French hospital forced to transfer patients following Ransomware attack

The Centre Hospitalier Sud Francilien (CHSF) said an attack on its computer network was detected in August. The hospital has referred patients elsewhere as the cyberattack rendered various technical systems ‘inaccessible’.

The cyberattack made various systems “inaccessible” including business software, storage systems in areas such as medical imaging, and the info systems on patient admissions, according to a CHSF statement.

As a result of the attack, patients whose care requires access to the hospital’s technical systems have been redirected to other hospitals in the area. Those who present themselves to the emergency room are being evaluated by CHSF’s medical staff, and being transferred to other institutions if necessary.

The hospital, which serves an area of around 600,000 people, said that measures have been taken to care for those already hospitalised there. However, the “exceptional situation” is expected to have an impact on the operating room, as it is closely linked to the affected technical platform.

French paper Le Monde reports that a ransom of $10m was demanded by the hackers responsible.

CISA Releases New Insight on Preparing Critical Infrastructure for the Transition to Post-Quantum Cryptography

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a new CISA Insight, Preparing Critical Infrastructure for Post-Quantum Cryptography, which provides critical infrastructure and government network owners and operators an overview of the potential impacts from quantum computing to National Critical Functions (NCFs) and the recommended actions they should take now to begin preparing for the transition.

While quantum computing promises greater computing speed and power, it also poses new risks to critical infrastructure systems across the 55 NCFs. This CISA Insight incorporates findings from an assessment conducted on quantum vulnerabilities to the NCFs to understand the urgent vulnerabilities and NCFs that are most important to address first and the three NCF areas to prioritize for public-private engagement and collaboration.

“While post-quantum computing is expected to produce significant benefits, we must take action now to manage potential risks, including the ability to break public key encryption that U.S. networks rely on to secure sensitive information,” said Mona Harrington, acting Assistant Director National Risk Management Center, CISA. “Critical infrastructure and government leaders must be proactive and begin preparing for the transition to post-quantum cryptography now.”

In March 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas outlined his vision for cybersecurity resilience and identified the transition to post-quantum encryption as a priority.

To ensure a smooth and efficient transition, CISA encourages all critical infrastructure owners to follow the Post-Quantum Cryptography Roadmap along with the guidance in this CISA Insight. The roadmap includes actionable steps organizations should take, such as conducting an inventory of their current cryptographic technologies, creating acquisition policies regarding post-quantum cryptography, and educating their organization’s workforce about the upcoming transition.

TSA revises and reissues cybersecurity requirements for pipeline owners and operators

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the revision and reissuance of its Security Directive regarding oil and natural gas pipeline cybersecurity. This revised directive will continue the effort to build cybersecurity resiliency for the nation’s critical pipelines.

Developed with extensive input from industry stakeholders and federal partners, including the Department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the reissued security directive for critical pipeline companies follows the directive announced in July 2021. The directive extends cybersecurity requirements for another year, and focuses on performance-based – rather than prescriptive – measures to achieve critical cybersecurity outcomes.

“TSA is committed to keeping the nation’s transportation systems safe from cyberattacks. This revised security directive follows significant collaboration between TSA and the oil and natural gas pipeline industry. The directive establishes a new model that accommodates variance in systems and operations to meet our security requirements,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We recognize that every company is different, and we have developed an approach that accommodates that fact, supported by continuous monitoring and auditing to assess achievement of the needed cybersecurity outcomes. We will continue working with our partners in the transportation sector to increase cybersecurity resilience throughout the system and acknowledge the significant work over the past year to protect this critical infrastructure.”

Following the May 2021 ransomware attack on a major pipeline, TSA issued several security directives mandating that critical pipeline owners and operators implement several urgently needed cybersecurity measures. In the fourteen months since this attack, the threat posed to this sector has evolved and intensified. Reducing this national security risk requires significant public and private collaboration.

Through this revised and reissued security directive, TSA continues to take steps that protect transportation infrastructure from evolving cybersecurity threats. TSA also intends to begin the formal rulemaking process, which will provide the opportunity for the submission and consideration of public comments.

