Sunday, January 24, 2010

Australia and Cyber-warfare Book on Attacks from China

Cover of Australia and Cyber-warfareThe book "Australia and Cyber-warfare" is very useful for putting the new Australian Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) into perspective. The section on "China’s cyber-attack capability" is relevant to Google's recent allegations of attacks from China.

There are very well formatted free web and mobile versions of the book available online, as well as a print on demand edition.

Australia and Cyber-warfare

Gary Waters, Desmond Ball and Ian Dudgeon

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 168

ISBN 9781921313790 (Print version) $19.95 (GST inclusive)
ISBN 9781921313806 (Online)
Published July 2008

This book explores Australia’s prospective cyber-warfare requirements and challenges. It describes the current state of planning and thinking within the Australian Defence Force with respect to Network Centric Warfare, and discusses the vulnerabilities that accompany the use by Defence of the National Information Infrastructure (NII), as well as Defence’s responsibility for the protection of the NII. It notes the multitude of agencies concerned in various ways with information security, and argues that mechanisms are required to enhance coordination between them. It also argues that Australia has been laggard with respect to the development of offensive cyber-warfare plans and capabilities. Finally, it proposes the establishment of an Australian Cyber-warfare Centre responsible for the planning and conduct of both the defensive and offensive dimensions of cyber-warfare, for developing doctrine and operational concepts, and for identifying new capability requirements. It argues that the matter is urgent in order to ensure that Australia will have the necessary capabilities for conducting technically and strategically sophisticated cyber-warfare activities by the 2020s.

The Foreword has been contributed by Professor Kim C. Beazley, former Minister for Defence (1984–90), who describes it as ‘a timely book which transcends old debates on priorities for the defence of Australia or forward commitments, [and] debates about globalism and regionalism’, and as ‘an invaluable compendium’ to the current process of refining the strategic guidance for Australia’s future defence policies and capabilities. ...

Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Foreword by Professor Kim C. Beazley
Chapter 1. Introduction: Australia and Cyber-warfare
Chapter 2. The Australian Defence Force and Network Centric Warfare
The ADF’S NCW Concept
Shared situational awareness
Balancing risks and opportunities
The NCW Roadmap
The human dimension
Accelerating change and innovation
Defence’s Information Superiority and Support Concept
Networking issues
The ADF’s capability planning for NCW
Joint force
Chapter 3. Information Warfare—Attack and Defence
The value of information
Open source information
Information Warfare
How would an adversary attack us?
China’s cyber-attack capability
What should we do?
Chapter 4. Targeting Information Infrastructures
The information society
Information Infrastructures: the NII, GII and DII
The National Information Infrastructure
The Global Information Infrastructure
The Defence Information Infrastructure
Information Infrastructures: Some key characteristics
Functional interdependence
Ownership and control
The Importance of Information Assurance
Targeting Information Infrastructures: who and why?
Nation-state targeting
Targeting by non-state organisations
Targeting: objectives
Targeting: capabilities required
Psychological operations
Database management
Computer Network Operations (CNO)
Other weapons and methodologies
HUMINT assets
Additional capabilities
Targeting: vulnerability and accessibility
Chapter 5. Protecting Information Infrastructures
Balancing information superiority and operational vulnerability
Balancing security and privacy in information sharing
Managing security risk
Managing privacy risk
Dangers in getting privacy wrong
Critical Infrastructure Protection in Australia
Securing the Defence enterprise
Trusted information infrastructure
Addressing the national requirement
Chapter 6. An Australian Cyber-warfare Centre
The relevant organisations and their coordination
Research, planning and preparation
Offensive activities
Information Warfare and the intelligence process
Command issues
A premium on ante-bellum activities
Rules of engagement, doctrine and operational concepts
Capability planning
Location of a Cyber-warfare Centre
Regional developments

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Design of the Cyber Security Operations Centre

The public opening of the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) at the Defence Signals Directorate provides a rare insight into the design of an Australian military operations centre. The Minister for Defence announced the centre would have a staff of 51 to 130.

Operator and console at the DSD Cyber Security Operations Centre, 13 January 2010, DoD photoThe Defence Department provided photographs of the minister in the centre and more general views of the centre. One photo shows a close-up of an operator at a console. There are three wide format Dell monitors, each of about 24 Inches. The monitors are simply placed on the desktop using their supplied stands (no multi-monitor mounting is used). A standard keyboard and mouse are used. A Cisco Unified IP Phone (7970G or similar) digital telephone handset is located alongside the screens. In the background is a large video wall screen with two smaller flat screen displays and LED world clocks. There is a railing showing a balcony and second level with a glass wall and door (presumably offices).

DSD Cyber Security Operations Centre, 13 January 2010, DoD photoA wider view shows what appears to be a projection wall screen with images from two projectors side by side, showing computer displays. Underneath are the two flat panel wide screens showing BBC World News. The flat panels have four LED world clocks to there left.

The design of the room appears symmetrical, with a central walkway about 1.2 m wide. Individual rectangular adjustable height office desks 1600 x 800 mm are used. Three rows of desks are visible, with three desks in each row, about 1200 mm between the rows. There is one operator, with two screens (some three screens) and a phone per desk. Free standing drawer units are under some desks. The back of the room shows a built in semicircular desk with two monitors.

Assuming the room is symmetrical, it would have 19 operator workstations. The room is about 13 m wide and 10 m deep, with a double height ceiling of about 6 m. This provides a generous 7 square metres per operator.

Clearly 51 staff could not fit in this area. Assuming that the visible area is surrounded by standard offices on two levels of three sides, that would provide an additional 440 square metres of space. This would provide a reasonable 11 square metres of space per staff member, for 51 staff.

The design of the room does not appear optimal for space utilisation or group work. The desks, at 800 mm, are deeper than needed (smaller desks could double the room capacity). The use of two screens per workstation creates a situation where the operator has to look either to the left or right, not straight ahead. There are only limited gaps between the screens cutting the operators off from those in front and behind. Also the desk rows are straight, reducing the ability of the operators to see others. Narrower semicircular rows of desks would provide a better result. These could be fabricated simply (height adjustment is not used in such centres, as is evident from the photographs). Also it might be better to provide each operator with just one large monitor (up to 30 inch).

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