Raytheon Executive Warns Employers on Cybersecurity

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Sep 20, 2013 9:15:00 AM

The next victim of cyber crime or cyberterrorism may be a patient driving to a Boston hospital for a doctor’s appointment.

DugleLynn Dugle, President of Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, says that “white hat” engineers have hacked the wireless payment systems embedded in Boston parking meters. They have hacked the Toyota Prius or Ford Focus that the patient may drive to the hospital.

And they can potentially hack the pacemaker keeping the patient alive.

The Food and Drug Administration has documented “dozens of cybersecurity incidents affecting hundreds of medical devices,” Dugle told hundreds of business leaders at the AIM Executive Forum in Waltham this morning.

An increasingly networked, mobile and data-driven world economy has put organizations ranging from the U.S. military to the neighborhood restaurant at risk of theft by wire. Dugle said that nation states, criminal syndicates and lone hackers are distorting financial markets, accessing biotechnology secrets and even destroying the equipment on factor floors.

The cost of cyber espionage and cyber crime could be as high as $100 billion annually, according to Dugle, who runs $6 billion business with 17,000 employees charged with protecting computer networks that run the United States government, the military, the electric infrastructure, the financial system and broad swaths of private enterprise.  One quarter of all network security breaches occur in retail stores and restaurants; 20 percent take place at manufacturing, transportation and utility companies; and another 20 percent hit information and professional security firms.

Part of the issue, Dugle said, is the sheer volume of data created worldwide. More than 1.8 zetabytes of data were created globally in 2011, equivalent to 36 million years of high-definition television.

“Part of a protection strategy has to do with how much territory you have to protect. The bigger the territory, the harder it is to protect,” Dugle said.

What can employers do to make their operations secure? Dugle offered a three-part prescription:

  • Defend against Advanced Persistent Threat, which is a sophisticated and often invisible effort to target a network.  Dugle urged companies to audit and defend the most accessible entry points to their networks, most often employee smart phones and laptops.
  • Reduce Threats from Insiders . The best security standards and protocols in the world are meaningless if the people using them bend the rules, refuse to follow them or circumvent them. Leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden illustrate the magnitude of the threat from inside, Dugle said.
  •  Train employees to minimize cyber threats.  Raytheon has initiated bi-annual cyber training programs for 68,000 employees, according to Dugle, and has reduced by half employee click-throughs on malicious emails.

Topics: Cybersecurity, Issues, AIM Executive Forum

Cybersecurity and Employers - You're Going to Need a Bigger Lock

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Sep 9, 2013 9:01:00 AM

“Our country will, at some point, face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy and the everyday functioning of our society.”

CybersecurityThat sobering assessment came last week from outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“While we have built systems, protections and a framework to identify attacks and intrusions, share information with the private sector and across government, and develop plans and capabilities to mitigate the damage, more must be done, and quickly,” Napolitano said in a speech to the National Press Club.

It’s a message that government, employers and average citizens alike should take to heart. A recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the computer-security firm McAffee estimates that cybercrime and cyberespionage cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion and 508,000 jobs each year.

It was more than a bit ironic that that Napolitano made her comments just as a hacker group called the Syrian Electronic Army gained control of The New York Times, Twitter and Huffington Post UK. The same group, a hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed responsibility several weeks earlier for breaching the network of The Washington Post with a sophisticated phishing attack that resulted in one staff writer’s personal Twitter account being used to send out a Syrian Electronic Army message.

The computer networks that run the nation's electricity grid, financial system and national defense are under attack. So are the systems that run your company.

The collection of computer systems, telecommunication networks and mobile devices that, grouped together, make up the cyber realm are an increasingly popular target for nation states, criminal syndicates and even lone hackers sitting in coffee shops thousands of miles away. These hackers are pulling out personal identities, engineering specifications, social security numbers, money from banks and intellectual property - the blueprints for jobs in the next generation.

“Intuitively, I think each one of us understands that there's been a substantial expansion of the cyber domain from the desktop computer and traditional computer network to now, every air traffic control tower, warehouse, smart phone and even the automobiles we drive," said Lynn Dugle, President of Raytheon Company’s Intelligence, Information and Services business, who will discuss the global cyber threat at the AIM Executive Forum on September 20.

