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NCSC advises US firms to guard themselves from state-sponsored intruders


The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) recently launched a campaign to help businesses in the United States defend against evolving cyber threats from foreign entities. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that the NCSC is sending its material dubbed “Know the Risk, Raise Your Shield,” that includes videos, posters, brochures, and flyers, to the private companies around the country to help them avert cyber-attacks.

The information distributed to companies addresses a variety of subjects, including supply chain risks, economic espionage, social engineering, social media deception, spear-phishing, mobile device safety, and foreign travel risks. NCSC is also providing “NCSC’s 2018 Foreign Economic Espionage in Cyberspace” report, which highlights the nation-state threat actors, including China, Russia, and Iran. The report, released in July 2018, provides the latest information on foreign intelligence attempts to steal U.S. intellectual property, trade secrets, and proprietary data.

The ODNI statement also mentioned the recent indictments of foreign nation-state hacks by the United States, including the ones of China’s Ministry of State Security, the U.S.-China trade dispute, a North Korean-backed hacker for his role in the Global WannaCry 2.0 ransomware in September 2018, among others.

“Make no mistake, American companies are squarely in the cross-hairs of well-financed nation-state actors, who are routinely breaching private sector networks, stealing proprietary data, and compromising supply chains. The attacks are persistent, aggressive, and cost our nation jobs, economic advantage, and hundreds of billions of dollars,” said NCSC Director William Evanina.

“To enhance private sector awareness, we’re arming U.S. companies with the information they need to better understand and defend against these threats,” Evanina added.

The concerns about cyber-attacks from foreign hackers have been raised since Russian hackers interfered in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. In October 2018, the Microsoft Corporation stated that hackers linked to Russian military intelligence tried to hack the websites of two conservative think-tanks in the United States ahead of the November midterm elections.

Also, the content of voter databases of around 35 million US citizens is being peddled on a hacking forum. According to a report from threat intelligence firms Anomali and Intel 471, cybercriminals have obtained unauthorized access to the U.S. voter registration databases and put them for sale in dark web forums.