Cyber Connections News Roundup: November 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.

November 30

Interpol Crackdown Results in More than 1,000 Fraud Arrests

According to a report on www.interpol.int, more than 1,000 arrests and USD 27 million were intercepted recently in massive financial crime crackdown. The coordinated operation, code named HAECHI-II, transpired over four months, from June to September 2021. Police units from 20 countries, as well as from Hong Kong and Macao, targeted specific types of online fraud, including romance scams, investment fraud and money laundering associated with illegal online gambling. In total, the operation resulted in the arrest of 1,003 individuals and allowed investigators to close 1,660 cases. Read more.

Who Is Accountable for Cybersecurity? Gartner Report Finds Lack of Clarity

A recent article on www.techrepublic.com discusses the lack of clarity on who is accountable for security incidents. Citing a recent Gartner survey, the members of various boards of directors finds that, while 88% believe that cybersecurity should be classified as a business risk instead of a technology one, the actions they’ve taken don’t necessarily reflect that. The report found that organizations that classify cybersecurity as a business risk would have a senior-level non-IT person accountable for it, but only 10% of leaders reported that to be the case in their organizations. Read more.

North Korea Hackers Remain on the Attack

According to email security firm Proofpoint, and as reported on www.cyberscoop.com, a North Korean cyber espionage group that targets think tanks, advocacy groups, journalists and other adversaries around the world, has been launching near-weekly attacks in 2021. According to Cyberscoop, ProofPoint examined the activities of a group it refers to as TA406, which it considers to be one of the components of an organization known more broadly as Kimsuky that has been active since at least 2012. That organization’s campaigns remained low in volume until the beginning of January 2021. Then from January to June 2021, the group launched “almost weekly campaigns. Read more.

Upon G7 Endorsement Central Bank Digital Currencies Now Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

According to a recent article on www.weforum.org, now that G7 officials have endorsed principles for central bank digital currencies (CBDC), widespread deployment is imminent. Like any digital payment system, CBDC is vulnerable to cybersecurity attack, account and data breaches and theft, counterfeiting, and even farther-off challenges related to quantum computing. For citizens to be comfortable adopting CBDC, they will need to be confident in its security. The article enumerates four dimensions of CBDC cybersecurity that must be addressed, including credential theft and loss and user roles. Read more.

Cyberattacks on Two Bio-manufacturing Companies Raise Concerns

A recent article on www.cyberscoop.com reports that a group of likely foreign government-sponsored hackers is behind cyberattacks on two bio-manufacturing companies that occurred this year. The Bioeconomy Information Sharing and Analysis Center (BIO-ISAC) dubbed the malware “Tardigrade” after the resilient micro-animal, and said it looks like the work of an advanced persistent threat group, a term that most often refers to government-backed attackers. The biomanufacturing sector encompasses makers of coronavirus vaccines and treatments, although BIO-ISAC has declined to say whether the firms hit in the spring and then in October were involved in battling COVID-19. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: November 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.

November 16

FBI Email System Hacked to Send Out Fake Security Warnings

According to a recent report on www.theverge.com, hackers targeting the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) email servers sent out thousands of phony messages that say its recipients have become the victims of a “sophisticated chain attack.” The emails were initially uncovered by The Spamhaus Project, a nonprofit organization that investigates email spammers. The emails claim that Vinny Troia, a cybersecurity evangelist and hacker with Night Lion Security, was behind the fake attacks and falsely state that Troia is associated with the hacking group, The Dark Overlord. Read more.

United States Joins Global Cybersecurity Partnership

The United States has joined the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, the 80-country partnership to condemn reckless behavior in cyberspace mobilize resources to secure the software supply chain, according to a recent report on www.cnn.com. The partnership includes a series of principles such as defending elections from cyberattacks, protecting intellectual property from theft, and condemning the use of hacking tools by non-state actors. The French government began the multilateral cyber initiative in 2018. Read more.

