Cyber Connections News Roundup: September 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.

September 24, 2019

Microsoft to Offer Free Security Support for Windows 7 Ahead of 2020 Election

According to a recent report on www.cyberscoop.com, Microsoft Corp. will offer state and local election officials free security support for Windows 7 operating systems used in voting systems through 2020. Microsoft has long planned to stop providing security updates for Windows 7 users in general in January 2020, but was allowing users to pay for those updates through January 2023. The offer of free services through next year’s U.S. presidential election represents an additional effort to make it easier to update operating software used in voting systems, such as the election management systems that format ballots. Read more.

Are Recent Saudi Oil Attacks a Sign of More Cyber Warfare to Come?

The recent attack against Saudi Aramco, claimed by U.S intelligence and the Saudi government to be the work of Iran, is a continuation of a long-simmering cyber war between the two countries, according to an article on www.cnbc.com. In recent years, Iran has deployed destructive computer viruses against Saudi Arabia, which has been slow to strengthen its defenses. The report warns that investors should expect long-term cyber espionage and flare-ups of malicious activity, including the potential for destructive attacks that hurt companies in the region beyond Aramco. Read more.

Los Angeles Becomes First City in Nation to Offer Public Threat-Sharing Platform

According to a recent article on www.lasentinel.net, the city of Los Angeles has unveiled the Threat Intelligence Sharing Platform, as well as a free mobile app that will help people detect malicious email. This, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti, makes Los Angeles the first city in the nation to release a publicly available threat-sharing platform and cybersecurity app. The platform is the creation of the LA Cyber Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the public and businesses from cyber threats by facilitating and promoting innovation, education and information sharing between public and private sectors. Read more.

Citing Cybersecurity Concerns, Colorado Bans QR Codes on Ballots

Colorado has become the first state in the U.S. to ban the use of QR codes on ballots, according to a recent article on www.thehill.com. In announcing the change, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) said that cybersecurity experts have raised concerns around the security of using the QR codes on ballots. Griswold also cited findings by U.S. intelligence that Russian operatives attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election as a reason to enhance cybersecurity of elections. Colorado will now require that votes only be counted based on human-verifiable information, specifically the marked ovals on the printed ballot, and not based on the counting of votes embedded in QR codes. Read more.

Cyber Attacks Exploit People and Not Technology According to Proofpoint Report

According to the results of Proofpoint’s 2019 Annual Human Factor Report, virtually all successful email-based cyber attacks require the target to open files, click on links, or carry out some other action. Although a small fraction of attacks rely on exploit kits and known software vulnerabilities to compromise systems, the vast majority of campaigns, 99%, require some level of human input to execute. These interactions can also enable macros, so malicious code can be run. A recent article about the report on www.zdnet.com notes how increasingly difficult it is to distinguish a malicious email from a regular one, mainly because tailored attacks look as if they come from a trusted source, such as cloud service providers like Microsoft or Google, colleagues, or even the boss. Read more.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: July 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.

July 30, 2019

New Orleans Governor Issues First Ever Statewide Cybersecurity Emergency

Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statewide emergency declaration following a cybersecurity attack on several school systems in North Louisiana, according to a recent report on wwl.radio.com. This is the first activation of Louisiana’s emergency support function relating to cybersecurity. Kenneth Donnelly, senior coordinating official for the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission, said the state was first made aware of a malware attack on July 23. The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, along with Information Technology and Innovation, is monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and law enforcement partners at the local, state and federal level. Read more.

NSA Creates New Cybersecurity Arm to Combat Foreign Threats

According to a report on www.nextgov.com, the National Security Agency (NSA) will create a new cybersecurity “directorate” to unify NSA’s foreign intelligence and cyber defense missions, and prevent and eradicate threats to national security systems and the defense industrial base. Anne Neuberger, who has been leading the NSA’s Russia Small Group, has been tapped to lead the new directorate, which will become operational on Oct. 1. Neuberger led the NSA’s election security efforts for the 2018 midterms, having served as the NSA’s first chief risk officer. Read more.

IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act Calls for Deployment Standards

The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019, co-sponsored by Reps. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas), would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to issue guidelines for the secure development, configuration and management of IoT devices, according to a recent article on www.techtarget.com. It would also require the federal government to comply with these NIST standards. Balakrishnan Dasarathy, collegiate professor and program chair for Information Assurance at the Graduate School at the University of Maryland University College, was quoted in the article in support of the bill. “We need government intervention,” he said. Dasarathy said that the bill would provide appropriate IoT security guidance to chief information security officers (CISOs) and other organizational executives. “Right now many CISOs struggle to determine adequate security,” he said. Read more.

