NTSC Technology Security Roundup

Weekly News Roundup: April 27, 2020

Legislative Cybersecurity News Update

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

  • U.S. senators urge cybersecurity officials to defend health sector: According to Reuters, “A handful of U.S. senators have called on top cybersecurity officials to aggressively protect health and research organizations from potential hacking and other attacks as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter sent [last] Monday, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and three other senators asked the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Cyber Command to consider action against hackers who threatened the healthcare sector.”
  • Tech groups call on Congress to boost state funds for cybersecurity during pandemic: According to The Hill, “A coalition of major tech groups [last] Monday demanded that Congress send funds to state and local governments to defend against cyberattacks as part of the next coronavirus stimulus bill. The Internet Association; BSA, the Software Alliance; CompTIA; the Cyber Threat Alliance; the Cybersecurity Coalition; the Global Cyber Alliance; the Alliance for Digital Innovation; and the Information Technology Industry Council sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) demanding that cybersecurity funds be made a priority in future congressional funding packages.”
  • Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost American 5G efforts: According to The Hill, “A bipartisan group of House lawmakers [last] Friday introduced legislation to financially boost American fifth generation, or 5G, wireless technologies following concerns that Chinese telecommunications groups such as Huawei or ZTE pose national security threats. The USA Telecommunications Act would set aside $750 million within a grant program overseen by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to help support the deployment and use of 5G networks in the U.S.”
  • Solarium co-chair pushes defense bill as vehicle for implementation: According to FCW, “The Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission said that members and staff are targeting the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act as the most likely vehicle to pass a chunk of their final report's recommended policies into law. ‘Even in the worst-case scenario as far as coronavirus precluding our ability to convene Congress, we'll still move forward in one way or another,’ said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) during an Apr. 22 webinar hosted by Palo Alto Networks. ‘We think there's probably about 30% of our recommendations that could be put into the NDAA process.’”

Federal Cybersecurity News Roundup

In federal cybersecurity news last week…

  • FCC unanimously approves order on unlicensed use of mid-band spectrum, offering boost for Internet of Things growth: According to Inside Cybersecurity, “The Federal Communications Commission [last Thursday] unanimously approved a proposal long championed by Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to open up mid-band spectrum for unlicensed use, which Chairman Ajit Pai and other members said will enable dramatic growth in the Internet of Things while accounting for security issues raised by critics.”
  • Cyberspace Solarium staff eyes implementation roadmap; next webinar to address government reform: According to Inside Cybersecurity, “The Cyberspace Solarium Commission may produce a roadmap in the coming months for implementing its sweeping recommendations to reshape the nation’s cybersecurity posture, according to executive director Mark Montgomery, while conversations continue on legislative options for moving proposals that span issues like critical infrastructure resilience and dedicated funding for cyber emergency response and recovery.”
  • CISA’s Kolasky says cyber agency to issue ‘supply chain essentials’ guidance on security best practices: According to Inside Cybersecurity, “The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is planning to issue a report on best security control practices in supply chain risk management [this] week, according to a key agency leader participating in the CISA-led ICT supply chain task force.”

National Cyber Security News Update

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

  • Hospitals brace for increase in cyberattacks: According to The Hill, “As hospitals face a surge in patients and critical equipment shortages stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, they are increasingly becoming the target of hackers who see health care facilities as easy prey. Ransomware attacks, in which hackers lock up a network and demand payment to return access to these systems, have presented a growing threat to hospitals since January. Experts are warning that they expect these attacks to increase and that the threat has captured the attention of top intelligence lawmakers, who warn the outbreak and the ransomware attacks create the perfect storm.”
  • Google warns of government-backed cyber groups targeting health care organizations: According to The Hill, “Google reported [last] Wednesday that it had tracked at least a dozen foreign government-backed groups attempting to use information around the COVID-19 pandemic to target cyberattacks at the health care sector and the public. Shane Huntley, a member of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, wrote in a blog post that his team had seen these threat groups ‘using COVID-19 themes as lure for phishing and malware attempts—trying to get their targets to click malicious links and download files.’ Major targets of these attempted attacks are international and national health care organizations and their staffers, with the threat groups in some cases sending emails with fake links to the login page of the World Health Organization (WHO).”

