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By Cam Sivesind
Thu | Mar 9, 2023 | 9:05 AM PST

The 2023 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community was released yesterday, March 8th, providing the status of worldwide threats to the national security of the United States.

According to a press release on the site of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI): "This report reflects the collective insights of the Intelligence Community, which is committed every day to providing the nuanced, independent, and unvarnished intelligence that policymakers, warfighters, and domestic law enforcement personnel need to protect American lives and America's interests anywhere in the world."

The full report can be downloaded here.

Col. Candice Frost, JIOC Commander, United States Cyber Command—who keynoted at SecureWorld Charlotte on March 2nd and will give the same presentation at SecureWorld Boston on March 22-23 on "Threats to National Security in Cyberspace"—provided this executive summary of the report in a LinkedIn post:

"China probably currently represents the broadest, most active, and persistent cyber espionage threat to U.S. Government and private-sector networks. China's cyber pursuits and its industry's export of related technologies increase the threats of aggressive cyber operations against the U.S. homeland, suppression of the free flow of information in cyberspace—such as U.S. web content—that Beijing views as threatening to the CCP's hold on power, and the expansion of technology-driven authoritarianism globally.

The Ukraine war was the key factor in Russia's cyber operations prioritization in 2022. Although its cyber activity surrounding the war fell short of the pace and impact we had expected, Russia will remain a top cyber threat as it refines and employs its espionage, influence, and attack capabilities. Russia views cyber disruptions as a foreign policy lever to shape other countries’ decisions.

Iran's growing expertise and willingness to conduct aggressive cyber operations make it a major threat to the security of U.S. and allied networks and data.

North Korea's cyber program poses a sophisticated and agile espionage, cybercrime, and attack threat. Pyongyang's cyber forces have matured and are fully capable of achieving a range of strategic objectives against diverse targets, including a wider target set in the United States.

New technologies—particularly in the fields of AI and biotechnology—are being developed and are proliferating faster than companies and governments can shape norms, protect privacy, and prevent dangerous outcomes. The convergence of emerging technologies is likely to create potentially breakthrough technologies not foreseeable by examining narrow science and technology areas, which could lead to the rapid development of asymmetric threats to U.S. interests.

Globally, foreign states' malicious use of digital information and communication technologies will become more pervasive, automated, targeted, and complex during the next few years, further threatening to distort publicly available information.

Transnational organized ransomware actors continue to improve and execute high-impact ransomware attacks, extorting funds, disrupting critical services, and exposing sensitive data. While important services and critical infrastructure such as health care, schools, and manufacturing continued to experience attacks—with a large portion occurring in the United States—an increasing number of ransomware attacks observed in 2022 also targeted governments worldwide.

Major cybercrime groups have diversified ransomware business models, including new forms of extortion, such as threats to release captured data alongside encryption of data, and have improved the ability of their malware to affect a wider range of technical targets such as virtual machine hosts and network storage devices."

Thank you, Col. Frost, for the handy synopsis.

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