NCCoE Releases Draft Guide on Securing the Industrial Internet of Things

Example Solution Addresses Cybersecurity Challenges for Distributed Energy Resources
The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) has published for comment a preliminary draft of NIST SP 1800-32, Securing the Industrial Internet of Things: Cybersecurity for Distributed Energy Resources.
In this practice guide, the NCCoE applies standards, best practices, and commercially available technology to protect the digital communication, data, and control of cyber-physical grid-edge devices. The guide demonstrates an example solution for monitoring and detecting anomalous behavior of connected industrial internet of things (IIoT) devices and building a comprehensive audit trail of trusted IIoT data flows.
By releasing Volumes A and B as a preliminary draft, we are sharing our progress made to date, using the feedback received to shape future drafts of the practice guide, and featuring technologies and practices that organizations can use to monitor, trust, and protect information exchanges between commercial- and utility-scale distributed energy resources (DERs).
Addressing Emerging Cybersecurity Concerns of DERs
The use of small-scale DERs, such as wind and solar photovoltaics, are growing rapidly and transforming the power grid. In fact, a distribution utility may need to remotely communicate with thousands of DERs and other grid-edge devices—many of which are not owned by them. Any attack that can deny, disrupt, or tamper with DER communications could prevent a utility from performing necessary control actions and could diminish grid resiliency—a concern that was highlighted in a recent United States General Accounting Office report, Electricity Grid Cybersecurity.
This NCCoE practice guide aims to help companies provide secure access to DERs and monitor and trust the ever-growing amount of data coming from them.

FS-ISAC Leads Financial Sector in World's Largest International Live-Fire Cyber Exercise

FS-ISAC, the only global cyber intelligence sharing community solely focused on financial services, announced its leadership role in devising the financial sector’s scenario during this year’s NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) Exercise Locked Shields.
Locked Shields simulated a series of realistic and sophisticated cyber attack scenarios using cutting-edge technologies, complex networks, and diverse attack methods to test the countries’ ability to protect vital services and critical infrastructure.
This year the exercise strategic track scenario included a large-scale disruption across multiple aspects of the financial services sector. To do this, FS-ISAC convened a Scenario Expert Planning Group comprised of its members including the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Cyber Resilience Coordination Centre (CRCC), Mastercard, NatWest Group, and SWITCH-CERT among others.
“Given the cross-border nature of today’s cyber threats, exercises like Locked Shields are critical tools in preparing the global financial services industry to better defend against increasingly sophisticated threat actors,” said Teresa Walsh, Global Head of Intelligence of FS-ISAC. “To strengthen the financial sector’s resiliency, FS-ISAC has facilitated cyber exercises for more than ten years. This is a natural extension of our role in helping protect the global financial system.”
A key focus of the exercise strategic track is the cyber dependencies of the financial services industry and how they relate to government and critical infrastructure. The exercise will also examine and account for the new realities brought about by the pandemic, such as the greater security vulnerabilities caused by accelerated digitization and remote work.
“Large-scale exercises like Locked Shields provide both the public and private sectors an opportunity to pressure test response capabilities across borders,” said Ron Green, Chief Security Officer, Mastercard. “Moving with speed and purpose are crucial during an actual incident and everyone involved will gain from the enhanced collaboration and information sharing.”
“Locked Shields continually strives to address the most pressing needs of our nations by emulating current challenges faced by leaders in the cyber domain. Partnerships, such as with FS ISAC, allows us to present current real-world challenges to national leadership. The exercise tests the ability of nations to address a massive cyber attack from internal government cooperation to what mechanisms can be used for coordination and information sharing with the private sector and international partners,” said Colonel Jaak Tarien, Director of the CCDCOE, a NATO-affiliated cyber defence hub that has organized this Exercise every year since 2010.

Security updates released for Microsoft Exchange Servers

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is encouraging organisations to install critical updates following a number of vulnerabilities being addressed in Microsoft Exchange.
As part of Microsoft's scheduled April update cycle, a number of critical severity vulnerabilities were addressed in Microsoft Exchange. We have no information to suggest that these vulnerabilities are being used in active exploitation. However, given the recent focus on Exchange, we recommend the installation of updates as soon as practicable, as attackers may seek to build exploit capability which could be used against systems before the updates are applied.
The vulnerabilities affect Microsoft Exchange Server. The affected versions are:
- Exchange Server 2013
- Exchange Server 2016
- Exchange Server 2019
Organisations running an out-of-support version of Microsoft Exchange should update to a supported version without delay.
Exchange Online customers are already protected.
The NCSC recommends following vendor best practice advice in the mitigation of vulnerabilities. In this case, the most important aspect is to install the latest security updates immediately. The April 2021 security update fixes a number of security vulnerabilities and more information can be found on Microsoft's website.

When & How to Report Security Incidents - ENISA releases new guidelines

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) releases new guidelines to facilitate the reporting of security incidents by national telecom security authorities.
The guidelines published help national telecom security authorities in the reporting of significant incidents to ENISA and the European Commission under the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC).
These new guidelines replace the previous ones issued by ENISA on incident reporting under Article 13a of the EU Telecoms Framework Directive. This revised version takes into account the scope and the provisions of the EECC and provides non-binding technical guidance to national authorities supervising security in the electronic communications sector.
The following three types of incident reporting are provided for under article 40 of the EECC:
1. National incident reporting from providers to national security authorities;
2. Ad-hoc incident reporting between national security authorities and ENISA;
3. Annual summary reporting from national security authorities to the European Commission and ENISA.
The new guidelines focus firstly on the ad-hoc incident reporting between the security authorities and ENISA and secondly on the annual summary reporting. More specifically, the document includes information on how and when security authorities can report security incidents to ENISA, to the European Commission and to other security authorities.
The information provided considers the services and incidents within the scope of the EECC - incidents affecting confidentiality, availability, integrity and authenticity of networks and services.  The thresholds needed for the annual reporting are also defined.  These thresholds are both of a quantitative and of a qualitative nature.
The quantitative elements considered include the number of users affected and the duration of the incident. Qualitative information was also used, such as the geographical coverage of the incident and the impact on the economy, on society and on users.
The new guidelines also include an incident report template and draw the distinction between national and annual reporting.
This report was drafted by ENISA in close cooperation with the ECASEC expert group of national telecom security authorities.

CISA Publish Ransomware Guidance and Resources

Ransomware is an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption. Ransomware actors often target and threaten to sell or leak exfiltrated data or authentication information if the ransom is not paid. In recent years, ransomware incidents have become increasingly prevalent among the Nation’s state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) government entities and critical infrastructure organizations.
Malicious actors continue to adjust and evolve their ransomware tactics over time, and CISA analysts remain vigilant in maintaining awareness of ransomware attacks and associated tactics, techniques, and procedures across the country and around the world: See CISA's Awareness Briefings on Combating Ransomware, Joint Ransomware Statement, and CISA Insights – Ransomware Outbreak.
Looking to learn more about this growing cyber threat? The NEW Ransomware Guide is a great place to start. The Guide, released in September 2020, represents a joint effort between CISA and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). The joint Ransomware Guide includes industry best practices and a response checklist that can serve as a ransomware-specific addendum to organization cyber incident response plans.
In January 2021, CISA unveiled the Reduce the Risk of Ransomware Campaign to raise awareness and instigate actions to combat this ongoing and evolving threat. The campaign is a focused, coordinated and sustained effort to encourage public and private sector organizations to implement best practices, tools and resources that can help them mitigate ransomware risk.
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