Threat actors target Southeast Asian tech providers in hunt for scale

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Last year saw threat actors target the technology sector across the Southeast Asia region to achieve economies of scale, according to the latest research by Singapore-based cyber security service provider Ensign InfoSecurity.  

Technology service providers were attractive targets for threat actors in 2020, with many organisations engaging their services during the pandemic to ensure business continuity, according to Ensign.  

This heightened service partner engagement presented a compelling draw for cyber criminals, with a successful cyber attack allowing threat actors to obtain the credentials of these service providers’ clients, potentially handing them illicit access to a wide range of companies.  

According to Ensign, threat actors also targeted technology hardware and software vendors to breach and implant malicious code and components into the vendors’ product development systems. This enabled perpetrators to rapidly develop zero-day exploits or create backdoors to compromise the integrity of the products, allowing them to readily reach a larger pool of targets. 

Tech companies are set to be prominent targets for the foreseeable future, according to Steven Ng, Ensign CIO and executive vice president of managed security services.   

“Technology suppliers and service providers will continue to be lucrative targets for threat actors as organisations become increasingly reliant on digital technologies to support their business operations and position themselves for the future,” said Ng. 

“If threat actors can successfully compromise just one of these companies’ systems, it can create a ripple effect that will impact large groups of organisations across industries and geographies,” he added. 


Pima Community College opens new auto tech center to meet high demand for technicians

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Pima Community College unveiled its new automotive tech center in downtown Tucson with a goal to help meet high demand for skilled technicians in the industry, including Arizona’s growing electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing sector. 

The opening of the Automotive Technology and Innovation Center is just the start of a major effort by the district to expand technical training to produce tech workers in other fields and stimulate the local economy. 

Lee Lambert

It’s also the realization of a long sought-after goal for Chancellor Lee Lambert, who came to the district in 2013. 

“I think there’s many of you in this community, I know especially the dealers and all the other automotive folks, you’ve been waiting for this moment,” Lambert said at the recent ribbon cutting for the center. 

Programs in diesel, electric and autonomous vehicles 

Located at the school’s downtown Tucson campus, the two-story, 50,000 square feet center will support programs in diesel, electric and autonomous vehicles and increase training for specific brands such as Ford, Fiat-Chrysler and Subaru. 

Students can study engine diagnosis and repair, electrical fundamentals, steering, alignment, brakes and other programs. 

Education paying off for grads 

Automotive technicians who complete a two-year Automotive Technology Associate degree earn over 20 percent more, on average, than a technician without a degree, college officials said. An automotive technology degree also is a step towards other careers in the field, whether as a dealership manager, mechanic, salesperson or specialist focused on improving the future of automotive technology, school officials said.

Technicians in Arizona are earning an average $22.41 per hour, about 8 percent higher than the national average, according to employment website Indeed.  

Severe auto tech shortage 

There are plenty of positions available for grads. By 2024, the industry is projected to be short by approximately 642,000 automotive, diesel, and collision technicians, according to a report issued by the Phoenix-based TechForce Foundation last year.

Citing both…


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Bug Bounty Program pays off for cybersecurity at Virginia Tech

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Not all hackers are up to no good. In fact, one of the most effective ways to prevent a security breach is to test cybersecurity defenses in much the same way a hacker would, by looking for vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. The main difference, of course, is that instead of exploiting vulnerabilities, you repair them.

In the cybersecurity world, this technique is called “red teaming.” It’s also the idea behind the new Virginia Tech Bug Bounty Program, which gives students and employees the opportunity to play hacker and earn cash rewards for identifying any vulnerabilities, or “bugs,” in specific university-owned domains.

Launched in March 2021, the Bug Bounty program is helping the IT Security Office (ITSO) expand the university’s cybersecurity efforts while engaging the Virginia Tech community.

“Cybersecurity at Virginia Tech has historically focused on defense capabilities [a.k.a. ‘blue teaming’], such as monitoring outbound traffic and encrypting sensitive data,” explained Brad Tilley, director of security architecture for the ITSO. “Red teaming plays offense to the blue team’s defense, taking a more active approach to cybersecurity by seeking out and flagging potential vulnerabilities before bad actors have a chance to exploit them.” Used in tandem, blue teaming and red teaming offer the best chance of maintaining secure systems and minimizing damage from external and internal threats.

However, scouring code for vulnerabilities can be a time-consuming process, even for the most skilled security analysts, and the ITSO red team staff is relatively small. “We realized that in order to grow our offensive capabilities given our resource constraints, we needed to look outside our own office,” Tilley said.

And what better place to look than right outside their office window?

“Virginia Tech has a huge and…