Cyber Connections News Roundup: September 22

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

September 22

Sen. Warner Urges Additional Protection for K-12 Schools Against Cyber Attacks

According to a recent report on https://augustafreepress.com, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) is urging the U.S. Department of Education to develop guidance and disseminate best practices for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education and to work with school districts to develop a comprehensive, risk-based funding request from Congress. The request follows a ransom ware incident at Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school system in Virginia. In a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Sen. Warner recommended providing schools with guidance, including awareness campaigns, risk management, threat mitigation, cybersecurity posture reviews, and resiliency. Read more.

Veterans Administration Hit With Data Breach

The Department of Veterans Affairs notified veterans Monday morning of a data breach that resulted in the exposure of 46,000 veterans’ personal information. According to a report on www.fedscoop.com, the breach appears to have stemmed from unauthorized users accessing an application within the Financial Service Center (FSC) to steal payment away from community health care providers. Malicious actors used social engineering techniques and exploited authentication protocols to gain access to the system. Read more.

Predictive Techniques in AI Key to Identifying Cyber Attacks

Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems can have three kinds of impact, according to a recent article on www.analyticsinsight.net. AI can grow cyber threats (amount); change the character of these dangers; and present new and obscure dangers. AI-fueled cyber attacks could likewise be available in more powerful, finely targeted and advanced activities. Accordingly, in a mix of defensive techniques and cyber threat detection, AI will move towards predictive techniques that can identify Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) pointed toward recognizing illegal activity within a computer or network, or spam or phishing with two-factor authentication systems. Read more.

Chinese and Iranian State-backed Hackers Target Biden and Trump

According to a report on www.cyberscoop.com, hackers linked with the Chinese government tried to breach associates of the Joe Biden campaign, while hackers with reported connections to the Iranian government targeted President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, Microsoft warned Thursday. The Chinese hacking group, which Microsoft calls Zirconium, has attacked high-profile individuals associated with the election. Meanwhile, Phosphorous, the Iranian group, has continued to try to break into the personal accounts of Trump campaign associates. The hacking attempts against the Biden and Trump campaigns were unsuccessful, Microsoft said. Read more.

White House Issues Cybersecurity Principles to Protect Investment in Space

The Space Policy Directive-5, signed by President Trump on Sept. 4, details a list of recommended best practices for securing the information systems, networks and radio-frequency-dependent wireless communication channels that together power US space systems, according to a recent article on www.infosecurity-magazine.com. Examples of malicious cyber-activities harmful to space operations include: spoofing sensor data; corrupting sensor systems; jamming or sending unauthorized commands for guidance and control; injecting malicious code; and conducting denial-of-service attacks. Among the recommended best practice principles was the use of risk-based, cybersecurity-informed engineering. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: September 8

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

September 8

Hackers Drain $7.5 Million from Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

An article on www.washingtonpost.com reports that the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington was hacked recently, which drained $7.5 million from its endowment fund and funneled the money into international accounts. The North Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit, which works with more than 100 organizations, first discovered the hack Aug. 4, when its IT contractor detected suspicious activity in an employee’s email account. According to the article, the initial attack targeted an employee using a personal computer while working from home. Read more.

Sixteen-Year-Old Junior Arrested for Hacking Miami-Dade Online School System

Just as schools across the country began educating students online, police in Miami-Dade County, Florida arrested a Miami high school student on Sept. 3 for allegedly carrying out a series of cyber attacks targeting Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ online learning system. According to a recent article on https://abcnews.go.com, a 16-year-old junior at South Miami Senior High School in Miami-Dade County, Florida, carried out several Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks that disrupted teaching and learning across the district. Read more.

Understanding Cybersecurity Shortfalls is Key to Mitigating Remote Learning Risks

Online courses, whether hybrid in-person and online instruction or entirely remote, can create major cybersecurity risks, according to a recent article on https://edtechmagazine.com. To defend against threats, colleges and universities must keep up with evolving security postures in a rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape. This article looks at some common online-learning security shortfalls, including: a lack of IT funding; a lack of trust in digitally delivered higher education; and a lack of preparation in cybersecurity issues related to online learning. Read more.

Russia Ramps Up Attacks on Mail-in Voting

According to a recent article on www.cyberscoop.com, the Russian government continues to attack mail-in voting and sow divisions among voters leading up to the U.S. election. According a Department of Homeland Security memo, Russia will continue amplifying criticism of vote-by-mail amid the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to undermine public trust in the electoral process. Moscow’s denigration of the vote-by-mail process mirrors criticisms leveled by President Trump, who has baselessly claimed that mail-in voting can lead to widespread fraud. Read more.

