Top of the cyber news

Ukrainian Nuclear Plant Network Connected to Internet for Cryptomining(August 22, 2019)

Employees at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine reportedly connected portions of the plant’s internal network to the Internet so they could mine for cryptocurrency. The Ukrainian Secret Service is investigating whether the mining rigs were used as entry points for attackers to gain access to the nuclear plant’s network.
Read more in:
: Employees connect nuclear plant to the internet so they can mine cryptocurrency

NSA Security Project Will Help Protect Machines from Firmware Attacks (August 22, 2019)

A NSA research project aims to help protect machines from firmware attacks by isolating the firmware in a container. The agency plans to make the tool, which is described as “an enhanced SMI transfer monitor (STM) to provide protected execution services on the x86 platform,” available to the public.
Read more in:
: How an NSA researcher plans to allow everyone to guard against firmware attacks

Ransomware Outbreak in the US

The past several months have seen a wave of ransomware attacks hit local government organizations in states across the US. Most recently, 22 municipalities in Texas were hit with ransomware in an attack believed to be launched by “a single threat actor,” according to Texas state officials. Lubbock County managed to detect and deal with the infection right away. Other municipalities are working to recover from the attacks. When private companies are hit with ransomware attacks, they are often able to keep the incident quiet. People notice when a municipality’s online presence disappears.

Read more in:
: Ransomware Attacks Are Testing Resolve of Cities Across America

Young Women Report Bias, Discrimination, and Harassment in Coding Internship Interview Process

While the tech industry gives lip service to a commitment to diversity, the actual make-up of the companies and the overt gender bias and discrimination in the internship interviewing process reveal that the companies have a long way to go to meet this commitment. The low percentage of women in coding may be due only partly to a pipeline problem, but also to a pervasive atmosphere of institutionalized gender bias at some organizations that devalues women’s abilities. A survey of 152 third- and fourth-year female college students studying computer science or a related field found that nearly half had negative experiences during the internship application process

Read more in:
: Applying for Internships as a Woman in Tech | Findings from a Survey of GWC-Affiliated Women (PDF)

US Public Libraries Need Improved Cybersecurity for Census(August 22, 2019)
 The US Census Bureau will be encouraging many people to respond to the 2020 census online. While digitized data are easier to manage, they also introduce security concerns. Some people will likely be entering their census information via computers at public libraries. While the Census bureau is using multiple layers of security, including two-factor authentication, encryption, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) EINSTEIN 3 system, and help from Microsoft, libraries need additional funding to improve their IT security.

Read more in:
: Shh! No Hacking the Census in the Library

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