Cybersecurity Reports and Surveys Roundup

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

  • Demand for Cybersecurity Jobs Declines But Still Outperforms Other Sectors: Reported in Dark Reading, “The market for technology and cybersecurity professionals declined by almost 30% from its baseline activity at the same time a year ago, according to jobs site Indeed.com. Because hiring has plummeted in general, however, technology and cybersecurity account for more of the current job-market activity. The two sectors' share of job postings on Indeed.com rose about 11% since the beginning of February, while the share of clicks on those postings — a measure of relative demand — rose at least 23%, according to Indeed.”
  • Crowdstrike finds surging coronavirus-related attacks through phishing, remote services and robocalls: Reported in Inside Cybersecurity, “Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike’s latest report on trends amid the COVID-19 pandemic finds that a ‘rapidly changing’ environment for business operations is driving new threats with the expansion of teleworking.”
  • Ransomware attacks against key sectors fall amidst coronavirus outbreak: Reported in TechRepublic, “In 2019, 966 government agencies, educational establishments, and healthcare providers in the US were hit by ransomware. Initial projections called for the same or worse numbers for 2020. But for the first quarter of the year, only 89 such organizations were affected by ransomware, reducing the number to a level not seen in several years.”
  • Cyberattackers Ramp Up to 1.5M COVID-19 Emails Per Day: Reported in Threatpost, “Cyberattackers have reached a peak of sending 1.5 million malicious emails per day related to the COVID-19 pandemic over the course of the last three months, according to new research. Research from Forcepoint analyzing coronavirus-themed attacks between Jan. 19 to April 18 found cybercriminals adjusting threat levels to evolve with pandemic and typical employment trends.”
  • Coronavirus-related cyberattacks spike in first half of April: Reported in The Hill, “Cyberattacks targeting COVID-19 relief checks shot up in recent weeks, while hackers in general continued using the ongoing pandemic to prey on individuals, research released [last] Monday by software group Check Point found. Check Point reported seeing an average of 14,000 coronavirus-related cyberattacks per day over the past week, six times the average daily attacks seen in the second half of March. This number jumped further to 20,000 attacks per day since April 7.”
  • 46% of SMBs have been targeted by ransomware, 73% have paid the ransom: Reported in Help Net Security, “Ransomware attacks are not at all unusual in the SMB community, as 46% of these businesses have been victims. And 73% of those SMBs that have been the targets of ransomware attacks actually have paid a ransom, Infrascale reveals.”
  • Report: Increased Spending on Compliance Not Helping Security: Reported in Security Boulevard, “Conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Tanium, a provider of endpoint management tools, the survey finds organizations have spent on average $70.3 million each to comply with data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted by the European Union (EU) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Regardless of spending, however, endpoint visibility remains both a major compliance and cybersecurity issue. Nearly half (47%) said they have issues with endpoint visibility, while 37% cited lack of visibility and control across endpoints as the biggest barrier to maintaining regulatory compliance.”
  • 67% of Small Businesses Aim to Increase Cybersecurity in 2020: Reported in CISO Mag, “According to a new report from The Manifest, one-fifth of small businesses (15%) suffered either a hack (7%), virus (5%), or data breach (3%) in 2019. The report revealed that 67% of small businesses reported they will devote more resources to enhance their cybersecurity in 2020.”
  • Cyberhaven Survey: Lack of Awareness, Cloud App Usage, and Remote Workers Create Perfect Storm for Insider Attacks: According to a press release, “According to a new survey from Cyberhaven, 51% of organizations lack sufficient data protection strategies to detect and prevent insider threats. […] The 2020 Insider Threat Report, commissioned by Cyberhaven and conducted by Cybersecurity Insiders, found half of organizations have experienced operational disruption or outages due to insider threats, while 48% have lost critical data. The vast majority of insider attacks target customer data (61%), followed by financial data (54%), and intellectual property (53%).”
  • Webroot’s Report Highlights the Need for Cyber Resilience and Security Education: Reported in CISO Mag, “[Almost] all (89%) Americans say they’re taking appropriate steps to protect against cyber risks, but there is a lack of understanding when it comes to cybersecurity. Almost half (49%) of Americans still use the same password across multiple accounts and only 37% keep their social media accounts private.”

Cybersecurity Acquisitions

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

  • Private Equity Firm Completes Coalfire Cybersecurity Acquisition: Reported in MSSP Alert, “Private equity firm Apax Partners has finalized the Coalfire cybersecurity acquisition, the two firms disclosed [last Thursday]. The seller was The Carlyle Group and Chertoff Capital. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal was first announced in December 2019.”
  • Palo Alto Networks Completes Acquisition of CloudGenix: According to a press release, “Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW), the global cybersecurity leader, [last Tuesday] announced it has completed its acquisition of CloudGenix Inc., an industry-leading cloud-delivered SD-WAN provider. The acquisition will further strengthen Palo Alto Networks comprehensive secure access service edge (SASE) platform.”
  • Atos acquires data science firm Miner & Kasch: According to a press release, “Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, today announced its acquisition of Miner & Kasch, an artificial intelligence (AI) and data science consulting firm headquartered in Elkridge, Maryland that specializes in building intelligent end-to-end, data-driven solutions. With this acquisition, Atos will enhance its big data and AI consulting practice of zData experts to accelerate its Data Science-as-a-Service offering and to deploy edge and next generation data science platforms for industry solutions at a global scale.”