President Biden signed a sweeping executive order on Wednesday aimed at protecting federal networks, as the East Coast continues to deal with the fallout from a ransomware attack that shut down one of the nation’s largest fuel pipelines for several days. The Biden administration has been drafting the order over the last few months, and is designed less to address an incident like the one experienced by Colonial Pipeline, a privately-owned critical infrastructure operator that is believed to have been hit by a criminal gang, than it is aimed at preventing a future SolarWinds-like incident…
A new government and industry coalition on Thursday put its weight behind a number of aggressive measures aimed at curbing ransomware, including financially supporting victims who refuse to pay attackers and making it easier to track cryptocurrency payments. The Ransomware Task Force, which is being spearheaded by the nonprofit Institute for Security and Technology, contains dozens of members from leading cybersecurity firms and government agencies…
Cybercrime presents a range of challenges for law enforcement officials around the globe. Investigating and responding to these incidents requires technical expertise, the ability to see beyond borders, and the willingness to pursue cases when attribution may be incredibly difficult, just to name a few. “Generally, [law enforcement agencies] know who the traditional criminals are, but have a hard time to prove what they are doing. In cyber, this is turned around,” says Erik van de Sandt, operational specialist with the Dutch National Police’s National High Tech Crime Unit. “They know what crimes are committed, but not who are behind these acts.”
As someone who has been in the cybersecurity business for three decades, it might come as a surprise that Ted Schlein wants to tear a lot of it up. Schlein, a 25-year veteran of the venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins, thinks both the government and private sector need to embrace radical change to stay competitive in cybersecurity. Companies are too dependent on outdated technologies and practices, like passwords and signature-based detection tools, Schlein says. Organizations and developers must adopt new technologies if they’re going to defend against new threats like deepfakes and SolarWinds-style attacks….
Last spring, professional services firm Deloitte published a study that ranked Singapore as the most exposed country to cyberattacks in the Asia-Pacific region. The city-state was also deemed the most prepared at defending against them. Over the last decade, Singapore has aggressively rolled out a slew of cybersecurity initiatives aimed at protecting its nearly 6 million highly-connected citizens from cyber threats. As a global financial and shipping hub, it took early steps at bolstering critical infrastructure security and reducing barriers to information sharing. More recently, the country has rolled out cybersecurity labels for consumer smart devices, and awards marks of distinctions to companies that have invested heavily in cybersecurity….
‘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.”
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…
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….
‘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….
Much has been written about how 5G and the proliferation of internet-connected devices might make us more secure or more vulnerable in the coming years, depending on how you look at the next-generation wireless standard. For people like Alexander Schlager, executive director of security services at Verizon, 5G isn’t so much about tallying the risks and benefits as it is about adopting a new approach to cybersecurity. Defenders will need to accelerate their detection and response capabilities, he said, but will also need to prioritize and devote more attention to worst-case scenarios….