Brain-Computer Interfaces: A New Frontier for Hackers

Jason Pittman, Sc.D., collegiate faculty member at UMGC where he teaches in the School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology, believes that the potential of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) is enormous, from helping people with disabilities to improving work and personal performance but so, too, are the untold cybersecurity risks. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are already commercially available, but there is a downside. The technology carries attack opportunities for hackers, including . It is important to understand the cybersecurity of BCIs if we are to proactively prevent threats to this new frontier of innovation. Read more.

Businesses Need to Move from Cybersecurity to Cyber Resilience

A recent article on www.weforum.org argues that way we think about securing our businesses and our data hasn’t really kept up with today’s cybersecurity risks. Business resources are still used to defend against attacks and protect the confidentiality and integrity of data. We need cyber resilience in addition to cyber security. Cyber resilience starts with the basics: patching vulnerabilities, detecting and mitigating threats, and educating employees on how to defend company security. But businesses also need to build resilience into every part of the business and limit the impact of cybercrime to a company’s brand, finance, legal, and customer trust obligations. Resilience is not about the ability to respond and recover from an attack, but how quickly we recover and what we prioritize. Read more.

U.S. Takes swift Action Against REvil Ransomware Attackers

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, the U.S. government took action against the alleged REvil ransomware attackers in Europe, including an arrest, an indictment, seizure of more than $6 million in stolen money, and new sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange service and companies that support it. Highlighting the efforts was the arrest of Yaroslav Vasinksyi, a 22-year-old Ukrainian national, who is accused of writing the code behind REvil malware, also known as Sodinokibi, which has become among the most virulent ransomware strains in use. According to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, the malware has been “deployed” against roughly 175,000 computers worldwide, generating at least $200 million in extortion fees. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: October 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.

October 19

Do Public-Private Cybersecurity Partnerships Really Work?

As University of Maryland Global Campus continues to recognize Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Bruce deGrazia, JD, CISSP, collegiate professor of cybersecurity management and policy at UMGC, examines the effectiveness of public-private partnerships to combat cybersecurity challenges. “A public-private partnership takes various forms, from the sharing of costs and profits, as occurs with a toll road, to the sharing of information between the private sector and the government without the fear of liability for antitrust,” said deGrazia. The question remains: Can these partnerships work in a competitive marketplace where cooperation is difficult, a trade secret might be revealed, or if a company might lose a strategic advantage? Read more.

Law Enforcement Community Warns of Cyber Attacks on Water Facilities

According to a recent article on www.cyberscoop.com and based on U.S. intelligence and law enforcement reports, ransomware attackers are targeting water and wastewater facilities. A cybersecurity advisory published on Oct. 14 from the FBI, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Security Agency noted incidents in five states between March of 2019 and August 2021, where systems were targeted by either ransomware attacks or other hacks.  The report noted that water facilities could be vulnerable to common tactics such as spear phishing, exploitation of outdated or unsupported operating systems and software, and the exploitation of control system devices with vulnerable firmware versions. Read more.

Biden Signs K-12 Cybersecurity Act, Bolsters Safeguards for Schools

On Oct. 8, President Biden signed into law the K-12 Cybersecurity Act, legislation that requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to create cybersecurity recommendations and tools for schools to use to defend themselves against hackers. According to a recent article on www.thehill.com, the bipartisan bill lays the groundwork for better cybersecurity policies in our K-12 schools and stronger coordination between them and the experts at CISA. Read more.

TSA to Impose Cybersecurity Mandates for Rail Transit Systems

The federal government, through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will impose cybersecurity mandates on “higher-risk’’ railroad and rail transit systems this year, according to a recent article on www.washingtonpost.com. The move reflects a determination by the Biden administration to compel critical industries to improve their cybersecurity in the wake of damaging cyberattacks. The new mandates will apply to passenger rail companies such as Amtrak as well as large subway systems including New York’s and Washington’s. Read more.

