CISO View – The Week’s Best News – 2020.12.18

A Review of the Best News of the Week on Cybersecurity Management & Strategy

Nuclear weapons agency breached amid massive cyber onslaught (Politico, Dec 17 2020)
Hackers accessed systems at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

SolarWinds Hack Could Affect 18K Customers (Krebs on Security, Dec 15 2020)
“The still-unfolding breach at network management software firm SolarWinds may have resulted in malicious code being pushed to nearly 18,000 customers, the company said in a legal filing on Monday. Meanwhile, Microsoft should soon have some idea which and how many SolarWinds customers were affected, as it recently took possession of a key domain name used by the intruders to control infected systems.”

Another Massive Russian Hack of US Government Networks (Schneier on Security, Dec 15 2020)
“The press is reporting a massive hack of US government networks by sophisticated Russian hackers.

Officials said a hunt was on to determine if other parts of the government had been affected by what looked to be one of the most sophisticated, and perhaps among the largest, attacks on federal systems in the past five years. Several said national security-related agencies were also targeted, though it was not clear whether the systems contained highly classified material.”

Filter Out the Noise
Since I started this curated newsletter in June 2017, I’ve clipped ~17,000 articles and narrowed them down into the best 20 per day & best 15 per week. This is my favorite way to cut through all the security marketing and hype. If you’re enjoying it, tell a friend. If you hate it, tell an enemy.
Thanks! – Lucas Samaras

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Former Cisco Engineer Gets Two Years for $2.4M WebEx Attack (Infosecurity Magazine, Dec 14 2020)
San Jose man temporarily deleted 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts

Oracle Says it Will Move HQ From Silicon Valley to Texas (SecurityWeek, Dec 12 2020)
Tech giant Oracle Corp. said Friday it will move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas, and let many employees choose their office locations and decide whether to work from home.

Should There Be Limits on Persuasive Technologies? (Schneier on Security, Dec 14 2020)
“Persuasion is as old as our species. Both democracy and the market economy depend on it. Politicians persuade citizens to vote for them, or to support different policy positions. Businesses persuade consumers to buy their products or services. We all persuade our friends to accept our choice of restaurant, movie, and so on. It’s essential to society; we couldn’t get large groups of people to work together without it. But as with many things, technology is fundamentally changing the nature of…”

Microsoft Set to Block SolarWinds Orion Binaries (Infosecurity Magazine, Dec 16 2020)
Malicious updates were responsible for recent Russian attacks

FireEye Identifies Killswitch for SolarWinds Malware as Victims Scramble to Respond (Dark Reading, Dec 16 2020)
White House National Security Council establishes unified group to coordinate response across federal agencies to the threat.

FBI, CISA, ODNI Describe Response to SolarWinds Attack (SecurityWeek, Dec 17 2020)
The FBI, the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) have issued a joint statement outlining each of their roles in investigating and responding to the recently disclosed SolarWinds breach, which they described as a “significant and ongoing cybersecurity…

More Hacking Attacks Found as Officials Warn of ‘Grave Risk’ to U.S. Government (The New York Times, Dec 17 2020)
The warning, from the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity arm, indicated that hackers had found another line of attack to enter systems used by the government and Fortune 500 companies.

US-CERT Reports 17,447 Vulnerabilities Recorded in 2020 (Dark Reading, Dec 16 2020)
This marks the fourth year in a row that a record number of vulnerabilities has been discovered, following 17,306 in 2019.

Cost savings and security are key drivers of MSP adoption (Help Net Security, Dec 16 2020)
68% of SMB and mid-market business executives believe working with a managed service provider (MSP) helps them stay ahead of their competition, according to Infrascale. MSP adoption The research also suggests that the top reason that businesses opt to work with MSPs, chosen by 51% of respondents, is to save costs. The second most common reason survey respondents said they use an MSP is for increased security (46%).

What’s at stake in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (Help Net Security, Dec 14 2020)
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Van Buren vs. United States, the landmark case over the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Nathan Van Buren, the petitioner in the case, is a former police officer in Georgia who used his lawful access to a police license plate database to look someone up in exchange for money.

Four ways CISOs should talk to the board (SC Media, Dec 14 2020)
When thinking about the modern security operations center (SOC), it’s clear that security touches every part of the business in today’s enterprises. This means the SOC analyst team—which many perceive as a dark war room separated from everyone else—must become more integrated with teams from across the company…

The Private Sector Needs a Cybersecurity Transformation (Dark Reading, Dec 15 2020)
Cybersecurity must get to the point where it’s equated with actually stopping an attack by identifying the methods the bad guys use and taking those methods away.

2021 Security Budgets: Top Priorities, New Realities (Dark Reading, Dec 14 2020)
An unprecedented 2020 has shaken up security leaders’ usual list of must-have technologies. What’s on the horizon? They share with us their spending plans for 2021.

42% of security leaders said the pandemic has changed their cybersecurity priorities (Help Net Security, Dec 14 2020)
Fudo Security published the results of it survey, enlisting the unique perspectives of a diverse, select group of CISOs, senior cybersecurity executives and industry decision-makers from around the globe including the US, Europe, Asia and MENA. More than 42% said the pandemic has changed their cybersecurity priorities.

Vendors Respond to Method for Disabling Their Antivirus Products via Safe Mode (SecurityWeek, Dec 15 2020)
Microsoft and several major cybersecurity companies have responded to a researcher’s disclosure of a method for remotely disabling their antivirus products by leveraging the Windows safe mode.

Security automation: Time for a new playbook (Help Net Security, Dec 16 2020)
“From increasingly sophisticated threats to the mad concoction of on-premise and cloud solutions that comprise most organizations’ IT infrastructure and the plethora of new IoT devices and a highly distributed workforce, enterprises and government agencies face a wide range of challenges that make cyber threat detection and response more difficult than ever before.”

CISOs should be ready to confront the psychology of cybersecurity in 2021 (SC Media, Dec 16 2020)
Soft skills are not always the strong suit for security professionals, said Steve Durbin of the Information Security Forum. But “we’ve moved into a realm that those kind of things are really important.”

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