Industrial Cybersecurity Emerging as Frontline of Cyber Attacks

According to a report on www.businesswire.com, the number of cybersecurity-related incidents occurring around industrial systems and operational technology is on the rise. Industrial cybersecurity is therefore emerging as the frontline defense to address such threats. Urmez Daver, vice president and global head of Industrial Cybersecurity, TÜV Rheinland Group, speaking at the recent Secure Summit APAC 2019 in Hong Kong on July 11, said that emerging cybersecurity standards will provide the right level of guidance to enterprises to manage cyber risk, which is often best achieved when safety, security and privacy are engineered by design. Read more.

Israel to Provide Cybersecurity Training to Students with Autism

A first of its kind cybersecurity training course for people with disabilities has opened in Israel, led and financed by the National Cyber Directorate and the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, according to a report on www.timesofisrael.com. In an effort to expand the pool of talent in the industry, Ram Levy, CEO of cybersecurity company Konfidas, initiated the training to enable people with disabilities to integrate into the cybersecurity field. The first cohort of the course will include 16 students on the autism spectrum, aged 21 and up. Read more.

 

 

Cyber Connections News Roundup: July 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.

July 16, 2019

New ISA Cybersecurity Alliance Established to Accelerate Education, Readiness, and Knowledge Sharing

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has created an open, collaborative forum to advance cybersecurity awareness, readiness, and knowledge sharing. According to a recent report on Yahoo Finance, the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance will bring together a global group of stakeholders from end-user companies, control system vendors, IT and OT infrastructure providers, system integrators, and others affiliated with global industry to benefit everyone, especially the communities in which we operate and serve. Read more.

Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity Expected to Surpass $38 Billion

A recent report from Markets and Markets predicts that the artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity market will reach USD 38.2 billion by 2026 from USD 8.8 billion in 2019, at the highest CAGR of 23.3%. Major drivers for the market’s growth include: the growing adoption of IoT and increasing number of connected devices; rising instances of cyber threats; growing concerns of data privacy; and an increasing vulnerability of Wi-Fi networks to security threats. Read more.

New Indiana University Cyber Clinic to Serve as Mid-West Hub for Training

According to an article on https://meritalkslg.com/, Indiana University (IU) will establish the IU Cybersecurity Clinic to address cyber threats on the state and local level. IU said the clinic would serve as a Midwest hub for cyber training. Funding for the new clinic comes from a $340,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and matching funds up to $225,000 from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Read more.

U.S. Coast Responds to Recent Safety Alert With Cybersecurity Recommendations

On July 8, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a safety alert to report an incident in February whereby a deep draft vessel on an international voyage bound for the Port of New York and New Jersey reported that it was experiencing a significant cyber incident impacting its shipboard network, according to a recent report on www.marinelog.com. The Coast Guard responded to the incident by establishing a set of recommendations for vessels and facility owners to improve cybersecurity. Read more.

Maryland Department of Labor Reports Cybersecurity Incident

A recent report on https://www.nbcwashington.com/ details efforts by the Maryland Department of Labor to notify roughly 78,000 customers about potential unauthorized activity in two of its database systems. On July 5, the department reported that some personal information might have been accessed without authorization, but that an investigation by the department has not found any misuse of data. Read more.

 

 

Get the Facts About 5G Network Security

Balakrishnan Dasarathy, Ph.D., collegiate professor and chair for Information Assurance and Cyber Operations programs at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), cuts through the hype about 5G networks and gets to the truth about potential security threats and the ways to mitigate them.

The promise of 5G networks is that they’ll provide an order of improvement in both data rates and latency over the current generation of cellular networks and, as such, will introduce a host of new applications that support industry and critical infrastructure. Telecom equipment supplier Ericsson predicts that the number of cellular IoT connections will reach 4.1 billion in 2024—increasing with an annual growth rate of 27%.

The upside of 5G is its support of an unprecedented number of connected devices. Its networks will rely on new architectural concepts and service delivery models that will improve functionality across numerous vertical markets and drive down costs.

The downside is that 5G will create a threat landscape that we have not experienced with previous networks. Ironically, the security challenges inherent in 5G will arise from the attributes that make it such an improvement.

Any security plan for 5G should focus on the following six threats:

  1. Loss of availability: flooding an interface and crashing a network element by sending malformed packets by poorly authenticated, malware-infested devices
  2. Loss of confidentiality and integrity: eavesdropping, data leakage and data modification due to lack of energy-efficient cryptographic techniques on low cost, low power connected devices
  3. Loss of control: an attacker taking control of the network or compromising the network
  4. Malicious insider threats: an attacker modifying the network elements as the network is opened up and services rely on out-sourced entities
  5. Code in network elements: spying such as Trojan horse, trap door and logic bomb

Minimizing Future Threats to the 5G Network

Managers of network security can mitigate these six 5G security threats with new service and trust models, and by keeping close watch on Huawei, the Chinese global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices.

