Defense Department

Defense Department

Late-game election security: What to watch and watch out for

Articles, Blog, Cyber Security, cybersecurity, Defense Department, elections, Trickbot
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Despite disruption of the Trickbot botnet network, last-minute leaks of stolen documents and post-election undermining of trust in the election system remain big concerns.

As we head into the final inning of what has been a dramatic US presidential election season, it’s clear the country has so far been spared the kind of high-stakes hacking and disinformation campaigns that marred the 2016 election. Still, US intel and cyber defense organizations are on the lookout for last-minute ransomware attacks and have been joined by their private sector counterparts while social media companies appear to be clamping down on disinformation efforts.

The most striking evidence that the US  may be better prepared than it was in 2016  is the extraordinary actions taken by US CyberCommand (CyberCom) to meddle with the Russian-language Trickbot botnet network, used to deliver malware, including ransomware, and frequently exploited by Russian military intelligence for plausible deniability. Following a scoop by journalist Brian Krebs that an unknown actor was meddling with Trickbot, news leaked over the weekend that CyberCom was the meddler.

CyberCom’s goal was to thwart any possible ransomware attacks on selected or strategically important jurisdictions. The military cyber arm might have also been pushed into action by a Trickbot-enabled ransomware attack on top healthcare provider Universal Health Services (UHS), which was forced to shutter digital operations when 400 of its computer systems were locked up by Ryuk ransomware.

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

 

CMMC bakes security into DoD’s supply chain, has value for all businesses

Articles, Blog, Defense Department
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The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification provides a means for the Department of Defense to certify the security capabilities of its contractors, but it’s a good way to assess the cybersecurity maturity for all companies.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic was getting underway in January, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched an ambitious cybersecurity certification and compliance process called the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). This framework has five certification levels of maturity that are designed to ensure that the Pentagon’s 300,000 contractors can adequately protect sensitive information.

The CMMC embraces existing well-known federal cybersecurity frameworks including NIST SP 800-171, NIST SP 800-53, ISO 27001, ISO 27032, and AIA NAS9933, as well as compliance procedures from the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). One of the most significant changes for DoD contractors under the CMMC is the need to undergo external security audits.

“There were some simple things that our communities weren’t doing and we needed to find a way to make them repeatable, accountable and to provide metrics and make them auditable,” Katie Arrington, CISO for acquisition and sustainment, DoD, said at the 10th Annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit, which was held virtually this year. “So, we created this model with collaboration with industry and academia.”

The CMMC “is one piece of a massive cultural reform that’s been going in the department since 2018,” Arrington said, pointing to something called the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, a set of policies designed to introduce innovation into what has long been the sluggish thicket of the federal acquisition process. “It’s refreshing to see that acquisition is now understanding the new emerging capabilities and how we need to move through those.”

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

Photo by İsmail Enes Ayhan on Unsplash