The SolarWinds supply-chain attack, which gave hackers access to up to 18,000 government bodies and Fortune 500 corporations and exposed at least nine federal agencies and more than 100 companies, is being officially blamed on the Russian government by the United States government.
The cyber espionage activities using the SolarWinds Orion platform were attributed by the White House to the sophisticated hacker collective Cozy Bear.
The White House officially blames the SVR for conducting “the broad-scope cyber-espionage campaign” through its hacking unit, which is also known as APT29, The Dukes, or Cozy Bear. The press release confirms what media reports previously claimed: that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service was behind the SolarWinds hack.
The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), also known as APT 29, Cozy Bear, and The Dukes, is today officially identified by the United States as the instigator of the extensive cyber espionage operation that targeted the SolarWinds Orion platform and other information technology infrastructures. In its evaluation of attribution to the SVR, the U.S. Intelligence Community has a high degree of confidence.
The SVR had access to more than 16,000 computers worldwide, but they only chose to target a small number of them, including state and federal organizations in the United States as well as cybersecurity-related businesses (FireEye, Malwarebytes, and Mimecast).
The extent of this compromise poses a threat to both public safety and national security. Furthermore, it unfairly burdens the victims, who are primarily from the private sector, and must pay the abnormally high cost of mitigating this disaster.
In an effort to ensure that organizations are taking the necessary steps to identify and defend against malicious activity carried out by the SVR, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are issuing warnings about the top five vulnerabilities the SVR is exploiting in attacks against the U.S. interests.
In response, the Treasury Department imposed a number of sanctions against a few Russian technology companies for their involvement in the SolarWinds incident. President Biden today issued an executive order related to blocking property in regard to harmful activities from the government of the Russian Federation.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control will require a special license before allowing US businesses and financial institutions to conduct business with companies that have been sanctioned.
The Russian Ministry of Defense funds and manages ERA Technopolis, a research facility and technological park that houses and supports the Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia, which is in charge of offensive cyber and information operations.
Known for conducting research and development in support of the harmful cyber operations of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Past is a Russian IT business.
SVA is a Russian state-owned research facility with a focus on cutting-edge information security solutions.
Nesbit is an IT security company with offices in Russia. Its clientele includes the Russian Ministry of Defense, SVR, and the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB).
AST is a Russian IT security company that supports the FSB, GRU, and SVR’s cyber operations with technical assistance. Other clients include the Russian Ministry of Defense, SVR, and FSB.
In addition to offering computer network security solutions to Russian businesses, foreign governments, and international organizations, Positive Technologies, a Russian IT security company that supports Russian Government clients, including the FSB, also organizes sizable conventions that serve as FSB and GRU recruitment fairs.
Without first requesting and receiving a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, US firms and financial institutions are no longer permitted to conduct business with the aforementioned companies (OFAC).
Exclusive: U.S. spy agency probes sabotage of satellite internet during Russian invasion, sources say
11 March (Reuters) According to three persons with direct knowledge of the situation, Western intelligence agencies are looking into a cyberattack by unidentified hackers that crippled broadband satellite internet connection in Ukraine at the same time as Russia’s incursion.
Analysts for the French government cybersecurity agency ANSSI, the Ukrainian intelligence service, and the U.S. National Security Agency are evaluating whether the remote sabotage of a satellite internet provider’s service was carried out by Russian-state-backed hackers attempting to cut off communications to prepare the battlefield.
On February 24, between 5 and 9 a.m., the digital blitz on the satellite service commenced as Russian forces entered Ukraine and began shooting missiles, impacting major Ukrainian cities including the capital, Kyiv.
According to a representative of the American telecommunications company Viasat, which controls the impacted network, satellite modems belonging to tens of thousands of users in Europe were taken offline as a result of the incident.
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Some clients across Europe, including Ukraine, have internet connectivity from Viasat Inc.’s KA-SAT satellite, which was blocked by the hackers. Some are still offline more than two weeks later, resellers told Reuters.
Due to Viasat’s role as a defense contractor for the United States and its allies, what seems to be one of the most serious wartime cyberattacks officially documented thus far has caught the attention of Western intelligence.
According to government contracts examined by Reuters, KA-SAT has given Ukrainian military and police forces internet connectivity.
According to Pablo Breuer, a former SOCOM technician for the United States, cutting off satellite internet connectivity could make it more difficult for Ukraine to defend itself against Russian forces.
“The range of conventional land-based radios is limited. You must rely on these satellites if you’re deploying contemporary smart systems, smart weapons, and trying to perform combined arms movements “Breuer remarked.
When contacted for comment, the Russian Embassy in Washington did not respond right away. Moscow has consistently denied claims that it takes part in cyberattacks.
In what the Kremlin refers to as a “de-Nazification” campaign, the Russian military has surrounded Ukrainian cities. The West has condemned this as an unprovoked attack and has imposed harsh penalties against Moscow as a result. View More
Viasat claimed in a statement that a “deliberate, isolated and external cyber event” was to blame for the disruption for clients in Ukraine and elsewhere, but the company has not yet offered a thorough, open justification.
In an email, business representative Chris Phillips said, “The network has stabilized and we are restoring service and activating terminals as rapidly as possible.” He added that the company was giving priority to “essential infrastructure and humanitarian assistance.”