"This has meant more opportunity and productivity for our society but it has also meant more threats to the data, operations, machines and devices we have come to rely upon. As a result, every company, organization, and agency who presumes to have intellectual property, confidential information or essential operations on a network has an obligation to understand how that network is being used and how that network is being accessed."

The breadth of the cyber threat was underscored in February when the private security firm Mandiant issued a report detailing the ongoing campaign by the Chinese government to hack into American government and corporation Web sites. Mandiant asserted that its three-year investigation showed that a unit of the Chinese military, PLA Unit 61398, had breached 115 U.S. companies across 20 industries in sustained attacks of a year or more that in one case stole 6.5 terabytes of information from a single company. 

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., which processes U.S. stock trades, has identified cybercrime as the most significant threat to markets and governments around the world. A study by two financial industry organizations found recently that 53 percent of securities exchanges surveyed had been hit by a cyber-attack in the last year. About 89 percent of exchange executives said it represents a systemic risk.

Small wonder that 78 percent of 400 investors surveyed said they would be “somewhat or very unlikely” to invest in a company with a history of being targeted in cyber attacks.  

“In a modern digitalized world it is possible to paralyze a country without attacking its defense forces: The country can be ruined by simply bringing its Scada systems to a halt. To impoverish a country one can erase its banking records. The most sophisticated military technology can be rendered irrelevant. In cyberspace, no country is an island,” Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, wrote recently.

The threat is not limited to computers. The New York Times reported in 2011 that American and Israeli intelligence were apparently behind a computer worm called Stuxnet that severely damaged Iran’s nuclear centrifuges in 2010, setting back that nation’s controversial nuclear weapons program by several years. The Times asserted that Stuxnet, the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever developed, caused the centrifuges to spin out of control while playing back recordings of normal operations so technicians were unaware of what was happening.

And next time you’re driving down the Mass Turnpike, remember that your automobile is not simply a mass of glass and steel but a hackable network of computer-controlled electronics. Forbes magazine reported last month on the work of a Pentagon-funded project in which hackers have been able to gain control of the braking and other systems of cars that now routinely include Wi-Fi networks such as Onstar and SYNC.

The message to employers – you’re going to need a bigger lock.

AIM Executive Forum Lynn Dugle

Topics: Cybersecurity, Issues, AIM Executive Forum

Harvard, MIT Online Venture Changes Educational Model

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 15, 2013 11:40:00 AM

edX, the non-profit online venture of Harvard and MIT, now serves more than 800,000 students across dozens of countries. That’s more people than the combined alumni of the two universities have had through their history.

edXMore than 30,000 new students enroll to take free courses with edX every week, three times the entire enrollment of MIT.

Anant Agarwal, the President of edX, says the world of massive open online courses is expanding educational opportunity to every area of the globe. But the real revolution, he told the AIM Executive Forum this morning, is the data-driven improvements that online college courses are making to the quality of teaching.

“Our mission is to improve access to learning and improve the quality of learning,” said Agarwal, an MIT engineering professor who has run edX since Havard and MIT launched the company with a $60 million investment a year ago.

“We record every click, when people watch the videos, how long they watch them, how they do on the tests … It’s a kind of particle accelerator for education. We get data in hours that used to take 100 years to gather.”

edX is part of an exploding marketplace of online course platforms  that are rapidly remaking the traditional model of a college education. Agarwal told more than 150 business executives at this morning’s forum that there have been few innovations in the delivery of education since the advent of the blackboard in the 19th century.

“We have not been eating our own dog food,” he quipped.

edX students are able to register for online courses offered by faculty members at institutions such as Harvard, MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, Georgetown, Wellesley, the University of Texas and McGill University in Toronto. Students follow learning sequences that employ a combination of videos, text, discussion groups, virtual labs, instantly corrected tests, and links to free textbooks.

