NSI Security NewsWatch Banner

A weekly roundup of news, trends and insights designed exclusively for security professionals. This publication is intended for security staff only.


In this issue — January 1, 2017

  • When Cybersecurity Meets Physical Security
  • Agencies Narrowly Miss Cyber Deadlines
  • What Cyber Can Learn from Counterterrorism
  • Mattis Cautions Against ‘Stumbling’ into Cyber-War
  • China, Russia Agree on ‘Countermeasures’ Against U.S. Antimissile System
  • Trump Taps Giuliani as Cybersecurity Advisor
  • Hacking Group Releases Files, Says It’s Ceasing Operations
  • Former Top Navy Supply Officer Gets 30 Months in Fraud Scandal
  • FBI: Russia Hacked Republican State Campaigns

Terrorists are winning the digital arms race, experts say (CSO Online, 1/17/17)

Terrorist groups are embracing a huge number of digital tools to recruit members and plan attacks, putting them a step ahead of governments trying to combat them, a group of counterterrorism experts said.

Twitter removed about 250,000 accounts connected with ISIS in one year, but the terrorist group uses 90 other social media platforms, Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol said Tuesday. Terrorist groups have begun to live stream their attacks, and they are using the internet to launch "innovative crowdfunding" campaigns, he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. "The technology is advanced," Wainwright added. "They know what to do, and they know how to use it." More

When Cybersecurity Meets Physical Security (Forbes, 1/13/17)

In a recent interview, the Director of the Secret Service noted that his organization is increasingly focusing on the cybersecurity of the physical facilities visited by the President of the United States as part of its duty to protect him.  This raises the fascinating question of just how much cybersecurity will become part of the physical security conversation in 2017.

The landscape of cyber-warfare is rapidly changing, with a growing emphasis on the targeting and disruption of physical civilian critical infrastructure like the power grid.  The nation of Ukraine has already experienced firsthand the results of cyber-induced blackouts, proving these approaches have left the realm of speculation and are now entering the wild.  It is only a matter of time before we see such applications, as the Secret Service director’s comments reflect. More

Agencies Narrowly Miss Cyber Deadlines (NextGov, 1/13/17)

Days before President¬-elect Donald Trump takes office, parts of the federal government are scrambling to get their cyber practices in order.  While the Homeland Security Department has met its goals for deploying its own cyber protection system to all civilian cabinet¬-level agencies, some agencies have missed a White House deadline in transitioning their websites to the encrypted HTTPS protocol.

As his term winds down, Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson released a statement describing DHS' progress in installing its threat detection program, Einstein 3 Accelerated.  That tool is now in 45 federal departments and agencies, protecting about 93% of the executive branch's civilian workforce. More

What Cyber Can Learn from Counterterrorism (FCW, 1/13/17)

U.S. policy on responding to malicious cyberattacks needs to draw on lessons of the counterterrorism fight since 9/11, says the outgoing assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.  Speaking at the Aspen Institute in Washington, Lisa Monaco said the U.S. has developed a whole set of tools and policy frameworks to counter the terrorism threat and those policies have become increasingly clear to adversaries.

"President Obama has been very clear about the importance of…having a legal and policy framework that is laid down and that is one that enables a repeatable process that we can discuss with our allies, with our partners, that we can use to great effect against terrorism threats," she said. More

Mattis Cautions Against ‘Stumbling’ into Cyber-War (NextGov, 1/12/17)

Retired Gen. James Mattis called for a comprehensive cyber doctrine to respond to cyberattacks when testifying during his Defense Secretary confirmation hearing last week.  Any such doctrine would be a multi-¬agency effort that could include the Defense, State, Treasury, and Homeland Security departments, and he hoped it could be accomplished within 18 months, Mattis told the Senate panel.

The cyber domain, new or not, still requires urgent responses, he said.  “It is also important that our adversaries know what we will not tolerate, and by making it clear, you are less apt to have somebody stumble into a situation where new we are forced to take action,” Mattis said, answering a question about what constitutes an act of cyber-war. More


Help Your Employees Be More Security Conscious in 2017

Protecting classified information depends, today more than ever, on the security awareness of employees.   They can literally make or break your security program.  And the stakes have been raised even higher with the DSS Security Rating Matrix, which puts heightened emphasis on employee education and awareness.  In fact, one of the top three deficiencies cited by IS Reps around the country is a “weak security education program.”

