New AI security guidelines for critical infrastructure

May 01 2024

.bh__table, .bh__table_header, .bh__table_cell { border: 1px solid #C0C0C0; }
.bh__table_cell { padding: 5px; background-color: #FFFFFF; }
.bh__table_cell p { color: #2D2D2D; font-family: ‘Helvetica’,Arial,sans-serif !important; overflow-wrap: break-word; }
.bh__table_header { padding: 5px; background-color:#F1F1F1; }
.bh__table_header p { color: #2A2A2A; font-family:’Trebuchet MS’,’Lucida Grande’,Tahoma,sans-serif !important; overflow-wrap: break-word; }

Gone Phishing Banner

Welcome to Gone Phishing, your daily cybersecurity newsletter that’s the Drew Barrymore to cybersecurity’s “Mamala” 😬😬😬

 Today’s hottest cybersecurity news stories:

  • 🤖 New AI security guidelines for critical infrastructure released by US 🗽

  • 🚢 Docker Hub bombarded with millions of bogus ‘imageless’ containers 📦

  • 🎉 Hurray! Microsoft launches brand new open source tool for OT security🛡️

AI, I’m tired of using technology 🎶👀💀

🚨 US Unveils New AI Security Guidelines for Critical Infrastructure 🛡️🤖

The US government has taken a proactive stance in safeguarding critical infrastructure against emerging artificial intelligence (AI) threats with the introduction of comprehensive security guidelines. 💻

A Whole-of-Government Approach 🤝🔒

Led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the newly unveiled guidelines stem from a rigorous assessment of AI risks across all critical infrastructure sectors. The initiative aims to address threats posed by AI systems and mitigate potential risks to safety and security. 🌐🕵️‍♂️

Prioritising Responsible Use 🛡️🤝

In addition to bolstering defences against AI-related threats, the DHS is committed to promoting the responsible and trustworthy use of AI technology. This includes safeguarding individual privacy, civil rights, and liberties while harnessing the benefits of AI innovation. 🔐🤖

Guidance Across the AI Lifecycle 🔄📊

The guidelines outline a structured approach to AI risk management, spanning the entire AI lifecycle. From establishing organisational risk management cultures to prioritising and acting upon AI risks, the guidance offers a comprehensive framework to address evolving threats. 📈🔍

Sector-Specific Considerations 🏭🔍

Recognizing the unique contexts of different critical infrastructure sectors, the guidelines stress the importance of sector-specific risk assessments and tailored mitigations. Critical infrastructure owners and operators are urged to understand their AI dependencies and collaborate on mitigation efforts. 🤝📉

International Collaboration 🌍🤝

The release of these guidelines follows recent cybersecurity initiatives by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, underscoring the global importance of securing AI deployments. By sharing best practices and insights, nations aim to bolster defences against AI-driven threats worldwide. 🌐🤝

As AI continues to evolve, proactive measures are essential to safeguard critical infrastructure and protect against emerging threats. The US government's proactive stance signals a concerted effort to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. 🚀🔒

Don’t come a Docker 😏

🚨 New Threat Emerges: Malicious "Imageless" Containers Target Docker Hub 🛡️🐳

Recent findings from cybersecurity researchers have unveiled a concerning trend targeting Docker Hub, the popular open-source container registry. Multiple campaigns spanning over five years have deployed millions of deceptive "imageless" containers, posing significant risks to unsuspecting users. 🔍

Deceptive Repository Tactics 📦🔒

According to JFrog security researcher Andrey Polkovnichenko, over four million Docker Hub repositories appear empty, containing only repository documentation. However, this innocuous documentation serves as a gateway to nefarious activities, luring users into visiting phishing or malware-hosting websites. 🕵️‍♂️🔗

Broad Campaigns Unveiled 🌐🎯

The malicious activity is organised into three distinct campaigns:

  1. Downloader: Initiated between the first half of 2021 and September 2023, this campaign entices users with links to pirated content or video game cheats, ultimately leading to malicious sources or legitimate sites hosting JavaScript-based redirects to malicious payloads. 📥🔗

  2. E-book Phishing: Launched in mid-2021, this campaign targets users searching for e-books, redirecting them to a deceptive website ("") prompting them to enter financial information under the guise of downloading e-books. 📚💸

