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Air Force preps for massive cyber-attacks on major weapons systems

File photo – Two F-22 Raptor fighter jets from the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, behaviour, approach of the course, in this U. S. Air Force photo was taken on 24 March 2016. Photo taken on March 24, 2016. (REUTERS/U.s. Air Force/Justin Connaher/handout via Reuters)

The air force is massively revving up efforts to defend the stealth fighters, nuclear-armed missiles, air-launched weapons and is crucial for the control of the networks from crippling wartime cyber attacks by taking new steps with a special unit together to find and fix vulnerabilities.

The service is now solidified key weapons development of procedures for the Cyber Resilience Office for weapon systems, or CROWS. The concept for the office, founded by Air Force Materiel Command, is based on the realization that more and more weapons systems are increasingly cyber-reliant.

“CROWS has completed an acquisition of language manual in support of program offices in the development of contracting documents to ensure cyber resiliency is baked in acquisition efforts,” Capt. Hope Cronin, an Air Force spokeswoman, told the Warrior Maven.

This phenomenon, in which cybersecurity threats continue to rapidly expand and further and systems to reach more platforms and weapons systems, is often discussed in terms of a two-fold process. While the advanced computer processing, sophisticated algorithms and better network weapons and fire control unprecedented control of the benefits, increased cyber-confidence can also increase risk in a number of important respects.

For example, successful hacking or cyber-attacks may interfere with vital targeting and guidance systems which are necessary for precision weapons, superstitions, computer-enabled aircraft navigation and targeting, or even try to change the flight path of a drone or ICBM. CROWS is also designed to harvest the best thinking when it comes to anticipating potential enemy of cyber-attacks.

Through the collaboration, “thinking enemy,” CROWS experts work with weapons developers to find vulnerabilities and areas of potential attack. As part of this, the reason for the effort is therefore “bake in” cyber protection early in the acquisition process in order to engineer long-term cyber resilience.

“CROWS efforts have been successful in identifying the highest risk of cyber vulnerabilities and then work with the program offices to develop mitigation solutions to reduce those risks,” Cronin said. The CROWS also has several cyber training courses and published a cyber assessment methodology to be used for the support of the testing processes, Cronin added.

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