ICD Brief 27.

ICD Brief 27.

23.01.2017. – 29.01.2017.


This week’s edition features updates from the US, Australia, Baltics, China, EU, France, India, Israel, Japan, NATO, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, UK, Insurance and a book review under Feature. A selection of our 34 articles offers a quick read followed by the full edition.



Trump’s Twitter Profile Sparks New Concerns On Hacking Risk
“President Donald Trump’s tweets can move markets and create international rifts. Are they too easily in danger of getting hacked? Worries that his continued use of his personal Android smartphone had been simmering for weeks, as his popular @realdonaldtrump personal handle appeared to continue to send out blasts from that phone. Then on Thursday, the latest revelation: some keen Twitter users observed he had linked the official @potus (President of the United States) Twitter account to what appeared to be the personal Gmail account of White House social media director Dan Scavino.”

Draft White House Cyber Order Signals Pending Re-Org
“A draft of a new executive order on cybersecurity hints at new organizational changes and legal authorities aimed at strengthening civilian agency networks’ cybersecurity capabilities. The draft order, published by the Washington Post on Jan. 26, tells federal agencies to begin a review of the most pressing cybersecurity issues. It also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to report on “enhanced protections” for the most critical federal government, public and private infrastructure within 60 days.”

Reform Agenda For the Department Of Homeland Security
“Newly confirmed Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will have a full plate. He needs to be postured in these first days to respond to all conceivable man-made or natural events in the homeland, prevent threats from entering the homeland, and continue to harden critical infrastructure against physical and network threats. Reforming the Department seems like a second-tier priority, but it is not. Success depends on maximizing the Department’s capabilities. Investment in internal reform will posture the Secretary—and the nation—for long-term success. Previous Secretaries, especially Michael Chertoff and Jeh Johnson, deserve great credit for making DHS a stronger whole. They increased cross-component collaboration, invested in strategic planning, and advanced seemingly mundane management concepts like establishing joint requirements and program review processes.”

US – China Cyber Agreement: Flawed, But A Step In The Right Direction
“Treaties and official agreements between nations designed to solve a particular problem are notoriously tricky to create and then police, but measuring their success is normally pretty simple. Either they work well, or not at all. What has come to be called the U.S.-China Cyber Agreement, however, has not fallen neatly into either category. The general consensus in government and private circles is that the number of cyberattacks emanating from China appears to have declined, though in fact those attacks are still taking place.”

Cyber Expert Named as DHS Chief of Staff

The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that Kirstjen Nielsen will serve as the agency’s new chief of staff. Nielsen previously served for six years as a senior fellow and member of the Resilience Task Force at the George Washington University’s (GWU) Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. Director Frank Cilluffo  said Nielsen brings real homeland security expertise and insight to the position.”

SEC Said to Probe Yahoo Data Breaches

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating whether Yahoo should have notified investors sooner about the two massive data breaches that occurred at the company. Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had begun an investigation into a 2013 data breach that involved more than 1 billion users’ accounts. That followed Yahoo’s disclosure that a 2014 intrusion involved about 500 million accounts.”

DHS Inspector General Probing Georgia Website Scans
“Following congressional requests for action, the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security has opened an investigation into a series of incidents last year when Georgia state officials have alleged their computer network was scanned by DHS officials. The independent watchdog “is investigating a series of ten alleged scanning events of the Georgia Secretary of State’s network that may have originated from DHS-affiliated IP addresses,” Inspector General John Roth says in a letter to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, dated Jan 17.”


PM Warns to Watch the Warmware, as Another Cyber Security Team Stands Up
“The Australian Prime Minister has warned that human operators or “warmware” represent the biggest cyber risk, as his government opens a new cross-agency cyber security body to focus on critical infrastructure and prepares to throw a few million dollars at cyber-defence outside Australia’s borders. The new Critical Infrastructure Centre is required to deal with “complex and evolving national security risks” within the web of public and private organisations that deliver essential services like water and electricity, according to a joint statement from Attorney-General George Brandis and Treasurer Scott Morrison:”

Deloitte expects 10 million cyber attacks a year
Professional services firm Deloitte has warned that Australia faces the threat of over 10 million cyber attacks in total a year. In a set of predictions for the coming year, Deloitte warned that cyber attacks, particularly Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, will become harder to mitigate and more frequent over the next 12 months.”


