The United States Congress recently passed legislation that includes new cybersecurity provisions requiring critical infrastructure providers to report cyber security incidents, including the payment of ransom, to the federal government. The bill, also known as the “Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022,” passed the Senate by unanimous vote on March 1. It then passed the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Biden on March 15, 2022.
Cryptocurrency has increasingly become an accepted form of financial exchange. However, it has also become a favored form of payment for cyber criminals.
In an effort to deter the use of cryptocurrencies in furtherance of criminal activity, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced the formation of a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU). The VAXU will combine various investigatory, technical, and analytical resources, and the unit is charged with tracking the illicit use of cryptocurrencies and assisting in their seizure. This announcement follows close on the heels of the recent U.S. Department of Justice appointment of veteran federal prosecutor Eun Young Choi as the first director of the newly-created National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently warned private entities to remediate any ongoing Log4j vulnerabilities present within their networks or face possible enforcement action.
Log4j is used to record activities in a wide range of systems, sites, and software found in online products and services. Recently, a serious vulnerability in this popular software was discovered. This vulnerability poses a severe risk to millions of users. Most importantly, the Log4j vulnerability is being widely exploited by a growing set of attackers.
Recognizing that cyberattacks have already commenced and could spread beyond the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield, organizations can take several steps to protect themselves. They can recognize the risk. Then organizations can assess likely cyber threats and vulnerabilities, build resilience and take preventive actions, to avoid becoming another casualty in a conflict that already has too many.
On January 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) issued a joint advisory, warning of an increasing cybersecurity threat posed by Russian state-backed threat actors to U.S. critical infrastructure.
According to numerous government and media sources, malicious cyber actors are targeting a new “zero day” vulnerability on a massive scale. This vulnerability, referred to as “Log4j” or “Log4Shell,” has resulted in widespread exploitation of a critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) in Apache’s Log4j software library.
Read the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s guidance on the Log4j vulnerability here.