Are Small Businesses More Likely Targets of Cyber Criminals

A new survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) found that the majority of small businesses believe they are targets of cybercriminals. The Zogby Analytics survey, which was commissioned by the NCSA, polled 1,006 small business decision makers and revealed that 88% of small businesses believe that they are at least a somewhat likely target for cybercriminals, including almost half (46%) who believe they are a very likely target. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: August 25

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

August 25, 2020

Four COVID-era Cybersecurity Threats College and University CISOs Must Tackle

A recent article on https://universitybusiness.com boils the COVID-related cybersecurity threats down to four – phishing, theft of research a rise in the number of employees working remotely and cyber hygiene. The cybersecurity challenges colleges and universities face during the COVID pandemic are growing more in scale rather than in types of risks. Threats on campuses include an increase in phishing attacks, efforts to steal COVID research, and protecting a greater number of employees working remotely. Read more.

Is More Oversight Needed in Financial Sector for Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity

On Aug. 5, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) handed down a cease and desist order to Capital One for its “failure to establish effective risk assessment and management processes before migrating its information technology operations to a cloud operating environment,” according to a recent article on www.forbes.com. Although bank executives are more confident than ever that cybersecurity policies are being well executed, the fear is that they are being lulled into a false sense of security because they have yet to feel the cybersecurity impact of cloud computing. Read more.

Executive Order Bans Transactions with TikTok, WeChat Parent Companies

President Trump issued two executive orders on Aug. 6 that will ban transactions with Chinese tech companies ByteDance and Tencent as of Sept. 20, according to a report on www.cyberscoop.com. The two companies own the widely popular applications TikTok (owned by ByteDance) and WeChat (owned by Tencent), both of which have been characterized as national security threats. The action against TikTok comes as Microsoft is in talks to purchase the service. Read more.

Scammers Are Using Fake COVID-19 News to Defraud Victims

According to a report on www.cyberscoop.com, scammers are relying on false news articles about the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to trick readers into signing up for fake cures. A network of content farm websites are masquerading as legitimate news sites as part of an attempt to scam Americans, according to research published Wednesday by RiskIQ. The company’s research found that several of the advertisements loaded on these fake news sites led to subscription traps. Read more.

Cybersecurity Spending to Reach $123B in 2020

According to a new Gartner study, as reported on www.forbes.com, enterprise spending on cybersecurity continues to grow. While Gartner predicts IT spending will decline by 8% this year, security and risk management (cybersecurity) is predicted to grow 2.4%, down from a projected growth rate of 8.7% earlier this year. Spending on cloud security is predicted to increase by 33% becoming a $585M market this year. Security services are forecast to drive $64.2B in worldwide revenue this year comprising 51.9% of the total market. And data security will grow by 7.2% becoming a $2.8B market this year. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: August 11

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

August 11, 2020

UMGC Scholars Offer Keys to Safe School Opening and Course Delivery

The three students recently awarded scholarships by the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) through the Department of Defense (DoD) Cybersecurity Scholarship Program have been giving much thought to the novel coronavirus’s impact on schools and how best to provide a quality education through mainly digital means. CSS scholars Olubusayo Ladelokum, Jalynn Middleton and Michael Tillini, who are focusing their academic and professional pursuits on the intersection of digital technology and cybersecurity, said the ongoing public health crisis has exposed some critical concerns about our go-to systems for distance communication and information sharing. For schools to successfully deliver educational material and instruction, they must address three key concerns—communication, security and access. Read more.

Have We Arrived at a Misinformation Tipping Point?

Misinformation, which has existed for centuries, has emerged as a major theme of the current moment, according to a recent article on www.cyberscoop.com. As Americans contend with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and growing suspicion in societal institutions, false narratives, conspiracy theories, propaganda and the intentional spread of deceptive material have become attached to essentially every major news story, especially ones that focus on our elections. Thirty-five percent of Americans said they believe that misleading information is the biggest threat to election security, more than voter fraud, voter suppression and foreign interference, according to a January NPR/PBS/Marist poll. Meanwhile, 59% of Americans said they were “not confident” in the honesty of U.S. elections, according to a 2019 Gallup poll. Read more.

