Weekly Security Sprint EP 36. Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Physical Security issues, Ransomware and much more!

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In this week’s Security Sprint, Dave and Andy talk about the topics below. For more of these and other security updates, subscribe to our free daily report, delivered directly to your inbox, the Gate 15 SUN. To subscribe, please email [email protected].

Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

  • Check out NSA Cyber Director Rob Joyce’s social media meme-fest! Here, on Threads.
  • CISA Launches National Public Service Announcement Campaign Encouraging Americans to Take Steps to Keep Themselves and Their Families Safe OnlineSecure Our World Cybersecurity Awareness Program Provides Resources and Tools to Keep Individuals, Businesses and Organizations Safe from Cyber Attacks. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) today announced the launch of “Secure Our World,” a nationwide cybersecurity public awareness campaign to educate all Americans on how to stay safe online. The campaign includes a public service announcement (PSA) that will air on stations around the country, as well as digital content, a toolkit, and other resources. Recognizing that technology is an integral part of our modern lives, Congress tasked CISA with creating this program to provide small businesses, communities, and individuals with the guidance and tools they need to protect themselves online.   

“I’m incredibly excited to launch our nationwide Public Service Announcement campaign, which includes resources and tools every individual and organization can use to stay safe online by practicing good cyber hygiene…As cyber threats continue to evolve, we encourage everyone to do their part to stay cyber-safe.” 

CISA Director Jen Easterly.
  • The Secure Our World program is focused on four simple steps everyone can take to stay safe online:  
    • Strong passwords: Use passwords that are long, random, and unique to each account, and use a password manager to generate them and to save them.  
    • Multifactor authentication: Use MFA for all accounts that offer it. We need more than a password to protect our most important data, including email, financial accounts, and social media.   
    • Recognize and report phishing: Think before you click! Be cautious of unsolicited emails, texts, or calls asking you for personal information. Resist the urge to click on these links and don’t click on links or open attachments from unknown sources.  
    • Update software. Enable automatic updates on software so the latest security patches keep our devices continuously protected.  
  • Everyone can take steps today to Secure Our World. Follow us throughout October during Cybersecurity Awareness Month for extended coverage of the program. Visit cisa.gov/SecureOurWorld to access our free cybersecurity resources and tips. Together we can build a more secure digital world.  

Main Topics


Faith-Based Security – FB-ISAO: September 2023 Threat Level Statement Update – Threat Levels Remain at GUARDED. We have reviewed the September 2023 Department of Homeland Security Homeland Threat Assessment and considered it alongside our continued observance of a broad array of general threats and hostility to people and places of faith. These include widespread acts of faith-based hostilities and open threats to faith-based organizations based on their religious and political beliefs – (including antisemitism, islamophobia, anti-Christian and anti-Sikh sentiment, etc.), regularly occurring acts of violence such as arson, vandalism, and low-level attacks including Swatting and bomb threats, as well as commodity cyberattacks seen in all communities including Business Email Compromise (BEC) and ransomware. Additionally, the TIG is closely monitoring the COVID-19 threat, events and rhetoric relating to the 2024 U.S. election season, along with other considerations that may pose direct or indirect risks to organizations. Based on this review, we have determined to maintain threat levels at GUARDED, meaning that FB-ISAO is aware that a general risk of incidents exists, but there are no target or time specific threats requiring an escalation in our overall preparedness at this time.

ORC – Target Press ReleaseTarget Closes Select Stores to Prioritize Team Member and Guest Safety

US GAO – Critical Infrastructure Protection: National Cybersecurity Strategy Needs to Address Information Sharing Performance Measures and Methods. This report examines, among other things, (1) how federal agencies and critical infrastructure owners and operators share cyber threat information and (2) challenges to cyber threat information sharing and the extent to which federal agencies have taken action to address them. To do so, GAO reviewed documentation from 14 federal agencies, including CISA, and seven nonfederal entities with responsibility for sharing cyber threat information. In addition, GAO interviewed relevant officials from these federal agencies and nonfederal entities regarding challenges to sharing cyber threat information. Using information compiled from interviews, GAO then presented the cyber threat information challenges frequently identified by the relevant entities to the 14 federal agencies and ONCD. GAO also asked for and reviewed documentation on actions the 14 agencies and ONCD have taken or plan to take to address the challenges.

Quick Hits.

FCC Net Neutrality.

Apple updates.

Prepare for the unlikely.

FBI PSA: “Phantom Hacker” Scams Target Senior Citizens and Result in Victims Losing their Life Savings

FEMA and FCC Plan Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct. 4, 2023. Test Messages Will be Sent to All TVs, Radios and Cell Phones

Massive emergency alert test scheduled to hit your phone on Wednesday. Here’s what to know.

Bridging the gender gap in the public sector. Jennifer Lyn Walker, director of cyber defense for Gate 15, said she remembers well what it was like to be in the minority in her past roles both working in local government positions and dealing with government agencies while in other roles. But now, in her work with Gate 15 as a provider or cyber defense support and analysis capabilities to WaterISAC (Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center) and Tribal-ISAC, she sees things changing. “CISA is putting more of a push on hiring women and I see it. I am dealing with more women at CISA and in other government agencies, like the EPA,” she said. Walker thinks sending the message that many jobs in cybersecurity don’t actually require deep technical skills can help attract candidates who may not traditionally apply for cybersecurity roles, including women. “Whether it’s a policy person, or a security awareness role, there are many opportunities in the career that go beyond technical skills,” she said.

🇨🇳 🇺🇸

Progress warns of maximum severity WS_FTP Server vulnerability. Progress, the maker of the MOVEit Transfer file-sharing platform recently exploited in widespread data theft attacks, warned customers to patch a maximum severity vulnerability in its WS_FTP Server software.

Critical vulnerabilities in Exim threaten over 250k email servers worldwide.

  • Risky Biz News: Disclosure snafu delays critical Exim patch more than a year. A critical vulnerability impacting more than 3.5 million Exim email servers has remained unpatched for more than 15 months in one of the most egregious instances of vulnerability disclosure snafus in recent history. Tracked as CVE-2023-42115, the vulnerability is a no-authentication remote code execution with a severity rating of 9.8/10. It is one of six vulnerabilities that were disclosed by Trend Micro’s Zero-Day Initiative (ZDI) to the Exim project in June 2022…With Exim accounting for 56% of email servers, this leaves more than half of the internet’s email infrastructure exposed to dangerous attacks if threat actors manage to identify the root cause of the bug.

CISA releases Hardware Bill of Materials (HBOM) Framework for Supply Chain Risk Management

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 Spotify for Podcasters 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.
  • 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.
  • The Cybersecurity Evangelist, with Jennifer Lyn Walker, is a cybersecurity-focused discussion with Jen and invited guests. This is presently a Gate 15 special podcast and occasionally is updated on our Gate 15 podcast channel.
  • The Risk Roundtable, was a monthly discussion among our team and occasional guests exploring the all-hazards threats and risks impacting the United States and internationally. This was suspended in September 2023.

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