Early Warning for 23 October

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Good morning. Here's your Early Warning for Monday, 23 October.

Late on Friday, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation released a joint report warning that sophisticated hackers are targeting U.S. critical infrastructure systems. "Since at least May 2017, threat actors have targeted government entities and the energy, water, aviation, nuclear, and critical manufacturing sectors, and, in some cases, have leveraged their capabilities to compromise victims’ networks." The report labels these groups "advanced persistent threats" (or APTs), which suggests that they're state-backed entities. Furthermore, the report goes on to describe these attacks as "staging" efforts, probably in preparation for disruptive attacks in the future. (Analyst Comment: We've observed these types of activities for a long time, and have been consistent in our conclusion that U.S. cyber security is a persistent vulnerability that's likely to be exploited in future conflicts.) [source]

For the first time since 1991, the Pentagon may order that our nation's nuclear bombers are put on a 24-hour alert. The Air Force chief of staff said recently that, “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.” A barracks building on a tarmac at Barksdale Air Force Base is already being renovated for the Air Force Global Strike Command, so that crews of strategic bombers will be ready should missions be ordered.

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