CES: As Risks Rise, Experts Reimagine Path to Cyber Safety

At a CES panel, CISA director Jen Easterly sounded the alarm on the current state of cybersecurity in the U.S. “We cannot accept that ten years from now it will be the same or worse than it is now,” she said. “All the critical infrastructure we rely on is underpinned by a technology base that was created in an insecure way.” As head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Easterly is in a position to assess the coming damage, projected to be $8 trillion this year. Moderator Rajeev Chand, Wing Venture Capital partner led Easterly and CrowdStrike chief executive George Kurtz in a discussion on how to halt the increase of cyber-insecurity. Continue reading CES: As Risks Rise, Experts Reimagine Path to Cyber Safety

Senate Group Wants CISA to Protect Open-Source Software

Senate Homeland Security Committee leaders Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have introduced a bill requiring a risk framework for open-source code. The proposed legislation would require the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to develop the risk evaluation process for open-source software being used by federal agencies and critical infrastructure. The move follows the discovery in December of a vulnerability in the Apache Software Foundation’s popular Log4j Java logging utility. Peters said the Log4j incident presented a serious threat to banks, hospitals, and utility companies, among other national security operations. Continue reading Senate Group Wants CISA to Protect Open-Source Software

Password Era Coming to End as Providers Support Passkeys

Weak and repeated passwords are a huge vulnerability when it comes to navigating one’s digital life, and it appears 2022 is the year online companies will make a concerted effort to navigate users away from passwords altogether. At the WWDC 2022 developer conference last week, Apple announced passwordless logins across iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs. Later this year, iOS 16 and macOS Ventura users will be invited to log into apps and websites using passkeys. Once a passkey is set up for an app or site, it gets stored on the device used to activate it. Tech giants Google and Microsoft are also backing the passkey protocol. Continue reading Password Era Coming to End as Providers Support Passkeys

Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

The White House has issued a warning about hackers attempting to disrupt the energy grid and other industrial control systems with “a Swiss Army knife” of custom-coded malicious software. A joint bulletin issued by the FBI, NSA, DHS and Energy Department cautioned businesses to be on the lookout for “advanced persistent threat actors,” or APTAs, a commonly used way to describe state-backed hackers. Specific reference was made to devices from Japanese electronics firm Omron and the French firm Schneider Electric, suppliers of industrial automation equipment. Continue reading Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

CISA and FBI Warn of Possible Attacks on Satellite Networks

The U.S. government has issued a cybersecurity alert warning of “possible threats” to satellite communication networks and the country’s critical infrastructure. Concerned that recent attacks on European satellite networks could spread to the United States, a joint advisory published last week by the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency cited CISA’s “Shield’s Up” initiative, which warns that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could trigger homeland attacks. The alert requests “all organizations significantly lower their threshold for reporting and sharing indications of malicious cyber activity.” Continue reading CISA and FBI Warn of Possible Attacks on Satellite Networks

CES: Members of Congress Discuss Cybersecurity Concerns

Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-California), who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is concerned about the potential harm of cyberattacks in her 44th district, which includes of the Port of Los Angeles. Congressman Jay Obernolte (R-California), among his other assignments, is a member of the Committee of Science, Space and Technology and two caucuses, one on 5G and another on AI.  What they both have in common are concerns about cybersecurity, topics that were addressed during a panel at CES 2022. Continue reading CES: Members of Congress Discuss Cybersecurity Concerns

Major Security Vulnerability Triggers Worldwide Internet Crisis

The Log4j code vulnerability has the media declaring the Internet in a state of crisis. Log4j is a Java-based logging framework developers use to track user activity within applications on the popular Apache web server. Security experts are rushing to patch the bug, which is being exploited to remotely assume control of vulnerable systems, stealing credentials, installing malware and launching other attacks that permeate consumer devices. Last week, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a Log4j alert, as did Australia’s CERT emergency response team. Continue reading Major Security Vulnerability Triggers Worldwide Internet Crisis

Biden Administration Orders Agencies to Repair Cyber Flaws

The Biden administration ordered federal agencies to patch roughly 300 cybersecurity vulnerabilities believed to expose government computer systems to potentially damaging intrusions. About 200 of the threats were discovered by cybersecurity experts between 2017 and 2020, while another 90 flaws were found in 2021. All are known to be used by malicious cyber actors, said Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Jen Easterly in a statement accompanying the directive. The agencies have been given two weeks to patch the 2021 threats and six months to fix the older defects. Continue reading Biden Administration Orders Agencies to Repair Cyber Flaws

Government Pursues ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Cybersecurity

The “zero trust” policy envisioned by President Biden in May when he signed an executive order to improve cybersecurity has begun taking shape with the release last week of a draft blueprint by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While Biden’s order covers the public and private sectors “and ultimately the American people’s security and privacy,” zero trust focuses on identifying and implementing best practices for the federal government’s digital platforms and processes. Deployment will take years of investment and effort. To help jump-start the initiative, some primers have hit the news feeds. Continue reading Government Pursues ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Cybersecurity

U.S. Cybersecurity Agency Enlists Amazon, Google, Microsoft

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of the Department of Homeland Security, debuted the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), which will leverage the expertise of Big Tech companies including Amazon, Google and Microsoft. According to CISA director Jen Easterly, the initiative’s aim is first to combat ransomware and cyberattacks on cloud-computing providers and ultimately to improve defense planning and information sharing between the government and private sectors. Continue reading U.S. Cybersecurity Agency Enlists Amazon, Google, Microsoft

Millions of IoT Devices Open to Attack Due to Security Flaws

Forescout Research Labs and JSOF researchers have discovered nine security flaws in four commonly used TCP/IP stacks that make 100+ million devices vulnerable to attack. The set of flaws, dubbed Name:Wreck, mainly impact Internet of Things (IoT) products and IT management servers. The TCP/IP stacks that integrate network communication protocols to connect devices and the Internet are found in operating systems such as the open-source FreeBSD and Siemens’ Nucleus NET. An attacker could crash a device, take it offline or gain control of it. Continue reading Millions of IoT Devices Open to Attack Due to Security Flaws

Biden to Issue Executive Order Upgrading U.S. Cybersecurity

President Joe Biden is working on a draft executive order to require companies doing business with the federal government to report hacks within a few days. Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated the order would also require the companies to use data encryption and two-factor authentication and would combat ransomware and improve protection for industrial control systems, transportation and election security. The SolarWinds hack has prompted the government to pay closer attention to cybersecurity. Continue reading Biden to Issue Executive Order Upgrading U.S. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity: White House Pursues Public-Private Alliances

Russia and China recently ran sophisticated hacks from servers inside the United States, going undetected by the National Security Agency, which is prohibited from conducting surveillance in the U.S., as well as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Private computer security firms were the first to raise the alarm on these foreign attacks, and Microsoft reported that its patches are being reverse-engineered by criminal groups to launch ransomware attacks on corporations. The White House is paying attention. Continue reading Cybersecurity: White House Pursues Public-Private Alliances