Cyber Security in an Increasingly Digital Workforce
On December 14, 2020 the NY Times published the article Russian Hackers Broke Into Federal Agencies, U.S. Officials Suspect.
The breach of the software, known as SolarWinds, was so alarming that an order went out directing confirmation the software was no longer in use, by Monday. Yes, Monday.
The U.S. Government is a gigantic bureaucracy. Time is measured in years or decades. Demanding anything be done in under a week is itself unprecedented.
It took place during COVID. Another thing going on during COVID was unparalleled use of the internet for working remotely. As millions of workers, government and otherwise logged in each morning to collaborate remotely, the Russians were turned in. Oh, and the Chinese (CCP) were too.
A September 2020, NYTimes report, China-Backed Hackers Broke Into 100 Firms and Agencies, U.S. Says reported “a group of hackers associated with China’s main intelligence service had infiltrated more than 100 companies and organizations around the world to steal intelligence, hijack their networks and extort their victims.”
This is massively disconcerting to any U.S. business working online. The threat is particularly grave for tech companies. Russia and China have been stealing U.S. technology for decades. A quick comparison of airplanes manufactured by either country illustrates how much these two superpowers like to copy American ideas and hardware.
If you have remote work sites, you are at greater risk than you if all your computer infrastructure is in-house. We recommend steps to help mitigate the threat while you figure out long term fixes.
At a minimum, run your network thorough a VPN service. It gives you encrypted connectivity to the and prevents easy identification of your physical location when online. Be ever more wary of unexpected or hard to identify communications.
Until organizations can install the hardware needed for more secure remote workplaces (often homes), the organizational culture needs to be one of caution at a level above what was commonplace when staff was on under the company’s roof.