Cyberconscripts: Baltic Draftees Can Choose IT Over Infantry
“The tiny Baltic nation of Estonia is experimenting with the idea of cyberconscription, a move that gives draftees with tech skills the chance to work shoring up their military’s electronic infrastructure, an Estonian defense official said Tuesday. The experiment involves between 10 and 20 draftees, Undersecretary of Defense Erki Kodar told The Associated Press at a cybersecurity conference in Lille, in northern France. The pilot program began last summer and will be evaluated after the conscription cycle ends in June.”

Nasdaq Says Estonia E-Voting Pilot Successful
“Blockchain technology can safely be used to authenticate e-voting by shareholders at a company’s annual general meeting, Nasdaq said this week, following a pilot project in Estonia. The stock market technology provider — which has a subsidiary that runs a securities market and ownership registry in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn — said in a report it hadsuccessfully built and operated four web-based user interfaces that allowed shareholders in Estonia to log in using their verified national online ID and vote at the AGM of Tallinn-listed tech company LVH Group.”


Chinese Government Engaged in ‘Holistic’ Cyber Effort to Infiltrate US Industries
“The Chinese government is engaged in a systematic cyber-economic campaign across industries in the United States, according to expert testimony before a congressional commission. Jeffrey Johnson, president and CEO of SquirrelWerkz, a company that analyzes these Chinese-affiliated campaigns, described them as a “holistic” attempt by the Chinese government to infiltrate information technology, finance, media, and the entertainment industry.”


EU Put Banks’ Cyber Security To The Test
“The EU is considering a plan to test banks defences against cyber-attacks. This initiative is similar to a plan already initiated by the Bank of England. The Bank of England has been focused on this issue since 2013, with as many as thirty out of thirty-five major firms having to undergo a stress test known as CBEST. In November last year, authorities also outlined plans to make firms focus on their own security, by encouraging them to conduct regular security checks themselves. In addition to this, the Bank of England will also carry out spot checks.”

EU Cybersecurity Agency Advises Financial Institutions How to Deal With Blockchain
“The European Network and Information Security Agency, hereinafter ENISA, an independent government agency which serves the European Commission and EU states, released a paper on Blockchain to assist banks and financial institutions in developing and implementing Blockchain technology. Essentially, the goal of the ENISA is to establish a base roadmap or a strategy for companies to follow in the process of implementing Blockchain technology with partner firms.”

EU Report Says Cyber Attacks Key Security Challenges
“The European Commission outlined upcoming initiatives to fight cyber crime and cyber attacks — what it called key challenges — in a report on Wednesday.  The report is the fourth in a series of monthly reports on progress made towards an effective and sustainable Security Union, according to a Commission statement.  The report outlines initiatives aimed at further strengthening the EU’s defense in this area, including the Network and Information Security (NIS) directive adopted last July that supports cooperation and exchange of information among EU member states in specific cyber security incidents.”

Cyber Attackers May Try to Affect Europe’s Elections, EU Warns

“Cyber-terrorists could be planning to undermine elections in France and Germany, the European Union warned, as tensions grow at the start of what could prove a pivotal year for the bloc. With nationalist Marine Le Pen in the running to become French president and Chancellor Angela Merkel fighting off anti-establishment forces as she seeks re-election in Germany, the EU said it is vital that governments shore up defenses against online threats from states and rogue cyber-gangs.”


French Central Bank Chief Urges Insurance Firms to Up Cybersecurity
“Francois Villeroy de Galhau, governor of France’s central bank, is calling insurance companies in the country to significantly step up their cyber risk coverage for clients. As cyberattacks and data privacy laws in Europe have resulted in a higher demand for cybersecurity protections, Reuters reported, Villeroy noted that insurance companies must close the gap. “With the help of reinsurers, insurers should be able to meet demands of cyber risk coverage, a concern that affects all businesses,” he said during a conference in Paris.”


Now, RBI to Ethically Hack Into Banks to Find Vulnerabilities

“Banking regulator’s Reserve bank of India’s move to use ethical hacking experts to check cyber security vulnerabilities of banks has exposed chinks in the armour of four state-owned banks, sources involved with the operation said. Reserve Bank of India decided to ethically break into the IT systems of banks. In the first phase the focus will be on PSU banks because they have more vulnerable systems than private banks.”


