Cybersecurity Round-Up: Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Resignations

Monday, July 22, 2013 | 2:22 PM 6 comments

Cyber Port Authority
When you think of U.S. ports, images of ships and maritime commerce may be top of mind. Yet, while the U.S. Coast Guard takes the lead on protecting these coastal facilities, the federal agency doesn’t have the cybersecurity authority to protect and defend against potentially economy-crippling cyber attacks.

“The potential consequences of even a minimal disruption of the flow of goods in U.S. ports would be high,” the Brookings Institute wrote in a new report. “The zero-inventory, just-in-time delivery system that sustains the flow of U.S. commerce would grind to a halt in a matter of days; shelves at grocery stores and gas tanks at service stations would run empty.” Read Brookings’ recommendations for smooth cyber sailing here.

$46B for Secure Critical Infrastructure
Ports aren’t the only critical infrastructure in need of enhanced cybersecurity. The power grid, oil and gas, water supply management and a number of other critical components to any developed nation’s economy are in jeopardy being hit by cyber espionage, cyber crime and cyber terrorism. Read more…

Cybersecurity Round-Up: Commerce’s Big Cyber Spend and DEF CON

Monday, July 15, 2013 | 1:29 PM 4 comments

$2.7 Million ‘Overstated’ Incident
The U.S Commerce Department spent more than $2.7 million – over half of its 2012 IT budget – responding to an “overstated” cyber attack, according to a report from the department’s Office of Inspector General.

“Despite only finding common malware,” the report said the department destroyed more than $170,000 worth of what it believed to be infected technology, including desktops, printers, TVs, cameras, computer mice and keyboards. Read the inspector general’s report here.

Senate Moves on Cyber
The Senate Commerce Committee appears to be spending its time and money on another cyber measure. On Thursday, the committee released a draft bill to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity through standards, best practices, research and development, and public awareness and preparedness. Read more…

Cybersecurity Round-Up: Fireworks and Phishing

Monday, July 1, 2013 | 12:46 PM 46 comments

Cyber Fireworks Fly
Just in time for Independence Day, the United States may be taking its freedom a little too literally. Weeks after National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden exposed the agency for spying on its citizens’ phone and internet use, the NSA is back in the spotlight again. This time, accused of tapping half a billion phone calls, text messages, emails and internet data from Germany, the U.S.’ biggest ally in Europe.

German news magazine Der Spiegel broke the story Sunday, after reporting that it had viewed secret documents leaked by Snowden. Furious over the latest reports, Germany said the U.S. is treating it “like a cold war enemy.” As the fireworks fly, the Guardian has the story.

Another Leaker Under Investigation
Snowden isn’t the only one being investigated for leaking U.S. secrets. Retired General James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the target of a Justice Department investigation into information that leaked regarding a U.S. cyber attack. Read more…

Cybersecurity Round-Up: SEC, NIST, DOE and Russia

Monday, June 24, 2013 | 4:39 PM 16 comments

Hacker’s Don’t Vacation
Summer is officially here. But don’t think the hackers have packed up and gone on vacation. A new study from research firm Intelligize reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission has seen a 106 percent increase in the number of regulatory filings referencing cybersecurity issues.

According to the study, over the past six months, 800 companies have filed detailed information about the cyber risks and attacks their organizations have faced. “Costs associated with individual cyber attacks can easily total millions of dollars when factoring in the impact to customer perceptions,” Intelligize chief executive Gurinder Sangha wrote in the study. The Wall Street Journal has the story.

Veterans Find New Mission as Cyber Warriors
Some of the nation’s veterans may also be hard at work on cybersecurity this summer. The (ISC)2 Foundation and Booz Allen Hamilton announced late last week the launch of the U.S.A. Cyber Warrior Scholarship program. The program will offer scholarships to veterans who are interested in receiving training and certifications in the field of cybersecurity. Nextgov has the story.

Russia and U.S. Agree on Cyber…Not Snowden
When it comes to cybersecurity, communication is key. Despite recent reports that Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen contractor accused of espionage, has made his way to Moscow, the U.S. and Russia moved forward last week on an important cyber pact. The two countries have agreed to provide real-time communications on cyber risks and alerts on attacks coming in from inside each other’s borders. The Washington Post has the story.

Read more…

President Obama Talks Cybersecurity with Chinese Leader; Same Day Report Leaks on U.S. Hacking Initiative

Monday, June 10, 2013 | 1:00 PM 60 comments

President Obama on Friday met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to address the growing need for cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries.

Just one week after reports surfaced claiming that China had hacked into U.S. networks to steal military weapons design plans, the two leaders used an informal summit at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, California to address the countries’ cyber challenges.

“What both President Xi and I recognize is that because of these incredible advances in technology, that the issue of cybersecurity and the need for rules and common approaches to cybersecurity are going to be increasingly important as part of bilateral relationships and multilateral relationships,” said Obama, following the talks. Read more…

Obama to Confront China on Cyber Espionage

Monday, June 3, 2013 | 5:09 PM 6 comments

China is back in the cyber spotlight again. This time charged with hacking into U.S. networks to steal information on the country’s most advanced weapons systems.

Breaking the story last week, The Washington Post reported that China had infiltrated networks to gain access to more than two dozen of the United States’ missile defenses and combat aircraft and ship design plans.

“China, which is pursuing a comprehensive long-term strategy to modernize its military, is investing in ways to overcome the U.S. military advantage — and cyber-espionage is seen as a key tool in that effort,” the Post reported. “For the first time, the Pentagon specifically named the Chinese government and military as the culprit behind intrusions into government and other computer systems.”

And while the news may not come as a surprise to many in the cyber world, President Obama is preparing to confront China on the issue. Read more…

California, New York Working to Tackle Cyber Challenges

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 | 8:47 AM 26 comments

Among increased cyber attacks on the U.S. and little movement for legislation on Capitol Hill, states are stepping up to take cybersecurity into their own hands.

Home to many of the nation’s leading technology companies, California this month announced a new, state-led cybersecurity task force.

According to a report, the task force is comprised of state government officials and private sector leaders who will aim to enhance cyber collaboration and develop a framework to address some of the nation’s top cybersecurity challenges. Read more…

China Modernizing Military Program, Pentagon Reports

Monday, May 13, 2013 | 9:54 AM 4 comments

China is working to modernize its military program to strengthen its capabilities in cyber space, according to a new Pentagon report.

Less than one month after Chinese military officials pledged to work with the U.S. on cyber issues, the Pentagon last week released its annual report on China to advise that the nation appears to be stepping up its efforts to engage in cyber espionage and electronic warfare. Read more…

U.S. Confronts Top Cyber Adversaries

Monday, May 6, 2013 | 9:39 AM 10 comments

The U.S. has been in talks with two of its biggest cyber adversaries, according to reports.

White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel and coordinator for cyber issues Christopher Painter met last week with Russian officials to discuss cybersecurity, The Moscow Times reported.

Thought to be the culprit of sophisticated cyber attacks and cyber espionage to steal critical information, Russia has been on the U.S.’ list of top cyber threats for a number of years.

In the meetings held last week, leaders from the two nations reportedly talked about alleviating their cyber issues in an effort to reach an agreement on “unified cybersafety,” the Times article noted. Read more…

Senate has Work to Do as House Passes Three Cyber Bills

Monday, April 22, 2013 | 2:15 PM 32 comments

The House last week passed three bills aimed at strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity.

The Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2013 (H.R. 1163) and the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (H.R. 756) both passed the House on Tuesday, with the news nearly flying under the radar, as passage of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) stole much of the cyber spotlight. Read more…