Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Adrian Bridgwater, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: AJAX & REA, Search, Cloud Expo, Security, GovIT

AJAX & REA: Blog Feed Post

Google vs. China, Our First Cyber War

Last week we witnessed the first Cyber War, but it didn’t go down quite as many of us expected

Last week we witnessed the first Cyber War, but it didn’t go down quite as many of us expected. Instead of a group of anonymous hackers trying to take over thousands of infected PCs or trying to cut off access to critical infrastructure, we saw Google declare the first salvo in its war against Chinese censorship by moving its servers to Hong Kong.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that this was war, declared by a private company on a nation state. Just because Google doesn’t have its own army (yet), or that no actual physical weapons were fired doesn’t make it any less of a battle. And it is only going to get worse for all of us as other private firms realize that they need to take control over their servers and intellectual property. What is curious is how few companies signed up for the cyber equivalent of the coalition of the willing – GoDaddy was one of the few. Not Microsoft. Not Intel. No PC manufacturer of any shape or size.

Let’s face it. No one wants to declare war on China, whatever form that will take. Most of our PC hardware components are made there. More people are using the Internet in China than the US total population, and it is growing quickly, too. And while the breaches on several Google accounts had Chinese origins, getting accountability isn’t easy.

Coincidentally, while all this was going down I was reading a preview copy of Richard Clarke’s new book called Cyber War. I highly recommend pre-ordering a copy. Clarke was a national security advisor to several presidents and teaches now at the Kennedy School at Harvard.

The book is chilling account of exactly what is wrong with our government and how unprepared we are for Cyber World War I. How so? Think of a Cyber War in terms of nuclear proliferation and the Cold War preparation. But unlike what we did in the 1960s to defend ourselves against possible nuclear annihilation, we are doing everything wrong for a cyber defense. Instead, we have made America more of a target, because so much of our infrastructure, our weapons, our culture, and our PCs are out in the open, ripe for the picking. Look at how easy it is to hijack the drone video feed as a starting point (although the control systems are secured, for the moment.) Clarke talks about various war game scenarios and at one he mentions:

“If you have a mental image of every interesting lab, company, and research facility in the US being systematically vacuum cleaned by some foreign entity, you’ve got it right. That is what has been going on. Much of our intellectual property as a nation has been copied and sent overseas. Our best hope is that whoever is doing this does not have enough analysts to go through it all and find the gems, but that is a faint hope, particularly if the country has, behind the filtration, say, a billion people in it.”

He mentions how there were times when computer professionals working for the Hopkins Applied Physics Lab back in 2009 discovered a data breach. The only way they could solve it was to disconnect their entire organization from the Internet and clean each PC, one by one. “If you are connected to the Internet in any way, it seems, your data is already gone [overseas].”

The problem is that the best defense in a Cyber War isn’t the best offense. Nope: it is hardening your connections. Look at what China has done with its “Great Firewall.” Most of us think this is to keep the porn and liberal thinking out of China. And yes, it does do that. But what is really going on is that in the event of a Cyber War, China can quickly pull the plug and disconnect from the world, to defend itself. Trying asking AT&T or Level 3 to do that here. Ain’t gonna happen.

Another part of the problem is that there is no one actually “tasked,” as they say in DoD-speak, with defending our power grid control systems, transportation networks, and so forth. Where are the cyber equivalents of nuclear strike forces in case someone hits one of these targets? Nowhere. DoD has its own ships, planes, and troops to worry about. Homeland Security is trying to keep shoe bombers and the like out of our skies. What is left is up for grabs. Call it the cyber gap. “Can a nation shut off its cyber connectivity to the rest of the world, or spot cyber attacks coming from inside its geographical boundaries and stop them?” China probably can. We can’t. In an odd twist of irony, the less developed a nation is, say Afghanistan or North Korea, the better defended it can be, because so little of that country’s resources are hackable. How many power grid control rooms have VOIP phones, bringing the Internet literally to the right desktop?

In the past, spies had a harder time of it. They had to physically copy plans, or data, or compromise an actual human being. Now, they can sit in their jammies and download entire manuals without anyone noticing.

When Obama was elected in the fall of 2008, Clarke was an advisor to the transition team. He asked everyone on the team to stop working on their home PCs and even provided brand new Apple MacBooks that were locked down so they couldn’t connect to the public Internet. When the users complained about this when they tried to access public Wifi networks, he “tried to quietly point out that if you are a senior member of the informal national security transition team, you probably should not be planning the takeover of the White House from a Starbucks.” Gulp.

That is the problem. We are too used to our connectivity, and have gotten too complacent with our computers. A lot remains to be done. You have been warned.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David Strom

David Strom is an international authority on network and Internet technologies. He has written extensively on the topic for 20 years for a wide variety of print publications and websites, such as The New York Times, TechTarget.com, PC Week/eWeek, Internet.com, Network World, Infoworld, Computerworld, Small Business Computing, Communications Week, Windows Sources, c|net and news.com, Web Review, Tom's Hardware, EETimes, and many others.

Cloud Expo Latest Stories
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution