Govt mulls stricter cyber security accountability for agencies – Strategy – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Attorney-General’s Department has flagged that stricter cyber security accountability mechanisms could be on the way for federal government agencies following a string of worrying cyber resilience audits.
But the government remains tight-lipped on whether cyber security controls would be enforced, like it is reportedly considering for the private sector as part of the country’s next cyber security strategy.
This is despite years of subpar compliance with the Australian Signals Directorate’s mandatory Top Four cyber mitigation strategies across government, as repeatedly revealed by the Australian Tempemail Audit Office.
The Top Four form part of the government’s protective security policy (PSPF) framework, which requires that agencies self-assess against 16 core requirements each year using a to ‘maturity model’ and report the results to the AGD.
The maturity model was introduced in October 2018 following a review that found the former ‘compliance model’ contributed to a ’tick-the-box’ compliance culture.
But early results from that reporting indicates that compliance remains relatively unchanged, with 73 percent of agencies reporting either ‘ad hoc’ (13 percent) or ‘developing’ (60 percent) levels of maturity in 2018-19 protective security policy framework (PSPF) reporting.
Speaking at a parliamentary inquiry into cyber resilience on Thursday, AGD’s integrity and international group deputy secretary Sarah Chidgey on Thursday said the department was now looking at further improving the framework to drive compliance.
“We have already flagged as part of the government’s security committee … that we want to work on arrangements that would add to that self-assessment moderation option to check agencies’ rating and support them as part of that assessment process,” she said.
“So that is something we have in our work program at the moment. We’re conscious that we’ve just had the first year of maturity reporting, and are now looking at how we can improve that building on the results we got from this year.”
When asked by Liberal MP and committee chair Lucy Wicks whether these discussions had considered benchmarking agencies against other similar agencies to compare cyber resilience, Chidgey said “yes”.
“I think that is what we’re looking at, particularly in that adding to the framework we’ve got more of an external moderation or benchmarking process,” she said.
“What we’ve got with the maturity model already improves our comparative ability to a degree across agencies, but we are considering how we further enhance that by also an external mechanism.
“Whether we do it by agencies cross-assessing each other or central arrangements for going in and assessing or moderating agencies’ assessment results is something we’re working through and have some initial conversations with colleagues, for example, in New Zealand.”
The comments come as the government talks up introducing tighter regulation of cyber security protections for the private sector, particularly banks, healthcare, utilities and other critical infrastructure.
The minimum cyber security standards for businesses, which could be set “industry-by-industry”, would likely be introduced later this year as part of the government’s cyber security strategy. 
But Labor MP and deputy committee chair Julian Hill said that introducing enforceable standards in the private sector when the government was struggling to enforce its own cyber security standards under the PSPF, could be seen as hypocritical.
“So we’ve got this situation in the Commonwealth where there’s no regulator or enforcement for Commonwealth entities’ compliance with the government’s standards,” he said.
“And yet the government is out there floating there about to put some teeth into regulating the private sector. Why the distinction?”
In response, Department of Home Affairs’s cyber, digital and technology policy first assistant secretary Hamish Hansford said “there are a range of different regulatory options” that the government was considering as part of the upcoming cyber security strategy.
“In the context of regulation, obviously a matter for the government is to look at how, if and when or why they would regulate, and the extent to which government would be included in any regulatory reform or any holistic response to cyber security,” he said.
Hansford also said that the government, as part of the cyber security strategy, was looking at the “biggest question” of “how do you defend at scale”.
“How do you prevent cyber security attacks at scale across the Commonwealth, across all of our entities, what does that look like, and how do you look at aggregation more generally, and how do you look at the holistic network of government operations,” he said.
“And that’s really a key issue from a macro cyber security policy that the department is looking at really closely with the Digital Transformation Agency.
“And as I’ve indicated previously, the government will have something to say about government cyber security in this regard in the coming months.”
Questions also remain over the level of accountability that agencies have to Parliament, given that attempts by Labor to solicit answers around Top Four and Essential Eight compliance last year were met with the same blanket response. 
In these responses, the agencies – or most probably the ASD and Home Affairs – said publicly reporting individual agency compliance with the Essential Eight “may provide a heat map for vulnerabilities “ that could “increase an agency’s risk of cyber incidents ”.
As Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security Tim Watts noted, not reporting these details in a public forum, or ASD’s anonymised cyber security posture report to parliament, the government had opted for “security in obscurity”.

