Cyber Round Up: U.S. Charges Iran-linked hackers, Biggest Threat: Insider Breaches, Ukraine Attacks Issue Wake-up Call to U.S. Critical Infrastructure

  • Fathi-et-al-IndictmentU.S. Charges Iran-linked Hackers with Targeting Banks and a N.Y. Dam (The Washington Post): According to this article, the Justice Department indicted seven hackers with ties to Iran for cybercrimes which included disrupting U.S. bank websites and hacking into a dam in Upstate N.Y.  The article states that this is the first time the DOJ has charged people linked to a national government with attempting to disrupt critical U.S. infrastructure (note: In 2014 five Chinese military hackers were indicted by the DOJ for cyber espionage activities).  In the 18-page indictment, the seven indicted were allegedly working for two Iranian companies, ITSec Team and Mersad Co., and they were allegedly doing so at the behest of the Iranian government, according to the article.  The full article can be found here.  Whereas a previous post related to the N.Y. dam is here.


  • WGL03038USEN Biggest Threat: Insider Breaches? (IBM white paper): In a white paper released in Sept. 2013, the most significant security breaches were insider misuse (at 36%), followed by loss/theft of data-bearing assets (35%).  This paper goes on to extoll the virtues of a zero trust model (Forrester) that looks at threats holistically rather than focusing on internal vs. external threats.  To that end, this paper pushes three concepts as being critical, (1) secure all resources, (2) implement restricted access controls, and (3) all network traffic is logged and inspected. The white paper is available here.

[Editor’s note: this paper is admittedly dated; however the fact that it identifies the high incidence of insider threats while at the same time advocating for across the board security protocols that operate independently of whether or not a threat vector is external or internal is interesting.  For a more current perspective, one might advance the notion of taking a data-centric approach where the data is viewed as the most important asset and in so doing you can safeguard the data which effectively obviates the need for evaluating whether a vulnerability is external or internal to an organization.]

  • Meet the Ex-Army Hackers Trying to Save America from Blackouts (Forbes): In this article, Robert M. Lee, a former Air Force cyberwarfare officer discusses the Ukraine grid attack and notes that one of the alarming takeaways was that it appeared to be highly coordinated and thus Lee theorizes that this was performed by a military force.  Lee goes on to say that the Ukraine attack should be an eye-opener for the U.S. which experienced nearly 300 intrusion events against critical infrastructure between October 2014 and September 2015, according to the article.  The full article is here.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a second year student at SU College of Law. Christopher is a non-traditional student, returning to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering and in addition to being a full-time student, Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a second year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic.Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

is a third year law student at Syracuse College of Law. She is also pursuing a Master of Arts in International Relations at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She currently serves as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a third year student at Syracuse College of Law. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She is a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was recently awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and as an extern in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Full biography

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography