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Stories We're Watching

November 10, 2014
Federal government struggles against cyberattacks | AP
A $10 billion-a-year effort to protect sensitive government data, from military secrets to Social Security numbers, is struggling to keep pace with an increasing number of cyberattacks and is unwittingly being undermined by federal employees and contractors. Associated Press research shows that 40 years and more than $100 billion after the first federal data protection law was enacted, the government is struggling to close holes without the knowledge, staff or systems to outwit an ever-evolving foe. Last year, US-CERT responded to a total of 228,700 cyberincidents involving federal agencies, companies that run critical infrastructure like nuclear power plants, dams and transit systems, and contract partners. That's more than double the incidents in 2009. And employees are to blame for at least half of the problems.
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November 10, 2014
Navy, Marine Corps to migrate to joint DoD cybersecurity architecture, but not until 2017 | Federal News Radio
What began a year ago as an Army-Air Force partnership to consolidate those two services' Internet connections into a shared cybersecurity infrastructure will become a DoD-wide project within a few years.In what could become one of the first concrete deliverables in DoD's Joint Information Environment, everyone's on board now — at least in principle — with the idea of Joint Regional Security Stacks. The Navy and Marine Corps have agreed to migrate their security infrastructure into JRSS, and all the services have agreed on the basic technical and policy questions.
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November 3, 2014
Navy's 'Awakening' Means Cyber Threats aren't Just an IT ProblemFederal News Radio
Navy's Cyber Awakening program, announced on the heels of an intranet intrusion dubbed Operation Rolling Tide, includes a top-to-bottom scrub of every Navy system with a network connection, whether or not the connection is direct to the Internet. By next summer, the Cyber Awakening task force will recommend immediate steps that must be taken to close cyber vulnerabilities not just in the day-to-day business IT systems but also in network-connected combat systems that may have been outside the cyber security discussion up to now. According to Matthew Swartz, the director of the Navy's cyber awakening task force, the initiative signals that cyber and IT are now part of the warfighting system.
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October 28, 2014
Retailers Facing Intensified Cyberthreat This Holiday Season | DarkReading
The shopping season marks an annual "holiday freeze" period for security updates, where no new tools or other IT projects go live as critical transaction and other supporting systems must be locked in top performance and availability mode.Updating malware signature files for new threats or variants may not happen at all on Black Friday, for example. Retailers often hold off on updating .dat files because that can interfere with processing power and potentially disrupt systems that are critical to the shopping and transaction experience, and to sales.
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October 21, 2014
3eTI’s New Cyber Device Improves Security of Critical Infrastructure | Homeland Security Today
As the world continues to become rapidly interconnected, organizations are struggling to develop new technologies fast enough to meet the constantly evolving security concerns accompanying the growth of the Internet of Things. With the vulnerabilities created by wider connectivity, critical infrastructure has become an increasingly attractive target for cyber attackers.
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October 14, 2014
Reflected File Download: New Attack Vector Enables File Downloads Without Upload | Security Week
In most cyber-attacks, malware is downloaded to machines from a malicious or a compromised server. However, a researcher has uncovered a new attack vector where the corrupt file is downloaded without actually being uploaded anywhere.
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September 15, 2014
IT Professionals Report a Lack of High Confidence in Preventing Cyber Attacks, According to Protiviti's 2014 IT Security and Privacy Survey | Market Watch
In an era when cyber security threats are more common than ever, organizations continue to struggle to manage data securely, prepare for potential crisis scenarios, and defend against hacking and other cyber threats, according to findings from the 2014 IT Security and Privacy Survey (www.protiviti.com/ITsecuritysurvey) conducted by global consulting firm Protiviti (www.protiviti.com).
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September 4, 2014
Security Implications of the Electric Smart Grid | Security Magazine
The United States is in the process of upgrading its electrical power infrastructure. The patchwork nature of the current electric grid, which consists of more than 9,200 electric generating units, has been stretched to its capacity. As systems become more interconnected, the implicit trust that exists between ICS devices makes them vulnerable to data spoofing, which could cause false control signals to be transmitted, readings from smart meters to be fabricated, protective relays to be disabled, and load balances to become disrupted by abrupt increases or decreases in the demand for electricity.
