Concerns Rise Over Security of the Power Grid, Shipping Industry & A New Cyberattack on Government Agencies [Weekly Cybersecurity Brief]

In this week’s cybersecurity brief, we take a look at the unfolding details around another potential cyberattack carried out by Chinese actors, the Biden administration’s newest cybersecurity effort focusing on the nation’s power grid and how the shipping industry reflects the concern over growing ransomware threats. 

NBC News reported that China is likely the culprit of a hacking campaign that was recently discovered. According to cybersecurity firm Mandiant, the attack targeted the U.S. government, private companies and infrastructure through a compromisation of Pulse Secure, a program used for remote work. The targets were confirmed by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency which took emergency measures requiring civilian government agencies to review their systems for signs of impact. While there isn’t any evidence that suggests this is widespread like other recent cases that the cybersecurity sector has had to respond to, it does come with the worry that China was able to gain access to federal agency systems.

As agencies are confronted with this issue, solidifying why cybersecurity has been a major area of concentration for the Biden administration, the administration has also turned its focus to the nations’ power grid. According to CNN, an effort was announced by the administration and Energy Department aiming to ensure the security of the networks supplying electricity. The plan provides instructions for utility operators to detect and prevent attacks from occurring as well as a request for private sector industry experts to share their suggestions for helping to defend from such incidents.

Infrastructure and the power grid are not the only industries facing cybersecurity concerns, however. A ZDNet article covers the growing ransomware threat plaguing the shipping and logistics industry. As the article states, such attacks have tripled over the past year as cybercriminals look to make money off of the reliance on the global supply chain. Cybersecurity company BlueVoyant explained that shipping and logistics are facing a critical need to improve IT hygiene and email security, especially since a harmful attack could truly lead to an unfortunate situation as dependence on the industry has experienced peak heights during the pandemic. A step toward defending from ransomware threats will be working toward “securing port and network configuration.”

 

Key Takeaways:

 

“China behind another hack as U.S. cybersecurity issues mount” – Kevin Collier, NBC News

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/china-another-hack-us-cybersecurity-issues-mount-rcna744

  • China is reportedly behind a newly discovered hacking targeting the U.S. government, private companies and infrastructure.
  • The attack was carried out through a compromisation of Pulse Secure, a program that allows remote work.
  • The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued emergency measures requiring civilian government agencies to review their systems for signs of impact.

 

“Biden administration unveils effort to strengthen cybersecurity of power grid” – Brian Fung, CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/20/politics/biden-electricity-grid-cybersecurity/index.html

  • The Biden administration and Energy Department announced an initiative to protect the nation’s power grid.
  • The plan provides instructions for utility operators to detect and prevent attacks from occurring.
  • The plan also calls for input from the private sector on how to better protect the networks supporting electricity supply.

 

“Ransomware’s perfect target: Why one industry needs to improve cybersecurity, before it’s too late” – Danny Palmer, ZDNet

https://www.zdnet.com/article/ransomwares-perfect-target-why-one-industry-needs-to-improve-cybersecurity-before-its-too-late/

  • Concern is growing over ransomware attacks against the shipping and logistics industry.
  • Ransomware incidents have tripled over the past year fueled by the increasing reliance on the global supply chain.
  •  Cybersecurity company BlueVoyant explained that shipping and logistics are facing a critical need to improve IT hygiene and email security as well as securing port and network configuration.
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