Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

2/6/2008
12:18 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

National Intelligence Director: Cyber Risks Rising

The news provided by the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, to a Senate panel yesterday wasn't all good. While Al-Qaida is weakening in Iraq, it's spreading its tentacles elsewhere. That includes the critical IT infrastructure. Part of his testimony included warnings that the threat of cyberattacks are increasing from terror groups, homegrown militants, and nations.

The news provided by the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, to a Senate panel yesterday wasn't all good. While Al-Qaida is weakening in Iraq, it's spreading its tentacles elsewhere. That includes the critical IT infrastructure. Part of his testimony included warnings that the threat of cyberattacks are increasing from terror groups, homegrown militants, and nations.Here are a few highlights on the electronic threats he outlined:

Our information infrastructure -- including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries -- increasingly is being targeted for exploitation and potentially for disruption or destruction.

Over the past year, cyberexploitation activity has grown more sophisticated, more targeted, and more serious. The Intelligence Community expects these trends to continue in the coming year.

Terrorist groups -- including al-Qaida, Hamas, and Hizballah -- have expressed the desire to use cyber means to target the United States. Criminal elements continue to show growing sophistication in technical capability and targeting, and today operate a pervasive, mature on-line service economy in illicit cybercapabilities and services available to anyone willing to pay.

We assess that nations, including Russia and China, have the technical capabilities to target and disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure and for intelligence collection. Nation states and criminals target our government and private sector information networks to gain competitive advantage in the commercial sector.

The director went on to explain that an interagency group has assessed the cyberthreat, and how to best integrate U.S. government cybercapabilities and respond to threats. The results of that assessment have resulted in the issuance of a classified directive in January outlining steps to protect American computer networks.

That directive, "directs a comprehensive national cybersecurity initiative. These actions will help to deter hostile action in cyberspace by making it harder to penetrate our networks," the director told the panel.

Which leaves the question, haven't we been taking these steps already?

In any case, it's good to see that the cyberthreat is being taken more seriously today.

And I hope, as part of the risk assessment and planned security tightening, that the federal government is actively engaging the private sector -- power, financial services, technology firms, telecommunications, and others. If we ever were to take a significant cyberhit, it will require a coordinated response from all for a successful defense.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9498
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
CVE-2020-3282
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
CVE-2020-5909
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
CVE-2020-5910
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
CVE-2020-5911
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.