Weekly Security Sprint EP 17. More hostile events, ransomware, hurricane predictions, and an end of COVID?

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In this week’s Security Sprint, Dave and Andy talked about a number of topics listed below. You can read more on these and other topics in the Gate 15 SUN. Subscribe to that immediately below!

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Main Topics

Hostile Events

Shockingly, Talking Ransomware!


Spotlight: WHO Director Says COVID No Longer Global Health Emergency

  • WHO says Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency. Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said on Friday. WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee discussed the pandemic on Thursday at its 15th meeting on Covid-19, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus concurred that the public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, declaration should end. “For more than a year the pandemic has been on a downward trend,” Tedros said at a news conference Friday.

Quick Hits:

Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity:

  • Water x And x Ransomware! Italian water supplier serving 500,000 people hit with ransomware attack. An Italian company that provides drinking water to nearly half a million people is experiencing some technical disruptions following a ransomware attack. Alto Calore Servizi SpA runs the collection, supply and distribution of drinking water for 125 municipalities Avellino and Benevento — two provinces in southern Italy. The government-run company also manages sewage and purification services for both provinces. The company manages 58 million cubic meters of water a year. But on Friday, the company said a recent hack rendered all of their IT systems unusable. “It will not be possible to carry out any operations or provide information that requires querying the database,” the company said.
  • USG Starting to Take Space Cybersecurity Seriously. Peters & Cornyn Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Protect Commercial Satellites From Cybersecurity Threats & article: U.S. Senators Reintroduce Legislation on Commercial Satellite Cybersecurity. “We’ve already seen the impacts of attacks on satellite systems by our adversaries abroad, and the potential effects on our lives and livelihoods could be catastrophic if American systems were similarly attacked,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will ensure that commercial satellite owners and operators have the tools and resources they need to strengthen their cybersecurity defenses.” “Nearly every industry uses commercial satellite networks to provide essential services, but the destruction or disruption of these networks could be used against our national security interests,” said Senator Cornyn. “This bipartisan piece of legislation directs CISA to publish voluntary cybersecurity best practices for companies that own these satellites and ensure our most critical infrastructure is secure against foreign cyber threats.”

SkyNet Watch – As DOD Invests in AI, CISA Warns AI May be the ‘Most Powerful Weapon of Our Time.’ 

TikTok – ‘We Respect Your Privacy, Except When We Don’t’

  • Risky Biz News: TikTok tracked FT journalist: TikTok has confirmed it tracked the movements of Financial Times reporter Cristina Criddle in order to discover if she was meeting with TikTok employees and identify her sources. Criddle didn’t have an account in her name and says TikTok tracked the account she made for her cat. She is the fourth known reporter that TikTok admitted to having spied on. Previously, the company confirmed it tracked Emily Baker-White, Katharine Schwab, and Richard Nieva, three Forbes journalists that were working at the time for BuzzFeed News. The four incidents were discovered as part of an internal TikTok security audit. More FT coverage / non-paywall.

MDM Threats as Newbots Proliferate

  • Rise of the Newsbots: AI-Generated News Websites Proliferating Online; NewsGuard has identified 49 news and information sites that appear to be almost entirely written by artificial intelligence software. A new generation of content farms is on the way. Artificial intelligence tools are now being used to populate so-called content farms, referring to low-quality websites around the world that churn out vast amounts of clickbait articles to optimize advertising revenue, NewsGuard found. In April 2023, NewsGuard identified 49 websites spanning seven languages — Chinese, Czech, English, French, Portuguese, Tagalog, and Thai — that appear to be entirely or mostly generated by artificial intelligence language models designed to mimic human communication — here in the form of what appear to be typical news websites. The websites, which often fail to disclose ownership or control, produce a high volume of content related to a variety of topics, including politics, health, entertainment, finance, and technology. Some publish hundreds of articles a day. Some of the content advances false narratives. Nearly all of the content features bland language and repetitive phrases, hallmarks of artificial intelligence.

Compromised DVR System

Read more about Gate 15’s full podcast menu at our Podcast page. You can subscribe and enjoy all the Gate 15 Podcasts on Spotify for PodcastersAppleSpotifyGoogle, as well as other locations accessible from the Anchor link. Week-to-week, you can hear and learn more about our all-hazards threats, risks, mitigation and other issues impacting homeland security risk management from our team as well as our regular and special guests. The full podcast menu includes:

  • The Security Sprint is our weekly rundown of the week’s notable all-hazards security news, risks and threats and some of the key focus areas for organizations to consider behind the headlines. Gate 15 team members discuss physical security, cybersecurity, natural hazards, health threats and other issues across our environment. 
  • The Risk Roundtable is a recurring monthly discussion among our team and occasional guests as we explore the all-hazards threats and risks impacting the United States and internationally.
  • The Cybersecurity Evangelist, with Jennifer Lyn Walker, is a cybersecurity-focused discussion with Jen and invited guests.
  • Nerd Out! Security Panel Discussion, moderated by Dave Pounder, focuses on physical security topics including terrorism, extremism, hostile events, and other pertinent topics.
  • The Gate 15 Interview is a monthly interview between Gate 15’s founder and Managing Director, Andy Jabbour and guests from throughout the homeland security risk management community addressing a wide range of all-hazards topics and issues.

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