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NSW govt seeks input on next cyber security strategy – Strategy – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The NSW government is seeking views from industry to help shape the state’s next cyber security strategy ahead of its launch later this year.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello on Tuesday called for input from industry partners and cyber security experts as development of the 2020 NSW Cyber Security Strategy ramps up.
The strategy will replace NSW’s 2018 cyber security strategy, which was the first to be released by the government and introduced a holistic approach to incident prevention and response.
It will also replace the separate, industry-focused cyber security strategy released by the government in November 2018 to support the growth of the state’s cyber security industry.
Dominello said involving industry experts and businesses in the new stategy’s development process was important to encourage the state’s vibrant cyber security industry.
He said the “comprehensive, sector-wide” strategy would ensure the government “continues to provide secure, trusted and resilient services in an ever-changing and developing environment”.
“The new strategy will be delivered through an integrated approach to prevent and respond to cyber security threats and safeguard our information, assets, services, businesses and citizens,” he said.
The strategy is also central to the state’s COVID-19 recovery, with $240 million allocated to cyber security over the next three years as part of a $1.6 billion investment in digital.
“The 2020 NSW Cyber Security Strategy will address the cyber workforce and skills gaps that are vital in attracting business investment and creating innovation jobs,” Dominello said.  
“It will support innovation and growth of the NSW cyber industry and cement NSW as the leading state for cyber security in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Cyber security will be a vital part of the technology community at Tech Central which will be a home for tech giants, new and innovative start-ups and leading talent all in one place.” 
Industry partners and cyber security experts can send their submission to the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy by emailing [email protected].

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WA Police CISO named first Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre CEO – Strategy – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

WA Police’s first-ever chief information security officer Hai Tran will leave the force after almost five years to become the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre’s inaugural CEO.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Minister for Innovation and Skills, David Pisoni, announced Tran’s appointment on Monday ahead of the centre’s official launch next month.
The centre, backed by a $8.9 million investment from the state government, will support startups and other businesses to launch new cyber products and services.
Located at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen innovation precinct, the centre – or A3C – will include a training academy and cyber testing range to test solutions in a secure environment.
Tran, who will take up the role on Wednesday, comes to the centre with 15 years experience in IT, risk management and governance from the private and public sectors.
Before joining WA Police in August 2015, he spent three years as the head of the Australian arm of Coptercam and four years as the CISO at Curtin University of Technology.
He also previously worked at the federal Department of Finance, Macquarie Telecom, and security services company CyberTrust.
Tran will lead the centre alongside its board, which includes AustCyber chief Michelle Price and CyberCX chief strategy officer and former national cyber security advisor Alastair MacGibbon.
Marshall said Tran, along with the “highly credentialled board”, will “bring together industry, education and research institutes and entrepreneurs from around the world to collaborate”.
“South Australia is now driving the growth of Australia’s cyber industry, creating high-tech jobs and generating significant interest from interstate and overseas,” he said in a statement.
He said the centre was particularly important following COVID-19, which has created further awareness of cyber security and resilience for the business community.
A3C chairman Kim Scott said the centre would “use local cyber capability wherever possible”, as well as seek out capability from internationally recognised organisations where “gaps” exist.
On LinkedIn, Tran said he was “sad to leave [the] WA Police Force after five years” and paid tribute to his former colleagues.
“It was highly satisfying to contribute to the community of WA. I wish to thank my former team for their support and outstanding achievements.”
A3C has been established in collaboration with industry, including BAE Systems, Optus and Dtex Systems, as well as academia and government.

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5 Steps to Protect Yourself and Employees from Android-Based Cyber Threats | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from International IDEA

While nearly 9 in 10 companies not only allow but actually rely on their employees to access critical business apps using their personal devices, according to a recent Fortinet Threat Landscape Report, Android-based malware now represents 14% of all cyber threats.
In addition to direct attacks, the number of compromised web sites, email phishing campaigns, and malicious access points continue to grow exponentially, infecting unsuspecting users – regardless of their devices –with spyware, malware, compromised applications, and even ransomware.
And whenever a personal device of any of your employees becomes compromised, they can represent an increased risk to your organisation as well. In addition to deploying mobile device management software and security clients to your employees, it is critical that you establish a cybersecurity awareness programme that provides critical insights into how they can avoid these risks.
Here are five critical elements that ought to be part of any cybersecurity awareness programme:

