Article 43

 

Monday, April 22, 2024

Bad Moon Rising Part 99 - Volt Typhoon

image: warning
 
Tens of thousands of I.T. professionals have felt the sting of layoffs and outsourcing over the past six years. Joblessness among I.T.  professionals became acute after the dot-com bust in mid-2000, and the economic fallout of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 made it a double whammy.
- Life After Layoff, 2006
 
America’s phone system may be easier to penetrate tomorrow, than getting through an opened door today.
- The Athens Affair, 2007
 
Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.
- Bad Moon Rising Part 36, 2009

---

There’s news on the internet our political adversaries are ready for another cyber attack.

REUTERS APRIL 18

An ongoing Chinese hacking campaign known as Volt Typhoon has successfully gained access to numerous American companies in telecommunications, energy, water and other critical sectors, with 23 pipeline operators targeted, Wray said in a speech at Vanderbilt University.

China is developing the “ability to physically wreak havoc on our critical infrastructure at a time of its choosing,” Wray said at the 2024 Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats. “Its plan is to land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic.”

Every time I see a headline like that I wonder how much easier it must be getting to break into American computers and SCADA systems.

About 20 years ago the EXODUS of IT and telecomm work was in it’s prime. 

I wrote about it a lot here over the years.

American born and highy-skilled I.T. workers were and STILL ARE being fired.  It’s not that we’re not needed anymore, it’s that companies found that replacing their skilled workforces of I.T. and telecom professionals with disposable temps and contractors saved money, and the term OUTSOURCING was born.

We used to think we were essential, now we know we’re disposable.

Instead of paying good wages with benefits, they paid the temps a lot less. Who knows where they come from, or how much they CARE ABOUT the systems they maintan, and companies they work at.

Telco techs like me were fiercely LOYAL to the company, we took pride in our jobs, and kept an eye out for things OUT OF THE ORDINARY.

When we got fired, the company encouraged us to apply with a company called TUCKER TECHNOLOGY, who they contracted with to take over our jobs:

The installation of a CO system is one of the most expensive, labor intensive and risky activities for most of telecommunications corporations. Each project requires a team of technicians with a variety of skills and experience in the CO environment. Our professional staff of installation technicians has successfully completed projects on the following Central Office and Toll Equipment

The WEB PAGE goes on to list the stuff on my resume.

CWA reps also encouraged us to apply because the union represented workers for both companies. Tucker WAS PAYING about $8 less with no benefits.  Some of us felt like THE UNION SOLD US OUT.

Another time IT work was OUTSOURCED TO IBM who may have offshored some of the work to their offices in India.  There was a lot of talk at the water cooler before we got thrown out wondering how secure all that data may be with foreigners in charge.

What else?

In 2020 FOX NEWS REPORTED:

‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ investigates: How AT&T outsources American jobs, makes employees train replacements

“I’m aware of at least 8,000. At least 8,000. It could be more.”

That’s how many AT&T employees have been victimized by an outsourcing process called “rebadging,” according to a former worker for the telecommunications giant who spoke to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for a special investigation.

The employee, who spent nearly two decades at AT&T, was informed a few months ago that she was no longer needed, and was being “rebadged” to consulting company Accenture, where she’d be forced to train a low-cost foreign replacement. She told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that she expects to be fired within a year.

Many companies say that foreign worker visa programs help U.S. companies deal with a worker shortage but Blackwell says if that was the case there would be no firings. AT&T employees say their replacement is not a question of intelligence.

Don’t think the government doesn’t know. That same Tucker Carlson report is ON FILE in Congress.

So many important companies have been sold over the years to foreigners, to the WITH THE BLESSINGS OF GOVERNMENT.

I doubt anybody needs to hit us with an EMP or nuke to take out command and control of computers, telecom, electric and water.

I’m guessing they’re much more vulnerable today, than when I started writing here 20 years ago.

Some examples of today’s cyberthreats.

· The Verizon Business seventeenth annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), which analyzed more than 30,000 security incidents and more than 10,000 confirmed breaches globally, found that vulnerability exploitation escalated by nearly three times (180%) last year compared with the previous period. SOURCE

· On September 6 [2023], Cisco published an advisory for a ZERO-DAY VULNERABILITY in the software for its Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) and Firepower Threat Defense (FTD) appliances that has been reportedly exploited in the wild. SOURCE

· CHANGE HEALTHCARE hit by MAJOR CYBER ATTACK - US health tech giant sees website taken offline, login pages unavailable.

· Canadian pharmacy chain London Drugs has closed all of its stores until further notice following a “cybersecurity incident.” On Sunday, the British Columbia-based giant with more than 80 outlets said an “operational issue” forced the closure of its locations across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.  “Pharmacists are standing by to support with urgent pharmacy needs,” according to a social media post. “We advise customers to phone their local store’s pharmacy to make arrangements.” A London Drugs spokesperson told The Register a “cybersecurity incident,” discovered on Sunday, was behind the store closures. They declined to answer specific questions about the break-in - including if ransomware was deployed - and issued the following statement: Out of an abundance of caution, London Drugs stores across Western Canada remain temporarily closed until further notice following the discovery that it was the victim of a cybersecurity incident on April 28, 2024.  Upon discovering the incident, London Drugs immediately undertook countermeasures to protect its network and data, including retaining leading third-party cybersecurity experts to assist with containment, remediation and to conduct a forensic investigation.  At this time, we have no reason to believe that customer or employee data has been impacted.  Pharmacists continue to stand by to support any customers with urgent pharmacy needs. We advise customers to phone their local store’s pharmacy to make arrangements.  We apologize for any inconvenience caused and we want to assure you that this incident is the utmost priority for us at London Drugs. SOURCE

Witty also publicly confirmed that Change Healthcare paid a ransom, a practice that critics say incentivizes ransomware groups who often fail to make good on promises to destroy stolen data. According to communications uncovered by Dmitry Smilyanets, product management director at security firm Recorded Future, Change Healthcare paid $22 million to ALPHV. Principal members of the group then pocketed the funds rather than sharing it with an affiliate group that did the actual hacking, as spelled out in a pre-existing agreement. The affiliate group published some of the stolen data, largely validating a chief criticism of ransomware payments. SOURCE

Speaking of Rasomware, remember this a few years ago?

For years, the cybersecurity industry has warned that state-sponsored hackers could shut down large swathes of US energy infrastructure in a geopolitically motivated act of cyberwar. But now apparently profit-focused cybercriminal hackers have inflicted a disruption that military and intelligence agency hackers have never dared to, shutting down a pipeline that carries nearly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast of the United States.

On Saturday, the Colonial Pipeline company, which operates a pipeline that carries gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas along a 5,500 mile path from Texas to New Jersey, released a statement confirming reports that ransomware hackers had hit its network. In response, Colonial Pipeline says it shut down parts of the pipeline’s operation in an attempt to contain the threat. The incident represents one of the largest disruptions of American critical infrastructure by hackers in history. It also provides yet another demonstration of how severe the global epidemic of ransomware has become. SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 04/22/24 •
Section Bad Moon Rising • Section Dying America
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