Iran Cyberspace picture

There has been recent focus on alleged Iran cyber activity the past few weeks, spurned on by the publication of a vendor report on Iranian operations.  Per the vendor’s findings, not only was Iran likely behind the activity that was targeting government and private sector in the Middle East, it was implementing National Security Agency exploits that were stolen and dumped into the public domain by the Shadow Brokers group in April 2017.  As recently as late August 2018, Iran is suspected of trying to launch influence operations ahead of the midterm elections.  The conclusion is that Iran is increasingly using asymmetric attacks, particularly via cyberspace, as part of its tool box to conduct retaliatory attacks.

The new reporting comes at a time when Russia’s cyber malfeasance has largely dominated the press, due to its influence operations efforts and election shenanigans, not just in the United States but in other countries as well.  Prior to the Russia focus, North Korea was the focal point with its suspected cyber activities targeting cryptocurrency, and the SWIFT banking transactions before that.  Iran was propelled onto the scene with Operation Ababil

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US Space Force logo

Space Force picture, an independent military branch by 2020.  The move is designed to counter the weapons that China and Russia have already developed that threaten U.S. satellites.  The U.S. Vice President quickly assured that the force did not and would not be created from the ground up, but would leverage the personnel and material resources already existing in the service elements.  The goal is to streamline efforts and maximize efficiency, a noble endeavor given the difficulties that invariable arise when mission responsibilities traverse and overlap so many different organizations.

 

The protection of U.S. civilian and military space assets are considered a national security concern.  In December 2017, U.S. Department of Defense officials expressed concern that the United States’ anti-satellite capabilities were not up to par as some of its adversaries.  In contrast, adversary adoption of anti-satellite weapons been documented in the news.  In April 2018, a report detailing global counterspace capabilities (that include direct ascent weapons, co-orbital, directed energy, electronic warfare, and cyber warfare) underscores how adversarial nations are actively pursuing the development of such weapons and the threat that they pose to U.S. space interests.  The report reveals that such investment by these states started in the mid-2000s.

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Department of Homeland Security Logo

In late July 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the creation of the National Risk Management Center, a new organization dedicated to threat evaluation particularly as they pertain to potential hacking against the U.S. critical infrastructure.  According to news reports, the center will initially commence with narrowing its focus on the energy, finance, and telecommunications sectors.  This new initiative is designed to improve risk assessment across the critical infrastructures and serve as the primary “one-stop shop” to help private companies manage their cyber security risks.

 

Coinciding with this announcement is the Congress-lead “DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act of 2018” that seeks to create permanent incident response and threat hunting teams in the DHS.  Such a bill further empowers DHS to help improve cyber security via trained professionals to mitigate and remediate cyber incidents against Federal entities and critical infrastructure entities.  The bill passed the House of Representatives on March 19, 2018 and goes to the Senate for its consideration.

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Baseball player getting to bat

According to 2017 reporting, Major League Baseball believed that the Boston Red Sox, at the time in first place in the American League East, used the Apple Watch to illicitly steal hand signals from opposing teams.  Allegedly, the Apple Watch was used to not only “steal” hand signals from opposing catchers in games using video recording equipment, but transmit the information likely to team trainers.  The theft of such information would help determine the type of pitch that was going to be thrown.  The recording of signals is strictly forbidden by league rules.

When it comes to targeting billion-dollar sports franchises, many would assume that cyber crime would be the foremost cyber actors behind the scenes.  Based on a 2015 report that estimated the professional sports market in North America to have an expected worth of $73.5 billion by 2019, it’s easy to see why.  Indeed, there have been several incidents where cyber crime operations have focused on professional sports teams.  In April 2016, the National Basketball Association Milwaukee Bucks players had their financial documents (player addresses, Social Security Numbers, and compensation) accidentally leaked due to a team employee falling victim to an e-mail scam.  The employee released players’ 2015 IRS W-2 documents to an emailer impersonating the team’s president. Also in 2016, a crippling TeslaCrypt ransomware attack impacted a NASCAR racing team.  An estimated $2 million worth of information was potentially lost prompting payment of the ransom to the criminals.

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??? Women in cybersecurity 2018

In 2018 the number of cyber threats is rising every day, but there are still many gaps that needs to be filled in the world of cybersecurity. There is definitely a talent shortage as many people still think that there is no place for women in information security. Currently, women represent only 11 percent of the cybersecurity force worldwide.

As we already hear and read news related to cyber warfare and espionage on a daily basis, maybe it’s the right time for women in cybersecurity to step in and help to solve more related cyber problems. Although some people may say that the lack of interest is the main reason why there isn’t many women in InfoSec there is a huge potential for this to change in the future. We from CyberDB have created a list with some of the top women in cybersecurity so you can learn more about them and their accomplishments. Feel free to check it out!

