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buy apple account:US looks to keep critical sectors safe from cyberattacks

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,The Biden administration has created an initiative aimed at helping critical industries, like the electric utility and water sectors, protect against damaging and destabilising cyberattacks, ‘to ensure that control systems serving 50,000 or more Americans have the core technology to detect and block malicious cyber activity’, said Neuberger. — AP

WASHINGTON: A top Biden administration official says the government is undertaking a new effort to help electric utilities, water districts and other critical industries protect against potentially damaging cyberattacks.

“Our aim is to ensure that control systems serving 50,000 or more Americans have the core technology to detect and block malicious cyber activity,” Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday. “That’s it in a sentence. Clear, clean goal, but it’s going to take a lot of work to get there.”

The public-private partnership reflects the administration’s concerns about the vulnerability of vital systems, including the electric grid and water treatment plants, to hacks that could cause catastrophic consequences to American life. Though there is a history of government working with utilities, officials believe the threat has increased as more utilities are connected to the Internet, and the Biden administration wants to make fast progress in protecting systems that control the utilities.

The administration, meanwhile, has grappled in its first 60 days with responses to two major cyber intrusions. In the first, Russian hackers snuck malicious code into a software update pushed out to thousands of government agencies and private companies. The second even more widespread hack affected Microsoft Exchange’s email program.

Microsoft created a one-click tool to fix the issue after the White House encouraged the company to find a simple method for cleaning up from the hack. As a result, the number of compromised systems fell from 100,000 to less than 10,000 and “it keeps dropping”, Neuberger said.

She said one idea that was contemplated was whether Microsoft could push a patch to all compromised systems to effectively “vaccinate” them. Though it was determined that wouldn’t work in this case, the government will continue to work with the private sector to explore that idea for possible future patches.

Neuberger is also the administration’s point person in responding to the so-called SolarWinds hack, in which suspected Russian hackers breached at least nine different federal agencies. The AP reported this week that the hackers gained access to email accounts belonging to the Trump administration’s head of the Department of Homeland Security and members of the department’s cybersecurity staff whose jobs included hunting threats from foreign countries.

Neuberger said there were “gaps” in basic cybersecurity defenses at some of the nine agencies affected, which has hampered officials’ ability to determine what the hackers accessed.

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