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‘They knew I was running late to meetings’: Former DHS chief on reports that SolarWinds hackers targeted his emails

Former Acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf on Monday recounted the intense first days of the SolarWinds crisis, and remarked on recent reports that the suspected Russian hackers behind the attack had gained access to his email account. “My first question was: were these unclassified email accounts? The answer was yes,” Wolf said at a virtual talk hosted by the Heritage Foundation. “It’s still concerning, but it would have been even more of a concern if they had access to the lines that DHS does its most sensitive work on.”

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White House announces leadership picks for CISA and National Cyber Director role

The Biden administration on Monday said it has picked two National Security Agency veterans to serve in top cybersecurity leadership roles. Chris Inglis will be nominated to serve as the country’s first National Cyber Director, and Jen Easterly will be tapped to run the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA. Both positions require Senate confirmation, which could take several months…

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Featured Government Technology

US adds seven Chinese supercomputing entities to economic blacklist

The US Department of Commerce added today seven Chinese supercomputing entities to the US economic blacklist for assisting Chinese military efforts. The US said the entities are involved in activities “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” such as building supercomputers used by the Chinese military and working on weapons of mass destruction.

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Cybercrime Featured Government

Credit rating agency warns that cyberattacks could impact water utilities’ ability to pay back debt

Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies that assesses the creditworthiness of bonds, companies, and governments, published an alert Thursday warning that cyberattacks could pose a “material risk” to water and sewer utilities and potentially impact their ability to repay debt. The alert follows multiple reports of cybersecurity incidents affecting water utilities. In February, city officials in Oldsmar, Florida, said a hacker attempted to poison the local water supply by changing the concentration of sodium hydroxide at a water treatment plant to toxic levels…

Cybercrime Featured Government Nation-state

Facebook takes down troll farm linked to Iranian opposition group

Facebook on Tuesday announced it had removed 14 networks in 11 countries for using fake accounts to amplify deceptive campaigns, including one linked to an exiled militant Iranian group operating a troll farm out of Albania. The social media giant took down 1,167 Facebook accounts, 290 Instagram accounts, 255 Pages, and 34 Groups in the month of March for their connections to these “coordinated inauthentic behavior” campaigns, which targeted a range of countries including Israel, Mexico, Benin, and Georgia…

Featured Government Nation-state

US says APTs are using Fortinet bugs to gain initial access for future attacks

In a joint security alert published today, on Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said they’d observed multiple state-sponsored hacking groups scanning the web for Fortinet devices in order to find and gain access to sensitive networks so they could launch future attacks.

Featured Government Leadership Nation-state People Technology

DHS chief lays out a cybersecurity vision with a focus on ransomware and infrastructure

The top official at the Department of Homeland Security announced today a series of 60-day cybersecurity-focused “sprints” aimed at focusing the department’s efforts on ransomware, industrial control systems, and other priorities. Alejandro Mayorkas, who was sworn in as DHS Secretary last month, said during a virtual talk hosted by the RSA Conference that his department is working on a proposal for a “Cyber Response and Recovery Fund” to provide assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial governments dealing with cyberattacks….

Featured Government Privacy

Booking.com fined €475,000 for reporting data breach too late

The Dutch Data Protection Authority has fined hotel booking website Booking.com €475,000 ($560,000) for reporting a security incident 22 days after it happened, in breach of EU GDPR regulations that dictate that all breaches must be disclosed within 72 hours.

Featured Government Leadership Nation-state People

‘We’re responding in election cycles:’ Niloofar Razi Howe on the big changes needed to prevent the next SolarWinds attack

In a hearing held by the House Committee on Appropriations last week, Niloofar Razi Howe described 2021 as “one of the most consequential years in cybersecurity—and it’s only March.” Between the fallout from the SolarWinds supply chain attack, Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities, and a surge in ransomware incidents, cybersecurity experts in both the private and public sectors have a lot to worry about. The Biden administration and lawmakers across party lines have made the incidents a top priority, with many calling on the U.S. to harden defenses and aggressively respond to nation state intrusions….

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Several German politicians reportedly targeted in hack blamed on Russia

At least seven members of Germany’s Bundestag and 31 members of the state parliament have been targeted by a hack that is believed to be the work of Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit, German newspapers reported Friday. Frank Bergmann, a spokesman for the Bundestag, told The Record that the parliamentary body was promptly informed of the incident by government authorities, and all members of parliament who were affected were notified. According to information available so far, Bergmann said there was no direct attack on the infrastructure of the German Bundestag…