Beware of Public Wi-Fi

While most public Wi-Fi access points are perfectly safe, that’s not always true. Criminals will often broadcast their device as a public access point, especially in public locations like food courts or at large events.
Then, when a user connects to the Internet through them, the criminal is able to intercept all the data moving between the victim and their online shopping site, bank, or wherever else they browse to.
Many smart devices will also automatically search for known connection points, like your home Wi-Fi. Newer attacks watch for this behaviour and simply ask the device what SSID they are looking for. When the phone tells them it is looking for its ‘home’ router, the attack replies with, “I’m your home router,” and the phone goes ahead and connects. Smart devices will do the same thing with Bluetooth connections, automatically connecting to available access points.
To combat these issues, it’s a good practice for users to turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth until they are needed. In the case of wireless access, they should verify the SSID of a location, often by simply asking an establishment for the name of their Wi-Fi access point before connecting. Users should also consider installing VPN software so they can ensure they only make secure, encrypted connections to known services.

Use Better Passwords

Another mistake users make is using the exact same password for all their online accounts, usually because remembering a unique password for each site they have an account on may be impossible. But if a criminal manages to intercept that password, they now have access to all of the user’s accounts, including banking and shopping sites.
The best option is to use a password vault that stores the username and password for each account, so all that needs to be remembered is the password for the vault. Of course, extra care must be taken to ensure that the vault password is especially strong and easily remembered.
One trick for creating strong passwords is to use the first letters of a sentence, song lyric, or phrase, insert capital letters, numbers, and special characters, and you’ve got a pretty secure password.
To be even more secure, consider adding two-factor authentication for any location where sensitive data is stored. It’s an extra step in the login process, but will significantly increase the security of their account and data.

Recognise Phishing

You’ve probably repeated to your users to never click on links in advertisements sent to their email or posted on web sites unless they check them first. There are a lot of tells, such as poor writing or grammar, complex or misspelt URLs, and poor layout that can be a key giveaway that an email is malicious.
But it turns out that there will always be someone who can’t resist opening an email, launching an attachment from someone they don’t know or clicking on a link on a website – especially when it includes an enticing subject line.
Which is why any educational efforts need to be supplemented with effective Tempemail Security Gateway and Web Application Firewall solutions that can detect spam and phishing, validate links, and run executable files in a sandbox – even for personal email – to ensure that malicious traps simply do not get through to an end-user.

Update Devices and Use Security Software

Users should have a corporate-approved security agent or MDM solution installed on any device that has access to corporate resources. This software also needs to be kept updated, and device scans should be run regularly.
Similarly, endpoint devices need to be regularly updated and patched. Network Access Controls should be able to detect whether security and OS software are current, and if not, users should be either redirected to a remediation server to perform necessary updates or alerted as to the unsecured status of their device.

Monitor Social Media

Criminals will often personalise an attack to make it more likely that a victim will click on a link. And the most common place for them to get that personal information is from social media sites.
The easiest way to prevent that is to simply set up strict privacy controls that only allow pre-selected people to see your page.
Individuals wanting an open social media profile need to carefully select who they will friend. If you don’t know someone, or if anything on their personal site seems odd, dismiss their request. And even if the person is someone you know, first check to see if he or she is already a friend. If so, there’s a significant possibility that their account has been hijacked or duplicated.
By Doros Hadjizenonos, regional sales director at Fortinet
Edited by Luis MonzonFollow Luis Monzon on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter

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New taskforce to push cyber security standards – Strategy – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A cross-sector taskforce of experts from the defence, energy, health and financial services sectors has been created to accelerate the adoption of industry cyber security standards across Australia. 
The taskforce, which held its first meeting on Monday, is the result of an “Australian-first” collaboration between the NSW government, AustCyber and Standards Australia. 
It follows earlier reports on Monday that the federal government is crafting minimum cyber security standards for businesses, including critical infrastructure, as part of its next cyber security strategy. 
The taskforce will focus its efforts on “harmonising baseline standards and providing clarity for sector specific additional standards and guidance” and improving interoperability.  
It also aims to enhance “competitiveness standards by sector for both supplier and consumers” and support Australian cyber security companies to seize opportunities globally. 
In addition to NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello and representatives from AustCyber and Standards Australia, the taskforce members are: 

QuickStep CEO and managing director Mark Burgess  
QuickStep CFO Alan Tilley 
Defence NSW director Peter Scott 
Group of Eight CEO Vicki Thomson          
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon or general manager Jill Cainey 
Fintech Australia COO Rebecca Schot-Guppy 
Australian Health Care & Hospital Association CEO Alison Verhoeven 
ANDHealth managing director Bronwyn Le Grice 
Australian Private Hospitals Association CEO Michael Roff 
Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox 
Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton 
Australian Information Industry Association general manager Simon Bush  
CyberCX CEO John Paitaridis 
CISO Lens Founder James Turner 

