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US needs to boost its cyber security in cyber warfare age » Albuquerque Journal

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360


The Department of Homeland Security has declared the United States has 16 “critical infrastructure sectors.” Translated, that means these enterprises are crucial to a safe and orderly society. The sectors include: food and agriculture, water, medical and health care, energy, transportation, telecommunications, law enforcement and, of course, our defense systems.

With increasing regularity foreign-based cybercriminals are attacking these vital systems and temporarily crippling essential services. Why? Sometimes these keyboard terrorists simply want to create mayhem. More often they are mining for government or corporate secrets, and quite often they seek ransom before they unblock a victim’s disabled computer system.

Item: On June 1, we learned JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, suffered a massive ransomware attack and had to cease operations at 13 U.S. processing plants. There was worry consumers might face a beef, pork and poultry shortage. Thankfully, the company had cybersecurity plans in place, and the shutdown was short.

Item: On May 8, the Colonial Pipeline, a major energy supplier that carries 100 million gallons of gasoline daily to customers between Houston and New York, was paralyzed by a cyberattack. Operators were forced to shut down the entire system to stem the damage. Panicked gas buying resulted. A Bitcoin ransom was paid to restore normalcy. In a rare move the FBI was able to claw back some $2 million of the payout.

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Item: In December 2020, Solar Winds, a major U.S. technology firm, was reported to have discovered its system had been infiltrated for months by computer criminals who were after sensitive corporate and government intelligence. The hackers were able to spy on private companies like Microsoft and top officials within the U.S. government including the Treasury Department and, yes, even Homeland Security.

Item: Last October, in the worst days of the pandemic, hospitals across the U.S….

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Shining a light against hackers » Albuquerque Journal

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360


Ray Newell, an atomic physicist at Los Alamos National Labs, will explain how his team is working on coding that might help prevent computer attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure, similar to the one that recently took out the Colonial Pipeline. (Courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

One of the issues Ray Newell thought he might face in describing his current project as a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory was to get people interested in it.

Then, hackers gained control of the Colonial Pipeline’s operating computers and, all of a sudden, Newell’s project gained very real-world emphasis.

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Newell will be speaking – and fielding questions – Wednesday at 6 p.m. during the labs’ quarterly Frontiers in Science program, presented by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows through the Bradbury Science Museum. This series includes presentations by scientists, engineers and others on the most innovative developments in science.

“When we first started planning this, almost two, three months ago, we were trying to set up how to get anybody to care about it,” Newell said. “Unfortunately, that piece of the talk has been largely cut out as it has been made very clear, nationwide, why it is important to secure our critical infrastructure.”

The shutdown in early May disrupted gas supplies along the East Coast and caused panic buying, 1970s-like gas lines and empty fuel stations.

“We have seen with the Colonial Pipeline attack, how impactful these issues can be on our daily lives,” Newell said.

Newell and his team have been concentrating on protecting electrical grids, with technology already in use at the lab and the connecting Los Alamos grid.

With the changing nature of electrical generation to incorporate more input from such green sources as solar and wind, it becomes ever more important to ensure control, Newell said, particularly when considering the greater…

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SolarWinds hack got emails of top DHS officials » Albuquerque Journal

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360


Suspected Russian hackers gained access to email accounts belonging to the Trump administration’s head of the Department of Homeland Security and members of the department’s cybersecurity staff whose jobs included hunting threats from foreign countries, The Associated Press has learned.

The intelligence value of the hacking of then-acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his staff is not publicly known, but the symbolism is stark. Their accounts were accessed as part of what’s known as the SolarWinds intrusion and it throws into question how the U.S. government can protect individuals, companies and institutions across the country if it can’t protect itself.

The short answer for many security experts and federal officials is that it can’t — at least not without some significant changes.

“The SolarWinds hack was a victory for our foreign adversaries, and a failure for DHS,” said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, top Republican on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We are talking about DHS’s crown jewels.”

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The Biden administration has tried to keep a tight lid on the scope of the SolarWinds attack as it weighs retaliatory measures against Russia. But an inquiry by the AP found new details about the breach at DHS and other agencies, including the Energy Department, where hackers accessed top officials’ private schedules.

The AP interviewed more than a dozen current and former U.S. government officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the ongoing investigation into the hack.

The vulnerabilities at Homeland Security in particular intensify the worries following the SolarWinds attack and an even more widespread hack affecting Microsoft Exchange’s email program, especially because in both cases the hackers were detected not by the government but by a private company.

In December, officials discovered what they describe as a sprawling, monthslong…

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What can be done to halt to growth of ransomware? (Includes interview) – Digital Journal

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360



What can be done to halt to growth of ransomware? (Includes interview)  Digital Journal

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