Tag Archive for Cybersecurity

DHS Guide: Risks to Critical Infrastructure Using Cloud Services

Cloud services offer a number of benefits such as scalability, high availability, and decreased ownership cost. As a result, owners and operators in several critical infrastructure sectors such as Communications, Energy, Financial Services, Information Technology, and Transportation Services have migrated in-house computing resources to cloud infrastructures. However, cloud service environments still possess many of the same potential vulnerabilities associated with internally hosted environments, as well as additional exploits to virtual systems or networks. Owners and operators of critical infrastructure need to fully understand the risk environment as they address current cloud services and consider additional migration.

(U//FOUO) DHS Critical Infrastructure Note: Healthcare and Public Health Sector Cyberdependencies

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assesses that given the high value of patient information and proprietary data on the black market, the Healthcare and Public Health Sector will continue to be one of the primary targets for malicious cyber actors. Stolen health data sells on the black market for more than 10 to 20 times the price of stolen credit card data. DHS assesses that growth in the medical device market over the next 4 years will result in more devices connected to the Internet, and an increase in the number of cyber-related incidents that target those devices. This is partly because manufacturers do not place enough emphasis on the security of medical devices.

Idaho National Laboratory Cyber Threat and Vulnerability Analysis of the U.S. Electric Sector

With utilities in the U.S. and around the world increasingly moving toward smart grid technology and other upgrades with inherent cyber vulnerabilities, correlative threats from malicious cyber attacks on the North American electric grid continue to grow in frequency and sophistication. The potential for malicious actors to access and adversely affect physical electricity assets of U.S. electricity generation, transmission, or distribution systems via cyber means is a primary concern for utilities contributing to the bulk electric system. This paper seeks to illustrate the current cyber-physical landscape of the U.S. electric sector in the context of its vulnerabilities to cyber attacks, the likelihood of cyber attacks, and the impacts cyber events and threat actors can achieve on the power grid. In addition, this paper highlights utility perspectives, perceived challenges, and requests for assistance in addressing cyber threats to the electric sector.

(U//FOUO) DHS Intelligence Note: Unknown Cyber Actors Target US Water and Sewage Authority Network

An unidentified actor or actors between November 2016 and January 2017 targeted a US water and sewage authority’s network, resulting in excessive cellular charges and unusual traffic on ports 10000 and 9600, according to an FBI source with excellent access who spoke in confidence but whose reliability cannot be determined. The FBI source indicated that four of the seven devices on the authority’s cellular data plan were impacted with high data usage, which was likely a result of compromised network devices. The November 2016–December 2016 billing cycle totaled $45,000, and the December 2016–January 2017 billing cycle totaled $53,000.

FBI Cyber Bulletin: Cyber Criminals Targeting FTP Servers to Compromise Protected Health Information

The FBI is aware of criminal actors who are actively targeting File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers operating in “anonymous” mode and associated with medical and dental facilities to access protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) in order to intimidate, harass, and blackmail business owners.

DoD Cybersecurity Discipline Implementation Plan February 2016

Inspections and incidents across the Department of Defense (DoD) reveal a need to reinforce basic cybersecurity requirements identified in policies, directives, and orders. In agreement with the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO) identified key tasks needed to ensure those requirements are achieved. The DoD Cybersecurity Campaign reinforces the need to ensure Commanders and Supervisors at all levels, including the operational level, are accountable for key tasks, including those identified in this Implementation Plan. The Campaign does not relieve a Commander’s and Supervisor’s responsibility for compliance with other cybersecurity tasks identified in policies, directives, and orders, but limits the risk assumed by one Commander or Supervisor in key areas in order to reduce the risk to all other DoD missions.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Background Report: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections

The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation—malicious or not—leaves a trail. US Intelligence Community analysts use this information, their constantly growing knowledge base of previous events and known malicious actors, and their knowledge of how these malicious actors work and the tools that they use, to attempt to trace these operations back to their source. In every case, they apply the same tradecraft standards described in the Analytic Process above.

U.S. National Electric Grid Security and Resilience Action Plan

The Joint United States-Canada Electric Grid Security and Resilience Strategy (Strategy) is a collaborative effort between the Federal Governments of the United States and Canada and is intended to strengthen the security and resilience of the U.S. and Canadian electric grid from all adversarial, technological, and natural hazards and threats. The Strategy, released concurrently with this National Electric Grid Security and Resilience Action Plan (Action Plan), details bilateral goals to address the vulnerabilities of the respective and shared electric grid infrastructure of the United States and Canada, not only as an energy security concern, but for reasons of national security. The implementation of the Strategy requires continued action of a nationwide network of governments, departments and agencies (agencies), and private sector partners. This Action Plan details the activities, deliverables, and timelines that will be undertaken primarily by U.S. Federal agencies for the United States to make progress toward the Strategy’s goals.

Joint United States-Canada Electric Grid Security and Resilience Strategy

This Joint United States-Canada Electric Grid Security and Resilience Strategy (Strategy) is a collaborative effort between the Federal Governments of the United States and Canada and is intended to strengthen the security and resilience of the U.S. and Canadian electric grid from all adversarial, technological, and natural hazards and threats. The Strategy addresses the vulnerabilities of the two countries’ respective and shared electric grid infrastructure, not only as an energy security concern, but for reasons of national security. This joint Strategy relies on the existing strong bilateral collaboration between the United States and Canada, and reflects a joint commitment to enhance a shared approach to risk management for the electric grid. It also articulates a common vision of the future electric grid that depends on effective and expanded collaboration among those who own, operate, protect, and rely on the electric grid. Because the electric grid is complex, vital to the functioning of modern society, and dependent on other infrastructure for its function, the United States and Canada developed the Strategy under the shared principle that security and resilience require increasingly collaborative efforts and shared approaches to risk management.

