The NSA's technical director for the Threat Operations Center discusses the type of digital espionage emanating from the Middle East. Facebook failed to kill a class-action lawsuit over its big data breach last year. And corporate leaders blame cybersecurity for their buyer's remorse. This is CyberScoop for Monday, June 24.
THE REAL IRANIAN CYBERTHREAT: Iran-linked cyber-espionage continues to focus on espionage and not destructive activities, a senior U.S. intelligence official tells Shannon Vavra. That's even as geopolitical tensions between Iran and the U.S. continue to heighten following an Iranian takedown of a U.S. drone. The National Security Agency’s technical director for the Threat Operations Center, David Hogue, told Shannon Vavra that Iran-linked hacking groups are focused on traditional intelligence gathering. “I think they’re trying to get more insights onto what U.S. policymakers are either knowledgeable of or think of them,” Hogue said in an interview with CyberScoop on Friday. “They obviously don’t know what the U.S. positions are and so they’re trying to figure that out.” Hogue said the hacking groups have been trying to crack into military accounts through password spraying. Iran-linked hackers have also been spearphishing government agencies and private entities, CrowdStrike, Dragos, and FireEye tell Wired.
NICE TRY: A proposed class action lawsuit against Facebook will move forward after a judge disagreed with the company’s contention it should not be held liable for failing to protect user’s information. The case pertains to the breach last year that affected 30 million people. Facebook had claimed that some plaintiffs’ information was not “sensitive” because it was accessible on a public Facebook profile. After all, they said, no real harm had been done because attackers had failed to steal users’ financial information and passwords. Oh, and the company said it should be absolved from responsibility due to the sophistication of the hack. U.S. District Judge William Alsup disagreed, ruling on June 21 that the evidence-gathering phase of the case should proceed “with alacrity.” Jeff Stone has the story.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF SECURITY M&A: Sixty-five percent of buyers who recently completed a merger or acquisition said they experienced some kind of buyer’s remorse because of cybersecurity issues, according to a survey of 2,700 IT professionals published today by Forescout Technologies. Some 53 percent said they found a critical cybersecurity issue or incident during the due diligence process that jeopardized a deal, and only 36 percent said technology teams have enough details before deals get done. “Acquiring a company without proper cybersecurity due diligence is like buying a used car and taking the seller’s word it is in good condition,” Joe Cardamone, senior information security analyst at Haworth, said in a statement. Meanwhile, Deloitte predicts that M&A activity in the private sector will accelerate thanks to tax reform, lax U.S. regulation and higher corporate cash flows.
CONTRACT SECURITY HEADACHES: If the Pentagon's adoption of an enterprise cloud capability through the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract is delayed any longer, it will “negatively impact” national security and military competitiveness, says Lt. Gen. Bradford Shwedo, CIO of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a letter released last week, Shwedo says deploying the JEDI Cloud, which has been in development since 2017, would affect the military's ability to "plan, fight, and win" in communications-compromised environments, and hamper critical AI efforts. The acquisition has been delayed for most of the past year thanks to cloud vendors like Oracle, which have protested the decision to issue a single award and use gate requirements to trim the competition to just two companies — Amazon Web Services and Microsoft — among other things. Billy Mitchell has more context at FedScoop.
GET IT TOGETHER, CONTRACTORS: The National Institute of Standards and Technology released new draft security requirements for Department of Defense contractors that store sensitive but unclassified information on private systems, FedScoop's Jackson Barnett reports. The enhanced requirements, which are open to public comment before going into effect, were triggered by a rash of data breaches in which sensitive defense information was stolen. Private contractors have been a critical weakness in DOD’s cybersecurity, particularly small subcontractors. “For years, global competitors, and adversaries, have targeted and breached these critical contractor systems with impunity,” a report commissioned by the Navy on its cybersecurity found in March.
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