Nicholas Chaillan worked as a software chief for the United States Air Force and was assigned to the Pentagon to modernize the organization’s digital security in August of 2018. In September of 2021, he resigned from his post and claimed, “We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it’s already over, in my opinion.”
Chaillan’s concerns stem from two major issues. The first and most important is that the United States military does not take the threat to digital security seriously enough and was unwilling to commit the funds that would have been necessary for adequate protection against military-grade digital incursions.
“I am just tired of continuously chasing support and money to do my job,” he said. “My office still has no billet and no funding, this year and the next.”
The other concern Chaillan had was the Pentagon’s reluctance to recognize that the next looming threat in digital security was not conventional attacks like “phishing” to illicitly secure passwords, but instead, the threat comes from next-generation, highly sophisticated digital attacks reliant on artificial intelligence to penetrate systems that still don’t use newer techniques like biometrics.
While not true artificial intelligence in the sense of software that can think autonomously, AI refers to increasingly complex algorithms capable of finding patterns and solving problems. When directed for offensive purposes, AI can be used for digital reconnaissance, such as scanning and compiling social media profiles to construct a digital “alias” of a trusted individual. It can be used to intelligently guess passwords, reducing brute force time by accessing profiles of relevant individuals. For systems not using biometrics, this collects a list of potentially useful keywords, and uses those in alphanumeric combinations for user-ID/password combinations.
Chaillan contends that China is aggressively pursuing AI in a cyber warfare capacity. They are putting in both the money and eliminating any professional or ethical barriers that might slow progress. Conversely, the United States is experiencing difficulties in this same area as expertise from companies like Google is withdrawn on ethical grounds, such as when Google objected to the use of its technology to increase the precision of drone targeting systems.
Digital Warfare Continues To Evolve
As with real-world defensive and offensive measures, digital attack and defense are in a constant state of new measures being developed requiring new countermeasures to repel. With increasingly sophisticated and automated phishing attacks, relying exclusively on 40 year old legacy password security technology is no longer be enough. If you’re still relying on a legacy password security technology and want to upgrade your network to modern identity and authentication security technology, (including the new global standard of key-pair biometrics), look at Nok Nok products for secure, password-free cyber authentication solutions. The largest global financial brands depend on Nok Nok’s modern auth platform for improving and protecting customer trust.