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Pentagon to Beef Up Cybersecurity Arsenal

Pentagon to Beef Up Cybersecurity Arsenal

Today in international tech news: The Pentagon plans to bolster cybersecurity; China considers lifting its videogame console ban; the UK looks at Google's tracking of Apple users' Web habits; and Antigua wants to recoup lost gambling revenue by launching a site that sells copyrighted material.

By David Vranicar
01/28/13 1:10 PM PT

The Pentagon's cybersecurity force will increase more than fivefold over the next several years, following the approval of a move requested by the head of the Defense Department's Cyber Command, The Washington Post reported.

The expansion will bolster the U.S.' ability to defend critical computer systems and carry out "offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries," according to The Post.

"Foreign adversaries" is a phrase that also popped up in The New York Times' article about the expansion.

News of the expansion broke Sunday, but it apparently was approved in late 2012, perhaps not long after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's ominous "cyber Pearl Harbor" speech.

The potential for cyberthreats has been highlighted by a series of recent cyberattacks, including one on a Saudi Arabian oil company that scrubbed data from more than 30,000 computers, and a series of DDoS attacks carried out on U.S. banks.

While details of the cybersecurity expansion have not been finalized, The Post reported that the overhaul will create three types of forces under the Cyber Command umbrella: national mission forces to protect computer systems related to power grids; combat mission forces to help overseas commanders plan and carry out offensive operations; and cyberprotection forces to fortify the Defense Department's networks.

China Could Lift Videogame Console Ban

China's decade-long ban on videogame consoles could soon go away, according to the state-run China Daily.

Consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation are banned because of what China Daily described as "potential harm to the physical and mental development of the young." However, a source from the Ministry of Culture told the newspaper that the policy is under review.

Seven separate ministries issued the ban, and each would reportedly need to give approval in order to lift it.

Sony Computer Entertainment, which makes the PlayStation, opened a facility in China's Guangdong province last year.

Sony and Nintendo both saw their stock jump following the report, according to Bloomberg.

The console ban hasn't stopped Chinese youngsters from playing videogames. Computer games are all the rage in China, even prompting the rise of treatment centers for those who consider themselves addicted.

UK Looks at Google's Web Tracking of iPhone Users

An estimated 10 million people in the UK could have grounds to launch a privacy claim against Google for its alleged tracking of the Internet habits of Web users, according to The Guardian.

The issue stems from the way Google monitored online behavior by circumventing Apple's security settings on the iPhone, iPad and desktop versions of Apple's Safari Web browser. At least 10 British iPhone users have begun legal proceedings and "dozens more are being lined up," The Guardian reported.

Lawyers have reportedly ordered Google to divulge how much data it obtained, how it used that data, and the length of time the company used the information.

Antigua's Bizarre Website Proposal

The Caribbean island of Antigua will appear before the World Trade Organization on Monday to seek permission to run a website that sells music, movies and software.

The site, however, would ignore copyright laws, reported TorrentFreak.

The site is an attempt to recoup lost revenue when the U.S. started blocking Americans from using Antigua-based gambling websites, thereby depriving the country of billions of dollars.

The U.S. is also opposed to letting Antigua sell copyrighted products.


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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