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IT Security News Blast - 5-15-2020

Senate Approves Surveillance Bill With Sharper Privacy Safeguards
The Senate voted on Thursday to reinstate a set of expired F.B.I. tools used to investigate terrorism and espionage that lapsed this spring, adopting modest new privacy protections for Americans swept up in national security cases. The lopsided vote, 80 to 16, mostly brings to an end a rare, months-long debate in Congress over the nation’s surveillance laws that has been shaped by Republican indignation over disclosures of mistakes by the F.B.I. in applications to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, during the early stages of the Russia investigation.

AI2 and Microsoft join the White House’s push to enlist AI for the war on coronavirus
The COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, or CORD-19, was created in response to a request from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. It takes advantage of AI tools to organize more than 24,000 articles about the COVID-19 disease and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes it. “It’s all hands on deck as we face the COVID-19 pandemic,” Eric Horvitz, chief scientific officer at Microsoft, said in a news release. “We need to come together as companies, governments and scientists, and work to bring our best technologies to bear across biomedicine, epidemiology, AI and other sciences.”

As Businesses Rush to the Cloud, Security Teams Struggle to Keep Up
When asked about consuming business-critical applications as a service, respondents cite, on average, a 9% increase over the next two years. The shift to software-as-a-service (SaaS) for these applications shows more people are growing comfortable with the security of cloud providers. Enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, human capital management, and IT services management are among the applications undergoing the transition to cloud, researchers say.

Security incident knocks UK supercomputer service offline for days
Britain’s main supercomputing service for academic research has been unavailable since Monday following a security incident that forced administrators to reset user passwords. The Archer computing service, which scientists use to model climate change, coronavirus, and other societal challenges, likely won’t be available until at least next week as U.K. government cyber officials continue to help the system recover. Archer —  a set of powerful hardware and simulation software housed at the University of Edinburgh — recently made available to its users a tool for simulating the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak.

What You Need to Know: CISSP Comparable to U.K. Master's Degree Standard
(ISC)2 recently announced the CISSP certification has been formally recognized as comparable to the U.K.’s Master’s degree standard, following the completion of an independent benchmarking process. We’ve compiled information here to help members – especially those in the U.K. and across Europe – understand this achievement. While the value and importance of a globally-understood cybersecurity certification is well known within the (ISC)2 community, reinforcing the meaning of the certification in relation to other forms of education, and professional distinction and accomplishments is equally important.

Security Analysts Use Packet Capture to Investigate Malware
Critical Insight Security Analysts perform threat investigations every day. The investigations are in-depth and high-quality. They are carried out by real people who have the right tools and data, including full packet capture. Here is a story from one of the Critical Insight Security Analysts explaining what happened recently. It highlights why real MDR investigations need real people who can see and understand the metadata from packet capture (PCAP).

HSCC Shares Guide to Protecting Healthcare Trade Secrets, Research
HSCC’s Joint Cybersecurity Working Group is a private-public partnership of healthcare companies and providers, which includes more than 260 medical device and health IT companies, direct patient care entities, and a host of others. The task force was appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. The insights were developed to implement a major recommendation of the group’s 2107 report, which outlined the need for identifying “mechanisms to protect R&D efforts and intellectual property from attacks or exposure.”

7 state data exchanges that launched new projects to combat COVID-19
States have been ramping up data sharing efforts to help healthcare providers and public health officials get ahold of the most up-to-date COVID-19 data to treat patients and track the spread of the disease. Here are seven state health information exchanges that have launched new systems or expanded access since the start of the pandemic.

54% of Americans Want to Work Remote Regularly After Coronavirus Pandemic Ends, New Poll Shows
A new coronavirus outbreak required companies to shift to remote work and now that people have had the experience of working from home, the majority of them wouldn't mind if they didn't have to go back to the office. An IBM survey released on Friday found that 54 percent of the 25,000 adults polled would like to be able to primarily work from home and 75 percent would like the option to do it occasionally. Once businesses can reopen, 40 percent of people responded that they feel strongly their employer should offer opt-in remote work options.

Companies Hit Pause on Digital Transformation Despite Spending More on Cloud
Corporate spending on cloud computing surged in the first quarter, as companies scrambled for computer capacity to support remote-work and other business-continuity tools, industry analysts say. The gains come even as many companies pull back from longer-term cloud projects in response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by market research firm Canalys. It estimates that companies world-wide spent $31 billion on cloud services between January and March, up 34% from the same period last year.

Ransomware Reminder: Paying Ransoms Doesn't Pay
Security experts and law enforcement officials have long argued that paying ransoms doesn't pay. For starters, it directly funds the cybercrime ecosystem and makes it attractive for criminals to keep launching ransomware attacks. Anytime the average ransom payment goes up, it also attracts new players... Ransomware victims that that did not pay a ransom reported, on average, $730,000 in recovery costs. But organizations that did pay a ransom reported an average total cost - including the ransom amount - of $1.4 million.

DHL shipping scam takes a low-pressure approach
A scam based on a fake DHL delivery notification has been making the rounds with the malicious actors using a new, mellow approach to conning people out of their information. Delivery notifications scams themselves are not new, but Sophos’ team came across a version using a well-constructed, yet still flawed, DHL message that uses a bit of reverse psychology. Instead of filling the email with lots of exclamation points and dire messages it calmly informs them a package is on the way and it can be tracked by clicking the included link.

Navigating the Uneasy Alliance Between Tech Giants and Healthcare Organizations
But not surprisingly, lawmakers and patients are concerned about how increased data sharing will impact security...In addition to security concerns, privacy experts are worried that tech companies will improperly use patient data for commercial purposes. For example, the reveal of Google’s Project Nightingale, a data storage partnership with Ascension health, caused a public outcry because of the potential for privacy violations. As large tech companies sink their teeth into PHI, healthcare organizations must adapt their security protocols to ensure they remain compliant and patient data remains secure.

DevOps needs to morph into DevSecOps to close security threats in the cloud
Everyone is having trouble keeping cloud deployments secure, according to a new report from Oracle and KPMG. The "Threat Report 2020: Addressing Security Configurations Amidst a State of Constant Change" found that 92% of IT professionals do not think their organization is well prepared to secure public cloud services. Two of the biggest security risks are admin accounts with too many privileges and poor management of cloud secrets, like keys, account credentials, and passwords.

The Evolution of COVID-19 Related Cyber Threats
The cyber threats related to COVID-19 have changed and expanded since March and April. Malicious actors remain, looking to take advantage of system vulnerabilities among the populous who are working under different security environments than prior to the pandemic. But now the very people and entities that are leading the charge towards finding a vaccine and/or therapeutic that may resolve this crisis are the very ones being targeted by cyber actors and non-traditional collectors linked to an adversary, the PRC.

Pitney Bowes hit with second ransomware attack
For the second time in a seven-month span, Pitney Bowes has been hit by a ransomware attack, but cyber experts and financial analysts cautioned against rashly judging the company’s security practices – or assuming fiscal doom – with some suggesting that lessons learned from the first attack may have limited the damage of the most recent one. In an online company statement, Pitney Bowes said attackers breached company systems and accessed “a limited set of corporate file shares” that “contained information used by our business teams and functional groups to conduct business-related activities.” Presumably the attackers — news reports state the actor is the Maze ransomware group — will threaten to post the contents of these files if Pitney Bowes does not pay up.

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