Microsoft Announces Free Election Cyber Defence Tools
Microsoft has revealed it recently disrupted domains associated with a Russian cyber attack group believed to be targeting US political groups ahead of the midterm elections
Microsoft has announce it will provide “state of the art” cyber security protection at no extra cost to all election candidates and campaign offices using Office 365.
The Defending Democracy Program, launched in April 2018, is aimed at protecting campaigns from hacking, protecting voting and the electoral process, increasing political advertising transparency, and defending against disinformation campaigns.
The AccountGuard initiative is aimed at providing a more comprehensive view of attacks against campaign staff and expedited recommendations to secure systems as well as continual guidance on how to make networks and email systems more secure and briefings and training to address evolving cyber attack trends.
Microsoft will also provide preview releases of new security features on a par with the services offered to its large corporate and government account customers. “Broadening cyber threats to both US political parties make clear that the tech sector will need to do more to help protect the democratic process,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith in a blog post.
He revealed that Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) last week executed a court order to disrupt and transfer control of six internet domains created by a group widely associated with the Russian government and known as Strontium as well as Fancy Bear and APT28.
“We have now used this approach 12 times in two years to shut down 84 fake websites associated with this group. Attackers want their attacks to look as realistic as possible and therefore create websites and URLs that look like sites their targeted victims would expect to receive email from or visit. The sites involved in last week’s order fit this description,” said Smith.
The AccountGuard initiative, he said, is in response to concerns about security threats to groups connected with both US political parties in the run-up to the 2018 elections.
Smith said the special master appointed by a federal judge concluded in the recent court order obtained by DCU that there is “good cause” to believe Strontium is “likely to continue” its conduct.
“In the face of this continuing activity, we must work on the assumption these attacks will broaden further,” he said. “An effective response will require even more work to bring people and expertise together from across governments, political parties, campaigns and the tech sector.”
The court order transferred control of the six internet domains from Strontium to Microsoft, preventing Strontium from using them and enabling Microsoft to more closely look for evidence of what Strontium intended to do with the domains.
The six domains, said Smith, show a broadening of entities targeted by Strontium’s activities, with one appearing to mimic the domain of the International Republican Institute, which promotes democratic principles, and another being similar to the domain used by the Hudson Institute, which hosts prominent discussions on topics including cyber security.
While Microsoft has no evidence these domains were used in any successful attacks before the DCU transferred control of them, nor any evidence to indicate the identity of the ultimate targets of any planned attack involving these domains, the company has notified both organisations.
Microsoft said it will continue to work closely with the two organisations as well as other targeted organisations on countering cyber security threats to their systems. The company has also been monitoring and addressing domain activity with Senate IT staff the past several months, following attacks detected on the staff of two current senators.
“We are concerned by the continued activity targeting these and other sites and directed toward elected officials, politicians, political groups and think tanks across the political spectrum in the United States,” said Smith.
“Taken together, this pattern mirrors the type of activity we saw prior to the 2016 election in the United States and the 2017 election in France,” he said.
Microsoft plans to offer AccountGuard to countries outside the US “in coming months” as part of the evolution of its Defending Democracy Program, which Smith described as an important part of the company’s work to protect customers and promote cyber diplomacy around the world.
“While cyber security starts with Microsoft and other companies in the tech sector, it’s ultimately a shared responsibility with customers and governments around the world.
“Together with our industry partners, we’ve launched the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, now endorsed by 44 leading tech companies to protect and empower civilians online and to improve the security, stability and resilience of cyber space.
“And we will continue to call for stronger adherence to existing international norms and the creation of new international laws – like a Digital Geneva Convention,” he said.
Smith first mentioned the idea at RSA Conference 2017 in San Francisco, saying there was a need for a digital global convention that will call on the world’s governments to pledge that they will not engage in cyber attacks on the private sector, that they will not target civilian infrastructure, and that instead they will work with the private sector to respond to vulnerabilities, that they will not stockpile vulnerabilities and that they will take additional measures.
He said that in addition to a global convention, the world needs a new independent organisation like the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has addressed nuclear non-proliferation for decades.
