Tag: United States

1
US Internet of Things bill advanced to vote on House floor
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Bypassing the Castle Walls: Tactical Exploitation of America’s Vulnerable Grid
3
US, Russia and China don’t pledge to fight cybercrime
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Report savages US Government agencies’ cybersecurity efforts
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North Korean cyberattacks increase ahead of summit
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US Department of Homeland Security unveils five point strategy to combat cyber risk
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Another Facebook app leaves anonymised data of 3 million users potentially exposed
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US Court signals that proving data breach class actions will be difficult
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Facebook to release “clear history” tool
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Cambridge Analytica closes its doors

US Internet of Things bill advanced to vote on House floor

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Gill

Just a few months ago, we blogged on the ‘Internet of Things’ (or IoT) legislation making an appearance in the US Senate. But now the legislation may be becoming a reality. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform advanced the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019 to a vote on the House floor.

The bipartisan legislation aims to reduce the risk to critical government information technology infrastructure from cyberattacks, and directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop recommendations for use and management of internet-connected devices by March 31 2020.

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Bypassing the Castle Walls: Tactical Exploitation of America’s Vulnerable Grid

By Cameron Abbott, Max Evans and Wendy Mansell

A recent Wall Street Journal Report has detailed how America’s utility grid was hacked. The Department of Homeland Security has named Russia as responsible for the overwhelmingly complex and threatening campaign.

The scheme targeted energy companies affiliated with the government and was carried out in a sophisticated manner by initially focusing on small firms within the utility supply chain.

Early techniques involved planting malware on the websites of online publications likely to be read by employees of companies within the energy sector. The hackers would lace the online publications with malicious content allowing them to steal usernames, passwords and infiltrate company systems.

A number of small firms fell victim to these tactics giving the hackers broad access to company networks. Fake emails were subsequently sent out on behalf of the affected firms containing forged and malicious Dropbox links which captured usernames, passwords and other credentials. Further they used fake personas to send emails and pretended to be job seekers, by sending resumes containing tainted attachments to energy companies.

The hackers continued this technique of sending malware emails on behalf of firms until they reached the top of the supply chain. It was reported that on at least 8 occasions the hackers infiltrated companies who had access to the industrial control systems that run the grid.

An alarming aspect was the number of affected companies that remained oblivious of the penetration. The report is a useful description of the variety of methods used to tempt employees to expose their credentials. All too easy to do. These same techniques are regularly used by more pedestrian hackers. Two factor authentication and regular password resets remain measures to limit these threats but so many organisations do not use them.

We repeatedly counsel that employees are the last line of defence for your organisation. Circulating the Report may make an interesting read to remind them of the variety of ways they can be seduced to click an incorrect link.

US, Russia and China don’t pledge to fight cybercrime

By Cameron Abbott and Wendy Mansell

Fifty countries including Japan, Canada and many EU nations have come together with over 150 tech companies, pledging to fight against cybercrime. United State’s tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft have also joined the party.

The United States, Russia and China however have decided not to sign on. Each has no doubt very different reasons for this – the disappointment is mostly directed to the US. However it is a shame that Russia and China did not also feel the weight of the international community pressure to accept these principles.

The effort to combat cybercrime is being led by France, with French President Emmanuel Macron claiming that it is urgent that the internet is better regulated.

The countries and companies involved are fighting against illegal online activity like censorship, cyber interference in elections, hate speech and trade secrets theft.

The pledge has been made in a document titled the “Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace”.

Report savages US Government agencies’ cybersecurity efforts

By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan

You would think government agencies would have a keen focus on cybersecurity risks, but apparently not! A report by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has found that nearly three-quarters of Federal agencies reviewed have either “at risk” or “high risk” cybersecurity arrangements. 71 of 96 agencies assessed were either missing, had insufficiently deployed or had significant gaps in their fundamental cybersecurity policies, processes or tools.

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North Korean cyberattacks increase ahead of summit

By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan

North Korean cyberattack activity appears to have ramped up ahead of the highly anticipated US-North Korea summit, which is expected to take place on 12 June 2018.

North Korean hackers known as Group 123 have been identified as the party responsible for new malware activity targeting users in South Korea.

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US Department of Homeland Security unveils five point strategy to combat cyber risk

By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan

This week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its Cybersecurity Strategy. The five “pillar” strategy will be executed by the DHS over the next five years, and aims to improve national cybersecurity risk management.

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Another Facebook app leaves anonymised data of 3 million users potentially exposed

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

Recent news reports have revealed that Facebook has been hit with another data scandal.

The anonymised data of approximately 3 million Facebook users has reportedly been published on a poorly protected website. This data was originally collected via a Facebook quiz app called “myPersonality”. The myPersonality app was developed as part of the “myPersonality project” run by academics at the University of Cambridge’s The Psychometrics Centre.

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US Court signals that proving data breach class actions will be difficult

By Andrew C. Glass, David D. Christensen, Cameron Abbott and Matthew N. Lowe

In the US, several attempts at class actions for those affected by a data breach have failed challenges in early procedural stages.  In Dieffenbach v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., 887 F.3d 826 (7th Cir. Apr. 11, 2018), the Seventh Circuit allowed a data breach class action to survive the pleadings stage.  At the same time, the Court indicated that the plaintiffs may have a tough time proving their claims on the merits or establishing that class certification is warranted.  At the end of the day, the Dieffenbach decision may prove to be less of a boon and more of a bust for plaintiffs in data breach class actions.  Although it may provide a means to get into court, the decision makes clear that obtaining a favorable outcome may be a “difficult task.”  For a full summary of the Dieffenbach decision please see our client alert here.

Facebook to release “clear history” tool

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

Facebook collects data on every “like” button you click on a website and the websites you visit that use Facebook pixel code.

At the F8 Conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook will release a new tool that will enable Facebook users to see and delete identifying information that Facebook has collected about them from other websites and apps. This new “clear history” tool will also allow users to turn off having this information stored with their Facebook account.

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Cambridge Analytica closes its doors

By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan

Cambridge Analytica, the data company embroiled in the Facebook privacy scandal, is closing down. The firm’s parent company, SCL Elections, announced that it and some of its affiliates including Cambridge Analytica had commenced insolvency proceedings in the UK, and would immediately cease all operations.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica said it had been “vilified” and the subject of “numerous unfounded accusations” about its activities, which it says are legal and widely accepted in online advertising. It blamed negative media coverage of allegations the company improperly used the data of 87 million Facebook users (which you can read about here, here and here) for a mass exodus of clients.

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