The platform even uses artificial intelligence to allow computers to grade essays.
Initial results indicate that approximately 5 percent of students who sign up for an edX course complete the session and earn a certificate. edX data shows that students who spent the largest amount of time doing exercises and problem sets were most likely to pass the courses.

Agarwal said edX eventually hopes to become financially self sustaining by licensing private versions of its courses to universities and school systems worldwide. He does not believe that edX will replace the experience of attending college, but acknowledges that institutions are struggling to determine how the proliferation of online courses fits into their own degree programs.

He said edX really boils down to placing the Socratic teaching method online.

“For the first time in decades,” he said, “people are paying attention to education.”

Topics: Education, AIM Executive Forum

Employer Needs Drive Online Higher Education Revolution

Posted by Andre Mayer on Feb 21, 2013 2:51:00 PM

Where will your company turn in 20 years for new college-educated hires, and courses for incumbent employees? Your local campus?

Agarawal edxMany experts put the odds below 50-50 that you will come anywhere near an ivy-covered hall for your educational needs.  Higher education is facing the same kind of technology-driven disruptive change that has overtaken other information-based industries such as newspapers, bookstores and video rental. The talk in the field revolves around alternative business models and innovative delivery systems, from new competitors, individual institutions, and consortia such as Cambridge-based edX.

Employers, in fact, are at the center of this change. The established higher education model has been unable to keep pace with employers’ programmatic needs, or to provide sufficient flexibility in terms of timing and location. It also tends to be pretty expensive. Today's career-oriented undergraduates, and especially older "nontraditional" students, are attuned to these issues.  It's hard to imagine a more "traditional" college student than Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel – yet "Johnny Football" is reportedly taking all his Texas A&M courses online this semester.

The headlines focus on elite private research universities going online, but they may actually be among the least affect by the disruption. The larger impact, one expert notes, will be on less prestigious institutions that "face disintermediation in their existing relationships among employers and students."  With the number of high school graduates dropping in Massachusetts and the northeast, these comprehensive campuses will be hard-pressed to fill their classrooms by attracting more "nontraditional" and graduate students.

That's what is so important about edX, which began with MIT and Harvard, now includes major state universities (UC-Berkeley, Texas), and is bringing in community colleges (Bunker Hill, Mass Bay).

And that's why AIM's March 15 Executive Forum with Anand Agarwal, President of edX, should be of interest to all employers. It's not just about the future of one of our state's key economic sectors and resources, or about a tradition-bound industry moving towards a new business model – it's about new opportunities for employers and employees in an increasingly competitive knowledge-based economy.

Register for the Executive Forum with Anant Agarwal of edX

Topics: Education, Technology, AIM Executive Forum

UMass President Learned Early to Connect Education, Economic Growth

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Nov 2, 2012 1:09:00 PM

Robert Caret, President of the University of Massachusetts, learned the close connection between education and economic growth while growing up in Biddeford, Maine.

It's a lesson he has retained throughout a distinguished academic career known for establishing close ties between universities and business. Caret will speak at the AIM Executive Forum November 16 in Waltham.

Register for the Executive Forum with Robert Caret

Topics: Business Center, University of Massachusetts, AIM Executive Forum

Davey Calls for Long-Term Transportation Funding Solutions

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 30, 2012 3:45:00 PM

How significant are the financial challenges facing the Massachusetts transportation and highway systems?

“The people mowing the grass are paid from the capital budget,” Transportation Secretary Richard Davey told more than 200 business leaders at the AIM Executive Forum this morning.

Davey said the plan announced this week to close a $185 million deficit at the MBTA is merely a prelude to a broader debate about how to solve a $1.3 billion annual shortfall in funding for roads, bridges and mass transit in the Bay State. The Department of Transportation (DOT) continues to squeeze savings and efficiency from its three-year restructuring, according to Davey, but he said no amount of administrative overhaul will solve the long-term financial puzzle.

“This system we have currently is one we cannot afford,” said the secretary, who took over the top job at the Department of Transportation in August after serving as general manager of the T.

The Patrick administration announced a plan Wednesday to raise MBTA fares by an average of 23 percent and to eliminate four bus routes and some weekend commuter rail service. Subway fares would climb to $2 from $1.70 – a 17 percent increase – and the cost of a bus ride will climb to $1.50 from $1.25, a 25 percent jump.