Dominello said the taskforce is the next critical step to bolstering the NSW government’s cyber security defences and to cement NSW’s position as a cyber security hub. 
It follows the government’s $240 million investment in cyber security last week to improve the cyber security capability after urgent calls by the auditor-general to shore up the state’s defences. 
“We know that the current plethora of different security standards make it difficult for government and industry to know what they’re buying when it comes to cyber security,” he said. 
“By bringing together industry to identify relevant standards and provide other practical guidance, we aim to make government more secure, whilst providing direction for industry to build their cyber resilience. 
“This will realise our ambition for NSW to become the leading cyber security hub in the Southern Hemisphere.”   
AustCyber chief Michelle Price said the taskforce will serve as a “pilot for the rest of the country to enable rapid adoption of consistent, internationally harmonised cyber security standards and guidance.” 
“There is a risk underlying the speed of digital transformation in Australia, and the new standards will be critical in helping deliver a consistent, industry-focused framework for NSW,” she said. 
“The newly established task force will help NSW businesses understand what they need to do to tackle the complex challenge of protecting against cyber attacks.” 
Standards Australia chief Adrian O’Connell said the taskforce is an existing development to strengthen cyber security through standards. 
“Standards Australia looks forward to working alongside the NSW Government, AustCyber and the members of the task force in providing information around technical guidance and promoting industry backed security practices through the use of standards,” he said. 

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Scott Morrison sends China a signal on cyber attack – but then fear turns into farce | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

It was a moment of farce just hours after a sombre-sounding Australian prime minister delivered the grim news that a wide range of the nation’s public and private sector organisations “are currently being targeted by a sophisticated state-based cyber actor”.
What, journalists wanted to know, did Scott Morrison mean by “currently” experiencing these attacks?
“I mean currently,” Morrison replied curtly.
Pressed on the fact there were headlines reflecting the interpretation Australia was under cyber-attack right now, Morrison observed that the government “doesn’t write the headlines” – which technically is correct, even though it was his announcement in Parliament House’s “Blue Room” on Friday that sparked those very headlines.

Reporters who gathered at the site of the Snowy 2.0 project later that morning for Morrison’s originally scheduled press conference persisted; they informed the high-vis-vest-wearing PM they were only seeking clarification because there had been a lot of anxiety generated since the announcement.
Almost too perfectly, the prime minister’s official transcript recorded his response to that final question as “[Inaudible]”, given the noisy earthmoving equipment operating in the background to the presser. (For the record, he said he thought he had been “very clear” in his earlier statements.)
In one sense, Morrison’s reluctance to be drawn on the details is understandable, given the sensitivities involved. But the curious way in which this latest national security threat was presented to the public invited a raft of follow-up questions, in that the prime minister noted simultaneously that the frequency of the malicious activity had been increasing “over many months” and was a cause for extra vigilance, but that he wouldn’t use the word unprecedented. While it was deemed important enough to spark an early-morning press conference, it was “not a surprise” that such threats were present in the current world.
We weren’t to be told when these particular intrusions began and when Morrison was first briefed.
If nothing else, Morrison’s decision to go public helped shine attention on newly issued advice from the Australian Cyber Security Centre about the routine housekeeping that businesses and organisations across the country should be doing to reduce the risk of a security breach.
The centre noted that because all of the exploits used by the attacker had patches or mitigations already available, it was a reminder to organisations to ensure their systems were kept up to date with any fixes promptly installed. And it reaffirmed the essential advice that multi-factor authentication should be switched on across all remote-access services. As my colleague Josh Taylor notes, this is basic cyber hygiene.
The wake-up call is timely: while government and military systems are already likely to have tight defences, Australian security agencies are well aware of potential weak points in businesses, academia and other organisations that hold troves of information that could be valuable to a hostile intelligence service.
But some observers well-versed in security matters think there is something else going on here, and that the truly intended audience was overseas. Note how Morrison indicated the “malicious” intrusions were carried out “by a state-based actor with very, very significant capabilities” and “there are not a large number of state-based actors that can engage in this type of activity”.
Peter Jennings, head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a former senior defence official, says he believes the government is raising the matter publicly without openly naming the chief suspect – China – in an attempt to send a signal to Beijing to moderate its behaviour after recent diplomatic tensions.