New service models, for example, must be expanded to include roaming agreements to support a specific business such as drones from Amazon and car fleets from GM, and not just cell phones. Trust models must address new data protection challenges across 5G networks that include more actors of different types. Today’s trust model addresses SIM cards issued by a few vendors for phones. Any future 5G trust model must address industry automation control devices, vehicles, sensors, drones and other IoT devices. Federal agencies, namely the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), must accelerate advancements in lightweight cryptographic techniques that are designed to implement in constrained environments such as RFID tags, sensors and medical devices.

Finally, any 5G-network security framework must also identify and address potential malicious activity from Huawei, and the only way to do so is to review the underlying code of network equipment. Since an adversary like Huawei, with direct links to the Chinese government, will not supply anyone with the functional specifications for the malware they may plant, the U.S. must actively review the code in Huawei equipment much in the way that the U.K. is doing now through its Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC).

About the Author

DasMarch2018v6Dr. Balakrishnan Dasarathy, collegiate professor and chair for Information Assurance and Cyber Operations programs at UMUC, brings more than 30 years of experience in research and development and management in the fields of information assurance, cyber security, and related areas of computer science. He has worked in the telecommunications and finance industries and currently teaches courses in network and software security and cyberlaw. Dasarathy received his PhD in computer and information science from Ohio State University.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: July 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.

July 2, 2019

Hacking Risk to Medtronic Insulin Pumps Exposes Vulnerabilities IoT Medical Devices

According to a report on www.forbes.com, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned recently that a number of insulin pumps from Medtronic MiniMed might be at risk of a cybersecurity breach. According to the FDA, Medtronic is recalling affected MiniMed pump and providing alternative insulin pumps to patients. The Medtronic recall illustrates the increase in vulnerabilities of such medical devices as more and more go online and shift to IoT and wearables. Read more.

NIST Releases Guide to Managing Cybersecurity Risks Posed by IoT

Health IT Security reports that on June 25 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a guide to managing the privacy and cybersecurity risks posed by IoT, the first in a planned series on IoT designed to help both federal and private sector organizations shore up IoT vulnerabilities. In October 2018 NIST issued a draft IoT report, which laid out the top considerations that can impact the management of IoT devices across the enterprise. The guide released last week builds on the initial report and is designed to serve as a foundation for a planned series on more specific IoT assets. Read more.

M&A Deals Hamstrung by Cybersecurity

According to a recent report by Forescout Technologies titled The Role of Cybersecurity in M&A Diligence, half of IT decision makers (53%) found critical cybersecurity issues that put mergers or acquisition deals in jeopardy during their initial assessments, according to Forescout Technologies’ survey of 2,700 executives. Furthermore, undisclosed data breaches represent an immediate deal-breaker for their company’s M&A strategy, according to 73% of surveyed decision makers. Acquiring a company, only to find critical cybersecurity issues down the line, made 65% of decision-makers feel buyer’s remorse once the deal closed. Read more.

Maryland Gov. Hogan Hires Cybersecurity Chief

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has named Maryland’s first statewide chief information security officer, part of an effort to boost defenses against cybersecurity threats, according to a recent report on www.washingtonpost.com. John Evans, who had served as the chief information security officer for the state Department of Information Technology since October, will lead the newly created Office of Security Management and chair the Maryland Cybersecurity Coordinating Council, a panel made up of nearly a dozen agency heads. The move comes just after a powerful ransomware attack nearly paralyzed the city government for the past month. Read more.

Iranian Hackers Ramp Up Cyber Campaigns Against U.S.

A recent article on www.time.com details how Iran has increased its offensive cyber attacks against the U.S. government and critical infrastructure as tensions have grown between the two nations. The article describes how hackers believed to be working for the Iranian government have targeted U.S. government agencies, as well as sectors of the economy, including oil and gas via spear-phishing emails, according to cybersecurity tracking companies CrowdStrike and FireEye. The cyber offensive is the latest chapter in the U.S. and Iran’s ongoing cyber operations targeting the others. Read more.

 

Cyber Connections News Roundup: June 4

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 4, 2019

Startup BlueVoyant Raises $82.5 Million at a Valuation in Excess of $400 Million

According to a recent article on www.techcrunch.com, New York based cybersecurity startup BlueVoyant, a provider of managed security, professional services and, threat intelligence, has raised $82.5 million in a Series B round of funding at a valuation in excess of $430 million. The funding is coming from a range of new and existing investors that includes fintech giant Fiserv. Read more.

Cybersecurity Stands to Benefit from Advancements in AI

An article on www.globalsign.com reports that cybersecurity may be one of the key beneficiaries of advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). AI, for example, can be used to detect imminent threats by collecting data from different logs and records and identifying new threats that are being spread by hackers. AI can also identify malware and spyware trends by analyzing data across multiple channels. AI lets users detect malware systems faster and before they can do damage on a large scale. Read more.

