Cyberattacks a matter of increasing worry - GulfToday

Cyberattacks a matter of increasing worry


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The rampaging cyberattack on US government agencies that also hit targets worldwide is a matter of grave concern as it stokes fears over computer security.

Microsoft said late on Thursday that it had notified more than 40 customers hit by the malware, which could allow attackers unfettered network access.

The victims were also found in Belgium, Britain, Canada, Mexico and Spain among other countries.

Many private sector firms are leaving no stone unturned in beefing up security, to the point where they are rebuilding their servers and other equipment.

The threat comes from a long-running attack which is believed to have injected malware into computer networks using enterprise management network software made by the Texas-based IT company SolarWinds, with the hallmarks of a nation-state attack.

The attack may end up being the worst to hit the US, eclipsing the 2014 hack of US government personnel records in a suspected Chinese infiltration.

The National Security Agency called for increased vigilance to prevent unauthorised access to key military and civilian systems.

Analysts have said the attacks pose threats to national security by infiltrating key government systems, while also creating risks for controls of key infrastructure systems such as electric power grids and other utilities.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) did not identify who was behind the malware attack, but private security companies pointed a finger at hackers linked to the Russian government.

The suspected hackers also spied on less high-profile organisations, including groups in Britain, a US internet provider and a county government in Arizona.

More details were revealed on Friday of the cyber espionage campaign that has computer network security teams worldwide scrambling to limit the damage as a senior official in the outgoing administration of American President Donald Trump explicitly acknowledged Russia’s role in the hack for the first time.

Networking gear maker Cisco Systems Inc said a limited number of machines in some of its labs had been found with malicious software on them, without saying if anything had been taken. A person familiar with the company’s ongoing probe said fewer than 50 were compromised.

In Britain, a small number of organisations were compromised and not in the public sector, a security source said.

Recently, FireEye, one of the largest cybersecurity companies in the United States, said that it had been hacked, likely by a government, and that an arsenal of hacking tools used to test the defences of its clients had been stolen.

Beyond the tool theft, the hackers also appeared to be interested in a subset of FireEye customers: government agencies.
Cyberattacks have also happened in the UAE, but it has managed to scupper them.

For instance, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, TRA, stymied approximately 120,038 cyberattacks, during July. The team also dealt with 197 cyber incidents, the report added.

The TRA, also responded to approximately 34,000 cyber-attacks during April. In view of the cyberattacks, the UAE government has been taking some earnest steps to curb the malicious practice.

The Cabinet recently agreed to establish the UAE Cybersecurity Council with the aim of developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and creating a safe and strong cyber infrastructure in the UAE.

The council will be chaired by the Head of Cyber Security for the UAE Government and will contribute to create a legal and regulatory framework that covers all types of cybercrimes, secure existing and emerging technologies and establish a robust ‘National Cyber Incident Response Plan’ to enable a swift and coordinated response to cyber incidents in the country.

Related articles