July 4th, 2012
07:05 PM ET

Iran threatens the U.S.

With sanctions targeting its oil sector, and the possibility of Israel striking its nuclear program, a senior official in Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Iran could strike U.S. military installations in the region "within minutes."

How equipped is Iran's military to carry out such a threat? CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty reports.

July 4th, 2012
04:11 PM ET

Homeland security cites sharp rise in cyber attacks

by Suzanne Kelly

The companies that control critical infrastructure in the United States are reporting higher numbers of attacks on their systems over the past three years, according to a report issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) says the number of reported attacks is up and attackers have been targeting companies with access to the country's power grid, water filtration facilities and a nuclear facility.

According to the report, which was released last week, there were 198 incidents reported to DHS in 2011, up from nine incidents in 2009. Cyber emergency response teams went to the physical locations to investigate and further analyze the threats in 17 of the 198 cases in 2011.

The most common threat was a technique known as spear-phishing, which can corrupt a company's computer system by uploading malicious attachments and gaining access to sensitive information. Eleven of the 17 incidents to which the emergency response teams physically responded were attacks that had been launched by "sophisticated actors," the report said. FULL POST

Filed under: Cybersecurity • Homeland Security • Nuclear • Spying
Lessons of the Counterterror Campaign in the Digital Age (Opinion)
Abdelmalek Droukdel, leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), with his fighters in Mali
July 4th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Lessons of the Counterterror Campaign in the Digital Age (Opinion)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of opinion articles about national security by participants in the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event which is taking place from July 25-28 in Aspen, Colorado.

Philip Mudd served as the FBI’s deputy director for national security and, prior to that, spent most of his career at the Central Intelligence Agency. He held various positions and was eventually named the deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center. Mudd is now a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation.

The counterterror campaign has evolved markedly during the past decade, from the centrally-directed al Qaeda plots of 9/11 through the rise of affiliated organizations in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia and, now, to the homegrown phenomenon in the United States and elsewhere. In each of these cases, the combination of effective counterterror operations and broad rejection of al Qaedaist ideology has hollowed the threat: al Qaeda’s core is struggling; with few exceptions (the Sahel, for example), affiliates are either in remission (Indonesia) or suffering serious setbacks (Somalia and Yemen); and homegrowns are prolific in number but limited in the strategic threat they pose. Meanwhile, with economic setbacks across the world, the rise of China, and questions about Iran’s nuclear intentions, questions unrelated to the al Qaedaist threat of the first decade of this century are appropriately crowding out counterterrorism in the national security arena.

The lessons of how U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement developed tactics during this long campaign, though, likely will be more enduring. Like international terror groups, emerging threats - organized crime, drug cartels, human trafficking groups, and child pornography rings - have common characteristics. All are led by a central cadre (a leadership network) of criminals who communicate, travel, and manage finances. Increasingly, each of these elements that make up organized networks is trackable through the digital trails that we all leave behind during everyday life, from bank transactions to e-mail and other messaging traffic on the Internet. And these are the same types of trails that U.S. security entities so successfully tracked during the counterterror campaign and the effort against foreign-fighter networks in Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan. FULL POST