Government officials stress collaborative, voluntary approach as first wave of deliverables under the White House's executive order on cybersecurity comes due..
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Thursday said it has notified employees and others with DHS clearance to be on alert for potential fraud due to a vulnerability discovered in software used by a vendor to process personally identifiable information (PII) for background investigations. The software hole in had been there since July 2009.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with the SANS Institute and Mitre, released a scoring system on Monday designed to help enterprises verify whether the software they are using meets reasonable standards for secure coding.
If there's a lesson to be learned from last year's Stuxnet worm, it's that the private sector needs to be able to respond quickly to cyber-emergencies, the head of the US Department of Homeland Security said on Monday.
"The key thing we learnt from Stuxnet was the need for rapid response across the private sector," DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told engineering students at the University of California, Berkeley. "There, we need to increase the rapidity of response, because in that area -- as in several other recent attacks -- we've seen very, very sophisticated, very, very novel ways of attacking. When you're getting at control systems, now you're really talking [about] taking things over, so this is an area of deep concern for us."
Although nobody knows who created Stuxnet, many believe that it opened a new chapter in the annals of cybersecurity: the first worm written to destroy factory control systems. On Monday, Iran said it had been hit with a second worm, called Stars, but security experts aren't sure that it really falls into the same class as Stuxnet.
Stuxnet was a watershed event, according to Napolitano.
When Stuxnet hit, the US Deparment of Homeland security was sent scrambling to analyze the threat. Systems had to be flown in from Germany to the federal government's Idaho National Laboratory. In short order the worm was decoded, but for some time, many companies that owned Siemens equipment were left wondering what, if any measures, they should take to protect themselves from the new worm.
Both Siemens and the DHS group responsible for communicating with operators of industrial systems (the ICS-CERT, or Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team) could have been better at getting information out to the public, said Bob Radvanovsky, a security expert.
ICS-CERT has never posted information that wasn't already known to members of his discussion list, who share information amongst each other, he said.
Radvanovsky is the moderator of the Scadasec discussion list, an open forum for discussions about cyber security in industrial systems. "Both industry and government fail to understand the value of the Internet," he said.
With Stuxnet, neither Siemens nor DHS itself were the ones to explain that the worm was actually built to target -- and then destroy -- a particular industrial facility. That work was done by security researchers at Symantec, Kaspersky Lab, and -- most notably -- by security expert, Ralph Langner.
The Open Information Security Foundation (OISF), a group funded by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and several security vendors, this week released an open source engine built to detect and prevent network intrusions.