Homeland Security says Russian hackers compromised US utilities

According to Homeland Security officials, state-sponsored Russian hackers compromised US utility networks in a campaign affecting ‘hundreds’ of victims.

The Wall Street Journal cites officials from the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) claiming that hackers reached the point they ‘could have thrown switches’ to cause significant disruption.

Officials linked the hacks to a state-sponsored hacking group previously known as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear.

Back in June 2014, cybersecurity experts from Symantec released a white paper on Dragonfly/Energetic Bear. They noted the hackers appear to have been in operation since at least 2011 and compromised ‘a number of strategically important organizations.’

Their initial focus was on defense and aviation companies in the US and Canada before shifting its focus mainly to US and European energy firms in early 2013.

Symantec explains the group’s usual attack method:

NYC Issues Default Notice Against Charter/Spectrum; Begins New Franchise Agreement Audit

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include the New York State Public Service Commission’s decision to revoke its approval of the 2016 merger between Charter Communications, Inc. and Time Warner Cable, Inc., as well as comments from DoITT.

New York, NY – The agency overseeing IT and telecommunications services throughout the City of New York has issued cable-TV giant Charter/Spectrum a notice of default, and will immediately commence a new audit of the corporation’s Franchise Agreement, LaborPress has learned.

Striking Charter/Spectrum workers and supporters rally outside the corp.’s New York City HQ earlier this year.

The Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications’ [DoITT] decision to slap Charter/Spectrum with the default notice comes after the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] found that the telecom — one of just three major service providers in the city — engaged in unfair labor practices in relation to a work stoppage on Paige Avenue in Brooklyn back on April 2, 2014.

Specifically, DoITT issued its default notice against Charter/Spectrum as a result of the NLRB’s determination that the telecom “coercively interrogated employees regarding the events of April 2, 2104.”

No timeline has yet been given for completion of the new audit. In a previous audit completed earlier this year, Charter/Spectrum was found to be using an overly broad interpretation of the term “located in New York City” as it refers to Article 17 of the Franchise Agreement and the use of contract workers

QoS Best Practices for Better Bandwidth Management

Network Computing | Andrew Froehlich | 1/03/2018
Link to Original Publication

Improve network performance using carefully developed quality-of-service policies.

Quality of Service (QoS) offers administrators the ability to prioritize certain data traffic as it traverses a corporate network. But in order for QoS to work, a great deal of planning and coordination must happen first. If your network is struggling with bandwidth and latency issues, make sure you follow these best-practice guidelines for achieving better bandwidth management using QoS technologies.

Four Predictions for the Software-Defined WAN in 2018

By CIO; February, 2018

2018 WANs will need to be more intelligent and elastic while leveraging pervasive wireless connectivity and software agility — resulting in the Year of WAN Transformation.

2018 is shaping up to be the Year of WAN Transformation. Rapidly evolving market forces and relentless innovation are shifting Digital Transformation into high gear and driving mass adoption of cloud, mobility, and IoT within businesses of all sizes and across many industries. All of these changes are stretching legacy WAN infrastructures to their breaking point in terms of volume, velocity, and a variety of connected endpoints.

Here are some of my predictions as we head into 2018:

Cable vs. Fiber-Optic: Which High-Speed Internet Service is Right for Your Business?

Business.Org, By Eli Bishop     March 5, 2018

The Internet connection you choose for your business can have a major impact on employee satisfaction, productivity and your bottom line. Unfortunately, most small business owners don’t have the time to invest in thoroughly investigating all their options. As a result, they often wind up making a hasty, less than ideal choice.

So you don’t make this mistake, we’ve matched up two of the most popular broadband options available: cable and fiber. Read on to discover the pros and cons of each and determine which one will most effectively pump up productivity in your office.

Survey Shows Bright Outlook for Small to Medium Sized Businesses in 2018

 

CPA Practice Adviser, January 23, 2018

Optimism is growing among small-to-medium sized businesses in 2018 in light of new tax reform legislation, according to a new survey of accounting professionals released today by Right Networks.

The survey, which sampled 365 accounting professionals at CPA firms and small-to-medium sized businesses, revealed that nearly 54 percent of SMBs felt “very confident” about the economy heading into 2018 compared to a year earlier. Over 70 percent of SMBs responded that they were either “very confident” or “moderately confident” in their business prospects for the upcoming year, compared to a year ago.

Inside the Telecom Industry: The Trends that Matter for 2018

  Barbara McKinney — January 26, 2018
It’s safe to say that the telecommunications industry is still a major driver for growth in some of the world’s most progressive countries. For sure, a great deal of these countries – think of Singapore and South Korea – depend their economic numbers on the telecommunications industry. This is mostly due to the demands for instantaneous communications and more so because of its societal importance.
To put it simply, a paper published in The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine points out the industry’s societal importance:
  • It provides a technological foundation for societal communications.
  • It enables participation and development.
  • It provides vital infrastructure for national security

Cybersecurity Predictions for 2018 – Part One

 Infosecurity Magazine, January 9,2018   
Over the course of December and into the New Year, my inbox fills up with predictions for what 2018 will bring cybersecurity.
At the end of 2016 we assessed a whole host of industry predictions and determined 12 topicsthat would dictate 2017: skills gap, ransomware, poor routine IT practices, political disruption, CIO activities, social media attacks, AI, advanced cyber-criminals, GDPR, a cloud vendor compromise and better security collaboration.
Most of that came true, although the predictions on ransomware came nowhere close to the impact that WannaCry and NotPetya would come to have. So with an inbox bursting with predictions for 2018, I triaged all of the comments into 11 themes. In no particular order, here are the first six: