The United States Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced that it has hired nearly 300 cybersecurity professionals over the course of the last two months. The onboarding of new talent was part of the Cybersecurity Workforce Sprint initiative, and exceeded by 50% the hiring goal that Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced in May: 200 new employees by July 1.
The FBI and DHS have issued a Joint Cybersecurity Advisory on the threat posed by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service via the cyber actor known as APT 29. The new advisory, provides "Information on the SVR's cyber tools, targets, techniques, and capabilities to aid organizations in conducting their own investigations and securing their networks." Noticeably, the advisory uses the term SVR and APT 29 indistinguishably throughout, indicating that it sees no difference between the cyber actor and the Russian intelligence agency.
The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued a supplemental directive requiring all federal agencies to identify vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers. Providing additional direction on the implementation of CISA Emergency Directive 21-02, which on March 3 requested federal agencies to take the necessary steps to disconnect and update Exchange servers, the new directive demands agencies to accelerate the mitigation process.
The SolarWinds cyberattackers compromised the head of the Department of Homeland Security under former president Trump and other top-ranking members of the department's cybersecurity staff, according to a report. With Sunburst embedded, the attackers were then able to pick and choose which organizations to further penetrate, in a massive cyberespionage campaign that has hit nine U.S. government agencies, tech companies like Microsoft and 100 others hard.
"The SolarWinds hack was a victory for our foreign adversaries, and a failure for DHS," said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, top Republican on the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. An inquiry by the AP found new details about the breach at DHS and other agencies, including the Energy Department, where hackers accessed top officials' private schedules.
The U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency this week published joint guidance on Protective DNS. Designed to translate domain names into IP addresses, the Domain Name System is a key component of Internet and network communications. Protective DNS was designed as a security service that leverages the DNS protocol and infrastructure for the analysis of DNS queries and mitigation of possible threats.
The Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity unit has ordered federal agencies to urgently update or disconnect Microsoft Exchange on-premises products on their networks. CISA "Strongly" recommended federal agencies to examine their networks to detect malicious activity related to zero-day attacks targeting Exchange servers.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has ordered all US federal agencies to update the SolarWinds Orion platform to the latest version by the end of business hours on December 31, 2020. CISA's Supplemental Guidance to Emergency Directive 21-01 demands this from all agencies using Orion versions unaffected in the SolarWinds supply chain attack.
In an advisory this week, the Department of Homeland Security warned American organizations of the risks posed by using data services and equipment from firms that have ties to the People's Republic of China. "The PRC presents a grave threat to the data security of the U.S. government and U.S. businesses. It has both the intent and ability to covertly access data directly through entities under the influence or jurisdiction of PRC laws," the DHS says.
The US Department of Homeland Security warned American businesses of the data theft risks behind using equipment and data services provided by companies linked with the People's Republic of China. The DHS said that Chinese companies could be forced by newly enacted PRC laws to cooperate with Chinese security and intelligence services.