Middle East and Africa Cybersecurity Market Expect to Take Off

A new report featured on www.researchandmarkets.com predicts that the Middle East and Africa cybersecurity markets will expand at a CAGR of 11.9 percent and is expected to be valued at USD 23.4 billion by 2023. Contributing to this rise is the digitization in verticals such as banking, financial services, government, and the oil and gas industries, which has triggered the risk of cyber attacks. The main reason for the cybersecurity market’s exponential growth rate is improved awareness, and the adoption of various cybersecurity services that are needed to safeguard smart grid devices, digitized businesses, and IoT-based smart cities. Read more.

New Cybersecurity Legislation Aims to Secure Nation’s Election

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced legislation to secure the nation’s elections by providing training to state and local election officials, according to a report on www.brainerddispatch.com. The “Invest in Our Democracy Act of 2019” would direct the Election Assistance Commission to provide grants in support of continuing education in election administration or cybersecurity for election officials and employees. The Act would establish a grant program administered by the Election Assistance Commission to cover up to 75 percent of the cost of the yearly tuition of election officials and employees who are enrolled in an accredited certificate program for election administration or cybersecurity. The Act would also provide $1 million for fiscal year 2021 and such sums necessary for each fiscal year between 2022 and 2028. Read more.

Poor Cybersecurity Can Do Damage Beyond Your Bottom Line

A recent article on www.securityboulevard.com enumerates the ways poor cybersecurity measures could harm your business. For example, your initial impression may be that weak cybersecurity only affects your organization, but a lack in cybersecurity can also be problematic for an organization’s customers and wider markets. Companies can steer clear of this fault by taking a top-down approach to cybersecurity. Read more.

 

Cyber Connections News Roundup: May 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.

May 21, 2019

States Make Strides In Cybersecurity But Is it Enough?

On https://www.govtech.com, blogger Dan Lohrmann offered a report from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices’ third National Summit on State Cybersecurity (May 14-15, 2019 at the Shreveport Convention Center). The event convened state homeland security advisors, chief information officers, chief information security officers, governors’ policy advisors, National Guard leaders and others to explore cybersecurity challenges and promising practices. Overall, Lohrmann observed “a sense of how far the nation has come regarding cybersecurity, tempered by a recognition of how much more needs to be done.” He also highlighted comments from keynote speaker Chris Krebs, director, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who discussed the actions of Russia during the 2016 election and reminded the audience that ransomware and a host of other cyber trends are also top priorities of the administration. Read more.

IoT Is Major Driver in Growth of Artificial Intelligence Market

According to a new report from B2B research provider MarketsandMarkets, the artificial intelligence in cybersecurity market is projected to reach USD 38.2 billion by 2026 from USD 8.8 billion in 2019. Major drivers for the market’s growth include the adoption of IoT. Other factors are the increasing number of connected devices, rising instances of cyber threats, and increasing vulnerability of Wi-Fi networks to security threats. According to the report, titled “The Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity Market,” opportunities include the growing need for cloud-based security solutions and the increased use of social media for business functions. Read more.

The Intersection of Trade Wars and Cybersecurity

A recent article on www.forbes.com highlights the potential for foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services. In light of the current trade war with China, the administration has banned two Chinese technology companies from entering U.S. markets. The Commerce Department added Huawei, the telecom equipment giant, to the Bureau of Industry and Security’s “Entity List,” a designation that bars firms from doing business with U.S. companies without a special license from the bureau. Prior to that move, the FCC voted unanimously to deny China Mobile’s application to provide telecommunications services in the United States. Read more.

The Evolution of the Utilities Industry Could Mean a Rise in Cyber Threats

The evolution of the utilities industry to a “smart infrastructure” that relies on digitized equipment and connectivity across devices, plants, and systems will most likely result in a growing number of cybersecurity threats, according to a recent article on www.helpnetsecurity.com. Current security policies of many utilities have not evolved in step with this evolution and could leave companies vulnerable. Of the six risks enumerated in this article, boundary protection tops the list. Read more.

Defining and Deploying a Cybersecurity Culture Is an Ever-Evolving Challenge

A recent article on https://cybersecurity.isaca.org/ by Luis Emilio Alvarez-Dionisi, Ph.D. and Nelly Urrego-Baquero offers a path forward, but the authors concede: “Having a cybersecurity culture is a dynamic process that demands continuous attention.” The main objective of cybersecurity culture is to develop and implement a cybersecurity culture ecosystem to support cybersecurity. Sharing the experience of establishing an advanced social and psychological groundwork may help support cybersecurity. Deploying a cybersecurity culture requires senior leadership buy in. The board of directors and senior management must decide to support and enable a cybersecurity shield to mitigate the risk associated with cyber attacks. Read more.