The debate persists: Should the feds supply security oversight for utilities to stop the next Stuxnet? Or can they really go it alone?
In data security circles, Stuxnet is the stuff of urban legend. It's a legend, however, that shows no signs of wearing out its welcome or relevance.
In fact, Steve Kroft's recent broadcast report on the venerable 60 Minutes news magazine about that highly sophisticated, centrifuge-specific stealth virus that briefly upset the country of Iran's nuclear apple cart (so to speak) raises important questions for both the security and power-generation industries in North America. For example, could future malware modeled on Stuxnet target other critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants or water systems? Also, who should be responsible for detecting it--private industry or intelligence-gathering agencies within the federal government?
I guess that all depends on where your security bias lies and how your political dispositions shake out.
Taking the latter of those questions first (and presumably ripe fodder for the politicos among us), the Network World article in CSO, "Should U.S. Intelligence Agency Have A Role In Protecting Electric Grid?" related the ongoing cybersecurity legislation debate in Congress and why it's suddenly reaching fever pitch. Turning up the heat is whether our power companies (if forced) would be able to implement new federally mandated network protections, or whether the U.S. government and National Security Agency (NSA) should step in, deploy, and enforce the requirements and monitor the results.
According to this article, a catalyzing event for this debate was how NSA director General Keith Alexander was recently taken to the Obama administration's virtual woodshed over comments that argued for more legal authority to defend the nation against cyberattack. In effect, power companies would be required to perform continuous scanning with threat data provided by NSA and turn over any evidence of cyberattacks to the government. As you'd imagine, post-Orwellian era outrage about threats to privacy deservedly abound.
In a similar vein, sentiments from panelists assembled for the recent RSA Conference in San Francisco to discuss the topic of protecting the U.S. power grid ranged from the decidedly hands-off to those that favored more of a proactive approach.
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Published: 2015-01-26 The default D-Bus access control rule in Midgard2 10.05.7.1 allows local users to send arbitrary method calls or signals to any process on the system bus and possibly execute arbitrary code with root privileges.
Published: 2015-01-26 Off-by-one error in the jpc_dec_process_sot function in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image, which triggers a heap-based buffer overflow.
Published: 2015-01-26 Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in jpc_qmfb.c in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image.
Published: 2015-01-26 Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/install.php in MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) admin_username or (2) admin_password parameter.
Published: 2015-01-26 MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 does not properly restrict access to /*/install.php, which allows remote attackers to obtain database credentials via the install parameter with the value 4.
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.