So, how can you achieve a “Superior” inspection rating and avoid having to answer for negligent employee behavior?  The secret lies in just three little words: EMPLOYEE SECURITY CONNECTION – the proven security awareness solution exclusively for cleared defense contractors and government agencies.  It’s the best way to ensure your employees are prepared for your next security audit.  To learn more about how this valuable resource can help motivate your employees to practice good security habits…help you achieve “superior” inspection results…and satisfy a major NISPOM awareness requirement… please click on the following link: http://nsi.org/es-connection.html


China, Russia Agree on ‘Countermeasures’ Against U.S. Antimissile System (Reuters, 1/12/17)

China and Russia have agreed to take further unspecified "countermeasures" in response to a U.S. plan to deploy an antimissile system in South Korea, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.  The countermeasures "will be aimed at safeguarding interests of China and Russia and the strategic balance in the region", Xinhua said, citing a statement released after a China-Russia security meeting.

China and Russia held a joint anti-missile drill last May after Washington and Seoul began discussions over installing the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to counter any North Korean threats. More

Trump Taps Giuliani as Cybersecurity Advisor (Info Security, 1/12/17)

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to share “his expertise and insight as a trusted friend" on cybersecurity.  Giuliani will be tasked with leading a team of experts, because of his "long and very successful government career in law enforcement, and his now 16 years of work providing security solutions in the private sector," according to Trump’s transition office.

During a phone call with the media, Giuliani said there's an "awful lot of research going on both here, in Israel, in Germany on cyber-defense."  He said tapping that brain trust will be his main focus.  Giuliani, who is chairman of the global-security practice at the Greenberg Traurig law firm and has his own security-consulting company, said he will focus on bringing "things the private sector (is) doing" regarding cyber-defenses to the President-elect's attention. More

Hacking Group Releases Files, Says It’s Ceasing Operations (WSJ, 1/12/17)

A hacking group that claims to have obtained cyber-weapons from the NSA recently said it is ceasing operations but also released a fresh batch of files linked to online attacks. The moves by the group, which calls itself the Shadow Brokers, are the latest chapter in a bizarre story that has played out largely in the background of a battle between the U.S. and Russia over claims that state-sponsored Russian hackers attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The Shadow Brokers released code last August, including previously unknown tools that could be used to attack popular routers.  Security experts said the software tools, while several years old, appeared to be the kind that the NSA would use.  Many security experts have said the Shadow Brokers’ attack appeared to be an effort by Russian state-sponsored hackers aimed at deterring the U.S. from escalating cyber conflict. More

Former Top Navy Supply Officer Gets 30 Months in Fraud Scandal (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/12/17)

A Navy officer once named the top supply officer in the service has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for accepting a steady stream of gifts and bribes from corrupt contractor Leonard Glenn Francis.  Lt. Cmdr. Gentry Debord pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit bribery.  Over a period of five years, federal prosecutors said he received gifts and benefits from Francis, owner of the ship-servicing business Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

In return, Debord gave Francis and his Singapore-¬based company proprietary information about Navy operations and urged naval officials to procure as many items as they could from Francis’ company.  In exchange for bribes, Debord and others provided classified information on ship schedules and information on internal Navy investigations. More

FBI: Russia Hacked Republican State Campaigns (Reuters, 1/10/17)

Russia hacked into Republican state political campaigns and old email domains of the Republican National Committee, but there is no evidence it successfully penetrated President-elect Donald Trump's campaign, FBI Director James Comey said last week.  Comey also told lawmakers Russia did not release information obtained from the state campaigns or the old RNC email domains.

U.S. intelligence agencies have released an assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a covert effort to help Trump's electoral chances by discrediting Clinton.  The report, which omitted classified details, was the government's starkest public description of what it says was a Russian effort to manipulate the American electoral process. More

Keep Getting This Newsletter

To ensure delivery to your inbox (not bulk or junk folders), please add NSI@nsi.org to your address book.

TO SUBSCRIBE: If you were sent this by a colleague and wish to subscribe to NSI's complementary Security NewsWatch e-newsletter, visit http://nsi.org/newsletter.html.

TO UNSUBSCRIBE: This news service comes to you from the news team at the National Security Institute. If you do not wish to receive it in the future, please reply to this e-mail with the subject line “Un-subscribe.”

Please feel free to share this e-mail with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up to get their own copy at http://nsi.org/newsletter.html

ADVERTISERS: For information about sponsoring this e-letter, contact sburns@nsi.org or call 508-533-9099.

NSI LogoNational Security Institute
165 Main Street, Suite 215
Medway, MA 02053
Tel: 508-533-9099
Fax: 508-507-3631
Internet: http://nsi.org




Who's Worse:
Employees or Hackers?

Experts agree, well intentioned but careless employees pose just as much of a danger to your organization as faceless hackers on the outside. In fact, 95 percent of successful hack attacks or incidents are attributed to human error.

Learn how to mitigate the accidental insider threat and empower your employees to think securely with these valuable lessons:

  1. How to recognize and respond to social engineering attacks
  2. How to avoid spear-phishing and email scams
  3. How avoid becoming an easy target for hackers
  4. How to prevent human errors that cause security breaches
  5. How to protect sensitive data from hackers, spies and ID thieves

Learn More Button

Dice Man Graphic