Israel At Risk Amid Shortage of Cybersecurity Experts
“This coming Monday the largest cyber security conference in Israel and one of the largest of its kind in the world will open in Tel Aviv. The Cybertech 2017 Conference is a celebration for hundreds of Israeli cyber security firms with an impressive presence of senior industry executives from abroad. This year, as usual, the conference will be opened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who loves to talk about the subject and regards as a national priority. The Israeli cyber security industry is a source of pride and a major part of the global industry. In 2016 sales of Israeli cyber security comprised about 10% of all the entire global market. Israeli companies including Check Point Software Technologies, CyberArk and Palo Alto Networks, are among the world leaders in the field. In addition, there have been impressive exits in the field for the country’s startups, including the $293 million sale of CloudLock to Cisco last year. According to the IVC Research Center, the industry in Israel employs about 17,000 people and is showing strong, steady growth. But there is a serious issue which must be solved.”

Trends in Israel’s Cybersecurity Investments

“While global investment in cybersecurity startups may have shown signs of slowing in 2016, Israel – second only to the U.S. market – remained strong and showed impressive numbers yet again, as we witnessed a surge in funding and continued innovation. CB Insights estimated that the 2016 global deal activity and dollar funding in cybersecurity had slowed from the peak times of 2015 amid investor worries that the space has been overfunded, but we are pleased to report a different set of results coming out of Israel, especially in startup funding.”


‘Ethical Hackers’ Prep For Final Round of Annual Cybersecurity Contest
“With cyberattacks proliferating worldwide, a Japanese contest for “white hat” hackers supported by organizations including the communications ministry and National Police Agency is gearing up for the final round this weekend. The Security Contest, dubbed Seccon, provides an opportunity for those aspiring to become white hat, or “ethical hackers,” to test their skills and link up with businesses seeking computer experts who can help prevent black hat hackers from infiltrating their systems and stealing or destroying data.”


Nordic NATO Members Alert to Risk of Russian Cyberattacks
“Russia has the willingness and capacity to launch serial cyberattacks against Denmark and any neighboring Nordic or Baltic state that it regards as too close to NATO or an imminent threat, according to security intelligence aggregated by Danish defense intelligence services. NATO’s ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) is proving to be one immediate area of contention between Russia and Nordic NATO member states Denmark and Norway. Moscow has described the BMDS as a weapons system solely intended to target Russia, a claim refuted by NATO.”


Dutch Government Helps Political Parties Boost Cybersecurity
“The Dutch government is working with political parties on security measures to prevent cyberattacks and other interference in the run up to general elections in March. The plans are outlined in a letter from Dutch Minister of Interior Affairs Ronald Plasterk and Minister of Security Ard van der Steur sent to the Dutch parliament Monday. The government is analyzing vulnerabilities in organization connected to the elections, the digital security of politicians and the threat of fake news, the letter reads. The interior minister’s cabinet is “is aware of the risk” of election hacking and the government has to be “very alert.””

Dutch Military Intelligence Service Looking for New Cyber Specialists
“The challenge of keeping the Netherlands digitally safe is increasingly growing, according to Onno Eichelsheim, director of Dutch military intelligence service MIVD. The MIVD is therefore urgently looking for the next generation of cyber specialists to keep hackers out, he said to newspaper Trouw on Tuesday. According to Eichelsheim, the specialists he is looking for is hard to come by, as they first need more training. “In order to understand new threats, I for example need people who can build algorithms to filter large amounts of internet data”, he said to the newspaper.”


There’s Something Very Weird Happening Inside Russia’s Cybersecurity World

“A series of surprising arrests of some of Russia’s top cybersecurity figures has left the international cybersecurity officials and analysts wondering whether Russia is cleaning house of suspected spies, or going through an internal shakeup of the FSB, Russia’s national security service. At some point in December, Ruslan Stoyanov, a well-respected researcher with the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, and Sergei Mikhailov, head of the FSB’s Center of information Security, were arrested by Russian police as part of what Russia’s Kommersant newspaper described as a probe into possible treason. No date of arrest has been made public, though Kommersant reported that Stoyanov last logged into his private social media account on December 4, and Mikhailov on December 5. The Moscow-based Novaya Gazeta newspaper cited sources as saying Mikhailov was arrested during a meeting with other FSB officers in Moscow, and was taken from the room with a sack over his head.”