“I think what’s going on here is we’re attempting to apply a little bit of pressure back to China after they have been pressuring us. But there is also a point in the Morrison approach which says to China, ‘Look, we won’t name you.’ Maybe the view is ‘if you started playing a little nicer with us, we won’t do that’.”
For what it’s worth, Jennings thinks this particular attempt to influence China has “almost zero” chance of succeeding. But his view about the government’s thinking is backed up by former Office of Tempemail Intelligence analyst Ben Scott. Writing for the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter, Scott notes that Australia – like many countries – is wrestling with how to manage growing cyberspace-based rivalry and looking for a way to “deter adversaries without provoking them”.
This accords with some of Morrison’s final words in the Blue Room. He didn’t want to concern Australians, he insisted, but to reassure them that agencies understood what was happening and would keep plugging away. “We know it’s going on. We’re on it.”
In other words, the message for domestic consumption is: keep calm and carry on (and, by the way, no more questions).

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Australian cyber attack not ‘sophisticated’ – just a wake-up call for businesses, experts say | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

The “sophisticated state-based” cyber-attack Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has warned about is not particularly sophisticated, according to experts, but serves as a wake-up call for businesses to keep their systems patched and secure, and to remain alert.
On Friday morning, Morrison announced Australian government agencies and businesses had been targeted by a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor”.
“This activity is targeting Australian organisations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure,” he said. “We know it is a sophisticated state-based cyber actor because of the scale and nature of the targeting and the tradecraft used.”

According to the threat advisory released by the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the so-called copy-paste compromises are nothing new – exploiting vulnerabilities in Telerik UI and several other services like Sharepoint, Microsoft Internet Information Services and Citrix where those businesses and departments had failed to patch to prevent the vulnerability being exploited.
When those have not been successful, the state actor has shifted to traditional spearphishing methods to attempt to extract login information from a person inside an organisation or government department.
“[The state actor campaign] doesn’t look very sophisticated,” UNSW professor of cybersecurity Richard Buckland said. “It’s well-resourced in a large scale but I haven’t seen anything yet that’s super secret or super sinister. They’re using known techniques against known vulnerabilities and following known processes.”
The advice from government in how to respond is basic cyber hygiene: patch software, use two-factor authentication, and implement the ACSC’s essential eight to mitigate attacks.
Morrison said the announcement wasn’t being made due to any significant attack or event, and that no large personal data breach had happened yet, leading to questions about why the prime minister had decided to make a formal announcement on a Friday morning from the Blue Room in Parliament House, particularly given the ACSC has been warning about some of the vulnerabilities for more than a year.
“I think what happened was it reached a point when the government decided enough was enough,” RMIT cyber security professor Matthew Warren said.
“It’s very simple advice but when you have government departments and organisations not patching their systems … when you look at it on an all of Australia perspective, you just need one weak link in the Australian ecosystem and then it has a potential flow-on effect.”
Buckland said he was pleased the prime minister made the announcement. He compared it to the government’s messaging around Covid-19 and needing to change behaviour around hand-washing and physical distancing.
Alerting people to the ongoing cyber-attacks might help them take it more seriously, he said.
“I am pleased that he made this announcement because I hope it leads to a shift [and] will contribute to a shift in how seriously people take cybersecurity and the importance to gain cybersecurity knowledge training, and capability in their organisations.”
Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian Tempemail University’s national security college, said the government was firing a warning shot to China – even though China was specifically not named. He said the government was not being overly provocative, even if China might interpret it that way.

PM Morrison won’t say if China is the ‘state-based actor’ behind cyber-attack on Australia – video
“I think it is carefully measured; it is not as provocative as some people will claim it to be,” he said. “It’s a kind of a warning shot to say ‘we know this is happening, we know it’s a state actor, we’re not naming who it is at this stage’. But, if this continues, we will become increasingly frank in calling it out.”
Medcalf said there could be a future scenario where Australia and a number of other countries put out a joint statement about the activity, which would name China as the source.
The other factor behind the announcement, Medcalf said, was the government being pressured by Labor to release its four-year cybersecurity strategy.
The previous strategy expired two months ago and, in parliament earlier this week, Labor’s spokesman on cybersecurity issues, Tim Watt, accused the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, of leaving cybersecurity “at the bottom of his in-tray”.
“It’s been 10 months since the Morrison government began consultations on the new cybersecurity strategy,” Watts said. “Given how quickly things change in cybersecurity, a virtual millennia in hacker years has passed without action … We can’t afford to respond to a crisis only after it’s happened.”
Medcalf said Morrison’s announcement was “also a signal to say that that strategy is coming and here is a kind of a foretaste of what that’s going to be”.

