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FCW : June 15, 2015
that puts greater importance on where something happened. So, from the same dataset you can have multiple interests that have to be catered to, and each one has to be represented in the analytical model that’s applied to the data since each of those interests will want to track different attributes. The insider threat program launched by the Defense Department in 2014, for example, calls for monitoring and auditing information from sources that include counterintelligence, security, cybersecurity, civilian and military personnel management, workplace violence, antiterrorism risk management, law enforcement, user monitoring, human resources, IT access logs and any other source deemed necessary. It’s essentially a big data problem. That discipline is based on the fact that relational database management systems (RDBMS) that have supported the explosion of IT solutions over the past several decades cannot keep up with the volume of data that’s now being produced. Not only do they struggle with the structured data that is traditionally used in relational data bases, but incorporating the huge volumes of unstructured data that’s now available requires enormous effort on the part of IT departments to extract, transform and load before they can be used. Then tack on the work needed to manage and integrate data sources, predefine queries, and build the analytical applications used for big data. Still, a big data approach only goes part way to solving the problem for the insider threat. It helps to separate the large volume of irrelevant data from the more interesting stuff, but it still requires data analysts to examine that and apply context. Finding insider threats doesn’t depend on seeing people just doing things; it’s much more about people doing things at times and in places and ways that differ, perhaps in very subtle ways, from how they’ve done them before. Even with big data that still takes a lot of time and effort. Analysts have to build and run complex queries and manually correlate multiple result sets. The ability to continually track a person’s activities that way is very limited. It’s the same kind of situational awareness problem that the Defense Department has struggled with for years. It uses big data techniques to collect inputs from multiple different sensors and systems in order to analyze activities and develop intelligence it can use for its operations. But analysts still spend most of their time assembling known data. The DOD is now developing an alternative to this data-centric method that uses object-based production (OBP) to give it a better and more timely insight into the relationships between various data, something it expects should also give it a better way of revealing gaps in its intelligence that are not yet evident. OBP takes advantage of an approach that the military has used for decades in command and control. Instead of using the traditional relational data- centric model, OBP takes data and automatically associates it with a specific object, such as a building, a vehicle, or a person that are constant across all domains. New data can be attached to the relevant object, and over time relationships between objects can be identified, and constantly updated to reflect new information gathered from the real world. The idea is to define an object just once and, then over time, collect and attach different facts associated with that object. Agencies and communities of interest can share this information and be sure that they are all talking about the same object. Object includes multiple attributes, relationships, context (history, location and semantic), value-level security, provenance and pedigree (trustworthiness), time validity and periodicity. Beyond traditional attributes complex concepts can be attached to objects using free text, knowledge (semantic facts), documents, imagery, videos and links. HOW OBJECT-BASED INTELLIGENCE WORKS Over time, government agencies have built extensive knowledge environments using a collection of different database technologies, geospatial software and applications that can be used to extract information about insider threats, but none of them are enough by themselves. Also, in order for security analysts to work in their particular domains, very large databases would have to be “The idea is, as far as possible, to define an object just once and, then over time, collect and attach different sources of intelligence associated with that object.”
May 30, 2015
June 30, 2015