nationals outside the US, often these individuals are in communication with American citizens, whose data also gets swept up in the surveillance process. A review of the measure was published in July by the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and the report acknowledged that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had misused Section 702 in the past. Privacy advocates say the measure puts human rights at risk, but the Biden administration has been unwavering in its support of the 702’s renewal.