19.3.19 – Cyber News update

This is a transcript of the podcast and it will give you a summary of the latest news related to cyber intelligence and proactive cyber security in only a few minutes.

The podcast is aimed at professionals who are short on time, or for anyone who would like to know a bit more about what is REALLY happening out there in the cyber world. The focus of this podcast will be on the latest cyber events for non-technical people; anyone can listen and understand.

Lately, all hell broke loose in a small country located at south america and called Venezuela,Venezuela is in the midst of an economic crisis, The Guri hydroelectric complex supplies three quarters of Venezuela.

In 2016, the government rationed electricity due to a serious drought that affected the water level at the plant’s dam.

Recently, the electric grid in Venezuela failed, leaving large parts of the country in a blackout. Experts familiar with the country claim that the failure was due to problems in the main electricity lines that transfer the electricity from the dam due to lack of maintenance and negligence , but the Venezuelan government chose to blame the USA for the electricity problems and saying that the USA is standing behind sophisticated set of cyberattacks performed against them. The government claims that the cyber attack it is the reason for the multiple critical infrastructure failures happening.

According to the Communications Minister, the cyberattack took place against the computerised system of the Guri Dam, targeting three out of five generators and forcing the dam’s turbines to stop. He said Venezuela would present evidence of the attack to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and to other international bodies.

China have stepped in and offered help to Venezuela with trying to resolve the crises they are having.

The US never admitted performing cyberattacks against Venezuela, and experts that knows the country claim that the power outages are a result of years of negligence of the electric grid and critical infrastructure in Venezuela and is therefore not human made.

If it was a cyberattack, wouldn’t it remind you of a different incident that happened in the USA related to a dam?

For now, the cyber security community believe that the chances a real cyber attack occurred there is very low,  we will continue to cover this cyber conflict in more details when things evolving.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that  internal US Navy review concluded that it is “under cyber siege” From Chinese hackers who are building Beijing’s military capabilities while eroding the US’s advantage.

The Chinese are using different ways to target suppliers and contractors that work with the US Navy in order to find vulnerabilities they can exploit and steal confidential information such as weapon plans, and university research.

Trying to get sensitive information from contractors or suppliers to the Navy is easier than attacking the Navy itself as contractors are civilians who not always comly to the most strict cyber security policies.

For example, In one high-profile incident, last year, The Chinese government hackers stole important data related to the US Navy undersea-warfare programs from an unidentified contractor.

The Washington Post reported in June, that US officials said that among the stolen information were plans for a new supersonic anti-ship missile.

Supersonic weapons are considered the next generation of weapons and all the super nations are trying to develop them.

This, reminds of a similar incident that happened years ago, when the Chinese were blamed for stealing the F-35 stealth fighter plans by hacking into multiple companies around the world that worked on the F35.

Whether it’s through finding contractors or finding weak spots at other places, it seems that for now, the Chinese hackers are pretty much successful in performing cyber espionage against the USA. And this is only from the small percentage of cyber incidents that get published.