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US Cyber Force Assisted Foreign Governments 22 Times in 2023

USCYBERCOM’s Cyber National Mission Force participated in 22 foreign hunt forward operations in 2023.

USCYBERCOM hunt forward

The US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) sent staff to over a dozen countries last year to take part in so-called ‘hunt forward’ operations, which involve monitoring and deterring adversaries.

The information was shared this week with the Senate Committee on Armed Services by General Timothy D. Haugh, commander of USCYBERCOM and director of the NSA. 

USCYBERCOM’s Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) is in charge of defending the United States in cyberspace through operations that involve deterring, disrupting and defeating threat actors. 

The cyber force’s hunt forward missions involve going to allies and partners and helping them check their networks for intrusions and vulnerabilities. 

Last year, CNMF personnel participated in 22 hunt forward operations across 17 countries, with the goal of constraining adversaries, helping partners increase cyber defenses, and generating insights for the US’s own defense.  

“And for the first time in the history of the Command there were active hunt forward operations occurring simultaneously in all Geographic Command AORs,” Haugh said in his testimony

“These missions led to public releases of more than 90 malware samples for analysis by the nation’s cybersecurity community. Such disclosures can make billions of Internet users around the world safer on-line, and frustrate the military and intelligence operations of authoritarian regimes,” he added.

Not a lot of information has been shared on hunt forward operations. 

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In May 2022, after helping Lithuania protect government networks, USCYBERCOM said it had conducted 28 hunt forward operations since 2018. That number increased to 55 by late 2023, when the CNMF announced conducting operations on more than 75 networks across 27 countries.

Related: USCYBERCOM Warns of Mass Exploitation of Atlassian Vulnerability Ahead of Holiday Weekend

Related: USCYBERCOM Releases IoCs for Malware Targeting Ukraine

Related: USCYBERCOM Shares More North Korean Malware Samples

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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