Smith said the new organisation should bring together the brightest people in all sectors and should have the international credibility to confront and even identify attackers when nation state attacks occur.
- DevOps Engineer with IdAM
- Upto £80,000 plus benefits
We are ooking for an DevOps engineer, idealy with IdAM (identity access Management) experience, this is a senior role for someone that can be the lead hands on person on a project. Your role will be to work on the deployment project implementing the solution into the exsiting application so will be used to connect an applications into mulipe 3rd party appliactions. We Would look at someone who has done DevOps with Security and can cross train into IdaM, but preference would be given to someone with the IdAM experience this is a great opportunity to join a consultancy that work on some truely amazing and differnet solutions
- Senior SOC Analyst. Level 3 Palo Alto Wildfire, Rapid 7, Fortify, Splunk.
REF CH7840 Senior SOC analyst (Palo Alto Wildfire, Rapid 7, Fortify AND Splunk) Flexible location £55,000 + Senior SOC analyst needed (Level 3) that can achieve SC clearance for a permanent role. We are looking for Level 3 SOC Analysts with two or more of the following; Palo Alto Networks Wildfire (#malware) Rapid7 Nexpose Micro Focus Fortify (#automated #applicationsecurity) AND ideally Splunk. The role will include, but not be limited to; managing and handling incidents end to end, supporting and mentoring level 1 / level 2 staff, supporting the SOC manager in the delivery of the SOC roadmap, engaging with the client stakeholders (other technical teams) as and where needed, use case development, advanced search and reporting etc. Flexible location, commutable in the future to London or Birmingham This role will sit within a public sector client so the individual must be able to achieve SC clearance. To arrange a call with Chris Holt use this calendy link https://calendly.com/chris-holt/arranged-call-with-chris-holt-remote-soc-role Chris.Holt@dclsearch.com 07884666351
- Identity & Access Management (IdAM) Consultant
- Upto €100,000 plus bonus and benefits
An Identity & Access Management Consultant is needed to lead and drive technical and or business transformation projects in a client-facing position for a prestigious consultancy in Germany. The Identity & Access Management Consultant will be responsible for technical design and implementation of Identity & Access Management/IAM products within a wide variety of clients. The Identity & Access Management Consultant will have a blend of technical hands-on and client-facing consultancy with the ability to develop new business. Broad technical knowledge across Identity and access management is benefical. The Identity & Access Management Consultant will need to have technical hands-on experience with one or more of the following core areas; Privileged Access Management (PAM, CyberArk, Beyondtrust, Thycotic) Identity Governance Administration (IGA, Sailpoint, Omada, RSA) Customer Identity & Access Management (CIAM, Forgerock PSD2) The Identity & Access Management Consultant must have the willingness to travel to customer sites across Germany.
- PCI DSS Security Specialist, Level 1 Service Provider,
CH7827 Payment Card Industry DSS Security Specialist, Level 1 Service Provider End User. £75,000 Flexible location, ocassional travel to London- Covid permitting Payment Card Industry DSS Security specialist needed to join a Security team to work with a highly respected CISO within a Level 1 Payment Service Provider. The PCI- DSS Security Consultant will have end to end responsibility for PCI - DSS and its continuing certification. 2021 / 2022 plan is to transition PCI to the cloud. Experience must include a focus into the Payment Card Industry. A mix of Information Security standards, frameworks, audit principles, controls / policies and the management and use of the technical tooling to achieve compliance is essential. PCI objectives / 12 key requirements, OWASP top 10, ISO 27001, NIST Cybersecurity Framework etc An ideal candidate will be working within an end user environment with a cyber consultancy background. PCI Cloud compliance, specifically someone with experience taking PCI-DSS from on premise into the cloud is HIGHLY desired. However, someone with Solid PCI experience with a strong technical background which include Cyber / Secure by design etc would be considered. Experience managing internal stakeholders and external third parties essential. Flexible working, but with the ability to get into London. This is an exclusive role to DCL Search & Selection. Arrange a call with Chris Holt on https://calendly.com/chris-holt/arrange-a-call-chris-dcl-pci-compliance