Deep Fake Technology Results in $35 Million Bank Heist

A recent story on www.forbes.com chronicles the power and criminal potential of deep fake technology. In early 2020, cybercriminals cloned the voice of a company director in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to steal as much as $35 million. The article describes how a bank manager in the UAE received a call from someone he recognized who was about to make some acquisitions and needed the bank to authorize transfers totaling $35 million. The bank manager made the transfers not realizing that deep voice technology had been used to clone the director’s speech. The UAE serves as a warning about the use of AI to create so-called deep fake images and voices  in cybercrime. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: October 5

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.

October 5

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Dispelling the Myths of Cyberbullying

Join University of Maryland Global Campus as we raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across all aspects of our lives and provide all Americans the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. In the last 15 years or so, a new menace has emerged that threatens to erode trust and destroy lives. Learn more from Richard White, adjunct professor of cybersecurity, about what you can do to identify and prevent cyberbullying. Read more.

U.S. to Meet with Thirty Countries to Discuss Growing Threat of Ransomware

According to a recent report on www.reuters.com, US national security advisers will gather officials from 30 countries this month to discuss the growing threat of ransomware. The goal of the new informal group, called the Counter-Ransomware Initiative, is to “bolster its diplomatic push that has included direct talks with Russia as well as the NATO alliance and Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations.” It is not immediately clear which countries will participate and when these talks will take place. Read more.

New Maryland Law Aims to Promote Cybersecurity Oversight

Among several new laws in Maryland is SB049/HB038, which requires the secretary of information technology to advise the legislative and judicial branches of the state government on the condition of cybersecurity and ransomware software, with some exceptions. According to a recent article on www.baltimoresun.com, the bill was drawn up in response to a growing number of ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other cyberattacks in 2019 and 2020. Read more.

COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Are Latest Attack Vector for Scammers

According to a recent article on www.cyberscoop.com, hackers are targeting American and Canadian victims with a malware strain that used coronavirus-themed messages to trick users into downloading software that collects their personal information. The scammers rely on SMS text messages focused on fictional COVID-19 regulations and vaccine information to trick recipients into clicking a link. That link triggers a malicious software – TangleBot – that infects a user device to collect call data, microphone and camera access and can be combined with other hacking tools to gather financial data. Read more.

Luxury Brand Neiman Marcus Discovers Data Breach Dating Back to May 2020

According to a recent report on https://threatpost.com, Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group revealed that that the company was breached by an attacker back in May 2020. Neiman Marcus recently acknowledged it had just discovered the compromise, which included personal customer information like names, contact information, payment card information (without CVV codes), gift card numbers (without PINs), usernames, passwords and even security questions associated with online Neiman Marcus accounts. In total, Neiman Marcus, which also controls the brands Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Horchow, said 3.1 million cards were affected. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: September 21

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 21

Apple Emergency Security Updates Close Spyware Flaw

According to a recent report on www.nytimes.com, Apple has issued emergency software updates for a vulnerability in its products after security researchers uncovered a flaw that allows highly invasive spyware from Israel’s NSO Group to infect anyone’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac computer. The spyware, called Pegasus, invisibly infected Apple devices without victims’ knowledge through a method known as “zero click remote exploit.” Apple has urged customers to run the latest software updates for the fixes to take effect, by installing iOS 14.8, MacOS 11.6 and WatchOS 7.6.2. Read more.

UN Calls for Human Rights Safeguards on AI

On Sept. 15, the United Nations’ top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, called for a global moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence systems that pose human rights concerns until safeguards are put in place. According to a recent article on www.cyberscoop.com, Bachelet pointed to several ways the technology is used in decision-making that can have life-altering consequences, including the rise in the use of facial recognition technology in policing and subsequent cases of false arrests. Read more.