  3. Website Cluster: Active from April 2021 to October 2023, this campaign remains enigmatic, occasionally directing users to an online diary-hosting service called Penzu. Its exact motives are yet to be fully understood. 🌐❓

Elevated Threat Landscape 🌐🔥

Shachar Menashe, senior director of security research at JFrog, warns of the challenges posed by these campaigns, emphasising the limited proactive measures available to users. With threat actors exploiting the credibility of Docker Hub, users must exercise heightened caution when interacting with container repositories. 🚫🔐

Vigilance in the Open-Source Realm 🛡️👀

As threat actors continue to exploit vulnerabilities in open-source ecosystems, developers and users alike are urged to exercise vigilance. With malware developers seeking to exploit any available avenue, preemptive caution is key to mitigating risks associated with malicious packages. 🤖🔒

In light of these developments, cybersecurity vigilance and proactive security measures are paramount to safeguarding against emerging threats in the dynamic landscape of containerized environments. 🌐🔒

Microsoft goes HARD 🙃

🚨 Microsoft Unveils ICSpector: A New Security Tool for Industrial Control Systems 🌐🔒

In response to escalating nation-state cyber threats targeting critical infrastructure, Microsoft has introduced ICSpector, a groundbreaking open-source security tool designed to enhance threat analysis capabilities for industrial control systems (ICS). 🛡️🏭

Closing the Gap in Threat Analysis 📊🔍

Industrial programmable logic controllers (PLCs) play a pivotal role in managing and controlling operations within industrial environments such as water and power grid systems. However, the complexity of analysing PLCs, coupled with a lack of specialised threat detection tools, presents significant challenges in safeguarding critical infrastructure. 🔄🔒

Microsoft's ICSpector aims to address these challenges by providing:

  • Malicious Modification Detection: Identifying unauthorised changes to PLC code.

  • Timestamp Extraction: Extracting timestamps of system alterations.

  •  Execution Flow Overview: Offering insights into task execution flow within the system.

  • Protocols Supported 🛠️🔢

ICSpector supports three prominent operational technology (OT) protocols:

  • Siemens S7Comm: Compatible with the S7-300/400 series.

  • Rockwell RSLogix: Utilising the Common Industrial Protocol.

  • Codesys V3: Ensuring compatibility and flexibility.

Raising the Bar in OT Security 📈🔐

The release of ICSpector comes amidst growing concerns over poor OT security practices, including insufficient segmentation between OT and IT systems, and lax multi factor authentication measures. These vulnerabilities have contributed to increased cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, prompting urgent action from industry stakeholders. 💼🔒

Escalating Threat Landscape ⚠️🌐

Nation-state threat actors, particularly from Russia and China, continue to target energy companies and water utilities with disruptive and espionage-driven campaigns. Federal authorities have sounded the alarm on the widening gap between U.S. critical infrastructure defences and the evolving tactics of adversarial entities. 🌐🔥

Strengthening Cyber Resilience 💪🔒

As the threat landscape evolves, organisations must prioritise the adoption of robust security measures and innovative tools like ICSpector to bolster cyber resilience. Microsoft's initiative underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in safeguarding critical infrastructure from emerging cyber threats. 🤝🔒

In the face of evolving cyber threats, proactive measures and cutting-edge security solutions are essential to fortifying the resilience of industrial control systems and ensuring the integrity and reliability of critical infrastructure operations. 💻🔒

🗞️ Extra, Extra! Read all about it! 🗞️

Every few weeks, we carefully select three hot newsletters to show you. Reputation is everything, so any links we share come from personal recommendation or carefully researched businesses at the time of posting. Enjoy!

  • 🛡️ Tl;dr sec: Join 30,000+ security professionals getting the best tools, blog posts, talks, and resources right in their inbox for free every Thursday 📅

  • 💵 Crypto Pragmatist: Crypto made simple. Actionable alpha in 5 minutes, 3x a week. Join 47,000+ investors and insiders, for 🆓

  • 📈 Bitcoin Breakdown: The best in Bitcoin, carefully curated by an alien from the future 👾

Let us know what you think.

So long and thanks for reading all the phish!

footer graphic cyber security newsletter

Recent articles