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Protecting Cyber Cities Highlights Security Concerns At Symposium
by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gregory Majewski - July 23, 2016

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The three day conference in June 2016 focused on emerging threats of cyber cities and how a potential attack will impact national security should the worst occur, the crippling of key infrastructure.

"Cyber cities represent the highest level of advancement in a civilization," said Dr. John Arquilla, Naval Postgraduate School. "We have to develop our own resilience against cyber-attacks for today and tomorrow.”

July 9, 2016 - Major urban areas like Atlanta are not only physical hubs but are virtual hubs in cyberspace known as Cyber Cities where increased interconnectivity in daily life have amplified the threats of potential cyber-attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Steven D. Clark)
July 9, 2016 - Major urban areas like Atlanta are not only physical hubs but are virtual hubs in cyberspace known as Cyber Cities where increased interconnectivity in daily life have amplified the threats of potential cyber-attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Steven D. Clark)

The latest population statistics show about 54 percent of the world's population is concentrated around urban areas with that number projected to grow closer to 70 percent by 2050.

Cyber experts point out that much of the infrastructure for cities across the globe, like power grids and water treatment plants, predates the internet, which brings a different set of challenges for those trying to protect it.

"We are taking advanced technology and connecting it to old infrastructure," said Arquilla. "This opens up the possibility for cities becoming vulnerable to strategic attack."

Virtual cyber ranges are becoming an increasingly important training tool for cyber warriors to train, test and implement cyber security. One of the best training locations is the National Cyber Range located in Orlando, Florida.

Director of the National Cyber Range, Peter Christensen, said his venue provides the most realistic interpretation of cyberspace where operators cannot only test the effectiveness of cyber defenses but also cyber weapons as well.

"Cyber cities will be fertile ground to be exploited," said Christensen. "Vulnerabilities must be identified in development and not during deployment; this is why cyber ranges are so important."

A panel discussion during Cyber Endeavour focused on defining what exactly is a cyber city? Cyber experts maintain it may be an idea with a singular true definition but one which is constantly changing or in flux.

“Cyber city is this wonderful marketing tool right up there with Web 2.0 and the cloud,” said Cmdr. Pablo Breuer, Naval Postgraduate School. “I think what we are talking about is the use of automation to support the population density that we now have in an urban environment.

Cyber warriors must have a varied skill set to work successfully to support and defend cyber cities. These include the ability to anticipate, predict, and assess threats while working in a team environment.

The 335th Signal Command (Theater) is responsible for organizing, training, equipping, and manning all cyber units in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Recruiting and retaining the next generation of cyber warriors has become a key objective for the command who has seen the demand for cyber grow rapidly.

“In positioning our units in recruiting, a key aspect to our objectives is drawing from a variety of civilian populations so as to bring their unique skill sets into our military capabilities," said Col. James Chatfield, Chief of Operations, 335th Signal Command (Theater).

Representatives from the private sector also participated in Cyber Endeavour illustrating the importance corporations play in defending cyber cities for both the military and civilian sector.

Partnerships with government entities in the cyber security realm will be critical in the effort to reduce the likelihood of a breach happening, said Jim Patterson, American International Group.

Cyber Endeavour is a co-sponsored event by the 335th Signal Command (Theater), DOD Information Operations Center for Research, and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental.

By U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gregory Majewski
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2016

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