HHS Issues Warning About BlackMatter Ransomware

According to a recent article on www.healthcareitnews.com, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) cybersecurity arm, the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3), recently released a warning about BlackMatter ransomware. BlackMatter claims that they would not attack hospitals. Still, HC3 cautioned that this claim may not be accurate. BlackMatter’s target countries include the US, India, Brazil, Chile and Thailand, and the list is growing. HC3 issued best practices to mitigate BlackMatter, including providing social engineering and phishing training to employees; keeping patches up to date; implementing spam filters at email gateways; and blocking suspicious IP addresses at firewalls. Read more.

Preventing Man-in-the-Middle Attacks Starts with Secure Wi-Fi

A recent article on www.cisomag.com offers a primer on n a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks and how to prevent them. MITM attacks, in which the perpetrator places himself in an ongoing communication or data transfer between an application/service and its user to spy or impersonate someone, focus mainly on stealing personal information like bank account numbers, credit/debit numbers, account login credentials, and other banking-related data. Common attacks occur as email hijacking, IP spoofing, session hijacking, DNS spoofing or Wi-Fi eavesdropping. Detecting and preventing MITM attacks start with avoiding public or insecure Wi-Fi connections while using ecommerce or banking websites. Read more.

Moody’s Tackles Cybersecurity Risks Through Investment in BitSight

Moody’s, the is the bond credit rating business of Moody’s Corporation, has announced that it is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to better evaluate the cybersecurity risks that face America’s largest corporations, according to a recent report on www.wtop.com. The company aims to assess the risks that ransomware and other digital threats pose to Fortune 500 firms and government agencies by investing $250 million in cybersecurity ratings company BitSight, which uses an algorithm to assess the likelihood that an organization will be breached. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: September 7

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 7

Microsoft and Google to Invest $30 Billion in Cybersecurity

According to a recent article on https://thehackernews.com, Google and Microsoft said they are pledging to invest a total of $30 billion in cybersecurity advancements over the next five years. Microsoft will invest $20 billion over the next five years to deliver advanced security solutions, in addition to making available $150 million in technical services to help federal, state, and local governments with upgrading security protections. Google will invest over $10 billion to bolster cybersecurity, including expanding zero-trust programs, helping secure the software supply chain and enhancing open-source security. Read more.

New Federal Recruiting Program Aims to Fill Cybersecurity Positions

According to a recent article on www.thehill.com, the Biden administration on August 27 announced it was establishing a program to recruit and train people to serve in digital positions within the federal government and address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and cybersecurity concerns. Called the U.S. Digital Corps, the program will launch later this year as a two-year fellowship for 30 initial participants. Program participants will work at federal agencies during their two years, with initial host agencies including the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Read more.

Wiper Malware and Malicious AI Top List of Emerging Cyber Threats in US

A recent article on Yahoo!Finance !, Wiper malware as one of the top-five emerging cyber threats in the US. Wipers are a type of malware that can be even more destructive than ransomware because they are designed for the sole purpose of erasing data. Iran, for example, has been implicated in a series of wiper attacks against Israel recently. Additionally, the emerging field of artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to smarter and autonomous malware that can adapt to changing circumstances and learn how to improve its tactics to pull off more advanced attacks. Read more.

Recent McAfee Research Reveals Vulnerabilities in Infusion Pump Software

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, McAfee researchers have found multiple vulnerabilities in infusion pump software that a skilled hacker could use to alter a patient’s medication dose to a potentially unsafe level. The vulnerabilities were detected in equipment made by multinational vendor B. Braun that are used in pediatric and adult health care facilities in the US. While there are no reports of malicious exploitation of the flaws, the research illustrates the challenge of securing devices developed decades ago from today’s digital threats. The research comes with caveats, however. The attack scenario requires a hacker to first access the local network on which the devices run, and the infusion pumps must be on standby rather than in use. Medical professionals also monitor doses administered by infusion pumps and are trained to spot irregularities. Read more.

