President Biden’s Cyber Dilemma

The Biden administration is grappling with two major cyber incidents in its first 50 days in office, underscoring the challenge the new White House faces from foreign actors. Russia and China are suspected in the two incidents, which may have compromised thousands of federal, state and private groups for long periods of time before discovery. The effect has been to move cyber security up the list of the administration’s priorities.

Russia has expressed its alarm after it was reported the United States was planning a series of covert counter-attacks on Russian networks, saying such strikes would amount to cyber crimes.

The US security level is being raised probably because of the recent attacks on the US government systems and these US attacks may also be focused on the Chinese and Russian hackers because of the amount of hacks on Microsoft Exchange is now thought to be tens of thousands of organisations that have probably been cyber attacked and compromised. The hackers have used previously unknown flaws in the email software to steal information and data.  Microsoft has said the attackers are "state-sponsored and operating out of China". And now it looks like other hackers are also attacking these systems.   

The hacking group known as Hafnium breached as many victims they could find across the global Internet, leaving behind backdoors to return to later. This follows the recent SolarWinds cyber hacks, linked to Russia, that affected multiple US government departments and other organisations.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan wrote on Twitter,“We are closely tracking Microsoft’s emergency patch for previously unknown vulnerabilities in Exchange Server software and reports of potential compromises of US think tanks and defense industrial base entities. We encourage network owners to patch ASAP.” 

One US senator has described the SolarWinds attack as an "act of war", but what options President Biden has is not obvious..

That these cyber attacks by potentially hackers backed by governments is a real problem for the Biden administration and will likley result in US Cybercommand being directed to step up hacking into adversary systems to find out what they are doing and stopping operations against the US before they are unleashed.

The US has often considered espionage as then stealing of information as acceptable, because it practised it extensively, as whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 and these attacks and the response may fit into the same category. President Biden is launching an emergency taskforce to address an aggressive cyber-attack that has affected hundreds of thousands of Microsoft customers around the world, the second major hacking campaign to hit the US since the election.

The first major move is expected over the next three weeks, officials said, with a series of clandestine actions across Russian and Chinese networks.  

White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned anyone running the affected Exchange servers to implement Microsoft's patch for the vulnerabilities immediately. "We are concerned that there are a large number of victims and are working with our partners to understand the scope of this... Network owners also need to consider whether they have already been compromised and should immediately take appropriate steps."

The task of cleaning up the hackers' tens of thousands of infections may be, that early detection may give victims a chance to both patch their systems and remove the hackers before they can take advantage of their foothold inside organisations.

The Hill:      New York Times:   Wired:      Guardian:       Yahoo:     Jake Sullivan:       BBC

You Might Also Read: 

Solving Mr. Biden’s Wicked Cyber Problem:

 

« Cyber Security For The Internet of Medical Things
British Schools & Universities Suffer Attacks »

Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

A simple and cost-effective solution to monitor, investigate and analyze data from the web, social media and cyber sources to identify threats and make better security decisions.

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

Syxsense

Syxsense

Syxsense brings together endpoint management and security for greater efficiency and collaboration between IT management and security teams.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

Trusted Computing

Trusted Computing

TCG provides open standards, specifications and certification to enable trusted computing in area including IoT, networks, cloud and mobile devices.

Sucuri

Sucuri

Sucuri provide a complete website security solution to protect against hacks and clean up after security incidents.

Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber)

Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber)

AustCyber brings together businesses and researchers to develop the next generation of cyber security products and services.

Dark Cubed

Dark Cubed

Dark Cubed is an easy-to-use cyber security software as a service (SaaS) platform that deploys instantly and delivers enterprise-grade threat identification and protection at a fraction of the cost.

AAROH

AAROH

AAROH helps customers in Government, Law Enforcement, and Enterprises to identify, prevent, detect, resolve and protect from threats, crimes, breaches & fraud.

GoCyber

GoCyber

GoCyber is a new, highly innovative cyber security training app that uses action based learning to significantly improve the online behaviour of all employees in less than a month.

Absio

Absio

Absio provides the technology you need to build data security directly into your software by default, and the design and development services you need to make it happen.

NetApp Excellerator

NetApp Excellerator

NetApp Excellerator is NetApp’s global start-up program that aims to fuel innovation by partnering with deep-tech start-ups.