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August 19, 2014
Health care data breaches have hit 30M patients and counting | Wonkblog - The Washington Post
Theft of 4.5 million medical records by Chinese hackers "highlights one undeniable truth about health care data: it's valuable, and bad people want it."
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August 12, 2014
NIST Testbed to Measure Industrial Control Systems Under Cyberattack | Security Week
NIST is developing the ICS test platform, and seeks feedback from industry, for five years of research into best practices for implementing security without hindeing process performance.
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August 6, 2014
DHS contractor suffers major computer breach, officials say | The Washington Post
USIS, a major U.S. contractor that conducts background checks for the Department of Homeland Security, has suffered a newly discovered computer breach that is believed to have resulted in the theft of employees’ personal information. USIS suspects a state-sponsored attack. According to the article: "The U.S. government and its contractors are a favorite target for hackers who are interested in obtaining sensitive data, ranging from employee information contracts to weapons-system designs."
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July 11, 2014
U.S. Accuses Chinese Executive of Hacking to Mine Military Data | The Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department has charged Su Bin, a Chinese citizen living in Canada and owner of a Chinese aviation technology company, with stealing reams of information from American defense contractors about key American technology. Targets include Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The charges are the latest in an effort to criminally prosecute suspected "rampant" Chinese industrial espionage.
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July 10
Power Companies Recognize Cybersecurity Threats But Aren't Doing Enough To Prevent Them: Report | International Business Times
The world's top providers of energy, water and other essential services recognize growing cyber threats but are not aggressively pursuing preventative measures, according to IT and research experts. This was a key finding in a newly released survey by IT company Unisys and Ponemon Institute that queried about 600 company executives in the utility, oil and gas, alternative energy and manufacturing industries, and from 13 countries responding online. Nearly 70 percent reported at least one breach in the last year that impacted confidential information or operations; 78 percent said a successful attack is at least somewhat likely within the next two years. A mere 28 percent ranked security as one of the top five strategic priorities for their organizations. Only 6 percent provide cyber security training for all employees.
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June 25, 2014
Unlicensed Software Continues to Plague Administrators | InfoSecurity Magazine
Despite concerns of hacking and data loss, unlicensed software is loaded on more than 40% of PCs worldwide, according to a BSA survey on the subject.
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June 18, 2014
Hackers reverse-engineer NSA's leaked bugging devices | NewScientist
In an indication that the hack target of choice is moving beyond software to hardware, hackers are building bugs that attach to computers to steal information.
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June 16, 2014
PLC Protection: Are we looking forward or backward | Automation.com
The past ten years have marked extraordinary progress in advances to ICS cyber security. Executives are exploring avenues for improved systems safeguards and perimeter defense. In emphasizing firewall protections, however, are they increasing the risk to the controllers within?
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June 10, 2014
Weak-Link Protection | Military Information Technology
As they strive to better protect their networks, defense agencies and contractors are paying increasing attention to a key cybersecurity issue: the fact that networks are only as secure as the least secure system connected to them.
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June 3, 2014
Making the Case for Security — In Plain Language; How CISOs can translate cyberspeak
into mission value for senior leaders
| FedTech Magazine
Translating cybersecurity into layman’s terms isn’t easy, especially when it comes to explaining why senior leaders should care about issues such as continuous monitoring or public key infrastructure. But one thing all executives understand is that any downtime in operations could mean a major loss in productivity and revenue and cripple their ability to provide citizen services.
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June 1, 2014
National Security Agency Program Fills Critical Cyber Skills Gaps -- Centers of excellence
educate network warriors
| Signal Magazine
...The National Security Agency (NSA) initiated the Centers of Academic Excellence-Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) program in 2012. Eight schools were designated centers of excellence in the first two years with another round of announcements expected in mid-June...Cyber operations is a niche area, but the need for more qualified workers is acute.
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April 14, 2014
ISA announces Ultra Electronics, 3eTI as ISA Promotional Partner | Automation.com
The International Society of Automation (ISA) announced today that Ultra Electronics, 3eTI, a leading provider of certified, cyber-secure network solutions for critical information systems, infrastructure and industrial automation, is an ISA Promotional Partner.
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Ultra Electronics, 3eTI