DHS-FBI Joint Analysis Report on GRIZZLY STEPPE Russian Malicious Cyber Activity

This Joint Analysis Report (JAR) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This document provides technical details regarding the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military intelligence Services (RIS) to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities. The U.S. Government is referring to this malicious cyber activity by RIS as GRIZZLY STEPPE.

U.S. House Encryption Working Group Year-End Report 2016

The law enforcement community often refers to their challenge in this context as “going dark.” In essence, “going dark” refers to advancements in technology that leave law enforcement and the national security community unable to obtain certain forms of evidence. In recent years, it has become synonymous with the growing use of strong default encryption available to consumers that makes it increasingly difficult for law enforcement agencies to access both real-time communications and stored information. The FBI has been a leading critic of this trend, arguing that law enforcement may no longer be able “to access the evidence we need to prosecute crime and prevent terrorism, even with lawful authority.” As a result, the law enforcement community has historically advocated for legislation to “ensure that we can continue to obtain electronic information and evidence pursuant to the legal authority that Congress has provided to keep America safe.”

FBI Cyber Bulletin: APT Targeting U.S. Private Sector, Government Networks Using Presidential Election Lures

Likely Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) cyber actors have targeted US private sector and government networks since August 2016 with spear phishing campaigns, using newly identified exploits contained within lures related to foreign affairs and the recent US presidential election. The FBI analyzed malicious Microsoft Office documents, a zip archive, a first-stage downloader, a second-stage in-memory-only PNG wrapped malware, and a BAT-initiated PowerShell script associated with the campaigns. This FLASH provides rules and signatures to assist in network defense efforts.

National Science and Technology Council Report: Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence

AI has applications in many products, such as cars and aircraft, which are subject to regulation designed to protect the public from harm and ensure fairness in economic competition. How will the incorporation of AI into these products affect the relevant regulatory approaches? In general, the approach to regulation of AI-enabled products to protect public safety should be informed by assessment of the aspects of risk that the addition of AI may reduce alongside the aspects of risk that it may increase. If a risk falls within the bounds of an existing regulatory regime, moreover, the policy discussion should start by considering whether the existing regulations already adequately address the risk, or whether they need to be adapted to the addition of AI. Also, where regulatory responses to the addition of AI threaten to increase the cost of compliance, or slow the development or adoption of beneficial innovations, policymakers should consider how those responses could be adjusted to lower costs and barriers to innovation without adversely impacting safety or market fairness.

(U//FOUO) DHS Assessment: Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities to US Election Infrastructure

DHS has no indication that adversaries or criminals are planning cyber operations against US election infrastructure that would change the outcome of the coming US election. Multiple checks and redundancies in US election infrastructure—including diversity of systems, non-Internet connected voting machines, pre-election testing, and processes for media, campaign, and election officials to check, audit, and validate results—make it likely that cyber manipulation of US election systems intended to change the outcome of a national election would be detected.

DHS US-CERT Understanding Distributed-Denial-of-Service Attacks

One of the most significant cyber threats to businesses, local and federal government agencies is the Distributed-Denial-of-Service attack (DDoS). A Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) occurs when an attacker commands a number of computers to send numerous requests to a target computer. The overwhelming flood of requests to the website or computer network can cause it to shut down or fail to handle the requests of legitimate users, much like a rush hour traffic jam on the freeway. This type of attack can completely disrupt an organization’s operations until the network is able to be restored. Understanding the basic concept and methods of a DDoS attack can help operators of both large and small networks mitigate the severity of the attack.

(U//FOUO) FBI Report: ATM Skimmers Target Standalone ATMs with Wiretap Devices

The purpose of this LIR is to inform DSAC and other relevant private sector partners about new methods ATM skimming crews use to target standalone or kiosk-style ATM terminals such as those found at casinos, hotels, airports, shopping malls, gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets. The skimming crews intercept customers’ account data through the ATMs’ external cables. The activity observed to date in the United States was discovered at convenience store locations in California, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. This LIR provides details on the methods used in these skimming attempts as well as previously reported use of internal wiretap skimming devices.

(U//FOUO) DHS Field Analysis Report: Growing Trend of Ransomware Attacks Targeting Hospitals

The healthcare sector has been a desirable target for hackers due to the sensitive nature of patient information contained in their systems. The stakes are very high in the healthcare industry because any disruption in operations and care can have significant repercussions for patients. As such, this industry offers an ideal victim for ransomware, and these attacks are likely to continue—disrupting employee access to important documents and patient data and hampering the ability to provide critical services—creating a public safety concern.

FBI Report on Hillary Clinton E-Mail Investigation for Mishandling of Classified Information

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated a full investigation based upon a referral received from the US Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), submitted in accordance with Section 811 (c) of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 and dated July 6, 2015, regarding the potential unauthorized transmission and storage of classified information on the personal e-mail server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Clinton). The FBI’s investigation focused on determining whether classified information was transmitted or stored on unclassified systems in violation of federal criminal statutes and whether classified information was compromised by unauthorized individuals, to include foreign governments or intelligence services, via cyber intrusion or other means.

DoD Online Privacy and Operational Security Smart Cards: Smartphone EXIF Removal

EXIF (Exchangeable image File Format) is a standard format for storing and exchanging image metadata. Image metadata is included in a captured image file and provides a broad range of supplemental information. Some social networks and photo-sharing sites, such as Flickr, Google+, and Instagram, have features that share EXIF data alongside images. Others, including Facebook and Twitter, do not share EXIF data but my utilize the information internally. EXIF data is stored as tags, some of which reveal unique identifying information.