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IoT Infogram

Internet of Things (IoT) security is the latest product category to emerge in cybersecurity. Even though this is a relatively new segment of the security market, it has already diversified and includes multiple vendors.

What is IoT?

IoT is the latest group of Internet-enabled devices to be added to the technology world. At first there were mainframes, then desktops and laptops, and finally mobile devices came along. All of these products are well-defined and require no further explanation.

IoT, however, is comprised of every Internet-connected device that is not mentioned above, including smart home appliances, water meters, security cameras, smart-city devices and many more. These devices are basically miniature computers running on Linux devices, with some computing power and the ability to communicate via web protocol (i.e. they have an IP address).

Smaller, less sophisticated connected devices are also part of the IoT landscape. These often function as sensors, are equipped only with short range communication capabilities and are deployed in a mesh configuration, meaning that they communicate with the Internet using an IoT gateway, which is an industrial modem with some compute power.

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Cyber threat

Thus far, there has been no confirmed retaliatory cyber strikes conducted by a victimized government against a suspected aggressor state.  There has been some speculation that after the Sony Pictures attack, the United States “knocked” North Korea off the Internet for a brief period of time, although this has never been corroborated.  Despite being a cyber power, the United States has demonstrated restraint in punishing against those transgressor states it believes to have been orchestrators of cyber attacks against its interests, preferring to level sanctions as a punitive alternative.

The question that governments ask is how to deter hostile acts in cyberspace?  And while an important question to raise, perhaps the reality is that there is no viable answer.  There is a reason why international efforts continually fail when trying to gain consensus on cyber norms, Internet governance, and the legalities and criteria of hacking back – there is lack of a fundamental desire to actually find a solution.  Governments willing to agree to the standards and principles of any of these issues are stating their willingness to abide by them, and while that may fit the current situation, the dynamism of cyberspace has proven unpredictable.  Being cuffed to such an agreement that no longer has relevance while other governments operate without constraints is not an ideal situation.  Therefore, without an agreement in place, the status quo remains.

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Lock and network cable with computer keyboard background

Nowadays the cyber security is essential for individuals, companies, economies, governments and nations as a whole. The reality is that all of them are trying to stay on track against the latest cyberattacks, but there are some countries committing most to cybersecurity.

One of the best ways to determine where most of the cyber attack really come from in real time is by using the map created by Norse.

NORSE Heatmap

(Source:Norse.com)

Another great alternative if you want to find out which are the countries best prepared against cyberattacks is to use the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) created by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).  As described by them it is “…a survey that measures the commitment of Member States to cybersecurity in order to raise awareness.” The GCI covers the five pillars of the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA): legal, technical, organizational, capacity building and cooperation.

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Vietnam Cybersecurity

In June 2018, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed a new cyber security law that has generated much concern for its stringent restrictions on popular social media organizations.  Per the law that will go into effect January 1, 2019, tech companies would be compelled to store data about Vietnamese users on servers in-country, a move designed to improve the security of Vietnamese nationals.  Vietnam has been historically weak when in it comes to cyber security, and has been ranked among the bottom regionally.  According to a 2017 report by the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union Global Cyber Security Index (GCI), Vietnam ranked 101 out of 165 countries in terms of being vulnerable to cyber attacks.  The GCI is a survey that measures the commitment of member states to cybersecurity to classify and project development process at the regional and global levels.

There are several critics of the new cyber security law.  Such a move – as has been expressed with regards to China’s new cyber laws – can potentially impact economic development and deter foreign investment.  Perhaps more alarming, dissenters and even some Vietnamese lawmakers signed petitions and conducted peaceful demonstrations to denounce the new law.  At the crux of this protest is the potential for the government to use this law in order to stifle human rights and privacy concerns such as online freedoms of speech and expression.  According to the law, Vietnam’s authorities will have the discretion to determine when expression might be identified as “illegal” and restricted.  It bans Internet users in Vietnam from organizing to conduct activities for “anti-state purposes” or to be allowed to distort the nation’s history.  Unsurprisingly, Amnesty International has underscored how the law could empower the government to monitor everything people say online.

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Best Cybersecurity Books 2018

There are tons of books on our favorite topic, but it’s always impossible to squeeze them all into one cybersecurity book list. On top of that not all of them are good enough to feature them on CyberDB. We have created a list with the must-reads cybersecurity books 2018. Some of them are in print for years, but it’s never too late to read them now. If you think that we have missed something, feel free to contact us and share your recommendations! Without further delay and in no particular order here is our list:

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