New Check Point Study Shows that Cybersecurity Lags Behind Cloud Migration

A recent article on www.techrepublic.com reports that the public cloud market is expected to grow during the remainder of 2020. This year, the market for public cloud services is expected to increase by 6.3% according to a recent Gartner report. However, cloud deployment comes with its own set of risks and difficulties for enterprises. On Monday, Check Point, in partnership with Cybersecurity Insiders, released the annual 2020 Cloud Security Report. The key findings show that cloud migrations and deployments among organizations are racing ahead of their security teams’ abilities to defend them against attacks and breaches. Read more.

Growing Concern Over Ransomware Attacks Could Impact November Election

According to a recent article on www.startribune.com, federal authorities say one of the biggest threats to the November election is a well-timed ransomware attack that could paralyze voting operations. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have issued advisories to local governments, including recommendations for preventing attacks. The fear is that ransomware attacks could affect voting systems directly, but even if an attack fails to disrupt elections, it could nonetheless negatively impact confidence in the vote. Read more.

New ISSA/ESG Study Reveals a Deepening of the Cybersecurity Skills Crisis

The fourth annual global study from the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and independent industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) found a deepening of the cybersecurity skills crisis. Forty-five percent of respondents in the study stated that the cybersecurity skills shortage and its associated impacts have only gotten worse over the past few years. The top ramifications of the skills shortage for organizations (or cybersecurity teams) include an increasing workload, unfilled open job requisitions, and an inability to learn or use cybersecurity technologies to their full potential, putting organizations at significant risk. Why has nothing changed? Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: July 28

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

July 28, 2020

What Does a Reinvention of Cybersecurity Look Like?

According to a recent article on https://techcrunch.com, organizations are spending more money on cybersecurity and feeling less secure, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic required our workforce to become more mobile and distributed. As a result, organizations must adopt a platform approach to scaling and delivering cybersecurity that looks at security holistically, from the data center to the edge to multiple clouds. Read more.

With the Ushering in of 5G Technology Comes New Cybersecurity Concerns

5G technology opens the door to progress in cloud-native networks and creates opportunities for new commercial services that leverage artificial intelligence and data warehouse accessibility, according to an article on https://securityboulevard.com. But ushering in 5G technology is open to several cybersecurity concerns. The major downside is two-fold: a diminished presence of choke points and a growing number of entry points, specifically related to the proliferation of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). Read more.

Garmin Hit By Ransomware Attack

According to a recent report on www.techcrunch.com, an ongoing global outage at sport and fitness tech giant Garmin was caused by a ransomware attack. The incident began late Wednesday, July 22, and continued through the weekend, causing a disruption to the company’s online services for millions of users, including Garmin Connect, which syncs user activity and data to the cloud and other devices. The attack also took down flyGarmin, the company’s aviation navigation and route-planning service. Two sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told TechCrunch that Garmin was trying to bring its network back online after the ransomware attack. Read more.

Russian Government Hackers Targeting Coronavirus Vaccine Research

A recent article on www.cyberscoop.com examines Russia’s attempt to breach corona virus research programs in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. According to the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the hacking is aimed predominantly at “government, diplomatic, think-tank, healthcare and energy targets.” The Cyberscoop article also delves into the “why?” According to the article, state-backed hackers worldwide are interested in targeting research on coronavirus-related vaccines and treatments because the first lab to produce a vaccine will have a success story to use as a geopolitical advantage. Read more.

Colorado Sen. Gardner Urges Action on Cyber Threats from Russia and China

According to a press release on his official website as well as a report on www.coloradopolitics.com, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), on July 24, called for immediate action to protect U.S. cybersecurity infrastructure from Russia and China, particularly as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gardner is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. He directed his pleas to FBI Director Chris Wray and Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, citing the U.K’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) report outlining Russian interference in COVID-19 vaccine development. Read more.

 

Cyber Connections News Roundup: July 14

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

July 14, 2020

Google Takes Bans Spyware Technology that Promotes Domestic Violence

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, Google will no longer allow advertisements or marketing in its network that promote spyware and surveillance technology used for intimate partner surveillance. More commonly known as stalkerware, these applications can facilitate and exacerbate domestic violence, monitoring a target’s texts, phone calls, browsing history, geolocation and social media history. The policy update intends to bar advertisements or marketing in Google’s ad network that perpetuates this kind of surveillance without targets’ consent. Read more.

Most Organizations Fall Victim to Public Cloud Cybersecurity Incidents According to Sophos Report

According to a new market research report from British security software and hardware provider, Sophos, 70% of organizations hosting data or workloads in the public cloud experienced a security incident in the last year with multi-cloud organizations reporting up to twice as many incidents as single platform adopters. Specifically, the company’s research found that 70% of organizations reported they were hit by malware, ransom ware, data theft, account compromise attempts, or crypto-jacking in the last year. Research, based on interviews with 3,521 IT managers hosting data and workloads in the public cloud, also found that data loss/leakage is the number one concern for organizations. Read more.

