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Ransomware defense guidance risks hang-ups under many steps – Cybersecurity Dive

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Small and mid-sized businesses don’t typically have the resources to meet every safeguard. But every action, however small, helps.
Balancing prescriptive and prospective guidance in the battle against ransomware is difficult for large enterprises and often even more so for their smaller counterparts. 
Two of the report’s authors — Megan Stifel, chief strategy officer at the Institute for Security and Technology, and Valecia Stocchetti, senior cybersecurity engineer at the Center for Internet Security — said every little bit helps. 
“It’s easy for [SMBs] to become overwhelmed when implementing a security framework. Starting small is the key,” Stifel and Stocchetti said via email.
Organizations should, as a baseline, establish and maintain an inventory of all assets and accounts, then grow defenses at a pace that takes available resources and appropriate needs into account, according to the Blueprint for Ransomware Defense published by the Institute for Security and Technology. 
The 40 safeguards, including 14 deemed foundational and 26 described as actionable, were selected for their effectiveness in defending against ransomware attacks. 
The foundational guidance involves procedural steps to identify, protect, respond and recover from ransomware. This includes the establishment of programs for vulnerability management, security awareness, incident reporting, configurations and the granting or revoking of access.
Communicating best practices, even less complicated actions that can bolster cybersecurity remains troublesome across every level of responsibility in governments, enterprises, SMBs and individuals.
Software updates, improved password management and multifactor authentication are relatively straightforward tasks that need to be explained in ways that people and organizations don’t find too complicated, too confusing or too technical, Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said in June at the RSA Conference.
These responsibilities fall on all of us, akin to how individuals participate in their own physical defense by default, such as looking both ways before crossing a busy street, National Cyber Director Chris Inglis said on a panel with Easterly at the conference.
“We’ve made it seem like it’s harder to do than it is,” he said.
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Guidelines call for developers to attest they use secure software practices.
Addressing the causes of burnout requires a top-down approach that better aligns security teams with the rest of the business.
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Guidelines call for developers to attest they use secure software practices.
Addressing the causes of burnout requires a top-down approach that better aligns security teams with the rest of the business.
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Cyber Security

Biden to create cybersecurity standards for nation’s ports as concerns grow over vulnerabilities

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Biden to create cybersecurity standards for nation’s ports as concerns grow over vulnerabilities

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order and created a federal rule aimed at better securing the nation’s ports from potential cyberattacks.

The administration is outlining a set of cybersecurity regulations that port operators must comply with across the country, not unlike standardized safety regulations that seek to prevent injury or damage to people and infrastructure.

“We want to ensure there are similar requirements for cyber, when a cyberattack can cause just as much if not more damage than a storm or another physical threat,” said Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser at the White House.

Nationwide, ports employ roughly 31 million people and contribute $5.4 trillion to the economy, and could be left vulnerable to a ransomware or other brand of cyberattack, Neuberger said. The standardized set of requirements is designed to help protect against that.

The new requirements are part of the federal government’s focus on modernizing how critical infrastructure like power grids, ports and pipelines are protected as they are increasingly managed and controlled online, often remotely. There is no set of nationwide standards that govern how operators should protect against potential attacks online.

The threat continues to grow. Hostile activity in cyberspace — from spying to the planting of malware to infect and disrupt a country’s infrastructure — has become a hallmark of modern geopolitical rivalry.

For example, in 2021, the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline had to temporarily halt operations after it fell victim to a ransomware attack in which hackers hold a victim’s data or device hostage in exchange for money. The company, Colonial Pipeline, paid $4.4 million to a Russia-based hacker group, though Justice Department officials later recovered much of the money.

Ports, too, are vulnerable. In Australia last year, a cyber incident forced one of the country’s largest port operators to suspend operations for three days.

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In the U.S., roughly 80% of the giant cranes used to lift and haul cargo off ships onto U.S. docks come from China, and are controlled remotely, said Admiral John Vann, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard’s cyber command. That leaves them vulnerable to attack, he said.