Stemming Ransomware Attacks By Modeling the Nonvirtual World

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Paul Rosenzweig, an attorney and former Department of Homeland Security staffer, maintains that the way to stop ransomware attacks is to tackle the problem at its root – making it harder for criminals to profit from these attacks. And the US government can make it harder by more aggressively regulating cryptocurrencies and limiting their use as an anonymous payment system for unlawful purposes. In the physical world, kidnappings for ransom are unsuccessful because as soon as victims are exchanged for cash, the criminals put themselves at great risk of identification and capture. Adopting and enforcing regulations for the cryptocurrency industry that are equivalent to those that govern the traditional banking industry would be a start. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: August 24

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 24

The Private Sector’s Race to Space Poses Cybersecurity Risks

According to a recent article on www.forbes.com, projects like Blue Origin and SpaceX, in which private-sector innovators like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are aggressively pursuing space exploration, pose cybersecurity challenges. Making space technology infrastructure and communications secure will require innovative thinking and new partnerships. The main challenges arise from scale, distance and the criticality of systems and equipment functioning. For example, if a hacker penetrates earth-based systems and provides false information to a satellite, it could potentially take out major communications systems globally. Read more.

What Companies Are Getting Wrong About Hiring Cybersecurity Professionals

A recent article on www.zdnet.com examines why and how businesses often make mistakes when hiring cybersecurity professionals, which lead to difficulties recruiting and retaining IT security staff. Why are businesses struggling to fill vacancies when there’s a workforce available? Because businesses often don’t understand what they’re looking for, leading to mistakes when trying to hire. One reason, according to the article, is that the qualifications listed in cybersecurity job ads often exceed the experience necessary to perform the job. The article maintains that it’s possible to be highly qualified and highly experienced in cybersecurity without formal qualifications. Read more.

Recent T-Mobile Data Breach Sounds the Alarm for Stringent Notification Laws

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, T-Mobile announced last week that the total number of accounts that had data stolen in a recent hack has reached approximately 55 million individuals. That total includes an additional 5.3 million subscriber accounts that had addresses, names, dates of birth, and phone numbers accessed, according to the company. T-Mobile also found that the data of 667,000 more accounts of former T-Mobile customers, including their names, phone numbers, addresses and dates of birth, had been accessed. The breach, the fifth the company has suffered since 2018, has drawn the attention of lawmakers and fueled interest on the Hill for more aggressive privacy and data breach notification laws. Read more.

Cooperation Between IT and Business Owners Is Key to Combating Cyber Threats in Financial Sector

A recent article on www.forbes.com argues that deepening the level of cooperation between IT cybersecurity teams and business owners is essential to financial service firms. The responsibility for defending firms against these attacks falls to IT and cybersecurity teams, but they cannot succeed without buy in from the businesses units they serve. IT and security professionals must approach buy in strategically. The article offers three suggestions: Rather than ask for support, help business owners understand how the security platform can help differentiate their product offerings; speak in language they understand; and proactively engage business leaders. Read more.

Maryland DOT Awarded FEMA Port Security Grant to Enhance Cybersecurity

According to a recent press release from the City of Baltimore, the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA)  has been awarded $1.6 million in the most recent round of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Port Security Grant Program. The funding will help solidify cybersecurity and access control policies and initiatives at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s state-owned, public marine terminals. Since 2005, the Port of Baltimore’s public terminals have received more than $20 million in the Port Security Grant Program. Over that period, the Port has significantly enhanced its security program by upgrading access control procedures, installing physical security fixtures, and strengthening closed-circuit television. Read more. News Roundup: August 10

Cyber Connections News Roundup: August 10

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 10

New Bipartisan Bill Sanctions Countries Involved in Ransomware

According to a recent report on www.thehill.com, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would sanction countries involved in state-sponsored ransomware attacks. The Sanction and Stop Ransomware Act would impose penalties on nations deemed by the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence to be a state sponsor of ransomware attacks. The legislation would require federal agencies, government contractors and owners and operators of critical infrastructure to report ransomware attacks within 24 hours. Read more.

