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Critical Infrastructure News

The past year made it clear how many cyber challenges we face and how the threat landscape has evolved since the physical attacks on our country on 9/11. A raft of ransomware attacks has led to ransom demands as a condition for the decryption of data and to prevent its public release. Threat actors have successfully compromised digital and technology supply chains to launch large-scale attacks on governments and enterprises, impacting small businesses, local government, and hospitals. Attacks on critical infrastructure have also increased significantly over the past several years, leading to the compromise of water treatment plants, food processing facilities, and oil and gas infrastructure, which have dramatically increased the real-world impacts of cyber-attacks.

While the U.S. government has worked to respond to these emerging challenges, most notably through a Presidential Executive Order and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) release of advisories and mitigation guidance, there is more work to be done. The Executive Order and the executive actions it has already spurred will have some impact, but the government needs to further enhance its response to threat actors behind many of the recent attacks with a focus on nation-states. The Biden administration should also consider pushing for expanded international action and embracement of shared cyber norms that help protect critical infrastructure and limit the impact to everyday users.

Undoubtedly, the most high-profile story in cyber over the past year has been ransomware. The past year has seen an observed rise in ransomware attacks, impacting a broader cross-section of industry, including industrial production facilities and critical infrastructure. Even in instances where companies successfully defend against a ransomware attack, via backups for example, they still face the threat of data exfiltration and “double extortion,” where there is the demand for a ransom to prevent the release or sale of stolen data coupled with the initial decryption payment demand.

Attacks on critical infrastructure have had major downstream impacts, such as the impacts on gasoline availability on the East Coast following the Colonial Pipeline attack. In some instances, these attacks have compounded physical supply chain issues. The attack on JBS, a major meat processing company, led to temporary shortages intensified by COVID-19 related supply chain impacts. Similarly, attacks on major logistics firms, like CMA CGM, can have follow-on effects, impacting the supply of a wide variety of goods across an interconnected global supply chain.

Read more: HS Today

Around the world, there are an estimated 40.3 million victims trapped in modern-day slavery, according to the International Labour Organization. One in four of those victims are children. In addition, victims’ rights groups say that human trafficking across the U.S. (and the world) rose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, which only collects information from its hotline, has seen growth year over year in human trafficking situations, recording a 5% increase in reported cases between 2018 and 2019, for example.

But the numbers are difficult to get a handle on due to the nature of human trafficking; many crimes are never prosecuted, let alone reported. Countries or states reporting zero or low amounts of human trafficking offenses, for example, are merely reflecting data reported by local law enforcement or the justice system.

Aside from a moral obligation to seek out and report possible criminal behaviors such as human trafficking, organizations in any sector may face repercussions related to human trafficking, such as reputational damage, legal damage and supply chain damage, according to Lindsey Roberson, Director of Legal Engagement at the Human Trafficking Institute. The Human Trafficking Institute works all over the world to identify best practices for the prosecution of trafficking crimes, publish human tracking data, and help other countries identify and prosecute trafficking crimes.

“Frontline workers in any industry can certainly be briefed and trained on signs of trafficking,” Roberson says. But security leaders or those leaders within the enterprise that deal with risk and resilience, labor and safety, should also be looking at other areas to mitigate human trafficking and potential effects on the business, she says.

Taking a proactive approach to examining potential risks and liabilities within the supply chain in regards to human rights violations, human trafficking or other abuses, can save a company from financial or legal liabilities, but also help it avoid the look of impropriety that can cause consumers and others to place judgment on the organization and inflict irreversible reputational damage.

Read more: Security Mag

China partly shut the world’s third-busiest container port after a worker became infected with Covid, threatening more damage to already fragile supply chains and global trade as a key shopping season nears.

All inbound and outbound container services at Meishan terminal in Ningbo-Zhoushan port were halted Wednesday until further notice due to a “system disruption,” according to a statement from the port. An employee tested positive for coronavirus, the eastern Chinese city’s government said.

The closed terminal accounts for about 25% of container cargo through the port, calculates security consultant GardaWorld, which said “the suspension could severely impact cargo handling and shipping.” Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG said there will be a delay in sailings.

Read more: Al Jazeera

A shortage of truckers across the U.S. has become so severe that companies are trying to bring in drivers from abroad like seemingly never before.

For the first time in her 10-year trucking career, Holly McCormick has found herself coordinating with an agency in South Africa to source foreign drivers. A recruiter for Groendyke Transport Inc., McCormick has doubled her budget since the pandemic and still is having trouble finding candidates.

The U.S. has been grappling with a chronic lack of drivers for years, but the shortage reached crisis levels because of the pandemic, which simultaneously sent demand for shipped goods soaring while touching off a surge in early retirements. The consequences have been both dire and far-reaching: Filling stations have had gasoline outages. Airports have run short on jet fuel. A stainless-steel maker declared force majeure. And lumber prices hit a record, with some suppliers partly blaming delivery delays.

Read more: Transport  Topics

CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continue to respond to the recent supply-chain ransomware attack leveraging a vulnerability in Kaseya VSA software against multiple managed service providers (MSPs) and their customers. CISA and FBI strongly urge affected MSPs and their customers to follow the guidance below.

CISA and FBI recommend affected MSPs:

  • Download the Kaseya VSA Detection Tool. This tool analyzes a system (either VSA server or managed endpoint) and determines whether any indicators of compromise (IoC) are present.    
  • Enable and enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) on every single account that is under the control of the organization, and—to the maximum extent possible—enable and enforce MFA for customer-facing services.
  • Implement allowlisting to limit communication with remote monitoring and management (RMM) capabilities to known IP address pairs, and/or
  • Place administrative interfaces of RMM behind a virtual private network (VPN) or a firewall on a dedicated administrative network.

Read more: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency