13 Dec 2022

NSA Releases Series on Protecting DoD Microelectronics From Adversary Influence

The National Security Agency’s Joint Federated Assurance Center has released four cybersecurity technical reports to help protect field-programmable gate array systems from adversary influence. The reports outline the process for securing FPGAs during manufacturing, acquisition, programming, and first attachment of the devices, and cover threat categories, mitigations, best practices, and

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27 Sep 2022

NSA sets 2035 post-quantum cryptography deadline; Joint Advisories with CISA and FBI

The debate about the “dual hat” leadership structure of the NSA and Cyber Command has evolved into a study group effort (announced by the White House this week) to review the fact that “both Cyber Command and NSA have always been helmed by the same military officer, a role currently filled by Army Gen. Paul Nakasone. That practice has been enshrined in law, but has rankled some within the clandestine community.” OODA Loop will keep the membership abreast of the results of that review. 

In the meantime, we are not without  plenty of developments over at the NSA which will impact current cyber security conditions and the future of national security

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27 May 2022

NSA: Sanctions on Russia Having a Positive Effect on Ransomware Attacks, Attempts Down Due to Difficulty Collecting Ransom Payments

National Security Agency (NSA) director of cybersecurity Rob Joyce told attendees of a recent UK security conference that ransomware attacks are down in roughly the last two months, and that trend can be traced directly to sanctions placed on Russia. Criminals that operate out of the country are struggling to

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08 Apr 2022

Former Tenable CEO Ron Gula Applies a Hacker Mindset to Investing, Public Awareness, and Philanthropy

In this OODAcast, we interview Ron Gula, co-founder and CEO of the highly successful Tenable Security(NASDAQ:TENB) and currently President of Gula Tech Adventures. Ron has a long history in the cybersecurity field that includes starting his career as an NSA hacker and then transitioning into an entrepreneur responsible for multiple innovations in the market and several successful companies. Ron remains a hacker at heart, and currently focuses his energy on investing in and mentoring emerging companies, improving public awareness on cybersecurity, and engaging in philanthropic efforts.

In our conversation with Ron, we explore his career history, the state of cybersecurity, where we should focus our innovation investments, and how cybersecurity professionals can help solve not just global problems, but get engaged in local solutions at scale.

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04 Apr 2022

NSA Employee Accused of Sharing National Defense Secrets

Mark Robert Unkenholz, a 60-year-old resident of Maryland, has been accused of sending national defense secrets from his personal email account during his employment at the United States National Security Agency. The 26-count indictment was unsealed on Thursday and claims that Unkenholz willfully transmitted classified National Defense Information (NDI) on

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16 Feb 2022

Russia is Hacking Defense Contractors to get Top Secret Technologies

A new multi-agency alert warns U.S. defense and intelligence contractors that Russia is engaging in cyber attacks to gain access to top secret technology programs. The alert was issued jointly by the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Critical Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on February 16, 2022 and covers an observation period of January 2020 through February 2022.

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20 Jan 2022

National Security Memorandum 8 Gives NSA Director Centralized National Security Systems Portfolio

The White House announced that the President has signed National Security Memorandum (NSM) 8, “Improving the Cybersecurity of National Security, Department of Defense and Intelligence Community Systems.” The Memorandum provides the Director of the NSA, General Paul M. Nakasone, in his role as the National Manager for National Security Systems (NSS), with enhanced insight and authorities to better safeguard networks across the U.S. Government that contain classified information or are otherwise critical to military and intelligence activities.

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11 Jan 2022

A Joint Cybersecurity Advisory from CISA, FBI and NSA: Russian State-Sponsored Cyber Threats to U.S. Critical Infrastructure

As we have mentioned a few times here at OODA Loop, we are very discerning in our amplification of US-CERT e-mail notifications.  Emergency Directives and Joint Cybersecurity Advisories (CSAs) are the exceptions.   The Joint CSA released today by CISA, the FBI, and the NSA is very much aligned with our coverage of the current tension in Ukraine and the role of cyber and information threat vectors in gray-zone conflicts. Following are the details of the Joint CSA.

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04 Oct 2021

Hackers as Global Private Contractors is a Pandora’s Box You Do Not Want to Open

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) recently fined three former National Security Agency (NSA) hackers who worked as service contractors for a United Arab Emirates (UAE) cybersecurity company named DarkMatter. These three individuals were not the only former ex-U.S. Intelligence officers working for the company. DarkMatter employed more than a dozen former NSA hackers who would use the skills and techniques learned from the NSA to help the UAE target and compromise the phones and computers of its enemies. These “enemies” included human rights activists, journalists, and political rivals. At the core of this issue is the fact that these ex-intelligence operatives used cutting-edge cyber-espionage tools learned from their time in the U.S. Intelligence Community on behalf of a foreign intelligence service.

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30 Sep 2021

NSA, CISA partner for guide on safe VPNs amid widespread exploitation by nation-states

The NSA and CISA have released a detailed guide pertaining to how organizations and individuals should select virtual private networks as they remain actively under attack and face exploitation from nation states and cybercriminals alike. The guide also features details on ways to deploy a VPN securely. The NSA stated

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