South Korea

New Type of Cyber Attacks to Rise in South Korea: Report

“New types of cyberattacks linked to Internet of Things (IoT) devices against government agencies and socialinfrastructure-related facilities are likely to increase this year. A series of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks — that occur when multiple systems flood the resources of a targeted system — on infrastructure systems through IoT-enabled devices may occur next year, Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting Internet and Security Agency (KISA) in South Korea.”


UK To Get High-Grade Cryptographic Solutions

“Becrypt and  Cyber1st have announced plans to deliver high-grade cryptographic solutions for the UK market. The two companies will collaborate on commercial and technical integration to improve solution delivery and support. This will bring together their R&D capabilities to speed up the development of new cryptographic solutions.”

UK Spy Agency Hires Indian Startup for Cybersecurity Programme

“The next time a hacker tries to break into a British bank, chances are that technology from a small Indian startup will detect the hack. Earlier this month, Britain’s top communications spy agency GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), which had cracked Nazi Germany’s legendary Enigma codes during the Second World War, chose Pune-based cyber security startup Spherical Defence for their accelerator programme. “

UK CEOs Rate Cyber Risks as Second Most Significant Threat
“As world leaders gathered in Davos last week, cyber risks again featured high on the agenda. PwC’s CEO Survey reveals that three-quarters (76 per cent) of UK CEOs consider cyber risks to be a significant business threat. This is second only to the availability of key skills, and ahead of changing consumer behaviour, the speed of technological change and new market entrants.”

Lloyds Cyber-Attack Details Emerge
“Lloyds Bank was the target of a cyber-attack nearly two weeks ago which stopped a substantial number of customers using their online accounts. The breakdown in service from the group, including Halifax and Bank of Scotland, came after the websites were overwhelmed with millions of requests in a denial of service attack. It is particularly worrying for banks that the disruption lasted three days. Lloyds revealed little at the time, despite a flood of Twitter complaints.”


Cyber Security: Insurance Is Critical In a Digitised World
“Technology plays a very critical role in the world of business and for long has been leveraged as an asset, making businesses increasingly dependent on it. Today, with the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in India, transactions over the internet are playing a key role in how most organisations conduct business and reach out to their customers. But, despite all the benefits IT has to offer, it also exposes businesses to risks which can be detrimental to their interests.”

AON Announces Alternative Cyber Risk Transfer Approach
“Aon Global Risk Consulting announced on Tuesday its Cyber Captive Program, which guides companies through a series of steps to help identify, assess and quantify their cyber exposures – “ultimately making more informed decisions around risk retention in a captive as well as providing broad form risk transfer capacity of potentially up to US$400 million.””


Take Back Control of Your Cybersecurity Now

Game Changing Concepts on AI and Cyber Governance Solutions for Executives Now

The title is an immediate indicator of the value of this new book by Paul Ferrillo and co-author Christophe Veltso published by Advisen Ltd.  and offered as a free download at the site.  It’s an outstanding read for clarity, context and relevance today.

Christophe:  Why and for whom they had written this book. Who is the target audience?
“When the opportunity presented itself for me to work with Paul Ferrillo, a NYC-based data breach lawyer, I had to say yes. Paul and I spent a big portion of 2016 working on the book, and just when we thought we were nearly finished, something newsworthy would happen that would need to be added…”
“Our reason for writing the book was simple: board directors and top executives need to govern and manage cyber risks, yet often find themselves surrounded by techno-babble that means little to them, and specifically, how the cyber threats can impact their business.”
“So Paul and I set out to write a small-ish book, to cover the main threats, the main technological advances (such as cloud, AI and cognitive computing), and also stress the importance for board directors and top leadership to critically evaluate the assertions from the CIO or CISO about the state of security.”
“I see one of the main issues going into 2017 as a failure to properly communicate about cyber risks. Yet this is changing, improving, albeit slowly.”



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