Following Their Part in the SolarWinds Case, FireEye and Microsoft have another Hacking to Report

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Yes, the SolarWinds cyberattack is still very much an issue being handled, but in the meantime cybersecurity concerns are not slowing down. Microsoft and FireEye have uncovered information about another intrusive cyber event and concerns over defense weapons security are being raised.

CISA Mandates New Requirements

NBC News reported that the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released an emergency warning after Microsoft shared that it had uncovered evidence of hacking into its mail and calendar server program known as Exchange. In a post about the incident, Microsoft attributed the attack to a group likely working for Chinese government. In an uncommon response from the CISA, the agency put out a requirement for all of the U.S. government to update its networks with Exchange software that can block the hackers. Microsoft Vice President Tom Burt explained that the cyber spies have targeted organizations like disease researchers, law firms and defense contractors rather than individuals. 

Cybersecurity firm FireEye also reported having evidence that hackers broke into the Microsoft email server, which it believes to have started in January. In its post on the cyberattack, FireEye added the detail that its own recording of the campaign led to evidence of targets including “US-based retailers, local governments, a university, and an engineering firm,” and that its findings aligned overall with Microsoft’s report. Both FireEye and Microsoft were involved in the SolarWinds attack that is still under investigation.

Insufficient Cyber Measures Continue to Mount

But SolarWinds and now this new hacking campaign are not the only cybersecurity issues under investigation. A recent article for Bloomberg covered a concern issued by a government watchdog addressing potentially insufficient cybersecurity measures in systems used to carry out Department of Defense weapons contracts. According to the Government Accountability Office, there are instances of contracts that are minimal or void of cybersecurity requirements. Although the watchdog acknowledged some improvement in this area compared to past reports, the watchdog also pointed out that there is still a great necessity to apply cybersecurity practices. 

Key Takeaways:

“U.S. issues warning after Microsoft says China hacked its mail server program” – Kevin Collier, NBC News

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/u-s-issues-warning-after-microsoft-says-china-hacked-its-n1259522

  • The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released an emergency warning after Microsoft shared that it had uncovered evidence of hacking into its mail and calendar server program known as Exchange.
  • Microsoft suggested that the hacking may have been carried out by a group connected to the Chinese government.
  • Microsoft Vice President Tom Burt explained that the cyber spies have targeted organizations like disease researchers, law firms and defense contractors rather than individuals.

“FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January” – Maggie Miller, The Hill

https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/541761-fireeye-finds-evidence-chinese-hackers-exploited-microsoft-email-app

  • Cybersecurity firm FireEye also shared a report on the Microsoft email application hacking.
  • FireEye reports that the campaign likely started in January.
  • FireEye added that targets of the attack included US-based retailers, local governments, a university, and an engineering firm.

“Watchdog Warns of Weak Cybersecurity in DOD Weapons Contracts” – Alyza Sebenius, Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-04/watchdog-warns-of-weak-cybersecurity-in-dod-weapons-contracts

  • A government watchdog recently issued a warning addressing insufficient cybersecurity measures in weapons contracts.
  • According to the Government Accountability Office, there are instances of contracts that are minimal or void of cybersecurity requirements. 
  • This report follows not just the news of the SolarWinds attack on government agencies, but a report of issues with weapons systems cybersecurity that was released two years ago.

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