The reissued security directive takes an innovative, performance-based approach to enhancing security, allowing industry to leverage new technologies and be more adaptive to changing environments. The security directive requires that TSA-specified owners and operators of pipeline and liquefied natural gas facilities take action to prevent disruption and degradation to their infrastructure to achieve the following security outcomes:

- Develop network segmentation policies and controls to ensure that the Operational Technology system can continue to safely operate in the event that an Information Technology system has been compromised and vice versa;
- Create access control measures to secure and prevent unauthorized access to critical cyber systems;
- Build continuous monitoring and detection policies and procedures to detect cybersecurity threats and correct anomalies that affect critical cyber system operations; and
- Reduce the risk of exploitation of unpatched systems through the application of security patches and updates for operating systems, applications, drivers and firmware on critical cyber systems in a timely manner using a risk-based methodology.

Pipeline owners and operators are required to:

- Establish and execute a TSA-approved Cybersecurity Implementation Plan that describes the specific cybersecurity measures the pipeline owners and operators are utilizing to achieve the security outcomes set forth in the security directive.
- Develop and maintain a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan that includes measures the pipeline owners and operators will take in the event of operational disruption or significant business degradation caused by a cybersecurity incident.
- Establish a Cybersecurity Assessment Program to proactively test and regularly audit the effectiveness of cybersecurity measures and identify and resolve vulnerabilities within devices, networks, and systems.

These requirements are in addition to the previously established requirement to report significant cybersecurity incidents to CISA, establish a cybersecurity point of contact and conduct an annual cybersecurity vulnerability assessment.

Cyber Attack on Greece’s Gas Operator

A group of cyber extortionists called Ragnar Locker claimed responsibility for the recent cyber-attack against the National Gas System Operator (DESFA) in Greece.

DESFA announced that it had suffered a cyber-attack on part of its IT infrastructure, which resulted in a “confirmed impact on the availability of certain systems and the possible leakage of a number of files and data.”

DESFA is responsible for the operation, management, exploitation, and development of the National Natural Gas System and its interconnections.

The statement said that IT services were proactively deactivated to limit any potential spillage and to investigate the incident while ensuring the adequate operation of the national gas supply system at all entry and exit points of the country without any complications.

The FBI has linked the Ragnar Locker group to attacks on at least fifty-two organizations and companies related to critical infrastructure in the US over the last two years.

DOE Announces $45 Million for Power Grid Cyber Resilience

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $45 million to create, accelerate, and test technology that will protect the electric grid from cyber attacks.

Cyber threats to American energy systems can shut down critical energy infrastructure and disrupt energy supply, the economy, and the health of American consumers. Cybersecurity remains a priority as clean energy technologies deployed on the grid become highly automated.

Earlier this year, Supervisory Special Agent Ted P. Delacourt, a federal civilian working in the Mission Critical Engagement Unit of the Cyber Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, wrote that a cyber attack on one critical infrastructure sector may initiate a failure in another or cascade to the entire interconnected critical infrastructure network.

“The ubiquitous nature of these critical infrastructure sectors and the distribution of their physical and networked assets across a wide geographical area, often spanning the entire country, make them attractive targets,” Delacourt wrote for HSToday. “State, non-state, and criminal actors continually seek victims of opportunity across all critical infrastructure sectors for monetary and strategic gain.”

Delacourt warned that cyber attacks on critical infrastructure will continue to grow in number and frequency and continue to escalate in severity.

Combined with the additional grid upgrades funded in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the latest DOE announcement means the United States will have an opportunity to build greater cyber defenses into its energy sector. The $45 million funding announced on August 17 will support up to 15 research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects that will focus on developing new cybersecurity tools and technologies designed to reduce cyber risks for energy delivery infrastructure. Building strong and secure energy infrastructure across the country is a key component of reaching President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“As DOE builds out America’s clean energy infrastructure, this funding will provide the tools for a strong, resilient, and secure electricity grid that can withstand modern cyberthreats and deliver energy to every pocket of America,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE will use this investment to continue delivering on the Biden Administration’s commitment to making energy cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable.”

DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) will fund up to 15 research projects that will establish or strengthen existing research partnerships with energy sector utilities, vendors, universities, national laboratories, and service providers working toward resilient energy delivery systems. The effort will lead to the creation of next-generation tools and technologies designed to reduce cyber incident disruption to energy delivery. Researchers will aim to develop tools and technologies that enable energy systems to autonomously recognize a cyber attack, attempt to prevent it, and automatically isolate and eradicate it with no disruption to energy delivery.

