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Catching Up with Cybersecurity

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | 1:00 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

Happy New Year and welcome back, Cybersecurity News readers!

As we embark upon a fresh start, with 361 days remaining before us in 2011, it should come as no surprise that the security-psychics and cyber-gurus have already taken to posting their predictions for IT security in the new year.

Making news headlines with its forecast, McAfee, Inc. released its list of “McAfee Labs Threat Predictions for 2011.”  URL-shortening services, geolocation services, mobile devices, botnet takedowns and the recent rise of hacktivists were all listed as potential threats to our cybersecurity in the year ahead.

“We’ve seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most,” Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, said in a statement. “These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we’re already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss.”

And right in line with the predictions of hacktivists and data loss, the US State Department, which saw its fair share of cyber damage in 2010 following the WikiLeaks info-spew, has announced its creation of a new cybersecurity post within the Department.

According to InformationWeek, the new post, deemed the “Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues,” will operate to “more effectively advance US cybersecurity and other cyber interests.”  The article goes on to note that the new post was created before WikiLeaks published the Department’s classified cables.

Either way, it’s apparent that the main objectives for the new office will be to secure the State’s systems and to keep classified information classified.

Meanwhile, another federal department doesn’t seem to be keeping things so classified.

According to a report from the Washington Post, the Department of Defense has launched a pilot program to trade some of its top IT employees with several skilled private sector professionals.

Swapping spots for anywhere from three months to two years, the article reports that the program will aim “to improve the government’s IT expertise, particularly in cybersecurity.”

And on the eve before the 112th Congress is sworn into office, over on the Hill, NextGov predicts that cybersecurity will be a top priority for the new GOP-held House in 2011.

According to the article, Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Daniel Lungren (R-Calif.), (Gerry Connolly, D-Va.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) will all partake in spearheading efforts to advance cybersecurity this year, with a particular focus on the Federal Information Security Management Act.

One final note: If you’re still trying to sort through your inbox post-holiday hold up, NetworkWorld advises that you should probably skip out on opening any holiday e-cards you may have received from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

According to the report, a phony White House email greeting card made its way into several email inboxes and contained malware links intended to steal data, spy on government systems and otherwise wreak havoc on your holidays.  But hopefully that didn’t happen and you were able to enjoy yourself this holiday season!

All that said, following are cybersecurity news headlines you may have missed while ringing in another new year:

Cyber Czar Takes on ‘Exaggerated’ Cyber Threat (ExecutiveGov)

DARPA goal for cybersecurity: Change the game (Air Force News Agency)

Critical infrastructure will face more cyber attack: Symantec (MSN News)

Group aims to help secure the technology supply chain (Gov Computer News)

Insurers, Feds Jointly Pursue Financial Sector Cybersecurity Measures (Claims Journal)

NSA considers its networks compromised (Help Net Security)

OPM mulls separate cybersecurity career path for federal workers (InfoSecurity)

Energy research projects were on fire in 2010 (NetworkWorld)

Report: Cyber Attack Outages Usually Last 50 Hours (Industry Week)

CYBER ATTACKS:

After swearing in a new president, hackers attack Brazilian government’s website (AP)

Anonymous Attacks Tunisian Government for ‘War on Free Speech’ (The New New Internet)

Turkish Hackers Launch Massive Cyber-Attack on Cypriot Companies (Greek Reporter)

Mossad agent ‘brought down Egypt’s internet’ (UK Telegraph)

E. Coast group attacks Santa Cruz County govt site, interrupts service (Mercury News, Cali.)

Cyber attack temporarily causes state agency to take down website (Star Telegram, Tex.)

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES:

Google CFO Hints at Return to China (Fox News)

Volunteer Cyber Army Emerges In Estonia (NPR)

Germany to Create Cyber Defense Center (AP)

UK government seeks industry input on cybersecurity policy (InfoSecurity)

Zimbabwe to increase cyber security (Africa News)

Australia struggling against cyber attacks (Federal News Radio)

A very modern theatre of war: The IT men whose mission is to rescue the world from cyberterrorists (UK Daily Mail)

PRIVATE SECTOR SUCCESS:

Unisys Ramps up Cybersecurity Offer (ExecutiveBiz)

ManTech Purchases MTCSC for $75 Million (ExecutiveBiz)

BAE to buy Danish cybersecurity firm ETI for $212 million (InfoSecurity)

OPINIONS:

Richard Stiennon: Cyber War Has Already Happened (The New New Internet)

Mark Caserta: Cyber defense must be a priority for America (Herald-Dispatch, W.Va.)

Rodney Joffe: In 2011, Look Out for Web Traffic Hijacking (The New New Internet)

Trudy Rubin: It’s time to get serious about cyber attack risk (Sidney Morning Herald)

Letter: Manhattan Spirit for Cyber Defense (Wall Street Journal)

MORE ON WIKILEAKS:

Did WikiLeaks bring on cyberwar? Maybe a cyber sit-in (Christian Science Monitor)

In Wake of WikiLeaks, Hackers Create a Cybersecurity Gold Rush (The Daily Caller)

Greater push for data leak protection post-WikiLeaks (Federal News Radio)

WikiLeaks App pulled by Apple, may prompt cyber attack (Examiner)

WikiLeaks trial fuels fears of UK cyber attack (The National)

Bank of America cuts off WikiLeaks (Charlotte Observer)

WikiLeak: Aussie intelligence “hard pressed” on cybersecurity in 2008 (Delimiter)

WikiLeaks Spurs MoD To Step Up Cyber Defences (eWeek Europe)

Wikileaks and the Future of Cybersecurity (VON Blog)

UPCOMING CYBERSECURITY EVENTS:

Cybersecurity conference set for March (UPI)

And stay tuned in February, as Cybersecurity News will cover the 2011 RSA Conference from San Franscisco’s Moscone Center…

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