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    Cyber Attacks and Typhoon Mawar prompt Guam Cyber Conference

    Cyber Attacks and Typhoon Mawar prompt Guam Cyber Conference

    Photo By Mark Scott | U.S. Air Force Capt. Stephen Romans, assigned to U.S. Cyber Command, introduces the...... read more read more



    Story by Mark Scott 

    Guam National Guard

    TUMON, Guam (July 18, 2023) – Outside the hotel conference room in the U.S. Territory of Guam, it looks like a normal tropical day. It does not appear that less than two months ago, Typhoon Mawar ravaged the island with 140-mph sustained winds.

    Thanks to the whole-of-community approach between local and federal governments and community partners, the visible scars to critical infrastructure appear to have healed. Power and water have been restored to nearly 100 percent, and roadways are clear. But not all the scars are immediately visible.

    On the day of Typhoon Mawar’s landfall, a multi-national advisory and Microsoft announced a malicious computer code was discovered in telecommunications systems in Guam and elsewhere in the United States. The attacks were attributed to Volt Typhoon, a state-sponsored hacking group that carries out espionage and information gathering for the Chinese government.

    Inside the hotel conference room, Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero gave opening remarks to an audience of over 100 cyber stakeholders, at a gathering hosted by the Guam National Guard. Representatives from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Cyber Command, Fleet Cyber Command, Cyber Infrastructure and Security Agency, FBI, FEMA, Guam Homeland Security and Office of Technology, and others, were present.

    “Cybersecurity is one of the things that keeps me up at night,” said Gov. Leon Guerrero. “Our communications went down during Typhoon Mawar, and it was frustrating trying to connect with frontline workers to find out what was going on. But this gives me relief in knowing we will have a comprehensive and unified cyber plan. As a whole-of-community, we need each other to make this happen to protect our island and nation.”

    Led by Guam National Guard Lt. Col. Bumjin Park, chief information officer, the conference began with partner agencies briefing their individual capabilities and cyber postures. Later, breakout sessions afforded opportunities to analyze strengths and weaknesses, share best practices, and input to develop a charter.

    “It’s really exciting to see an event like this get so much participation,” said Park. “We have so much to learn from each other, and all the cross-pollination I’m hearing from the breakout sessions tells me we are going in the right direction. Many agencies didn’t know about certain programs offered by CISA, for example. So I think everyone is taking away something useful.”

    Among the crowd favorites was a presentation given by Capt. Stephen Romans of U.S. Cyber Command. Capt. Romans introduced The Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE), a cyber training ecosystem that allows teams of operators to configure, attack, and defend in a learning environment. On day two of the conference, stakeholders were allowed hands-on familiarization with PCTE, focusing on the fundamental cyber security skills necessary to defend against known Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors.

    Mr. Geoffrey Pease, integrated cyber planner with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, was a key enabler for the conference. Pease partnered with the Guam Guard, U.S. Cyber Command, and U. S. INDOPACOM stakeholders to bring everyone to the table.

    “This event was a great opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness and strength of a whole of government approach, to train and fight together in terms of bringing increased cybersecurity capacity to Guam,” said Pease. “Cyber is something that is here, and we all need to come together. We have to be aware there’s a threat that’s out there, and we have to be prepared to deal with that threat.”

    The Guam National Guard is planning to facilitate subsequent cyber events with support from U.S. INDOPACOM and U.S. CYBERCOM, with expanded attendance from across the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau.



    Date Taken: 07.24.2023
    Date Posted: 07.24.2023 02:48
    Story ID: 449832
    Location: GU

    Web Views: 898
    Downloads: 2