Articles

Articles

How enterprises can benefit from Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

Organizations are working with the US Department of Homeland Security to enhance their own security awareness training and promote it in their communities.

An annual initiative launched 16 years ago by the Department of Homeland Security, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) takes place every October. DHS’s main motivation in mounting a month of cybersecurity-related activities is to make consumers more aware of how to protect themselves online. This year’s awareness month theme is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” with a focus on privacy, the internet of things (IoT) and e-commerce security.

DHS’s 2019 efforts include a consumer toolkit that features advice in 13 areas, from social media bots to home devices such as smart locks. The goal of the annual rite is to get organizations to promote DHS’s message about how to not click on phishing emails and the best methods to ensure secure passwords and other cybersecurity hygiene habits that ordinary users can deploy to make themselves safer. Last year, according to DHS, over 400 local events across the country focused on good cybersecurity habits.

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

Justice Department takes another run at encryption backdoors with ‘lawful access’

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

Law enforcement officials and experts on the distribution of child pornography gathered on Friday to make the emotional, if not technological, case that tech companies should open up their encryption schemes to police investigating crimes.

Following in the footsteps of former FBI Director James Comey and other top law enforcement officials, Attorney General William Barr is taking a swing at the growing prevalence of encryption across the digital landscape, with a particular renewed focus on the rising number of communications apps that are offering end-to-end encryption. On Thursday, the Justice Department published an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the social media giant not to proceed with its end-to-end encryption for its messaging services without providing law enforcement court-authorized access to the content of communications.

The letter, signed by the Attorney General, United Kingdom Home Secretary Priti Patel, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, came on the same day the U.S. and UK governments entered into the world’s first ever CLOUD Act Agreement. The agreement, according to the Justice Department, “will allow American and British law enforcement agencies, with appropriate authorization, to demand electronic data regarding serious crime.”

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

CISA’s Krebs seeks more measured approach to election security heading into 2020

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director says overhyped concern is a problem, while election officials say they reap the benefits of improved communications.

Given the too-late realization that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election through massive disinformation campaigns and — as the Mueller report most recently documented with a few new twists — actual efforts to hack into state elections systems, it’s no surprise that election security under the rubric of “Protect 2020” was a key theme running throughout the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) second annual Cybersecurity Summit.

Even so, CISA Director Christopher Krebs kicked off the summit by cautioning against the fearful language and overwrought concerns currently surrounding the topic of election security. “We’ve got to be more straightforward, more measured, more reasonable in how we talk about things. Election security is a great example. Are there true, absolute, fundamental risks in the infrastructure? Yes, but we have to take the hysteria out of the conversation because ultimately what we do is we drive broader voter confidence down,” he said.

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

Senator Warner seeks “grand alliance” to protect against surveillance threat from China’s tech dominance

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

The senator believes Chinese companies will be required to aid surveillance of the US, especially as 5G networks roll out.

When it comes to technology policy, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, is clearly concerned about the power China holds, particularly when it comes to trusting China’s leading tech suppliers and the prospect of a China-dominated build-out of global 5G networks. “My beef is with the presidency, the Communist party. It is not with the Chinese people. I have no interest in trying to go back to some cold war bifurcated world, us against China,” the former telecom entrepreneur said during a panel discussion at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) second annual Cybersecurity Summit this week.

“I would argue that the Chinese people don’t want this regime as well. Look at what is happening in the streets of Hong Kong,” he said. “The kind of surveillance state that China is using in terms of their tech companies would make George Orwell’s 1984 look simple.”

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

Leader of new NSA Cybersecurity Directorate outlines threats, objectives

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

Director Anne Neuberger says her group will focus on ransomware, threats to US elections, and nation-state influence operations.

Ransomware, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are the top cybersecurity threats that will be the focus of a new division within the National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity Directorate, which is set to be operational on October 1, according to NSA director of cybersecurity Anne Neuberger. She was tapped in July by Director General Paul Nakasone to head the group. The Directorate aims to bring the agency’s foreign intelligence and cyber operations together and “operationalize [its] threat intelligence, vulnerability assessments and cyber defense expertise,” the agency announced when launching the new division.

“NSA really had to up its game,” Neuberger said in a fireside chat with Niloofar Razi Howe, cybersecurity venture investor and executive at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington on September 4. “And that’s what drove this desire to stand up a directorate and frankly to set a pretty aggressive mission, which is to prevent and eradicate cyber actors from national security systems and critical infrastructure with a focus on the defense industrial base.”