Davey called the fare hikes a one-time solution that will still leave the T with a deficit of between $100 million and $110 million next year. At the same time, he said, the T spends approximately $300 million a year less than it should to maintain its system.

The commissioner demurred when asked to endorse a single long-term solution to the financial crisis but said that the commonwealth will need a user-based system to raise revenue. He noted that Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal three years ago to raise the state gasoline tax generated significant opposition.

Davey said that the Department of Transportation has four primary objectives:

  • Driving reform to save money and improve service – DOT has its lowest staffing levels in 15 years, has overhauled its retirement system and is using electronic tolling and other technology to deliver services with fewer people.
  • Make reform visible to citizens – DOT is already using electronic highway signs to provide commuter information and is exploring the possibility of allowing consumers to renew licenses with smart phones.
  • Transparency – The T conducted 30 public hearings and reviewed 6,000 comments before finalizing its fare proposal.
  • Running DOT like a business – The agency has been merging functions and facilities, and rewarding employees for creative ideas that boost efficiency.

Topics: Events, AIM Executive Forum, Transportation

Recession, Recovery Separate Economic Haves and Have-Nots

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Jan 13, 2012 1:04:00 PM

The Great Recession and subsequent sluggish recovery have widened the gap between economic “haves” and “have-nots” from the local to the global level, a panel of economists said this morning.

EconomyRaymond Torto, Carol McMullen and Alan Clayton-Matthews told more than 200 business leaders at the AIM Executive Forum in Waltham that overall economic stability in the U.S. and abroad masks wide variations in the outlook of cities, states, towns, nations and individuals.

“If the head is in the oven and the feet are in the refrigerator, then on average, you are warm,” said McMullen, a veteran private investor and corporate board member.

She said that while the national economy has been growing at a steady two-and-a-half percent annually, some absolute levels of economic activity remain near recessionary levels. And the economic bifurcation is global, she said, warning that Europe stands at the verge of another recession as leaders on the continent dither over its debt problems.

“It could get really ugly,” she said.

Clayton-Matthews, a professor of economics at Northeastern University, continued the feast-or-famine theme by saying that Massachusetts is performing better economically than the nation as a whole, but still finds pockets of strength and weakness within its own borders. He noted that while metropolitan Boston lost 4.3 percent of its job base during the recession, the decline in Springfield reached 5.4 percent. The jobless rate in cities such as Springfield, Fall River and Lawrence remains almost twice the statewide average.

“It has been an extremely unequal recession,” he said.

“For communities that have been tied in with the technology sector and that have an educated work force, they have not had a recession at all. They are doing fine.”

Torto, Global Chief Economist at CB Richard Ellis Group, said that commercial real estate is likewise winnowing strong markets from weak ones and well-capitalized developers from smaller ones. He said the growth of biosciences and technology companies has remained concentrated in the traditional strongholds of Cambridge and Boston instead of spreading throughout the state.

“It’s where they want to be,” Torto said.

He maintained that the private sector nationally remains reluctant to invest its cash reserves to create jobs because business executives lack confidence in the ability of governments in Europe in the United States to resolve their debt and deficit issues.

All three members of the panel, moderated by WBZ radio business anchor Anthony Silva, agreed that Massachusetts faces a significant risk in Europe because 25 percent of Bay State exports go to the continent.

Topics: Economy, AIM Executive Forum, Jobs

What Are Your Questions about the Massachusetts Economy in 2012?

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Jan 9, 2012 9:46:00 AM

What would you ask three world-class economists if you had the chance? Would you ask about prospects for the Massachusetts economy and your business in 2012? Will the European debt crisis push the US back into recession? Will housing finally bottom out?

Well, your chance is here.

JanuaryForum icon webThe AIM Executive Forum on Friday, January 13 in Waltham will feature three prominent economists who will dust off their crystal balls and look at where the economy will go during 2012. Speakers include Raymond Torto, right, Global Chief Economist for CB Richard Ellis Group; Carol McMullen, Corporate Director and Private Investor; and Alan Clayton-Matthews, Professor at Northeastern University.