Managing director of the Czech telecoms firm INTV, Jaroslav Strategy, said that the impacted modems appeared to be fully inoperative. He claimed that normally, the SurfBeam 2 modems’ four status lights would show whether they were online or not. The lights on the Viasat-made equipment would not switch on at all following the attack.
The Viasat representative claimed that a bug in the satellite network’s “administration section” had given the hackers remote access to the modems, forcing them offline. He claimed that some of the impacted devices would need to be replaced and that the majority of them would need to be reprogrammed, either on-site or at a repair facility.
The Viasat representative declined to provide any information and was evasive when asked what the “management part” of the network meant. A Eutelsat subsidiary continues to run KA-SAT and its related ground stations, which Viasat acquired from the European firm Eutelsat last year.
Questions were forwarded to Viasat through Eutelsat.
According to two persons with knowledge of the situation, Viasat has hired the American cybersecurity company Mandiant to look into the infiltration. Mandiant specializes in finding state-sponsored hackers.
Mandiant, ANSSI, and the NSA’s spokespeople all declined to comment.
Government customers who directly purchased services from Viasat, according to the corporation, were unaffected by the outage. However, a third firm manages the KA-SAT network and contracts out service via a number of distributors.
According to contracts published on ProZorro, a Ukrainian transparency portal, the military and security services of Ukraine have purchased a number of various communications equipment that utilize the Viasat network during the previous few years.
The Ukrainian military did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment.
Some online vendors are still holding off on replacing their hardware.
The Czech telecom chief, Strategy, claimed Viasat was not at fault.
On the morning of the invasion, when he arrived at work, a monitor displayed regional satellite coverage in the Czech Republic, neighboring Slovakia, and Ukraine, all of which were highlighted in red.
“What happened was immediately evident,” he stated.
Apple Patches iOS and macOS Against Newly Exploited WebKit Flaw
As 2022 comes to a close, Apple is delivering its customers a significant series of security upgrades that fix hundreds of flaws in numerous products, including a zero-day vulnerability that iOS users are reportedly being exploited by hackers.
As many Apple fans should already be aware, the Cupertino-based corporation released an update to iPhone 8 and subsequent models in November that appeared to be trivial and irrelevant. Apple did not reveal the exact reason for the patch, merely stating that “information will be forthcoming soon.”
The advisory now includes a real CVE and a brief summary indicating that iOS 16.1.2 plugs a significant security hole that threat actors may have used.
The problem, identified as CVE-2022-42856, is in WebKit, the rendering engine that apps utilize to show web content on both iOS and macOS.
By using “maliciously constructed online content” to inject into the target device, a type of confusion flaw might be used by threat actors to execute arbitrary code, possibly malware, or steal data.
According to the alert, “Apple is aware of a report that this problem may have been actively exploited against versions of iOS published before iOS 15.1.”
Google’s Threat Analysis Group researcher Clément Lecigne is credited for finding the problem.
On previous generation devices including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone SE, most current iPads, and even the seventh-generation iPod touch, iOS 15.7.2 and iPadOS 15.7.2 fix this horrible zero-day vulnerability.
Users of Apple TV are also impacted, and tvOS 16.2 by Apple fixes the problem. In addition, standalone upgrades to Safari for macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey, as well as for macOS Ventura 13.1, fix the issue.
Numerous further security flaws in Apple’s devices are being fixed, and they are all detailed on this page.
iOS 16.2, a brand-new point update for iPhone and iPad owners, not only addresses security but also adds a number of new features and enhancements. Go to Settings -> General -> Software Upgrade and select Download and Install to update your iDevice.
At long last, foreign investors can now invest in China’s VPN Market
In Beijing, the Chinese government finally declared that foreign companies can now invest in the ownership of their virtual private network services throughout the nation.
However, foreign investors are only permitted to purchase up to 50% of VPN businesses established in China. This restriction gives China the ability to maintain control over domestic goods that have been approved while providing a significant incentive for future investments.
Changes to investment caps on information services for various application stores, internet providers, and other topics are also covered by the policy update.
Everyone is shocked by this news because China has been fighting international VPNs for a very long time, preventing their entry into the nation, and imposing fines and punishments on users who disobeyed the banning laws. The only issue China had with VPNs was that they allowed users to bypass the Great Firewall and access foreign websites that were supposed to be blocked due to government censorship.
China will not relax its stringent control and internet access restrictions, despite the new measures the Chinese government has taken to attract international investment.
The state will continue to put pressure on foreign businesses to follow its rules.
What regulations have China put into place for incoming international investors?
The Chinese government’s first priority is to impose internet censorship. They took care to keep local servers running so that user data could be stored and made accessible to local law enforcement. They also informed the investors that users who appear to be employing a censorship bypass method may be blocked and reported.
China seeks to develop its many service businesses under this new program.
Additionally, the Chinese government is considering allowing access to their digital behemoths Tencent and Alibaba by expanding the search engine market on the Chinese internet.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China is currently creating precise laws and regulations that would compel all Chinese businesses to allow the appearance of their competitors’ websites in search engine results.
It would be an unprecedented move for the Chinese internet, one that would make dominating it harder than it has ever been if the Ministry of Industry moves forward with these new laws and regulations.
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