Late last month, U.S. officials said they had disrupted a state-backed Chinese effort to plant malware that could be used to damage civilian infrastructure. Vann said this type of potential attack was a concern as officials pushed for new standards, but they are also worried about the possibility for criminal activity.

The new standards, which will be subject to a public comment period, will be required for any port operator and there will be enforcement actions for failing to comply with the standards, though the officials did not outline them. They require port operators to notify authorities when they have been victimized by a cyberattack. The actions also give the Coast Guard, which regulates the nation’s ports, the ability to respond to cyberattacks.

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Why Was Sam Altman Fired? Possible Ties to China D2 (Double Dragon) Data from Hackers

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Theories are going around the internet why Sam Altman was fired. On an insider tech forum (Blind) – one person claims to know by third-hand account and how this news will trickle into the media over the next couple of weeks.

It’s said OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models, which includes GPT-4. This data was obtained through a hidden business contract with a D2 shell company called Whitefly, which was based in Singapore. This D2 group has the largest and biggest crawling/indexing/scanning capacity in the world 10x more than Alphabet Inc (Google), hence the deal so Open AI could get their hands on vast quantities of data for training after exhausting their other options.

The Chinese government became aware of this arrangement and raised concerns with the Biden administration. As a result, the NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed that OpenAI had been using data from D2. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, which is a major investor in OpenAI, was informed of the findings and ordered Altman’s removal.

There was also suggestion that Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board. This lack of candor ultimately led to his dismissal and is what the board publicly alluded to when they said “not consistently candid in his communications with the board.”

To summarize what happened with Sam Altman’s firing:

1. Sam Altman was removed from OpenAI due to his ties to a Chinese cyber army group.

2.OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models.

3. The Chinese government raised concerns about this arrangement with the Biden administration.

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4. The NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed OpenAI’s use of D2 data.

5. Satya Nadella ordered Altman’s removal after being informed of the findings.

6. Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board.

 

We’ll see in the next couple of weeks if this story holds up or not.

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Cyber Security

AMAZON says cloud operating normally after outage left publishers unable to operate websites…

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AMAZON says cloud operating normally after outage left publishers unable to operate websites…

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon’s cloud computing unit Amazon Web Services experienced an outage on Tuesday, affecting publishers that suddenly found themselves unable to operate their sites.

The company said on its website that the root cause of the issue was tied to a service called AWS Lambda, which lets customers run code for different types of applications.

Roughly two hours after customers began experiencing errors, the company posted on its AWS status page that many of the affected AWS services were “fully recovered” and it was continuing to recover the rest. Soon after 6:30 pm E.T., the company announced all AWS services were operating normally.

Amazon said it had experienced multiple error rates for AWS services in the Northern Virginia region where it clusters data centers. The company said customers may be dealing with authentication or sign-in errors when using some AWS services, and experiencing challenges when attempting to connect with AWS Support. The issue with Lambda also indirectly affected other AWS services.

Patrick Neighorn, a company spokesperson, declined to provide additional details about the outage.

AWS is the market leader in the cloud arena, and its customers include some of the world’s biggest businesses and organizations, such as Netflix, Coca-Cola and government agencies.

Tuesday’s outage was first confirmed shortly after 3 p.m. ET. and it was unclear how widespread the problem extended. But many companies, including news organizations such as The Verge and Penn Live, said they were experiencing issues. The Associated Press was also hampered by the outage, unable to operate their sites amid breaking news that former President Donald Trump was appearing in court in Miami.

Morgan Durrant, a spokesperson for Delta Air Lines, said the company experienced “some slowing of inbound calls for some minutes” on Tuesday afternoon. But he said the outage did not impact bookings, flights or other airport operations.

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The episode on Tuesday is reminiscent of a much longer AWS outage in December 2021, which affected a host of U.S. companies for more than five hours.

The outage comes as Amazon is holding a two-day security conference in Anaheim, California to tout its cloud offerings to its clients or other companies that might be interested in storing their data on its vast network of servers around the world. Companies have been cutting back their spending on the unit, causing growth to slow during the most recent quarter.

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