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

Regional municipal ransomware attacks soar; MS-ISAC can help

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

Recent regional ransomware attacks underscore the importance of information sharing among municipalities.

More than 70 cities and towns have been hit with ransomware attacks so far this year with all levels of state and local governments the intended victims of nearly two-thirds of all ransomware attacks according to new analysis by the cybersecurity firm Barracuda Networks. These statistics include the recent sweep of attacks that struck 22 Texas towns and cities, which officials say was led by a single threat actor.

Barracuda’s researchers conducted a deeper dive on 55 ransomware attacks on state, county and local governments that have taken place this year and found that 38 were on local governments, 14 were on county governments, and three were on state governments. Nearly half of the government victims, around 45%, were small municipalities with populations of fewer than 50,000 residents, and 24% had fewer than 15,000 residents.

Two towns and one county government payed the ransoms. Lake City, Florida, paid around $500,000 (42 bitcoin), and Riviera Beach paid about $600,000 (65 bitcoin). In La Porte County, Indiana, officials paid $130,000 in ransom.

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

Capital One hack shows difficulty of defending against irrational cybercriminals

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

The motivation of the malicious actor who stole data of more than 100 million people was driven by emotional distress and did not follow traditional hacker patterns.

Software engineer Paige Thompson was arrested in late July for an unprecedented hack into a cloud server containing the personal data of over 100 million people who had filed credit card applications with leading financial institution Capital One. Thompson, who at the time of her arrest ran a hosting company called Netcrave Communications, had held a series of engineering jobs, including a stint at Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2015 and 2016, where she presumably gained the skills to exploit a vulnerability in an application firewall on Capital One’s AWS server.

Thompson’s ultimate theft of the 100 million customer records, 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 linked bank details of Capital One customers was apparently only one of her many hacks. In a legal filing related to keeping her remanded into custody, federal prosecutors say she hit more than 30 other targets, including companies and educational institutions.

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

 

Image from Webaroo, a guide on how to start a website.

U.S. Rep Lieu hopeful for election security bill prospects

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

Congressman sees Republican softening on gun legislation as a sign they might be willing to consider election security. Calls on the security community to expose election system weaknesses.

U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) thinks that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s weakening opposition to gun legislation bodes well for the prospects of passing an election security bill. Several election security measures have stalled in Congress since the 2016 presidential election because McConnell has refused to take them up on the Senate side.

“I know that public sentiment has shifted on the gun issue so that Mitch McConnell is now willing to consider background checks on guns and red flag laws,” Lieu tells CSO Online. “That wasn’t something he had been saying a few weeks ago. So, you never know when something can happen that will shift public sentiment in such a way that will force him to take up a vote for election security.”

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

11 new state privacy and security laws explained: Is your business ready?

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

States from Maine to California have recently enacted privacy, data security, cybersecurity, and data breach notification laws. We break down what each of these laws entails.

While at the federal level security and privacy legislation are lost in a morass of partisan politics and corporate lobbying delays, states have been moving ahead to push through an impressive number of important bills that help fill in the gaps. A search of the Legiscan database reveals that hundreds of bills that address privacy, cybersecurity and data breaches are pending across the 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia.

The most comprehensive piece of state-level legislation across these often-intertwined categories that has been enacted over the past two years is the sweeping California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), enacted and signed into law on June 28, 2018. Inspired by the EU’s groundbreaking General Privacy Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the legislation aims to give the state’s consumers greater control over how businesses collect and use their personal data.

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]

Equifax’s data breach disaster: Will it change executive attitudes toward security?

Articles, Blog, News
featured image

Equifax’s 2017 breach will cost it billions in fines, customer restitution and mandated and voluntary security improvements. All organizations that profit from consumer data should take notice.

Equifax announced on Monday that it has agreed to a record-breaking settlement related to its massive 2017 data breach, which exposed the personal and financial records of more than 148 million people. The settlement requires the beleaguered credit ratings agency to spend at least $1.38 billion to resolve consumer claims against it. It creates a non-reversionary fund of $380.5 million to pay benefits to the class of consumers harmed by the breach, including cash compensation, credit monitoring, and help with identity restoration.

The settlement also requires Equifax to spend another $125 million for cash compensation and potentially much more if the number of class members who sign up for credit monitoring exceeds 7 million. The company will further pay $175 million in fines to settle state attorneys’ general investigations and $100 million to resolve probes by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Finally, Equifax must also spend $1 billion over the next five years to improve its data security. That’s on top of the $1.25 billion in security and tech investments Equifax said it has made since the breach occurred.

[This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.]