News, via the astonishingly prolific security writer Dan Goodin, editing, and reporting at Ars Technica, tells the tale of oil and gas network attacks in the United States, by a group monikered Xenotime. Think we're protected? Think again. Read the Dragos security researcher's post for truly concerning national security relevance.
"The group, now dubbed Xenotime by Dragos, quickly gained international attention in 2017 when researchers from Dragos and the Mandiant division of security firm FireEye independently reported Xenotime had recently triggered a dangerous operational outage at a critical-infrastructure site in the Middle East." via Dan Goodin, Security Editor reporting at Ars Technica
"Ultimately, XENOTIME’s expansion to an additional ICS vertical is deeply concerning given this entity’s willingness to undermine fundamental process safety in ICS environments placing lives and environments at great risk. - via Dragos
A superlative bit of combinatorial scholarship coming out of St. Louis University, where Sean Hartling, Vasit Sagan, Paheding Sidike, Maitiniyazi Maimaitijiang and Joshua Carron have lashed-up geospatial sciences, machine learning, UAVs, and no-small level of intellectual virtuosity to study trees, the natural felling thereof, and power outages. Todays' Must Read for you ICS Boffins and Foresty geeks (while not ignoring the AI, ML, UAv and Network Information Security types as well).
"At SLU, geospatial science meets machine learning. In a study recently published in Sensors, Saint Louis University researchers paired satellite imaging data with machine learning techniques to map local tree species and health. The data generated by the project will help inform best practices for managing healthy green spaces as well as trimming programs to avoid power outages following storms." - via Carrie Bebermeyer, Senior Media Relations Specialist at St. Louis University
via Zack Whittaker timely reportage for ZDNet's Zero Day group, his work provides insight to the tangled-web-we-weave in the ICS/SCADA world. This time - the ramifications of a particularly-pesky security flaw in a Schneider product (amongst thousands of other known bugs in hundreds of other software packages coupled with poor software management practices in the industrial control systems sector combine to make a very poor nap at the control boards, indeed. Just ask Homer! Today's Critical Must Read Choice.
"It's the latest vulnerability that risks an attack to the core of any major plant's operations at a time when these systems have become a greater target in recent years. The report follows a recent warning, issued by the FBI and Homeland Security, from Russian hackers. The affected Schneider software, InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition, acts as middleware between industrial devices and their human operators. It's used to automate the various moving parts of a power plant or manufacturing unit, by keeping tabs on data collection sensors and control systems. " - via Zack Whittaker writing for ZDNet's Zero Day
In a tour de force post on the Unfettered blog, highly respected Industrial Control Systems Information Security Professional Joe Weiss targets systemic problems in the ICS arena. One of those problems is apparently the correct identification and reporting of security incidents in the ICS realm. If you read anything today on ICS / SCADA information and Network Security, read Joes' blog post - it's simply that important.
Superb rebuttal co-authored by Robert M. Lee, CAPT USAF (see Captain Lee's personal rebuttal of the NORSE and AEI document here), Michael J. Assante Co-Founder and Chief Security Strategist, NexDefense, Inc., and Tim Conway, ICS and SCADA Technical Training Director at SANS targeting the report entitled "The Growing Cyberthreat from Iran: The Initial Report of Project Pistaschio Harvest" produced by Norse and the American Enterprise Institute. Read it and Weep.
Meanwhile, in astounding-security-attack-numbers-per-diem news, comes a remarkable litany of the resilience within the State of Israel's power grid, from Israel Electric Corporation Chairman Yiftah Ron-Ta. He describes the nearly one million attacks the utility fended off daily basis during the Summer 2014's Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Operation Protective Edge.