Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, IT Security, Security, Technology

State of the Union: Ready for bipartisan cyber action

This should be the year that significant bipartisan progress is made on cybersecurity legislation, with new laws set to pass on issues ranging from data breach notification to sharing sensitive cyber intelligence between the public and private sectors. In fact, since President Obama and Republican congressional leaders can’t agree on much else, cybersecurity action is moving to center stage.

Obama Tablet

When President Obama delivers his seventh State of the Union address tomorrow night, cybersecurity plans will be one of many topics – but cyber action is at the top of a short bipartisan “to do” list.

While many other proposals that will be championed by the President, such as free community college tuition and higher taxes on the wealthy, have grabbed recent news headlines in the run up to the annual State of the Union address, most agenda items are thought to be dead-on-arrival because of Republican congressional opposition.

However, after years of disagreements and dashed expectations regarding cybersecurity legislation, Republicans and Democrats are finally promising to work together on cyber measures to provide additional online protections for Americans.

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Agencies fall short of White House targets for cybersecurity

The White House continues to see an upward trend in new cybersecurity practices governmentwide, but the Obama administration is finding that not all agencies are living up to the cyber standards it set forth in last year’s cross-agency priority goals.

Published with the 2015 budget, the cross-agency priority (CAP) goals focus on longstanding and critical issues affecting agencies across the federal government. Cybersecurity — one of the first mentioned of the White House’s 15 CAP goals — is a mission-based goal to “[i]mprove awareness of security practices, vulnerabilities, and threats to the operating environment, by limiting access to only authorized users and implementing technologies and processes that reduce the risk from malicious activity,” according to a goal statement. It says the president views cybersecurity as “one of the most serious national security, public safety, and economic challenges we face as a nation.”

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North Korea is doubling its skilled cyber security staffers

NORTH KOREA IS REPORTEDLYdoubling the number of its highly skilled cyber soldiers while still denying claims that it ever maliciously hacked anyone.

In case you missed it, North Korea has been accused of hacking like a dry cough. The country has had more fingers pointed at it than a button, and has got rather comfortable with denyingaccusations that it has done things like tear apart Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Now it is accused of doubling its cyber warfare posse, called Bureau 121, which the last time anyone checked was made up of some 3,000 skilled staffers.

Today, according to reports, including this one on Reuters, that number is 6,000 if South Korea is to be believed.

A white paper from the South Korean Defence Ministry said that the enlarged unit will be used to bring mischief on the South, and possibly other countries and their utilities.

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As 2014 came to a close, we got a front row seat to the horror show that was the Sony hack.

As if we needed a case study to show us, we saw, with vivid clarity, what can happen when hackers run amok inside servers and start sharing confidential business content with the world — and we learned it gets ugly in a hurry.

We’re less than a week into the new year and already we’ve seen a major Bitcoin attack. You know that it’s only a matter of time before we hear about the next catastrophic system assault. It’s a bit like cybersecurity roulette. We keep spinning the wheel to find out who the next victim is.

The question is, why are we still so vulnerable, and why is the industry not banding together to solve this once and for all? Security matters to everyone from governments to finance to private sector companies of all sorts. Nobody wants to be the next JP Morgan, Home Depot or Sony. Yet everybody seems equally vulnerable. That’s why we must work together and put the best minds to bear on the problem to figure this out. The trouble is these are dreadfully difficult problems or we would have solved them by now.

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The Sony Hack Wrecked A LOT Of Equipment

The November hack of Sony “resulted in the destruction of about three-quarters of the computers and servers at the studio’s main operations,” David Sanger and Michael Schmidt reported this weekend in the New York Times.

American officials had previously concluded that North Korea was “centrally involved,” and intelligence officials told the Times that the US intelligence community “concluded that the cyberattack was both state-sponsored and far more destructive than any seen before on American soil.”
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North Korea Has A Dedicated Military Team To Keep The Interview Out Of The Country

North Korea has set up a dedicated military team given the task of keeping The Interview away from the eyes of its citizens.

Pyongyang has been widely blamed for a crippling cyber attack on Sony Pictures in an effort to halt the release of the film, a slapstick comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogan that portrays the killing of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

Under pressure, Sony reversed an earlier decision to cancel the film and its notoriety immediately raked in $15 million in the first four days after it was made available online. More than 330 cinemas across the US also showed the film, earning Sony an additional $2.8 million in the same time frame.
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Sony CEO Speaks Publicly For First Time Since Devastating Hack

Sony chief Kazuo Hirai spoke for the first time publicly about the cyberattack that derailed launch of the controversial comedy “The Interview,” calling the assault “vicious and malicious.”

Hirai thanked supporters who stood by the company in the face of the devastating cyberassault, including employees and moviegoers who saw the film when it finally hit theaters.

“Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association — those are important lifelines of Sony and our entertainment business,” Hirai said at a press event Monday.
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