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PM warns of rise in cyber attacks ahead of new strategy – Strategy – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The government has set the scene for the release of Australia’s next cyber security strategy, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison warning of a surge in malicious cyber activity in recent months.
In a hastily organised press conference devoid of much substance on Friday, Morrison said the new strategy, containing “significant further investments”, will be released in the “coming months”. 
The Department of Home Affairs has been consulting on the development of the new strategy since September to replace the 2016 strategy, which funnelled $230 million into the industry over four years.
But that strategy expired two months ago, prompting Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security Tim Watts to call on the government to release the strategy in a parliamentary address earlier this week.
He used the address to criticise Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton for leaving cyber security “at the bottom of his in-tray” and that “a virtual millennia in hacker years has passed without action”.
On Friday, Morrison said the government was “aware of and alert to the threat of cyber attacks”, noting that “frequency has been increasing” and the Australia Cyber Security Centre has been working with industry to “thwart this activity”.
He pointed to a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor” currently targeting Australian organisations, though – like on previous occasions – declined to attribute the cyber activity to any one nation.
“This activity is targeting Australian organisations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure,” he said.
But Morrision said the “investigations conducted so far have not revealed any large-scale personal data breaches”.
An ACSC advisory [pdf] posted this morning indicates the actor’s “heavy use of proof of concept exploit code, web shells and other tools copied almost identically from open source”.
“The actor has been identified leveraging a number of initial access vectors, with the most prevalent being the exploitation of public facing infrastructure — primarily through the use of remote code execution vulnerability in unpatched versions of Telerik UI,” it said.
“Other vulnerabilities in public facing infrastructure leveraged by the actor include exploitation of a deserialisation vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS), a 2019 SharePoint vulnerability and the 2019 Citrix vulnerability.”
The ACSC has also identified the actor using spearfishing techniques such as linking credential harvesting websites, linking malicious files or attaching malicious files to emails and using links that prompt users to grant Microsoft Office 365 OAuth tokens to the actor. 
Morrison’s attribution, or lack thereof, follows a series of recent cyber attacks against both the private and public sectors, including Toll Group, Lion, BlueScope and Service NSW, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that while the 2016 cyber security strategy had “strengthened Australia’s cyber security foundations and stimulated private sector investment”, the new strategy will include “significant further investments”.
“[The 2016 cyber security strategy] was a forward thinking plan, and with forward thinking investments,” he said.
“They were important investments for us to make and I’m glad we made them, and we’re continuing to make them.
“And as I’ve flagged today, we’re making more because this is what keeping Australia safe looks like to make those investments.
“There of course can’t be any guarantees in this area – it is an area of rapidly advancing technology.”
The NSW government this week surpassed the federal government’s 2016 cyber security investments by allocating $240 million to bolster its cyber security capability over the next three years.

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Cyber spies use LinkedIn to hack European defence firms – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Hackers posed as recruiters working for US defence giants Collins Aerospace and General Dynamics on LinkedIn to break into the networks of military contractors in Europe, cybersecurity researchers said.
The cyber spies were able to compromise the systems of at least two defence and aerospace firms in Central Europe last year by approaching employees with pseudo job offers from the US firms, Slovakia-based cybersecurity firm ESET said.
The attackers then used LinkedIn’s private messaging feature to send documents containing malicious code which the employees were tricked into opening, said Jean-Ian Boutin, ESET’s head of threat research.
ESET declined to name the victims, citing client confidentiality, and said it was unclear if any information was stolen.
General Dynamics and Collins Aerospace, which is owned by Raytheon Technologies, declined immediate comment.
ESET was unable to determine the identity of the hackers but said the attacks had some links to a North Korean group known as Lazarus, which has been accused by US prosecutors of orchestrating a string of high-profile cyber heists on victims including Sony Pictures and the Central Bank of Bangladesh.
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The attacks are not the first time LinkedIn has been caught up in international espionage. Western officials have repeatedly accused China of using fake LinkedIn accounts to recruit spies in other countries, and multiple hacking groups have been spotted using the business-networking site to profile their targets.
But ESET’s Boutin said hacking attempts are usually conducted via email.
“This is the first case I am aware of where LinkedIn was used to deliver the malware itself,” he said.
LinkedIn said it had identified and deleted the accounts used in the attacks.
“We actively seek out signs of state-sponsored activity on the platform and quickly take action against bad actors,” said the company’s head of trust and safety, Paul Rockwell.