Most Employees Take Responsibility for Cybersecurity But Fall Short on Following Best Practices

The security firm Trend Micro, in a recent survey of more than 13,000 remote workers across 27 countries, found that most employees claim awareness of cybersecurity best practices but still fall short on abiding by them. According to a recent article on www.techrepublic.com, the findings of the survey highlighted a disconnect between employees being more aware of risks and them putting this knowledge into practice. For example, 72% of respondents claimed to have gained better cybersecurity awareness during the pandemic, with 81% agreeing that workplace cybersecurity falls partly on their shoulders. However, 56% of employees admitted to using a non-work application on a work device, with 66% admitting to uploading corporate data to that application. Read more.

Brazil Becomes Hot Bed for Cyber Crime

As deaths from COVID-19 surge in Brazil, so to are cyber crimes. Cyber criminals have set up new infrastructure to scam people who are desperate for relief, according to a recent article on http://www.cyberscoop.com. IBM has uncovered nearly 700 malicious websites related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in recent months. The criminals are impersonating government apps used to sign up for financial relief and sending people a flurry of text and email messages asking them to hand over their data. Read more.

U.S. Must Prepare for Adversaries to Take Advantage of Voting Challenges in a COVID-19 World

A recent commentary on www.baltimoresun.com warns that the cyber threats to voting systems may in fact elevate as adversaries see an opportunity to disrupt systems during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to keeping poll workers and voters safe from viral transmission, there is a second major risk, according the article: how to keep the election itself secure from cyber threats. As states rush equip precincts with high-speed optical ballot scanners and distribute vote-by-mail request forms, election officials must continue to safeguard their IT infrastructure, including voter registration databases, electronic poll books used to check in voters, and websites publishing vital information about changes to voting processes. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: June 30

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

June 30, 2020

New Bipartisan Bill Aims to Establish Nation Cybersecurity Czar

According to a recent report on www.securitymagazine.com, a bipartisan group of six House members introduced a bill to establish a National Cyber Director in the Executive Office of the President. Three Democrats and three Republicans are sponsoring the National Cyber Director Act, which would create a Senate-confirmed director, and two deputy directors appointed by the president. The National Cyber Director would be appointed by the President subject to Senate confirmation and would head an office within the Executive Office of the President to oversee and coordinate federal government incident response activities, collaborate with private sector entities, and attend and participate in meetings of the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council. Read more.

Zoom Appoints New Cybersecurity Lead

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. has announced the addition of a new cybersecurity team leader. Jason Lee will join the company as its Chief Information Security Officer, effective June 29, 2020. Lee, most recently the Senior Vice President of Security Operations at Salesforce, will oversee the final stages of a 90-day sprint to deal with a wide range of cybersecurity and privacy issues that emerged during the national shift to work-from-home practices. Read more.

UCSF Pays $1 Million Ransom Following Cyber Attack

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has confirmed it paid a ransom totaling $1.14 million to the criminals behind a cyber attack on its School of Medicine, according to a recent report on www.forbes.com. On June 1, hackers behind the Netwalker ransomware campaign attacked UCSF networks within the School of Medicine IT environment. While the attack did not impact patient care delivery operations or research work on a cure for COVID-19, the University did make the decision to pay some portion of the ransom, approximately $1.14 million. Read more.

Senators Demand Cybersecurity Standards for Self-Driving Vehicles

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, recently reintroduced two pieces of legislation to address cybersecurity in self-driving cars. The bill, Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act, directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish federal standards to ensure cybersecurity in increasingly computerized vehicles and to protect drivers’ privacy. The bill also establishes a rating system that informs consumers about how well the vehicle protects drivers’ security and privacy beyond those minimum standards. Read more.

Microsoft Doubles Down on IoT Security with Acquisition of CyberX

According to a recent article on www.techcrunch.com, Microsoft announced the acquisition of CyberX, a security startup that focuses specifically on detecting, stopping, and predicting security breaches on internet of things networks and the networks of large industrial organizations. It is expected that CyberX will complement Microsoft’s Azure IoT security capabilities, which extend to existing devices including those used in industrial IoT, Operational Technology and infrastructure scenarios. According to the article, Microsoft’s interest in the company touches on two key areas: IT services for large enterprises, and cybersecurity — specifically cybersecurity that leverages AI to identify and combat threats. Read more.

