WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 15, 2014) – The commander who oversees the Army’s cyber world spoke at the monthly breakfast of the Association of the U.S. Army on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, saying the information technology that company commanders have at their disposal today is equivalent to what a division commander had in 2001.
“The events of 9/11 transformed our nation and how much it’s transformed our Army is absolutely stunning — the information technology today enables us to do things we never thought of,” said Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, who became the commander of Army Cyber Command a little more than a year ago.
“In terms of information technologies, I see that leaping yet again, but at the same time we’re gaining these technologies, we have to suppress, and I don’t have to tell anyone in this room, but threats in cyber are going up and so are the vulnerabilities.”
Cardon said that as the Army adds to the network and makes it more complex, security also becomes more complex.
“It has become easier and easier and easier to hack networks because you can buy scanning tools which can protect the network, but they can also be used to attack the network,” Cardon said.
He added that it was hard to give an example with respect to the Army, but he spoke about what happened to Target when it was cyber attacked. The day the news hit the streets of the massive data breech, the company lost 10 percent of its stock price; the CEO and chief information officer were fired, and last month the company took a $152 million write-off, Cardon said.
“How was it done?” he asked the audience. “A teenage kid wrote a script that he sold for $2,000. It was morphed and came in through a supplier who worked for Target.”
Just three days ago, Home Depot became the latest retailer to suffer a data breach of customer credit and debit cards.
“The network itself is essential to future operations, especially as we get smaller. We want to enable our Soldiers to act bigger than they are, so we have to improve connectivity,” Cardon said, adding the second part to the big picture is made up of defensive cyberspace operation which “is a new space for us.”
“The challenges in the network that we have today are that 80 percent of our intrusions are caused by poor network practices or poor user practices, and that consumes almost 90 percent of our time,” he said. “The reason I bring this up is operationally we have to change this paradigm.”
Following the Defense Department’s lead of building U.S. Cyber Command, the Army stood up its first Cyber Protection Brigade at Fort Gordon, Georgia, Sept. 5. The brigade will consist of 20 Cyber Protection Teams of civilians and Soldiers who conduct cyberspace operations in support of joint and service missions. The National Guard and Army Reserve will also be building CPTs to support the Army and the joint force, Cardon said.