Navigating the Cyber Arms Race

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In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, cybersecurity threats to the Department of Defense (DoD) are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Traditional defense mechanisms are often found wanting and the DoD faces significant challenges in protecting its vast array of disparate and niche networks against near-constant attacks.

The limitations imposed by legacy technology can impede modernization and leave infrastructure vulnerabilities exposed. Further complicating efforts to defend against advanced cyber adversaries is a government-wide cyber talent shortage, as well as slow accreditation and certification processes for technological advancement.

Unfortunately, opposing forces are all too aware of these challenges. Threat actors continuously evolve their tactics to take advantage of any perceived weakness and disrupt operations or steal mission-critical information.

“Legacy protection solutions from anti-virus and security companies used to be based on signatures, which are very static and only address known threats,” said Erik Sigl, DoD account manager for SentinelOne, a leading cybersecurity company. “But now, as threat vectors and tactics change almost hourly, if not faster, having to update a signature file on a daily basis just isn’t keeping up with the attack landscape.”

In order to successfully counteract and prevent aggressive cyberattacks, DoD systems must shift toward more innovative, flexible and adaptable security solutions. It’s imperative for IT security teams to have full visibility into IT infrastructure health at all times, allowing them to preempt and neutralize threats as they arise.

“DoD agencies are trying to manage 5 million plus end-users and associated IT devices, servers, applications, and data while making sure those users have secure and reliable access to the information and tools necessary for mission success,” Sigl explained. “It’s important to stay ahead of the game and have a fast response time when there is a cyber incident and be able to rectify that incident patient zero.”

Advancing DoD Cyber Defenses

Luckily, SentinelOne is here to forge a path forward. The company’s FedRAMP-authorized Singularity solution is implementation-ready and gives defense analysts the ability to observe IT estate-wide health and security posture through a single pane of glass. Embedded with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, the platform drives autonomous detection and response against modern threat actors, significantly reducing the human time and resources required to address potential security breaches.

"Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities ensure that systems are protected and resilient in combating attacks across modern threat vectors while continuously learning and adapting on their own without human intervention," Sigl said.

AI and ML not only enhance the efficiency of threat detection and response, but also support security analysts with assisted threat hunting and guided investigations. Oftentimes, analysts have to manually search DoD systems to locate exploits. SentinelOne’s solution offers a conversational interface tool in which security analysts can perform complex analysis by asking simple, natural language questions and receiving easy to understand insights highlighting potential discrepancies in the data, allowing them to identify and respond to threats faster.

Automated capabilities are a particularly crucial ally amid the cyber talent shortage within the DoD. Previously, each time a suspicious event took place, level one or two analysts had to send information and queries up the chain of command to higher-level analysts — an overwhelming order of operations for all parties. AI and ML are now lightening this workload, responding to threats autonomously, helping lower-level analysts determine the validity of alerts independently, and freeing up higher-level analysts to focus on more pressing tasks.

As the cyber domain grows increasingly contested, the ongoing battle between defensive and offensive uses of AI presents a complex and unpredictable challenge. Trusted partners like SentinelOne can help DoD to accelerate adoption of AI-enabled cyber tools to build resilient defense infrastructures, maintain a competitive edge and keep the balance of power in the nation’s favor amid the evolving cyber arms race.

Visit to learn more about how your agency can outpace cyber threats.

This content is made possible by our sponsors Carahsoft and SentinelOne it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Defense One's editorial staff.

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