Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, August 15, 2020

Subject: Report: Two new encryption standards will soon sweep away security controls
Source: TechRepublic
Security professionals must act before TLS 1.3 and DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) are implemented or they won’t be able to analyze network traffic and detect cyberthreats, warns Forrester Research. Transport layer security (TLS) and DNS, two of the foundational protocols of the internet, have recently undergone radical changes to protect browser user privacy. At the same time, they will reduce security on-premises in the short term, and security professionals must put tools in place in the next couple of years, a new report from Forrester Research states.”While [the protocols] hide user activity from the searching eyes of nation-states and ISPs, they also hide valuable metadata from enterprise network inspection tools,” according to Forrester Research’s senior analyst, David Homes. “As these changes gain momentum, security monitoring tools will be blinded to the contents and destination of traffic and unable to detect threats. The network will be darker than it’s ever been.”

Privacy activists have gone up against the government surveillance community advocating for encryption and have been working within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to provide countermeasures against eavesdropping and data collection, Holmes wrote. The latest version, TLS 1.3, and encryption of the domain name system are the results of their most recent efforts….


Subject: Strengthening Privacy Protections in COVID-19 Mobile Phone–Enhanced Surveillance Programs
Source: Rand via beSpacific

“Public health officials worldwide are struggling to manage the lethal coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As part of the response, governments, technology companies, and research organizations are leveraging emerging data-collection and data-analysis capabilities to understand the disease and model and track its spread through communities. Facilitated by a trove of technology-based data sources—in particular, the data generated from the widespread use of mobile phones—these public health surveillance programs could prove especially valuable for preventing successive waves of infections as quarantine orders are relaxed and economies reopen.”

NBRSS for Rand Research Topic: Subjects: Civil Liberties, Internet, Knowledge Management, Legal Research, Privacy, Social Media

Subject: Mystery masks: Unsolicited face masks from China arriving in mailboxes
Source: Nexstar Media Wire via WTAJ

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — First, it was mystery seeds. Now, face masks from China are showing up unsolicited in mailboxes. And they are not gifts. Shan Sharp, of Clearwater, was stunned when she went to the mailbox recently and found a package she wasn’t expecting.

“I looked at the label and it had Shanghai, China from a certain district,” she said. “All of this information, including my cell phone number, (was) on there.”

There have been reports of not only seeds and facemasks but also jewelry. Sometimes the package is a box of facemasks, while some people report receiving only a single facemask.

The good news is this scheme is not expected to cost you money, but some unknown company could be using your likeness to boost their presence and reputation online. The FTC recommends that you change all e-commerce passwords if you receive packages from China that you didn’t order.

Subject: DOJ: Cryptocurrency seized in terrorist financing investigation
Source: DOJ via USA Today

WASHINGTON – Federal authorities seized millions of dollars in cryptocurrency as part of an operation that dismantled online campaigns to raise funds for major foreign terrorist groups, the Justice Department announced Thursday.The department said al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, solicited cryptocurrency donations from around the world using various online tools to fund their terror activities — a sign of how different terrorist groups have learned to leverage new technologies.U.S. investigators have seized $2 million, with more still subject to forfeiture, and about 300 cryptocurrency accounts in what authorities described as an unprecedented and wide-scale seizure of cryptocurrency tied to foreign terrorist groups. Also seized are four websites and four Facebook pages that were used to solicit funds.

“It should not surprise anyone that our enemies use modern technology, social media platforms and cryptocurrency to facilitate their evil and violent agendas,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “Terrorist networks have adapted to technology, conducting complex financial transactions in the digital world, including through cryptocurrencies.”

Subject: TSA utilizing CAT checkpoint technology
Source: Homeland Preparedness News

Transportation Security Administration officials said personnel at two airports are using new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) to confirm the identification (ID) validity and flight information in near real-time.Systems at Baltimore/Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport and Tampa International Airport (TPA) are utilizing the CAT units as a means of enhancing detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents at the security checkpoint.

The units authenticate several thousand types of IDs, including passports, military common access cards, retired military ID cards, Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards, uniformed services ID cards and visas and driver’s licenses.

Countermeasures -> Government -> News -> Threats -> Transportation

sample RSS –

Subject: Data Security & Privacy Gaps in Video Doorbells
Source: Consumer Reports

Video doorbells make it easy to see who’s at your door, a convenience that provides a sense of security. But like any internet-connected security camera, they’re also susceptible to hacking. So as part of Consumer Reports’ ongoing efforts to protect consumers from hackers, we recently conducted data security and data privacy tests on the 24 video doorbells in our ratings, including five new models. “Often these cameras are pointing out into public spaces, but you still don’t want to give hackers the ready ability to see who’s coming and going from your house, and when,” says Justin Brookman, director of privacy and technology policy for Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports’ Digital Lab evaluates digital products and services for how well they protect consumers’ data privacy and security. The most critical findings from our tests of video doorbells concern security vulnerabilities we discovered in five models from four brands that can expose user data like email addresses and account passwords..

Subject: U.S. Postal Service Counters Trump Attacks On Mail-In Voting With A New Blockchain Patent
Source: Forbes

[thx, John]

The patent application provides a number of illustrations as to how blockchain technology would secure voting, including the one above. The USPS says in the patent, “Voters generally wish to be able to vote for elected officials or on other issues in a manner that is convenient and secure. Further, those holding elections wish to be able to ensure that election results have not been tampered with and that the results actually correspond to the votes that were cast. In some embodiments, a blockchain allows the tracking of the various types of necessary data in a way that is secure and allows others to easily confirm that data has not been altered”.

filed –


Subject: Malicious Cyber Actors Continue to Target SBA with Fraudulent Schemes
Source: CISA

Original release date: August 14, 2020 – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is aware of fraudulent schemes and scams targeting its ongoing economic relief efforts. The SBA requests that suspected SBA-related spoofing or phishing fraud be reported to the SBA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at SBA OIG Hotline.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review  SBA’s fraud alert as well as CISA’s Alert on the subject. Suspected malware, phishing, or other cyber criminal activity can also be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) or through the CISA Incident Reporting System.

Subject: Joint NSA and FBI Cybersecurity Advisory Discloses Russian Malware Drovorub | CISA
Source: CISA

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have released a cybersecurity advisory introducing previously undisclosed Russian malware. NSA and the FBI attributed the malware, dubbed Drovorub, to Russian advanced persistent threat (APT) actors.The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the joint advisory and employ its detection techniques and mitigations.

Subject: GAO: DHS acting secretary, top deputy were appointed illegally
Source: FCW

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, his predecessor Kevin McAleenan and top deputy Ken Cuccinelli were installed in their posts without regard to the established order of succession, according to a legal opinion by the Government Accountability Office. House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and then-acting House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) requested GAO take a look at succession at DHS, whether personnel shuffles were in line with the Federal Vacancies Act or Homeland Security Act.

There’s no immediate legal impact of the GAO opinion. GAO referred the matter to the DHS Inspector General to review the matter further.

Posted in: Big Data, Computer Security, Congress, Criminal Law, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Encryption, Government Resources, Leadership, Legal Research, Privacy, United States Law