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, 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 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 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, 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, 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.

UMGC Cyber Experts Predict Rise in Attacks on Software, Cloud and Critical Infrastructure in the Year Ahead

In this end-of-the-year post we offer a reprint of our annual predictions and trends to watch out for in 2021, featured on the University of Maryland Global Campus Global Media Center back in November.  

UMGC Cyber Experts Predict Rise in Attacks on Software, Cloud and Critical Infrastructure in the Year Ahead

What a year 2020 has been. The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on our lives in so many ways—how we work, conduct business, socialize, learn and simply go about our daily routines. It also has affected the security of the workplace and individuals. We have seen a rise in phishing, ransomware and other types of malicious attacks due, in large part, to the dramatic increase in remote work and learning.

Meanwhile, the lead-up to the November 3 election exposed both the real—and imagined—vulnerabilities in the nation’s disparate voting systems. A citizenry that was already anxious about voting during a pandemic also had to sort through a tsunami of news stories questioning the legitimacy of election results and the accuracy and security of our voting process.

Will the cybersecurity concerns of 2020 carry over into the new year?

Here are the top six trends and predictions to watch for in 2021, according to University of Maryland Global Campus cybersecurity faculty experts Valorie King, program director for UMGC Cybersecurity Management and Policy; Bruce DeGrazia, collegiate professor, Cybersecurity Management and Policy; and James Robertson, program director for Cyber DevOps.

From Valorie King, program director, UMGC Cybersecurity Management and Policy

  • Attacks on Remote Workers: Phishing attacks, ransomware, and other types of malicious software-based attacks will create more havoc in the coming year as perpetrators shift their attack vectors and methods to focus on remote workers. Organizations will need to update their incident response plans and procedures to account for attacks against a dispersed workforce that is using an increasing variety of remotely connected and potentially vulnerable devices.
  • Demand for IT Support: In order to protect geographically dispersed IT assets and information as they defend against threats and attacks, organizations with remote workers will need to hire and train more IT technicians and IT help desk personnel who have advanced cybersecurity skills and knowledge. This trend will be fueled by the need to patch and maintain increasing numbers of laptops and other digital devices, the need to remotely install and maintain more software, and the need to set up and then deploy new computers, tablets, phones and other equipment to a remote workforce.

From Bruce DeGrazia, collegiate professor, Cybersecurity Management and Policy

  • State-Sponsored Cyberattacks: The Russians, Chinese, North Koreans and Iranians have already seen how effectively they can create chaos both through cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. Expect to see further attempts at disruption as these countries test the incoming Biden administration.
  • Attacks on the Utility Infrastructure: We will see a rise in critical infrastructure attacks, particularly to the electrical grid, but also against alternative energy-generating industries as we continue to shift away from fossil fuels. These attacks will soon target alternative energy-generation facilities as they become more prevalent.

From James Robertson, program director for Cyber DevOps

  • Threats to Cloud Security: As more organizations move to the cloud, security issues resulting from poor or expedited implementations will result. Understanding the shared responsibility model—the responsibility for security is shared between the provider and the customer—is key in mitigating these issues.
  • AI Vulnerabilities: Increases in artificial intelligence/machine learning applications will cause an increase in vulnerabilities and weaknesses, including the ability to contaminate training pools, modify validation sets, and create AI systems that learn from previous successful attacks to expedite attacks on other hosts.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: October 20

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 20

Recent Barnes & Noble Breach Included Customers’ Personal Information

According to a report on, Barnes & Noble notified customers on Oct. 10 that it had been the victim of a cybersecurity attack, which resulted in unauthorized and unlawful access to certain Barnes & Noble corporate systems and may have affected customers’ personal information. The company said that customers’ payment details had not been exposed, as it uses technology that encrypts all credit cards. The systems impacted did contain email addresses, as well as billing and shipping address, and telephone number if they were supplied by the users. Read more.

Investigators into Twitter Hack Call for Greater Security Regulation

A recent article on https:// details how an investigation into this summer’s Twitter hack by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) concluded that the social media giant let itself “be duped by a simple social engineering technique.” The NYSDFS report called for greater security regulation for key social media platforms. In the report, the NYSDFS pointed out how quickly regulated cryptocurrency companies acted to prevent the Twitter hackers scamming even more people, arguing the biggest social media platforms have great societal power but no regulated responsibilities to protect users. Read more.

Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience

It goes without saying that cyberattacks, making headlines with increased frequency, according to a recent article on, can be devastating to companies large and small, causing service disruption, reputational damage and financial distress. bust the loss of personal data can also result in huge fines from regulators. This is why all companies need to invest in cybersecurity and cyber resilience. In a nutshell, cybersecurity describes a company’s ability to protect against and avoid the increasing threat from cyber crime. Meanwhile, cyber resilience refers to a company’s ability to mitigate damage (damage to systems, processes, and reputation), and carry on once systems or data have been compromised. Read more

Is Employee Cybersecurity Training Working?

The theme of this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month is “Do Your Part. Be Cyber Smart” to promote and encourage accountability at the personal and corporate level. However, according to a recent article on, although many organizations provide cybersecurity training/education, 43% of employees are not aware that clicking on a suspicious link or attachment in an email can introduce malware. The publication, citing the “2020 State of Privacy and Security Awareness Report” by Osterman Research and MediaPRO, offers additional statistics that demonstrate that quite often corporate training is not sinking in. Read more.

Financial Institutions Implement Cutting-Edge Technologies to Keep Customers Safe

Financial institutions average $100 billion in losses due to cyber crime each year with hackers targeting multiple access points to customers’ financial data, according to a recent article on The publication offers a detailed overview of the technological advances  financial services companies are implementing to protect user data. On the cutting edge of this security are blockchain, triple-entry accounting, and tokenization systems. Blockchains, for example, invented for and popularized by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, are highly encrypted and decentralized networks of data. When it comes to financial security, blockchain brings some of the benefits of cryptocurrency to all transactions. 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 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 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 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, 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, 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 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 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, 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, 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 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, 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 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, 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, 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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, 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: 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 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 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, 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, 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 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.

Cyber Connections News Roundup: May 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.

May 5, 2020

Cybersecurity Positions Shift During Pandemic

A recent article on reports that cybersecurity job functions have changed and that cyber attacks are on the rise. According to the (ISC)2 COVID-19 Cybersecurity Pulse Survey, conducted in April, found that 81% of cybersecurity professionals said their job function has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time, 23% reported cyber attacks at their organizations have increased since transitioning to remote work. While 81% of respondents said their organizations view security as an essential function right now, 47% said they have been taken off some or all of their typical security duties to assist with other IT-related tasks. Read more.

NSA Provides Cybersecurity Guidance, Assessments for COVID-19 Telework

The National Security Agency (NSA) recently provided guidance to help organizations select and safely use collaboration services to support the increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent article on The guide is designed to help organizations and the workforce to make more informed decisions about choosing collaborative technologies and associated risk exposure. The guide is aimed at government employees, but healthcare providers will be able to benefit from the resources as well, as many providers have shifted to tele-health solutions. Read more.

Burden of Zoom Security Falls Largely on Users

From “Zoombombing” to sharing user information with Facebook and leaking data to LinkedIn, a recent article on highlights the flaws in the Zoom platform, which has taken off during the COVID-19 social distancing as millions are staying home for work and school, and points to users’ writing their own encryption as a major pitfall. Programmers in China, for example, wrote their own encryption code for the platform, using a security standard far more vulnerable than the widely accepted AES-256 encryption method approved by the U.S. government. The article quotes Michelle Hansen, a professor of cybersecurity at University of Maryland Global Campus, who maintained, “While Zoom has made significant improvements to secure their platform, the responsibility is at the user’s discretion.” She advised users to treat your meeting as your house. “Be a good host, manage your guest list and use settings to mitigate possible risks.” Read more.

Hackers Hit “Smart” Parking Meters

According to an article on, CivicSmart, a company that sells “smart” parking meters and technology used by parking-enforcement agencies, was recently the victim of a ransom ware attack that also exposed some of its internal files on a website maintained by the hackers responsible. The Milwaukee-based firm was hit last month with a form of ransom ware known alternatively as Sodinokibi or REvil. The incident, noticed in March by the Israeli security firm Under the Breach, suggested that attackers were preparing to publish as much as 159 gigabytes of data taken from CivicStart. Read more.

15% of Small Businesses Experienced a Cyber Threat in 2019

An article on, citing new information from The Manifest’s Data Safety for Small Businesses: 2020 Cybersecurity Statistics report, claims that nearly one-fifth of small businesses (15 percent) say they experienced either a hack (seven percent), virus (five percent), or data breach (three percent) in 2019. The Manifest surveyed 383 small business owners and managers to better understand the challenges they had with cybersecurity in 2019 and how they plan to approach cybersecurity in the future. The most popular strategies for small businesses are limiting employee access to data (46 percent) and encrypting data (44 percent). Read more.