At a glance.
- Quad Partners introduce cyber challenge.
- RFI announced for 2023 Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan.
- CISA offers support for victims of ESXiArgs ransomware operation.
- Pakistan reverses Wikipedia block.
Quad Partners introduce cyber challenge.
The White House today announced the launch of the Quad Cyber Challenge, a campaign aimed at promoting cybersecurity across the member countries of the Indo-Pacific Quadrilateral Dialogue: Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. Internet users are being invited to take a pledge to adopt safer cyber practices like regularly installing security updates, using multi-factor authentication, employing good password hygiene, and educating themselves about online scams. “The Challenge reflects our continuing Quad efforts to strengthen individuals’ and communities’ cyber security awareness and action, as well as to foster a more secure and resilient cyber ecosystem to benefit economies and users everywhere.” Resources will be provided from a variety of viewpoints and sectors, and the challenge will culminate the week of April 10.
RFI announced for 2023 Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan.
The US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development’s National Coordination Office (NITD NCO) today published a request for information from the public on the 2023 Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan. As Nextgov.com explains, the document is the federal government's guide for cybersecurity research and development, and officials are currently seeking input on an update, which is required every four years per the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014. The NSF and NITD NCO have asked commenters to address a variety of questions including what research topics from the 2019 update should be carried into the next version, and what new innovations could improve the security of the digital ecosystem. The deadline for responses is March 3.
CISA offers support for victims of ESXiArgs ransomware operation.
As we noted earlier this week, France's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-FR) and Italy's National Cybersecurity Agency (ACN) issued a warning concerning a new ransomware campaign dubbed ESXiArgs that’s exploiting a vulnerability in VMware ESXi servers and has already infected at least 3,200 servers around the world. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced yesterday that it will be offering support for the thousands of VMware customers impacted by the attacks. A CISA spokesperson stated, “CISA is working with our public and private sector partners to assess the impacts of these reported incidents and provide assistance where needed. Any organization experiencing a cybersecurity incident should immediately report it to CISA or the [Federal Bureau of Investigation].” The EU is the region most impacted by the attacks, but North America also has a high number of servers at risk of exploitation. A patch for the vulnerability was issued in February 2021, and customers are being advised to apply it as soon as possible if they have not already done so. SC Media notes that besides spreading the word about the attacks, it’s unclear what other support CISA is offering.
Pakistan reverses Wikipedia block.
We also noted earlier this week that Pakistani officials last Wednesday decided to block the free online encyclopedia website Wikipedia in the South Asian market due to the presence of content deemed “sacrilegious” by the government. TechCrunch reports that yesterday Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued an order to unblock the site, calling the censorship “not a suitable measure to restrict access to some objectionable contents/sacrilegious matter on it…The unintended consequences of this blanket ban, therefore, outweigh its benefits.” The decision to reverse the blocking comes after public backlash that garnered the attention of the global media. Sharif also established a cabinet committee composed of ministers for IT and Telecom, Law and Justices, Information and Broadcasting, Commerce and Communications that will explore alternative technical measures for removing or blocking access to objectionable content.