• U.S. assisting Ukraine investigate 23 December cyberattack on power grid

    The United States is helping Ukraine investigate last month’s cyberattack last month which disrupted the country’s power grid and left some 80,000 customers without power. Experts say that the 23 December attack against western Ukraine’s Prykarpattyaoblenergo utility was the first known power outage caused by a cyberattack.

  • Kaplan launches cybersecurity education company

    Education provider Kaplan announced Wednesday that it has created a 12-person spin-off, split from a separate sister company called Cybervista, to offer Web-based cybersecurity courses. The creation of this new cybersecurity unit is an indication that the private sector is aware of, and trying to benefit from, the shortage of qualified security employees.

  • Tool improves government computer network security

    Government agencies, along with state and local governments, could receive a helping hand from a computer network security tool developed by computer scientists and engineers at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The LLNL software-based technology, known as the Network Mapping System (NeMS), does not allow a rogue computer which has gained access to a computer network to use a company’s virus protection systemd. The goal is to uncover any unauthorized devices to ensure a company is not at risk.

  • Jihadi cyberattacks; ISIS’s sex slaves; Iran’s missile test

    Hackers affiliated with the Jihadist group have been developing the capabilities to attack U.S. government and civilian targets, and such targets in other countries; Theologians working with ISIS have issued detailed and specific ruling on women slaves – explaining when “owners” of these women can have sex with them and who else among ISIS members may be entitled for sex services from enslaved women; On 26 December, the Iranian navy fired several rockets near three Western warships in the Gulf of Hormuz.

  • Making mobile health more secure

    With Internet-connected medical technology and digitized health records on the rise, cybersecurity is a growing concern for patients and hospitals alike. For example, a patient’s insulin pump may accept dosage instructions from unauthorized smartphones that have been infected with malicious software, or a patient’s fertility-tracking app could expose itself to nearby strangers by probing for a Bluetooth device to connect with. One research team is taking a holistic approach to strengthening the medical system’s security — from the computer networks that support hospitals, to the cloud, to the smart phone in your pocket.

  • A sixth-grader helps people with secure passwords

    It is cheaper than a couple of subway rides, more powerful than almost any hacker (except maybe the NSA). And, if you think about it, not so hard to remember. For $4, and 11-year old sixth-grader will fix you up with a secure password — actually a pass phrase of six words. She uses a well-known technique called Diceware that uses rolls of dice to select words at random from an encoded list.

  • Images, codes offer alternative to multiple device password systems

    A system using images and a one-time numerical code could provide a secure and easy to use alternative to multi-factor methods dependent on hardware or software and one-time passwords. The developers of the system believe their new multi-level authentication system GOTPass could be effective in protecting personal online information from hackers. It could also be easier for users to remember, and be less expensive for providers to implement since it would not require the deployment of potentially costly hardware systems.

  • Iranian hackers attacked New York dam

    In 2013, Iranian government hackers infiltrated the control system of Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye, New York, located twenty-five miles from New York City. Using a cellular modem, the hackers could have released larger volumes of upstream water without warning. As dams go, the Rye dam is small at about 20ft tall. There was some confusion initially, as DHS and DOE thought a similarly named dam in Oregon — the Arthur R. Bowman Dam – was the one hacked. The Oregon dam, at 245 feet, is much bigger, and hacking its control systems could have had much more serious consequences.

  • WiFi signals can be used to detect attackers

    Wireless devices are increasingly used for critical roles, such as security systems or industrial plant automation. Although wireless transmissions can be encrypted to protect transmitted data, it is hard to determine whether a device has been tampered with. Computer scientists have discovered that physical attacks on devices connected to the Internet can be detected by analyzing WiFi signals.

  • Safer cyberspace through experimental cybersecurity research

    How do cybersecurity experts discover how properly to defend a system or build a network which is secure? As in other domains of science, this process involves hypothesis, experimentation, and analysis — or at least it should. In reality, cybersecurity research can happen in an ad hoc fashion, often in crisis mode in the wake of an attack. A group of researchers has imagined a different approach, one in which experts can test their theories and peers can review their work in realistic but contained environments — not unlike the laboratories found in other fields of science. The researchers issued a report calling for a new generation of experimental cybersecurity research.

  • The mind of a cyberterrorist, a neglected aspect of cybersecurity

    A new study is delving into an aspect of cybersecurity rarely explored before now: the human component. The reason why this topic is lesser known, a leading expert says, is that security professionals become very focused on the technological side of responding to attacks and lack the social psychology background to analyze and understand the human being on the other side of that attack.

  • Protecting the U.S. electrical grid from cyberattack

    Across the United States, 3,200 separate organizations own and operate electrical infrastructure. The widely dispersed nature of the nation’s electrical grid and associated control systems has a number of advantages, but since the late 1990s, cost pressures have driven the integration of conventional information technologies into these independent industrial control systems, resulting in a grid which is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattack, either through direct connection to the Internet or via direct interfaces to utility IT systems. DARPA is soliciting proposal for creating automated systems to restore power within seven days or less after a cyberattack on the grid.

  • Following indictments, China’s military reduces its commercial cybeespionage against American companies

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reduced its cyberespionage activity targeting American companies since five PLA officers were indicted by the Department of Justice in May 2014. “The indictments had an amazing effect in China, more than we could have hoped for,” said one expert. In April, Obama signed an executive order calling for impose economic sanctions on individuals and entities that take part in or benefit from illicit cyber-activities such as commercial espionage. “If the indictments had the effect of getting the PLA to scale down, then sanctions likely will have a wider effect on other Chinese state-sponsored groups,” says another expert.

  • Low-cost malware detection

    The battle between malware authors and security researchers has changed dramatically in the last few years. The purpose behind malware was often for the sake of a prank, to expose vulnerabilities, or for the sake of spite. Today, malware is more about stealing sensitive data and exploiting information for fraud, identity theft, and other criminal intent. An add-on for antivirus software that can scan across a computer network and trap malicious activity missed by the system firewall is being developed by an international team.

  • Untraceable communication -- guaranteed

    By Larry Hardesty

    Anonymity networks, which sit on top of the public Internet, are designed to conceal people’s Web-browsing habits from prying eyes. The most popular of these, Tor, has been around for more than a decade and is used by millions of people every day. Recent research, however, has shown that adversaries can infer a great deal about the sources of supposedly anonymous communications by monitoring data traffic though just a few well-chosen nodes in an anonymity network. Researchers have developed a new, untraceable text-messaging system designed to thwart even the most powerful of adversaries.