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Do cybercriminals play cyber games during quarantine?- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the role of the Internet in our lives has undergone changes, including irreversible ones. Some of these changes are definitely for the better, some are not very good, but almost all of them in some way affect digital security issues.
We decided to take a closer look at the changes around us through the prism of information security, starting with the video game industry.
Key findings:

The daily number of blocked attempts to visit malicious gaming-related websites, or browse to such sites from gaming-related websites (or forums), increased by 54% in Aprilcompared to January of this year. In May, we saw a downward trend in this indicator: -18% compared to April.
The number of blocked attempts to visit phishing sites that exploit online gaming topics has increased. In particular, the number of notifications from fake Steam gaming platform sites increased by 40% from February to April.
Attackers use Minecraft, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt most often.
The users most targeted by such attacks are from Vietnam (7.9%), Algeria (6.6%), Korea (6.2%), Hungary (6.2%) and Romania (6%)

I play until the boss sees
Figures from various sources show that the pandemic has led to a sharp increase in player activity. In March, according to gamesindustry.biz, sales of games, both computer and console, increased significantly.
Growth in game sales in the week of March 16-22. Source: gamesindustry.biz (download)
In April, the number of downloads, as well as the number of simultaneous online players, of Steam reached record levels. The Steam user activity graph (both in-game and just installing the client) (Steam Database) shows the peak of activity on April 4. After that, activity started to reduce, but only slowly. Moreover, the activity graphs of the players are noticeably different from the usual ones – periods of inactivity are less pronounced than in ordinary pre-quarantine days, and the peaks last longer.

The number of Steam users per day. Source: steamdb.info
All these stats are totally understandable. First, people have more free time for games. Statistics collected by Nielsen Games as part of their regular survey of gamers confirms this thesis:
The increase in the amount of time spent playing video games by players in different countries. Source: Hollywood Reporter (download)
Second, apparently not all people who wanted to spend time playing video games had a computer at home that would let them do it. That’s what you can figure out checking out the hardware statistics displayed on the Steam site.
If you look closely at the graphics containing information on the video cards used by Steam users, you can see a clear change in graphics cards, which were completely flat before, occurring in March 2020. Until now, the proportions of Nvidia, Intel and AMD video cards have remained at the same level relative to each other. Since the beginning of quarantine, the share of Intel and AMD video cards has grown quite noticeably. This growth was within 2%, which might seem insignificant, until you remember that there are more than 20 million Steam users. That is, the additional number of devices with Intel and AMD graphics cards amounted to hundreds of thousands of computers. Given the specifics of video cards from different manufacturers, we can safely assume that these hundreds of thousands of devices are office laptops that arrived at home during quarantine and that people installed Steam while the boss wasn’t able to see it anyway.

Source: steampowered.com
This is also confirmed by the sudden  in the graphs showing the ratio of Intel and AMD processors (Intel also grew from the beginning of quarantine); and the processors used by players in terms of the number of cores (atypical growth in this proportion was shown by 4-core and 2-core processors) :

Source: steampowered.com
Let’s play with the bad guys?
The increase in the number of players and the time they spend in games, of course, did not go unnoticed by cybercriminals. Gamers have long been the target of attacks by bad guys, who are mainly interested in logins and passwords for game accounts. Now, with the connection of work computers to home networks, and, conversely, with the entry of home devices into work networks that are often poorly prepared for this, attacks on players are becoming not only a way to get to an individual user’s wallet, but also a way to access the corporate infrastructure.
In the first five months of 2020, the number of vulnerabilities discovered on Steam has already exceeded the number of vulnerabilities discovered in any of the previous years. This fact, among other things, indicates a growing interest in finding such vulnerabilities.
Source: cve.mitre.org (download)
We shouldn’t forget also that at the end of April 2020, Valve confirmed the leak of the source code of the popular network games CS: GO and Team Fortress 2. Attackers are most probably already trying to parse their code in search of vulnerabilities that can be used for their own purposes. It is important to understand that these are not offline games, but online games that need a constant connection to game servers and frequent updates. This makes their users even more vulnerable, because their devices are obviously always online, and players are always ready to install an “update” so as not to lose the ability to play.
But even without technically complex attacks using zero-day vulnerabilities, attackers have a large field for their activities. Realizing that the gaming industry is experiencing an unexpected increase in the number of players, they have “increased power” in the field of attacks that exploit the gaming theme in one way or another.
The logical step on the part of the attackers was to increase the number of phishing attacks. This is confirmed by Kaspersky AntiPhishing and the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN). By comparison with February, the number of hits on the thousand most popular phishing sites containing the word “Steam” in the name has significantly increased. Such triggering peaked in April.
An increase in the number of hits on phishing Steam-related topics relative to February 2020. Source: Kaspersky Security Network (download)
There is a clear increase in the statistics of web antivirus detections of sites with names exploiting the game theme as a whole, for example, containing the names of popular video games and gaming platforms.
The number of web attacks using game subjects during the period from January to May 2020. Source: KSN (download)
A wide variety of malicious programs are spread with such malicious links: from password stealing malware to ransomware and miners. As always, they fake free versions, updates or extensions for popular games, as well as cheat programs. A similar picture is observed among malicious files that use game-related names to stay unnoticed.
Local threats that use game-related themes as a cover 