Israeli Cybersecurity Firm Discovers Amazon Security Flaw

According to a recent article on www.timesofisrael.com, Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point has uncovered a security flaw in Amazon software that left a door open for bad actors to take control of your Amazon Kindle and hack your Amazon account through an eBook. According to a proof-of-concept attacked developed by Check Point, a hacker could delete all books on the device and could steal the authentication token used to get into an Amazon account. Check Point disclosed the vulnerability to Amazon in February and the company had since closed the security gap in a firmware update in April. The firmware automatically installs to devices that are connected to the internet. Read more.

New CISA Center Aims to Take a Proactive Stance on Attacks

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Director Jen Easterly announced the launch of a cyber defense center, according to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com. The center aims to foster collaboration before cyberattacks, rather than afterward, between federal agencies, the private sector and state and local governments. The goal of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) is to enhance teamwork that often happens after a major incident. Read more.

Cyber Incidents Against K-12 Schools to Rise by 86 Percent

According to the nonprofit Center for Internet Security, the number of cybersecurity incidents aimed at K-12 school systems could jump by 86% in the coming academic year. According to an article on www.edscoop.com, the organization, which operates the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a threat intelligence and cybersecurity advisory operation serving state and local governments, expects that increase based on a rising trend of alerts it has been getting from its members in the academic sector. The projection includes a wide range of attack vectors, including phishing schemes that can lead to ransomware, data theft and other criminal activity. Read more.

Cyber.org Releases K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards

According to a recent article on www.hstoday.com, Cyber.org, an organization dedicated to ensuring that K-12 student gain foundational and technical cybersecurity knowledge and skills, has released a set of voluntary K-12 cybersecurity learning standards to be used in schools and districts around the country. As the first national effort to align cybersecurity learning criteria across all 50 states, the new standards will provide students with uniform cybersecurity learning opportunities at each grade level help them prepare for cybersecurity jobs of the future. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: July 27

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 27

Keeping the Tokyo Olympics Cyber Safe

Law enforcement and cyber defenders are sounding alarms about possible cybersecurity attacks from Russia or elsewhere hitting the Summer Olympics, according to a recent article on www.washingtonpost.com. The FBI recently warned about the possibility of such an attack, asserting that hackers could disrupt live broadcasts, knock ticketing and other digital systems offline, steal and release athletes’ and teams’ personal data or even lock up critical Olympics tech and hold it for ransom. The warning comes after Russian hackers targeted the past two Olympic Games, seemingly in retaliation after the International Olympic Committee barred Russian athletes from competing under their country’s flag after a humiliating doping investigation. Read more.

House Passes Bipartisan Cybersecurity Bill on the Heels of Major Attacks

On Tuesday, July 20, the House passed five bipartisan cybersecurity bills designed to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity following recent major cyberattacks. According to a recent report on www.thehill.com, the package, passed in a 319-105 vote, included measures to fund cybersecurity at the state and local level, bolster reporting requirements and test critical infrastructure. One bill, the State and Local Cybersecurity Act, would establish a grant program to provide $500 million annually to state and local governments over the next five years for cybersecurity needs. Another, the Cybersecurity Vulnerability Remediation Act, would improve the reporting of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Other bills in the package address critical infrastructure readiness and bulk power system readiness among other issues. Read more.

Cyberattacks Are Looking for Unpatched Software According to Recent Research

A recent article on www.thehindubusinessline.com points to unpatched software vulnerabilities as the root cause of the current rise in cyberattacks. These attacks are looking for publicly disclosed vulnerabilities for which a security update is yet to be installed. According to a recent report by cybersecurity firm Barracuda, which analyzed data from the attacks blocked by their systems over the past two months, Barracuda researchers identified hundreds of thousands of automated scans and attacks per day, with the numbers sometimes spiking into the millions. The data also points towards thousands of scans per day for the recently patched Microsoft and VMware vulnerabilities. Read more.