There are six proposed topic areas for the projects, which include:

- Automated Cyber Attack Prevention and Mitigation: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that enable energy systems to autonomously recognize and prevent cyber attacks from disrupting energy.
- Security and Resiliency by Design: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that build cybersecurity and resilience features into technologies through a cybersecurity-by-design approach.
- Authentication Mechanisms for Energy Delivery Systems: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that strengthen energy sector authentication.
- Automated Methods to Discover and Mitigate Vulnerabilities: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that address vulnerabilities in energy delivery control system applications.
- Cybersecurity through Advanced Software Solutions: This topic area will focus on developing software tools and technologies that can be tested in a holistic testing environment that includes a development feedback cycle.
- Integration of New Concepts and Technologies with Existing Infrastructure: This topic area will require applicants to partner with energy asset owners and operators to validate and demonstrate cutting-edge cybersecurity technology that can be retrofitted into existing infrastructure.

[source: HS Today]

EC adopts Contingency Plan for Transport

The European Commission adopted a Contingency Plan for Transport to strengthen the resilience of EU transport in times of crisis. The plan draws lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as taking into account the challenges the EU transport sector has been facing since the beginning of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. Both crises have severely affected the transport of goods and people, but the resilience of this sector and the improved coordination between member states were key to the EU's response to these challenges.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “These challenging and difficult times remind us of the importance of our EU transport sector and the need to work on our preparedness and resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic was not the first crisis with consequences for the transport sector, and Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine shows us that it will definitely not be the last. This is why we need to be ready. Today's Contingency Plan, notably based on lessons learnt and initiatives taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, creates a strong framework for a crisis-proof and resilient EU transport sector. I firmly believe that this plan will be a key driver for transport resilience since many of its tools have already proven essential when supporting Ukraine – including the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes, which are now helping Ukraine export its grain.”

10 actions to draw lessons from recent crises

The plan proposes a toolbox of 10 actions to guide the EU and its Member States when introducing such emergency crisis-response measures. Among other actions, it highlights the importance of ensuring minimum connectivity and passenger protection, building resilience to cyberattacks, and resilience testing. It also stresses the relevance of the Green Lanes principles, which ensure that land freight can cross borders in less than 15 minutes, and reinforces the role of the Network of Contact Points in national transport authoritiesBoth have proved crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in the current crisis caused by Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The 10 areas of action are:

1 Making EU transport laws fit for crisis situations
2 Ensuring adequate support for the transport sector
3 Ensuring free movement of goods, services and people
4 Managing refugee flows and repatriating stranded passengers and transport workers
5 Ensuring minimum connectivity and passenger protection
6 Sharing transport information
7 Strengthening transport policy coordination
8 Strengthening cybersecurity
9 Testing transport contingency
10 Cooperation with international partners

One key lesson from the pandemic is the importance of coordinating crisis response measures – to avoid, for example, situations where lorries, their drivers and essential goods are stuck at borders, as observed during the early days of the pandemic. The Contingency Plan for Transport introduces guiding principles that ensure crisis response measures are proportionate, transparent, non-discriminatory, in line with the EU Treaties, and able to ensure the Single Market continues to function as it should.

Next steps

The Commission and the Member States will use this Contingency Plan to respond to current challenges affecting the transport sector. The Commission will support Member States and steer the process of building crisis preparedness in cooperation with the EU agencies, by coordinating the Network of National Transport Contact Points and maintaining regular discussions with international partners and stakeholders. To respond to immediate challenges and ensure Ukraine can export grain, but also import the goods it needs, from humanitarian aid, to animal feed and fertilisers, the Commission will coordinate the Solidarity Lanes contact points network and the Solidarity Lanes matchmaking platform.

US to Strengthen Public and Private Sector Cybersecurity

Package Includes His Bipartisan Bills to Protect Critical Infrastructure and Federal Networks, and Ensure Government Can Safely Adopt Cloud Technology

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced a landmark legislative package that would significantly enhance our nation’s ability to combat ongoing cybersecurity threats against our critical infrastructure and the federal government – particularly in the face of potential cyber-attacks sponsored by the Russian government in retaliation for U.S. support in Ukraine. The legislation combines language from three bills Peters authored and advanced out of his committee – the Cyber Incident Reporting Act, the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2021, and the Federal Secure Cloud Improvement and Jobs Act. The combined bill, known as the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act, would require critical infrastructure owners and operators and civilian federal agencies to report to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) if they experience a substantial cyber-attack. It would also require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report ransomware payments to CISA, modernize the government’s cybersecurity posture, and authorize the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) to ensure federal agencies can quickly and securely adopt cloud-based technologies that improve government operations and efficiency.