Verdict
% of all attacks

1
UDS: DangerousObject.Multi.Generic
8.5%

2
Worm.Win32.Fujack.cw
5.4%

3
PDM: Trojan.Win32.Generic
3.8%

4
HEUR: Trojan.Multi.StartPage. b
3.5%

5
PDM: Trojan.Win32.Bazon.a
3.5%

6
Trojan.WinLNK.Agent.ra
3.4%

7
HEUR: Trojan.Win32.Generic
3.2%

8
Tempemail-Worm.Win32. Brontok.q
3.2%

9
HEUR: Trojan.WinLNK.Agent.gen
2.7%

10
Trojan.WinLNK.Agent.rx
2.3%

The statistics do not take into account the Hacktool category of threats – tools that are usually installed by the users themselves but can be used for malicious purposes. We include remote access clients, traffic analyzers, etc. in this category. This category is of interest here because modern cheat programs often use the same techniques as malware, such as memory injection and exploiting vulnerabilities to bypass protection. If we add this kind of detection to the statistics, it will take first place with a share of 10%.
Judging by the statistics obtained from our web antivirus, the attackers focus the most on Minecraft usage. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt also hits the TOP 3 of the most exploited games, the popularity of which has grown sharply thanks to the series based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski.
The number of attacks using the theme of an online game, January-May 2020. Source: KSN (download)
 Following the dynamics of the responses to the links containing the names of the games, we came to the conclusion that from April to early May, the attackers conducted a campaign in which they used several games at once. In particular, Overwatch and Players Unknown Battlegrounds came into the view of our radar. If you look closely at the graph, you can see many parallel peaks. Before and after the indicated period, this trend does not persist.
Web attacks using the themes of Overwatch and PUBG, January-May 2020. Source: KSN (download)
Users in Vietnam are most susceptible to attacks using game-related topics: almost 8% of all web antivirus detections in this country occurred on sites whose names used the theme of games.
TOP 20 countries by the proportion of blocked attempts to enter malicious sites using the theme of online games, January-May 2020. Source: KSN

Country
Percentage of attacked users

Vietnam
7.90%

Algeria
6.67%

South Korea
6.23%

Hungary
6.20%

Romania
5.98%

Poland
5.96%

Egypt
5.20%

Portugal
4.84%

Malaysia
4.75%

Greece
4.56%

Philippines
4.51%

Uzbekistan
4.48%

Tunisia
4.41%

Morocco
4.06%

Iraq
3.82%

Brazil
3.61%

Italy
3.59%

Indonesia
3.54%

Myanmar
3.52%

France
3.52%

Following Vietnam, the TOP 5 countries for this parameter include Algeria, Korea, Hungary and Romania. In general, the TOP 20 includes many countries in North Africa, Asia and Europe, especially Southern and Eastern Europe.
Conclusion
Tens of millions of people who find themselves isolated at home (combined with plenty of free time) have given a serious boost to the gaming industry. Of course, the attackers could not help but take advantage of this situation and we have seen an impressive increase in attempts to switch to phishing sites that exploit gaming topics.
However, we should keep in mind that this was facilitated not only by the efforts of attackers, but also by the careless actions of the users themselves, who fell for fake emails apparently sent on behalf of game services, or who were looking for hacked versions of some popular games and cheat programs for others.
Unfortunately, in most cases, cybercriminals do not need technologically sophisticated schemes to carry out successful attacks. It is enough to use relevant topics, one of which in the spring of 2020 was video games.

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