Saturday, April 30, 2016

US Steel, Solar, and SpaceX --what do they have in common?

I live in the woods, so my daily Wall Street Journal comes via post office.  I could read it on my
June 7th, Huntsville, AL
iPad, but I still prefer turning the pages and over morning coffee, so I deal with it.

Yesterday one of the guys in my office (who gets his paper on time), and who'd worked for the Steel Industry Association for many years dropped the business and tech section on my desk (a spoiler alert?) with a headline below the fold "U.S. Steel Accuses China of Hacking"... hacking and stealing intellectual property "enabling [China] to manufacture light weight steels the complete with U.S. Steel's products. The lightweight steel is used for manufacturing lighter cars --for better gas mileage.

U.S. Steel (and others) the victims named in the indictment of five Chinese hackers in 2014. 

The indictment was issued because, as it states "An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

So let's look at the bigger picture...

From 2006 through 2012 five guys (I'd bet a Yuan there were more and just one!) hacked into various US companies -- Alcoa, Westinghouse Electric, US subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG, U.S. Steel, Allegheny Technologies (ATI), and the United Steel, Paper, Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, and Allied Industrial and Services Workers Union (USW).

In my own words, these five guys (and their friends) mapped networks, planted access, grew access, made themselves at home. They prepared the networks for future exploitation... and that's exactly what happened.  And I'd bet another Yuan that they've exploited these companies ever since. 

So now you know the cause. What about the effect? Theft of lightweight steel manufacturing alone is going to have ripple effects across the board from the manufacture of knockoff cars that compete directly with US (and other) cars to those lightweight steel 2x4's that are now used as studs in the construction business.

And what about the others? In the solar business? The world, especially China, needs more energy, and solar processes are needed to offset the limited supplies of future oil and natural gas... but turning solar into energy --especially in a massive scale requires specialized process.

What's next? On page B3 of my (yesterday's) Wall Street Journal is a picture of Elon Musks SpaceX with the caption "Air Force will pay SpaceX $83 million to put a satellite into orbit." Watch out Elon, you, and the other companies mentioned in the article just become the next top target --Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), United Launch Alliance, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and any company in the supply chain building these new, lower cost commercial rockets will have crosshairs on their cyber foreheads just like the steel industry did.  Space technologies has been declared high on the Chinese priority list for several year. 


We had an interesting week. On Monday we kicked off a new effort to train transitioning vets. We've hired two in the last month and expect to hire several more in the coming weeks. And because many of them are not (yet) cyber experts (we're training them), we have them do other things --like reading social media, translating pages, and in general, watching for physical threats via cyber means.  Over time we'll transition these guys up to reading packets, malware analysis, and other critical skills needed in our space. Some will choose to stay with us, but others will have the opportunity to be introduced into Red Sky member companies for longer term, higher paying jobs.  In fact, we hired the former Supervisory Special Agent from the Coast Guard First District's (Boston) CGIS unit--Bill Shenkleberg to run this new team. Bill was involved in the NH Fusion Center, Cleveland and now sits on the board of the National Fusion Center Association. We're looking forward to having him join us!

As a reminder, we're preparing for our joint H2L Solutions | Wapack Labs Cyber Symposium in Huntsville on June 7th. We'll be joined by folks from H2L, Lockheed, Morphick Security, and so far about a dozen of our closest friends at the Jackson Center in Huntsville. 

Care to join us? Drop our marketing person a note. Her name is Pamela, and she'd be happy to help.

OK. That grass isn't going to mow itself. 
Until next time,
Have a great weekend!

Post a Comment