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Cybersecurity: Trends & Threats

Posted by Eugene and Ben on June 27, 2017 at 3:57 PM

On this week’s PRIMA podcast Eugene Kipniss and Ben Spear will discuss 2017 cybersecurity trends and threats that public risk professionals should be aware of to protect their entities. Eugene is a program specialist for the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and Ben Spear is a senior intelligence analyst at MS-ISAC.

What to Expect in 2017

According to a Twitter poll conducted by MS-ISAC, the internet security of common household electronics (i.e. smart TV's, routers, etc.) appeared to be of the utmost concern. Many of these devices are equipped with little to no security features and the default passwords are rarely changed by their users. As a result, these devices can easily be compromised and used to attack other devices within the home. A malicious user can also exploit the weaknesses of commonly used devices in a business (i.e. printers, teleconference hardware) to infiltrate secure areas for an attack, at times making it appear as if the organization is a willing participant.

Some simple measures to stave off a cyberattack include:

  • Changing default passwords
  • Segmenting systems away from the internet if they are not being used for business purposes
  • Being aware of open source data dumps which have been used to attack other accounts within the entity.
  • Possessing more than one password for multiple accounts
  • Ensuring that anti-virus software is updated with the most recent versions

Top 3 Threats Impacting Local, State, Tribal and Territorial Governments (and Simple Precautions)

  1. Financially motivated malware disseminated by cyber criminals (Only visit safe, trusted websites and purchase on secure sites with encryption).
  2. DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) Attacks - DDoS is a type of attack where multiple compromised systems, which are often infected with a Trojan virus, are used to target a single system causing a denial-of-service attack (At a minimum, risk managers should work with their internet provider to advise a response plan in the event of a denial-of-service attack).
  3. Concern of Supply Chain – Outdated or compromised software and third-party software installed within the entity can exacerbate vulnerabilities in network operations (Utilize software from reputable sources and, if contracting with a third-party, ensure there is a security clause indicating that the vendor is meeting your entity’s security standards).

Other Threats for Entities to Consider

  • Business Email Scam – The financial or HR department receives an email from someone claiming to be the CEO. The sender is urgently seeking a money transfer or sensitive employee data.
  • Purchase Order Scam – A third-party vendor provides a falsified unpaid invoice
  • W2 Phishing – An attacker seeks employee tax information for malicious use.
  • Login Credential Phishing – An email is sent from an attacker to the victim requiring a login attempt. The victim clicks a link in the email that sends them to a fraudulent website. While there, the victim is to enter their user name and password which is then used by the attacker to gain access to their information.