February 22, 2024

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U.S. Ramping Up National Cybersecurity

The U.S. government aims to improve its efforts to identify, deter, protect against, detect, and respond to the persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyberattacks. These attacks threaten the public sector, the private sector, and ultimately the American people’s security and privacy. The federal government also seeks to carefully examine what occurred during any major cyber incident and apply lessons learned.

The U.S. President has issued a policy that states that the prevention, detection, assessment, and remediation of cyber incidents is a top priority and essential to national and economic security. The government must lead by example.  All federal information systems should meet or exceed the standards and requirements for cybersecurity outlined in and issued according to this order.

However, cybersecurity requires more than government action. Protecting the U.S. from malicious cyber actors requires the government to partner with the private sector.  The private sector must adapt to the continuously changing threat environment and ensure its products are built and operate securely, and partner with the government to foster more secure cyberspace. The digital infrastructure should be trustworthy and transparent so that people will trust the infrastructure.

The government needs to make bold changes and significant investments instead of incremental improvements to defend the vital institutions that underpin the American way of life. The government must bring to bear the full scope of its authorities and resources to protect and secure its computer systems, whether they are cloud-based, on-premises, or hybrid.  The scope of protection and security must include systems that process data (information technology (IT)) and those that run the vital machinery that ensures our safety (operational technology (OT)).

The order generally seeks to overhaul a current patchwork of regulations and guidelines for the private sector and commercial marketplace around federal contractor cybersecurity requirements. This order will require agencies and contractors to address numerous issues at once under short timeframes. The order includes:

  • Removing barriers to sharing threat information
  • Modernising federal government security
  • Enhancing software supply chain security
  • Establishing a cyber safety review board
  • Standardising the federal government’s playbook for responding to cybersecurity vulnerabilities and incidents
  • Improving detection of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and incidents on federal government networks
  • Improving the federal government’s investigative and remediation capabilities

As cyberattacks have become more common, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has offered a series of simple tips and tactics to help organisations protect against ransomware attacks, as reported by OpenGov Asia. NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

NIST’s advice includes:

  • Use antivirus software at all times — and make sure it’s set up to automatically scan your emails and removable media (e.g., flash drives) for ransomware and other malware.
  • Keep all computers fully patched with security updates.
  • Use security products or services that block access to known ransomware sites on the internet.
  • Configure operating systems or use third-party software to allow only authorised applications to run on computers, thus preventing ransomware from working.
  • Restrict or prohibit the use of personally owned devices on your organisation’s networks and for telework or remote access unless you’re taking extra steps to assure security.

NIST also advises users to follow these tips for their work computers:

  • Use standard user accounts instead of accounts with administrative privileges whenever possible.
  • Avoid using personal applications and websites, such as email, chat and social media, on work computers.
  • Avoid opening files, clicking on links, etc. from unknown sources without first checking them for suspicious content. For example, you can run an antivirus scan on a file, and inspect links carefully.

Unfortunately, even with protective measures in place, eventually, a ransomware attack may still succeed. Organisations can prepare for this by taking steps to ensure that their information will not be corrupted or lost, and those normal operations can resume quickly. NIST recommends that organisations follow these steps to accelerate their recovery:

  • Develop and implement an incident recovery plan with defined roles and strategies for decision making.
  • Carefully plan, implement and test a data backup and restoration strategy. It’s important not only to have secure backups of all your important data but also to make sure that backups are kept isolated so ransomware can’t readily spread to them.
  • Maintain an up-to-date list of internal and external contacts for ransomware attacks, including law enforcement.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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