Seven Recommendations to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

An article on www.forbes.com offers seven tips that companies can use to prevent ransomware attacks. The top three recommendations are as follows: Start with an audit so that you can understand where your security vulnerabilities lie. Second, make sure you have sufficient cyber professionals working for you who are adequately trained. Companies need reliable resources and a staff that is equipped to respond quickly to attacks. Smaller companies can turn to a managed security service providers (MSSP) for round the clock service. And third, make sure you have a recovery action plan in place. If you execute office fire drills, then do the same for a cybersecurity emergency. Read more.

Nearly Half of Education Institutions Were Ransomware Targets Last Year

A recent survey of education IT professionals published by cybersecurity firm Sophos found that nearly half of all education institutions globally were targeted by ransomware in 2020, with 58% of those saying that cyber criminals succeeded in encrypting their data. As reported on www.edscoop.com, the company asked 499 education IT professionals about their organizations’ exposure to ransomware, with 44% of respondents saying they had been hit last year. Sophos also found that 33% of the education officials it interviewed said they expected to be victims in the future; 22% said they weren’t hit in 2020 and don’t expect to fall victim. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: July 13

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 13

Cybersecurity Training Is in Need of an Upgrade

Traditional cybersecurity training generally relies on a 30- to 60-minute session of basic training once a year, enhanced with email reminders and other reminders. According to a recent article on www.securitymagazine.com, this form of static training doesn’t work, mainly because it lacks agility and relevancy. What’s needed is a shift to mobile devices, a daily or weekly cadence, team and department interactions, specific industry relevant content, and, most notably, microlearning — training that is remembered. Just like one doesn’t go to the gym once a year to keep muscles fit, the mind is a muscle. Just like exercise, training daily and in small doses optimally helps maintain and improve performance. Read more.  

With a Return to a Hybrid Work Model Comes an Increased Threat to Cloud Security

A growing body of research indicates that a shift to a hybrid working models isn’t set to end as the pandemic recedes, according to a recent article on www.techerati.com. Cloud-based technologies will play a central role in enabling this hybrid future. But cyber attackers also see the growing usage of cloud technologies as an opportunity, according to a recent report from Netskope, a security cloud provider, that found as cloud activity increased, so too has the threat from cyberattacks. Read more.

Shared Responsibility is Key to Medical Device Cybersecurity

Medical device connectivity has helped patient care at healthcare facilities and in the home, according to a recent report on www.healthcareitnews.com. At the same time, these devices represent network vulnerabilities. Dr. Suzanne B. Schwartz, director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships and Technology Innovation at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, says it will take collective action to address such vulnerabilities. “It has to be through partnership through collaboration, through recognition that we all have different roles to play, different types of expertise, different responsibilities,” she said. For its part, the FDA has a public-private partnership under its critical infrastructure protection program, which in turn houses the Healthcare Sector Cybersecurity Council. Read more.

A Cybersecurity Audit – Explained

Cybersecurity audits, according to a recent article on https://fedtechmagazine.com, are about assessing compliance. They allow organizations to assess whether or not they have the proper security mechanisms in place while also making sure they are in compliance with relevant regulations. It should be noted that cybersecurity audits differ from cybersecurity risk assessments, which explore an organization’s IT security protections and its ability to remediate vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity audits, rather, act as a checklist that organizations can use to validate their security policies and procedures. Moreover, cybersecurity audits should be conducted by a third-party vendor to eliminate any conflicts of interest. Read more.

Biden Administration Tackles Ransomware, Considers Banning Secret Payments

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser, said that that a joint FBI, U.S. Cyber Command and private sector effort like the one used to cripple the Trickbot botnet hacking tool used to disrupt the 2020 election, is the type of operation needed to tackle ransomware gangs in the future. Speaking at an event hosted by the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a nonprofit think tank, Neuberger said that before law enforcement can go fully target ransomware gangs, the U.S. government needs more “visibility” into their activity. That includes considering whether to prohibit companies from keeping ransomware payments secret. Read more.