“Cyber-attacks against federal networks and critical infrastructure companies – including oil pipelines, meatpacking centers, and wastewater treatment plants – have disrupted lives and livelihoods across the country. That is why, for months, I have been leading efforts to fight back against cybercriminals and foreign adversaries who launch these incessant attacks,” said Senator Peters. “It is clear that, as our nation continues to counter cyber threats and support Ukraine, we need to pass this legislation to provide additional tools to address possible cyber-attacks from adversaries, including the Russian government. This landmark, bipartisan legislative package will provide our lead cybersecurity agency, CISA, with the information and tools needed to warn of potential cybersecurity threats to critical infrastructure, prepare for widespread impacts, coordinate the government’s efforts, and help victims respond to and recover from online breaches. Our efforts will significantly bolster and modernize federal cybersecurity as new, serious software vulnerabilities continue to be discovered, such as the one in log4j. This combined bill will also ensure that agencies can procure cloud-based technology quickly, while ensuring these systems, and the information they store, are secure.”

Last year, hackers breached the network of a major oil pipeline forcing the company to shut down over 5,500 miles of pipeline – leading to increased prices and gas shortages for communities across the East Coast. Last summer, the world’s largest beef supplier was hit by a cyber-attack, prompting shutdowns at company plants and threatening meat supplies all across the nation. As these kinds of attacks continue to rise, Peters’ legislation would help ensure critical infrastructure entities such as banks, electric grids, water networks, and transportation systems are able to quickly recover and provide essential services to the American people in the event of network breaches.

The Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act would require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report to CISA within 72 hours if they are experiencing a substantial cyber-attack, and within 24 hours if they make a ransomware payment. Additionally, the package would update current federal government cybersecurity laws to improve coordination between federal agencies, require the government to take a risk-based approach to cybersecurity, as well as require all civilian agencies to report all cyber-attacks to CISA, and update the threshold for agencies to report cyber incidents to Congress. It also provides additional authorities to CISA to ensure they are the lead federal agency in charge of responding to cybersecurity incidents on federal civilian networks. Finally, the package would authorize FedRAMP for five years to ensure federal agencies are able to quickly and securely adopt cloud-based technologies that improve government efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

CISA, FBI and Treasury Release Advisory on North Korean State-Sponsored Cyber Actors Use of Maui Ransomware

Healthcare and Other Sectors Provided with Proactive Steps to Detect and Reduce Risk

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) today released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) that provides information on Maui ransomware, which has been used by North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors since at least May 2021 to target Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector organizations.

The CSA titled, “North Korean State-Sponsored Cyber Actors Use Maui Ransomware to Target the Healthcare and Public Health Sector,” provides technical details and indicators of compromise (IOC) observed during multiple FBI incident response activities over a period of more than a year and obtained from industry analysis of Maui samples. North Korean state-sponsored actors were observed using Maui ransomware to encrypt HPH servers responsible for providing healthcare services. In some cases, the malicious activity disrupted the services provided by the victim for prolonged periods.

“As the nation’s cyber defense agency, our team works tirelessly in collaboration with partners to publish timely information that can help organizations prevent and build resilience against all cyber threats,” said CISA's Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, Eric Goldstein. “Today’s advisory comes out of our strong partnership with the FBI and Treasury. This malicious activity by North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors against the healthcare and public health sector poses a significant risk to organizations of all sizes.”

"The FBI, along with our federal partners, remains vigilant in the fight against North Korea's malicious cyber threats to our healthcare sector," said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran. "We are committed to sharing information and mitigation tactics with our private sector partners to assist them in shoring up their defenses and protecting their systems."

“Ransomware victimizes people and businesses, large and small, across America. Treasury has worked closely with CISA and FBI to counter ransomware and protect financial sector critical infrastructure,” said Rahul Prabhakar, Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection. “This joint advisory on Maui ransomware provides guidance that organizations of all sizes across the country can use to help defend themselves. We will continue to work closely with our partners to push out actionable information on ransomware and other malicious activity as quickly as possible to help individuals and businesses guard against ever-evolving cyber threats.”

