NTSC Technology Security Roundup

Weekly News Roundup: April 20, 2020

Legislative Cybersecurity News Update

Here, we’ve provided a roundup of cybersecurity legislation news stories from last week.

  • House Dems seek $400 million to help states deal with cyber threats during COVID-19: According to FCW, “Four key House Democrats are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to include millions in new cybersecurity funding for state and local governments in the next planned coronavirus relief package being negotiated by Congress. In an April 13 letter, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee Chair Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) ask that leaders carve out $400 million in dedicated funding to help state and local governments deal with an increase in ransomware, phishing and other cyberattacks during the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • Senators Introduce Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act: According to a press release, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the bicameral Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and 14 of their Senate colleagues. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect and report racial and other demographic data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and fatality rates, and provide a summary of the final statistics and a report to Congress within 60 days after the end of the public health emergency. It would require HHS to use all available surveillance systems to post daily updates on the CDC website showing data on testing, treatment, and fatalities, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, sex, age, socioeconomic status, disability status, county, and other demographic information.
  • ‘STEM Corps’ legislation would fill DOD’s gaps in tech talent: According to FedScoop, “A new bipartisan bill would create a stream of STEM talent for the Department of Defense by offering tuition assistance in exchange for service in the department. Two years of tuition coverage would go to graduates who serve four years in the DOD in good standing. Other perks include the potential to work for one of those years with an ‘industry partner,’ according to a release from the bill’s co-sponsors, Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Andy Kim, D-N.J.”

Federal Cybersecurity News Roundup

In federal cybersecurity news last week…

  • Cyber Solarium staffers stress need for empowered White House director, clear private-sector roles and responsibilities: According to Inside Cybersecurity, “Placing a national cybersecurity director in the White House is the single most important recommendation in the landmark Cyberspace Solarium Commission report, says executive director Mark Montgomery, who joined other commission staff on a webinar that delved into industry’s essential role in ‘layered cyber deterrence’ as well as the possible need for regulation.”
  • Leading tech groups push Congress to provide funds for IT, cybersecurity during pandemic: According to The Hill, “Leading tech industry groups [last] Thursday urged Congress to support efforts to modernize information technology and ward off cybersecurity threats during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Americans move online and networks are put under increasing stress. The Internet Association, CompTIA, the Cybersecurity Coalition, the Alliance for Digital Innovation, the Center for Procurement Advocacy and the Information Technology Industry Council sent a letter to congressional leaders strongly urging them to include funding for IT modernization and cybersecurity in the next coronavirus stimulus package. Companies that are members of the tech coalitions include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Airbnb, AT&T and Mozilla, along with many leading cybersecurity groups.”
  • Broad coalition of industry groups, state regulators raise security concerns over FCC spectrum proposal: According to Inside Cybersecurity, “An unusual coalition spanning the energy and telecom industries, railroads, state regulators, and public safety groups is urging the FCC to reconsider a proposal on ‘expanding flexible use in mid-band spectrum’ to account for potential cybersecurity impacts, including interference with critical control systems.”
  • NIST plans to issue draft security-guidance companion publication for control baselines: According to Inside Cybersecurity, “The National Institute of Standards and Technology is planning to separate its control baselines, and overlay and mapping guidance from the latest revision of standards for data security and privacy used by federal agencies, and will create a companion document draft for comment when the final standards are released later this year.”

National Cyber Security News Update

Here, we’ve provided a roundup of cybersecurity news stories related to national security from last week.