 

Cyber Connections News Roundup: June 16

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

June 16, 2020

New Verizon Report Stresses Endpoint Security

A recent analysis of Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) on www.forbes.com makes the case that if organizations had more autonomous endpoints, many of the most costly breaches could be averted. The report, based on an analysis of 157,525 incidents, of which 3,950 were confirmed data breaches, establishes that organized crime-funded cybercriminals are relentless in searching out unprotected endpoints and exploiting them for financial gain. Read more.

Recent Senate Bill to Allow National Guard to Work Across State Lines on Cybersecurity

A Senate bill introduced on Friday, June 12 aims to create a pilot program in which National Guard units would be allowed to help respond remotely to cyber attacks that occur outside their home states, according to a recent article on https://statescoop.com. Introduced by Sen. Gary Peters, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the National Guard Cyber Interoperability Act of 2020 would permit the secretaries of the Army and the Air Force to launch a pilot program in which one state’s National Guard could assist one of its counterparts with cybersecurity training and incident response. Read more.

Zoom to Use Google Security Service to Protect Users

According to a report on www.crn.com, Zoom Video Communications is in talks with Google’s cloud division to use one of its cybersecurity services as another layer of protection for its 300 million daily meeting participants. The article states that Zoom plans to use the Google security service to alerts users to the dangers of clicking on links associated with malicious websites. Zoom could use the Google service to flag links to websites that scammers send to users through Zoom’s chat function if the two companies reach a deal, the report said, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter. As more users have flocked to Zoom this year, data privacy concerns around the easy-to-use, cloud-based platform have grown. As a result, Zoom has embarked on a 90-day security enhancement plan to boost the security of its offerings. Read more.

Healthcare and Cybersecurity Can Learn from Each Other

An article on www.forbes.com suggests that healthcare and cybersecurity, both aimed at keeping people safe and lowering the risk of infection, can learn from each other. Both are tasked with fighting viruses and getting to the root of the problem. Critical for both industries is an emphasis on accurate diagnostics. The article goes on to focus on three preventative measures common to both cybersecurity and healthcare: using proper diagnostic tools; adopting a risk-based approach to analyzing which data or systems are the most vulnerable and/or likely to come under attack; and performing a kill chain analysis, a post mortem to figure out what went wrong and, in the case of a hacker, determine how it entered the system. Read more.

Beware of Contract Tracing Apps Posing as Malware

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, twelve applications posing as coronavirus contact tracing apps available outside mainstream marketplaces are designed to steal personal and financial information from unwitting Android users. Apps meant to impersonate official government tracing apps from countries including Italy, Russia and Singapore trigger malicious software capable of collecting a range of data from user’s devices, yet another example of hackers exploiting the global pandemic to steal information from users who believed they were downloading an app designed to measure the prevalence of COVID-19 in their community. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: June 2

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

June 2, 2020

Cyber LEAP Act Aims to Promote Innovation

The Senate Commerce Committee approved the Cybersecurity Competitions to Yield Better Efforts to Research the Latest Exceptionally Advanced Problems, or Cyber LEAP Act of 2020. Sponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), the bill establishes a national series of Cybersecurity Grand Challenges so that the country can “achieve high-priority breakthroughs in cybersecurity by 2028.” According to an article on www.csoonline.com, the challenges six key areas, including, among others: economics of a cyber attack; cyber training; and emerging technologies. Read more.

Cloud Security at Forefront of CISA Plans

According to a report on www.datacenterdymancis.com, Bryan Ware, the new assistant director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), briefed vendors during a presentation last week on a five-year roadmap for the agency. According to the report, CISA will shift as much as possible to the cloud, Ware said. “Having worked in other parts of the US government and commercial industry before coming to CISA, we’re a bit of a slow or a late adopter of cloud,” he said. “And so we are very aggressively now working to significantly expand our cloud capabilities.” Read more.

Cyber Incidents Down in 2019

According to a recent article on https://www.fedscoop.com, latest annual Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) report to Congress shows there were 8% fewer cybersecurity incidents reported in fiscal 2019 across government. The report attributes this trend to improved risk management, as 73 federal agencies now meet the highest rating of “managing risks” in their CIO -assessed FISMA posture. That’s up from 62 agencies the year prior and 33 in 2017. The report demonstrates that agencies are making significant progress in managing risk and also highlights that focused efforts to secure government mobile devices have been especially important in today’s expanded telework environment, according to a statement from FISMA. Read more.

