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[] DOD cyberwarriors in a war of attrition

DOD cyberwarriors in a war of attrition

By Frank Tiboni
July 11, 2005

Military officials can better protect their communications systems by
building fake networks or Honeynets to divert adversaries away from
critical systems and to gain intelligence on their attack methods, a
top official in the Defense Department's cyberdefense organization
suggests in a new paper.

The new computer defense strategy is called Net Force Maneuver. "For
Net Force Maneuver, our objective is to draw the adversaries away from
real, mission-critical systems while learning as much about their
attack techniques and capabilities as possible," said Army Col. Carl
Hunt, director of technology and analysis/J-9 in the Joint Task Force
for Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO), in the paper "Net Force
Maneuver: A NetOps Construct."

To use Net Force Maneuver, military officials must better understand
their networks, the technologies available to better operate them and
their adversaries' capabilities, Hunt said. He co-wrote the paper with
Doug Gardner, director of the Applied Technology Unit in JTF-GNO, and
Jeffrey Bowes, technical director of the Joint Information Operations
Division of Northrop Grumman's Information Technology TASC unit. The
paper appeared in the 2005 Information Assurance Proceedings
publication produced for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers Computer Society's Systems, Man and Cybernetics IA Workshop
held in June at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but was
announced at the Army IT Conference in Las Vegas earlier that month.

Hunt also describes the military's current computer network defense
strategy as a battle against attrition. "Unfortunately, attrition is a
reasonable characterization of our defensive computer network strategy
today, with one major caveat," he said. "With the exception of an
occasional arrest, our adversaries are able to inflict a substantial
amount of harassment and a measurable amount of damage upon DOD
communications networks at practically no cost to themselves."

Hunt went on to say, "It's probably only a slight exaggeration to say
we are fighting an attrition battle where we are the only ones being

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