We’re giving employers throughout Massachusetts an opportunity to submit questions for our three experts. All you need to do is to post your question in the comments section below. We’ll select the best questions and let our economists have at it.

If we use your question, we’ll thank you with complimentary admission to a future Executive Forum. If more than one person submits the same question, the first person to post it receives the free ticket.

We will also take questions during the event on Twitter, @aimbusinessnews, #aimeconomicoutlook.

Meanwhile, we invite you to register to attend the Executive Forum for a morning of networking, good food and interesting conversation. The Forum, sponsored by NSTAR, runs from 7:45-9:30 a.m. at the Waltham Westin Hotel.

Topics: Economy, AIM Executive Forum, Jobs

European Crisis, U.S. Deficit Pose Risks for Economy

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Nov 18, 2011 2:08:00 PM

Challenges on both sides of the Atlantic - the European debt crisis and the uncertain outcome of the Congressional budget-cutting “super-committee” - threaten to derail a strengthening U.S. recovery, economist Nigel Gault said this morning.

Nigel GaultThe chief US economist for IHS Global Insight told the AIM Executive Forum that the U.S. could veer toward recession if the Eurozone crisis ignites a financial contagion. The stakes for the super-committee are less immediate, Gault said, but a failure by the panel to develop a comprehensive debt reduction strategy next week would nevertheless still create significant fiscal uncertainty throughout an election year.

“The recent news on the economy has been much better than we could have anticipated three months ago,” Gault said. “The question is whether it the economy will be blown off course by these policy issues.”

Gault told the audience that many observers expect that the super-committee will fall short of its mandate to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion through a combination of increased revenue and reduced spending. He noted that the entire concept of the super-committee grew out of a political impasse in August over raising the debt ceiling, and that there is little evidence that anything has changed since then.

He said employers will be able to judge the success of any super-committee recommendations by several factors:

  • Does it achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction?
  • Are entitlements (social security, Medicare, Medicaid) and revenues both contributing to the cut in the deficit?
  • Are the spending cuts real? Or spending that was never going to happen anyway? Or asset sales?
  • Are revenue increases explicit? Or “to be decided later” by tax committees?
  • Is there provision for extending near-term stimulus – at least for keeping the 2 percent payroll tax cut and emergency UI benefits in 2012?

“Failure by the super-committee would not have the cataclysmic consequences that failing to raise the ceiling would have had,” said Gault, a frequent national television commentator.

The crisis in Europe, according to Gault, provides a cautionary tale for U.S. policymakers about the danger of unbridled growth in debt.

He said that sovereign debt in Europe, like subprime mortgages in the United States, was long treated as riskless. That view led countries like Greece to run up debt equal to 125 percent of gross domestic product, and Italy to hit 100 percent of GDP, without the economic growth to sustain the borrowing.

The European crisis will eventually turn, Gault concluded, on the willingness of Germany and the European Central Bank to affirm their commitment to the union by providing more assistance to weaker nations.

View Nigel Gault's Presentation Slides

Topics: Issues, Economy, AIM Executive Forum

Can Congress Solve the Deficit? Post Questions for AIM Forum Speaker

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Nov 14, 2011 3:58:00 PM

What would you ask one of the world’s most respected economists if you had the chance?

Nigel GaultNigel Gault, Chief US Economist for IHS Global Insight, will address the AIM Executive Forum on Friday less than week before the Congressional “super-committee” is scheduled to recommend steps to close the federal budget deficit. Few people understand the intersection of politics and the U.S. economy better than Gault, who is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the IHS macroeconomic forecasts and analyses of the US economy.

Here’s your chance to pose a question to Gault about what’s in store for the economy and your business. For example, how will budget reductions affect the defense industry in Massachusetts? Or the critical medical research cluster?

Just write your question in the comments section below. We’ll pose as many as time allows.

We also invite you to tweet questions at #AIMFORUM.

Click me

Topics: Issues, Economy, AIM Executive Forum

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