  • FBI official says foreign hackers have targeted COVID-19 research: According to Reuters, “A senior cybersecurity official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said [last] Thursday that foreign government hackers have broken into companies conducting research into treatments for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. FBI Deputy Assistant Director Tonya Ugoretz told participants in an online panel discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute that the bureau had recently seen state-backed hackers poking around a series of healthcare and research institutions.”
  • IntSights report: Major threat groups capitalize on health crisis with phishing scams, malware and more: According to Inside Cybersecurity, “Some of the best-known cyber threat actors are racing to exploit digital vulnerabilities amid the COVID-19 crisis, and organizations should move aggressively to enforce strong cybersecurity policies internally, according to a report from IntSights, a threat intelligence firm.”
  • Guidance on the North Korean Cyber Threat: According to CISA, “The U.S. Departments of State, the Treasury, and Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are issuing [Alert AA20-106A] as a comprehensive resource on the North Korean cyber threat for the international community, network defenders, and the public. The advisory highlights the cyber threat posed by North Korea – formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – and provides recommended steps to mitigate the threat. […] In particular, the United States is deeply concerned about North Korea’s malicious cyber activities, which the U.S. government refers to as HIDDEN COBRA. The DPRK has the capability to conduct disruptive or destructive cyber activities affecting U.S. critical infrastructure. The DPRK also uses cyber capabilities to steal from financial institutions, and has demonstrated a pattern of disruptive and harmful cyber activity that is wholly inconsistent with the growing international consensus on what constitutes responsible State behavior in cyberspace.”

Cybersecurity Reports and Surveys Roundup

We’ve rounded up a few of the best cybersecurity reports and surveys released last week:

  • Hacking against corporations surges as workers take computers home: Reported in Reuters, “Hacking activity against corporations in the United States and other countries more than doubled by some measures last month as digital thieves took advantage of security weakened by pandemic work-from-home policies, researchers said.”
  • What type of data is trending on the dark web?: Reported in Help Net Security, “Fraud guides accounted for nearly half (49%) of the data being sold on the dark web, followed by personal data at 15.6%, according to Terbium Labs.”
  • Malware Risks Triple on WFH Networks: Reported in Threatpost, “New research found that almost half of companies had malware on their corporate-associated home networks – in comparison to malware being found on only 13 percent of corporate networks.”
  • Phishing kit prices skyrocketed in 2019 by 149%: Reported in ZDNet, “The average price of a phishing kit sold on cybercrime markets has gone up in 2019 by 149%, cybersecurity firm Group-IB said [last Wednesday]. […] Group-IB says the average price for phishing kits sold on the cybercrime underground in 2019 has skyrocketed to $304 on average last year, up from only $122 recorded in 2018.”
  • Research from 1,200 Cybersecurity Professionals Shows Securing Endpoints as Top Concern and Challenges in Reducing Attack Dwell Times: According to a press release, “[User] networks and endpoints are the biggest concerns for 65% of respondents, an 11% increase from last year. The report attributes this shift to four primary factors: the evolution of an increasingly perimeter-less environment; the sheer number of successful endpoint attacks; the rising cost per endpoint breach; and difficulties associated with quickly detecting a compromised system before an attacker can move laterally.”
  • Fugue Survey Finds Widespread Concern Over Cloud Security Risks During the COVID-19 Crisis: According to a press release, “96% of cloud engineering teams are now 100% distributed and working from home in response to the crisis, with 83% having completed the transition or in the process of doing so. Of those that are making the shift, 84% are concerned about new security vulnerabilities created during the swift adoption of new access policies, networks, and devices used for managing cloud infrastructure remotely.”

Cybersecurity Acquisitions

News about two major cybersecurity company acquisitions was reported last week:

  • Hellman & Friedman Completes Acquisition of Checkmarx: According to a press release, Checkmarx [last Thursday] announced that Hellman & Friedman (“H&F”) completed the acquisition of Checkmarx from Insight Partners in an all cash transaction valued at $1.15 billion. TPG has partnered with H&F and will hold a minority interest in the Company together with Insight Partners. The deal represents the largest acquisition of an application security company to date. Checkmarx enables organizations to deliver secure software faster by making security excellence intrinsic to software development.
  • MSSP Sells ATM Security Software Business to Auriga: Reported in MSSP Alert, “S21sec, a European MSSP (managed security services provider), has sold its ATM (automated teller machine) security and software business to Auriga, a provider of omnichannel banking and payments solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.”