Old Dominion University Cyber Grants Help Boost Workforce and Local Economy

According to a recent article on www.pilotonline.com, in an effort to boost the cybersecurity workforce in the Hampton Roads area and spur economic development, the Coastal Virginia Center for Cyber Innovation, a cybersecurity program led by Old Dominion University, has just awarded $680,000 in research grants. Five teams comprising area researchers and private businesses received the grants. The projects include a variety of disciplines and local institutions. For example, ODU psychology professor Jeremiah Still is partnering with MI Technical Solutions in Chesapeake to teach Department of Defense personnel about the best practices for guarding against online attacks. That project received an $88,000 grant. Read more.

FBI Offers US Companies Insight into Uptick in Healthcare Hacking

A recent article on www.cyberscoop.com reports that criminal and state actors continue to target U.S. clinical trial data, trade secrets, and the “sensitive data and proprietary research of U.S. universities and research facilities. According to an FBI told advisory, these actions are “likely due to the current global public health crisis,” as some nation-states shifting cyber resources to collect against the health care and public health sector, while criminals are targeting similar entities for financial gain. The advisory includes multiple examples since February of state-linked hackers trying to compromise and retain access to the networks of organizations in the U.S. health care and public health sector. It is the latest in a series of warnings from U.S. officials about similar cybersecurity incidents as the race for a coronavirus vaccine intensifies. Read more.

 

Cyber Connections News Roundup: May 19

Get the latest cybersecurity news from leading companies, news outlets and blogs.

Cyber Connections News Roundup is a bi-weekly brief of online links to news stories and commentary of interest to the cybersecurity community, delivered on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Articles are selected for their newsworthiness, timeliness, potential impact, and reach.

May 19, 2020

COVID-19 Increases Cybersecurity Challenges for Hospitals

A recent interview on www.securityboulevard.com with Jonathan Langer, CEO of Medigate, a provider of security for medical devices, sheds new light on the cybersecurity risks that healthcare organizations are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals are adding dozens or even hundreds of new devices to their networks to meet the needs of increased patient care. Many also are operating field hospitals and testing sites on top of their existing environments. For example, the Cleveland Clinic saw more than 60,000 tele-medicine visits in March alone, an increase of more than 1,700% over its average. The addition of new networks, wireless access points, devices and tele-medicine capabilities brings new risks, according to Langer.  Read more.

Companies Can Employ Chatbots to Mitigate Cybersecurity Risks During Rise in Remote Working

“Chatbots,” the ubiquitous virtual agents used to field customer questions, may now help address many work-from-home cybersecurity challenges such as secure end-to-end encryption and user authentication, according to an article on www.securityintelligence.com. The same chatbots used to answer customer questions can be used to help employees connect with security professionals to resolve issues, and also allow security teams to track logins and user activity, manage user authorization, and engage employees in security awareness training, among other tasks. Read more.

U.S. Accuses Chinese Hackers of Trying to Steal Coronavirus Research

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI accused hackers linked with the Chinese government of attempting to steal U.S. research into a coronavirus vaccine. According to a statement from the DHS, “the FBI is investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by PRC-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors.” The statement goes on to say that these actors have tried to obtain public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing. The DHS has urged medical research organizations to be vigilant and report suspicious cyber activity. Read more.

Texas Courts Hit with Ransomware Attack

The Texas judicial system, according to a recent article on www.statescoop.com, was forced on May 15 to take some of its servers and websites offline last week after being targeted by a ransomware attack. The Texas Office of Court Administration, which provides IT services to state courts, didn’t specify what kind of ransomware was used to target the judicial servers, but reported that the ransomware was “caught” and that no ransom would be paid. Friday’s ransomware attack was the latest that Texas’ state and local agencies have faced over the past year. Last August, 23 cities and towns were simultaneously hit by a ransomware attack through a common managed service provider. Read more.

COVID-19 Puts Election Security at Risk

Russian hackers could target election officials working from home, according to an article on www.washingtonpost.com. Some possible scenarios include: spreading rumors about coronavirus outbreaks at polling sites to deter people from showing up on Election Day or launching disinformation campaigns claiming elections have been delayed or canceled entirely because of the virus. These are two scenarios that the University of Southern California’s Election Security Initiative is tackling as it races to conduct virtual training programs for campaign and election officials across all 50 states before November. The bottom line, according to the article, is that every aspect of securing elections is now far harder during the pandemic. Read more.