The HPH Sector, as well as other critical infrastructure organizations, are urged to review this joint CSA and apply the recommended mitigations to reduce the likelihood of compromise from ransomware operations. The FBI, CISA, and Treasury assess that North Korean state-sponsored actors are likely to continue targeting HPH Sector organizations, because of the assumption that these organizations are willing to pay ransoms to avoid disruption of the critical life and health services they provide. For more information on state-sponsored North Korean malicious cyber activity, see CISA’s North Korea Cyber Threat Overview and Advisories webpage.

The FBI, CISA, and Treasury strongly discourage paying ransoms as doing so does not guarantee files and records will be recovered and may pose sanctions risks. In September 2021, Treasury issued an advisory highlighting the sanctions risk associated with ransomware payments and providing steps that can be taken by companies to mitigate the risk of being a victim of ransomware.

CISA Releases Second Version of Guidance for Secure Migration to the Cloud

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published the second version of “Cloud Security Technical Reference Architecture (TRA)” today, which strengthens guidance to fulfill a key mandate under President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 14028 - "Improving the Nation's Cybersecurity." The Cloud Services TRA is designed to guide agencies’ secure migration to the cloud by defining and clarifying considerations for shared services, cloud migration, and cloud security posture management.

As the Federal Government, along with organizations across sectors, continues to migrate to the cloud, it is paramount that agencies implement measures to protect it. The Cloud Security TRA, co-authored by CISA, the United States Digital Service (USDS), and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), provides foundational guidance for organization to use public cloud more security and improve the ability of the federal government to identify, detect, protect, respond, and recover from cyber incidents.

“As the nation’s cyber defense agency, CISA works collaboratively with our interagency partners to implement improvements that make our federal civilian agencies more resilient to cyber threats,” said Eric Goldstein, Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, CISA. “The updated Cloud Security TRA is a key step forward for each agency’s transition to the cloud environment. CISA and our partners will continue to provide expert, coherent, and timely guidance to help agencies modernize their networks with sound cybersecurity and resilience to protect against evolving cyber adversaries. While the TRA was developed for federal agencies, all organizations using or migrating to cloud environments should review this document and adopt the practices therein as applicable to most effectively manage organizational risk.”

In consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, the three agencies adjudicated more than 300 public comments received in September 2021. This feedback helped to further strengthen the Cloud Security TRA and fully address a host of considerations for secure cloud migration. A summary of the feedback received, as well as a Response to Comments (RTC), is available in the Response to Comments for Cloud Security Technical Reference Architecture.

How to map the Cybersecurity Threat Landscape? Follow the ENISA 6-step Methodology

The cybersecurity threat landscape methodology developed by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) aims at promoting consistent and transparent threat intelligence sharing across the European Union.

With a cyber threat landscape in constant evolution, the need for updated and accurate information on the current situation is growing and this a key element for assessing relevant risks.

This is why ENISA releases today an open and transparent framework to support the development of threat landscapes.

The ENISA methodology aims to provide a baseline for the transparent and systematic delivery of horizontal, thematic and sectorial cybersecurity threat landscapes (CTL) thanks to a systematic and transparent process for data collection and analysis.

Who can benefit from this new methodology?

This new methodology is made available to ENISA’s stakeholders and to other interested parties who wish to generate their own cyber threat landscapes. Adopting and/or adapting the proposed new CTL framework will enhance their ability to build situational awareness, to monitor and to tackle existing and potential threats.

ENISA will also be using this new methodology to deliver an enhanced annual ENISA Threat Landscape (ETL). It will also be used to generate technical or sectorial threat landscapes.

How does the methodology work?

The framework is based on the different elements considered in the performance of the cybersecurity threat landscape analysis. It therefore includes the identification and definition of the process, methods and tools used as well as the stakeholders involved.

Building on the existing modus operandi, this methodology provides directions on the following:

- defining components and contents of each of the different types of CTL;
- assessing the target audience for each type of CTL to be performed;
- how data sources are collected;
- how data is analysed;
- how data is to be disseminated;
- how feedback is to be collected and analysed.

The ENISA methodology consists of six main steps with feedback foreseen and associated to each of these steps:

1. Direction;
2. Collection;
3. Processing;
4. Analysis and production;
5. Dissemination;
6. Feedback

This CTL methodology has been validated by the ENISA ad-hoc working group on the Cybersecurity Threat Landscape (CTL WG). The group consists of European and international experts from both public and private sector entities.

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