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Why U.S. info warriors should begin embracing meme culture. Estonia's cyber chief on helping Ukrainian refugees. And the Pentagon aims to solve the military's 'valley of death' problem. This is CyberScoop for Nov. 14.

How the Pentagon can win the internet

Earlier this year, researchers at internet analytics firm Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory revealed the existence of a five-year influence operation that encapsulates the difficulties the U.S. government faces in covertly winning hearts and minds online. This campaign — that U.S. Cyber Command reportedly orchestrated — attempted to spread pro-U.S. messages and targeted audiences in the Middle East and Central Asia via the creation of false personas, the use of memes and phony independent media outlets. In its apparent attempt to run a Russia-style info op, CENTCOM failed. Six years after Russian messaging targeted the 2016 U.S. election and reawakened the U.S. government to covert influence operations and political warfare, it still hasn’t figured out how best to approach this domain. Gavin Wilde writes for CyberScoop.

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Estonia is 'stepping up' digitally for Ukraine

Welcoming tens of thousands of war refugees while steadily donating weapons and ammunition, bulletproof vests, cybersecurity expertise — and much more — Estonia has been staunchly supporting Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February. “We also remember when we were the recipient of aid,” Estonia’s National Cyber Director Liisa Past told DefenseScoop in an exclusive interview at the Estonian embassy in Washington, during her trip to D.C. for the White House international ransomware summit. After declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia took a firm, fully digital approach to providing government services that ultimately helped establish its reputation as one of the world’s tech savviest nations. Now, it is a strategic NATO ally with a strong cyber infrastructure that shares a 183-mile border with Russia. Brandi Vincent reports for DefenseScoop.

DOD addressing impediments with cyber startups

Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks has tasked top Pentagon IT and acquisition officials to find and root out obstacles that are keeping startups and other small companies from scaling and sustaining innovative technologies when working with the Department of Defense, according to CIO John Sherman. Hicks directed Sherman’s office to partner with the undersecretaries of acquisition and sustainment and research and engineering, Chief Digital and AI Officer Craig Martell, and others to look for “all the kind of ‘stop-sticks’ … that hit you along the way” when small, innovative companies try to move from piloting a technology capability to fielding it at a large scale with the department, Sherman said during a podcast interview with a program called “Progress, Potential, and Possibilities.” Billy Mitchell has it for DefenseScoop.

What the midterm results mean for federal IT leaders

While control of Congress following Tuesday’s midterm elections is likely to remain unsettled for several more days, Republicans are still poised to take over the House of Representatives, setting up many confrontations with the Biden administration over the next two years.  Speaking with FedScoop, senior members of the federal tech policy community explained what this could mean for day-to-day operations at the IT departments of government agencies, and outlined key issues C-suite leaders will have to face during the 118th Congress. John Hewitt Jones and Nihal Krishan report for FedScoop.


How to address top cybersecurity threat trends in 2023

As we approach the end of the year, organizational leaders will need to look at how the changing threat landscape will influence their security investments to support business operations. Derek Manky, chief security strategist and vice president of Global Threat Intelligence for Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs, discusses the rise of advanced persistent cybercrime, the expansion of the virtualized world and other threat landscape trends for 2023. Listen to more from Manky.

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