Whilst the alerts on product vulnerabilities are useful, we have introduced an Overall Alert when something big hits the security world, such as Wannacry etc. The definitions below will give an idea of the criteria considered when setting the status.
We have also introduced more granular Subject Alert States and Geo-Political Alerts for when tensions around the world may lead to cyber security issues for everybody.
24 March 2023 - It's been a year, we've probably seen all the new tricks, either you're watching or you won't see this either. Dropping to Guarded
03 November 2022 - Russia warns of mutual destruction without formal Digital Rules of Engagement. More info.
03 November 2022 - UK prepares for Russian cyber-attacks. More info.
01 November 2022 - Russia looking for excuse to target UK infrastructure. More info.
28 October 2022 - Russia is accusing the US and EU of conducting a campaign of cyber “sabotage” against Russia. More info.
15 September 2022 - More reports of Russia hacking Ukraine. More info.
10 September 2022 - More reports of Russia hacking Ukraine. More info.
02 September 2022 - Although politicians and cybersecurity experts have warned about the potential for widespread hacks in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a new study finds that attacks linked to the conflict have had minor impact and are unlikely to escalate further. More info.
18 August 2022 - The cyber fallout from the war in Ukraine continues. The number of observed distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks nearly trebled during the first six months of 2022. More info.
16 February 2022 - Reports are coming in of various cyberattacks on Ukraine Defence Ministry and Armed Forces. More info.
Other countries are preparing for spillover as well. More info.
03 February 2022 - Raised the Alert Level to High, based on activity identified by CND.
28 January 2022 - UK has now warned of potential cyberattacks from Russia as well. - More info.
25 January 2022 - We've raised a GeoPolitical Subject Alert for the increased activity around Ukraine and Russia. Russian troop buildup at the Ukraine border has created a tense situation, with cyberattacks increasing as tensions rise.
Hactivists say they hacked Belarus rail system to stop Russian military buildup - More info.
US has warned of potential cyberattacks from Russia if it responds to Ukraine invasion. - More info.
US and UK have recalled embassy staff and families. More info. And here.
Ukraine Government websites weather Cyber Attack Campaign. More info.
US, NATO Discuss Ukrainian cyber aid amid tensions. More info.
SAP, Siemens Monthly Patches, Windows DNS SigRed.
20 July, 2020 - The world hasn't broken, we're dropping back to Guarded.
15 July, 2020 - Add the Windows DNS vulnerability to the "Bad Patch Day" mix. It's got a name (SigRed) and everything.
14 July, 2020 - We have raised the Overall state to Increased due to the critical nature of the SAP and Siemens Monthly Patches. Four more vendors are set to report Patches today.
Microsoft and Oracle Patches, Citrix exploits.
20 Jan, 2020 - Lowered the Overall Alert state back to Guarded.
15 Jan, 2020 - Raised the Overall Alert state to Increased, due to two Microsoft Critical patches, Oracle Critical patches, and the public exploits for Citrix server vulnerabilities from a bulletin released 17 Dec yet thousands of servers are still vulnerable. It's just active, and deserves an increase for a day or two.
Unpatched Servers and US:Iran conflict
26 June, 2019 - "Everything is awesome, Everything is cool" Well, maybe not yet, but dropping to Guarded because it is quiet.
24 June, 2019 - dropping a level as the original items are quiet.
23 June, 2019 - US:Iran
With US:Iran increased tensions, the overall cyber world should be on high alert.
18 June, 2019 - BlueKeep, Exim, Infrastructure
Exploit code has been created, older OS versions are still vulnerable although it has been 5 weeks since patches were made available, time to patch people!
Also, there are multiple groups attempting to exploit the Exim RCE vulnerability, which allows root access.
Finally, US and Russia appear to be starting an Infrastructure "war". US and Russia attacking each other's infrastructure is bad for everyone.
19 October, 2018 - Reduced Overall Alert back to Guarded
16 October, 2018 - Raised Overall Alert to Increased due to Oracle Quarterly Patches and the sheer number of remote vulnerabilities in Oracle products.
17 September, 2018 - Reduced Overall Alert to Guarded.
12 September, 2018 - Raised Overall Alert to Increased due to Patch Tuesday, patched 0-days, and other public exploits being patched. There's just a lot going on.
20 August, 2018 - Reduced Overall Alert to Guarded after appropriate patch time.
15 August, 2018 - Raised Overall Alert to Increased due to Microsoft 0-day patches in Patch Tuesday. More info.
22 March, 2018 - Overall Alert State reduced to Guarded after a few quiet days.
19 March, 2018 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on increasing cyber security concerns between Russia and the UK, and Russia and the US.
The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) put the National Grid on alert. More info.
US-CERT detailed report on "Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors" here.
05 February, 2018 - Overall Alert State returned to Guarded, patches are expected for the Adobe Flash 0-day this week.
02 February, 2018 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on AutoSploit and an Adobe Flash Player 0-Day both hitting just before the weekend.
09 January, 2018 - Overall Alert State returned to Guarded, patches are still rolling out but everyone pretty much has a plan.
04 January, 2018 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on Meltdown and Spectre affecting all modern processors.
29 June, 2017 - Overall Alert State returned to Guarded, Petya has run it's course for the most part, and it is in post-analysis and recovery stage.
27 June, 2017 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on Petya ransomware reported effect in Eastern Europe, and the potential for similar issues across multiple industries.
15 May, 2017 - Overall Alert State set back to Guarded, based on little news about further spread of ransomware, and the availability of patches and procedures to stop the spread.
12 May, 2017 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on WannaCry ransomware reported effect on Healthcare Infrastructure, and the potential for similar issues in other Infrastructure systems.
17 April, 2017 - Overall Alert State set back to Guarded.
12 April, 2017 - Overall Alert State set to Increased to bring notice to the Microsoft and Adobe Patch Days.
20 October 2022 - Lowered to Guarded.
23 September 2022 - The war of words continues in public, with other nations stirring the pot at times. More info.
31 August 2022 - Taiwan shoots at a Chinese drone, so there are still tensions. More info.
04 August 2022 - Taiwanese military reports DDoS.
02 August 2022 - Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei has increased tensions between Taiwan and China (and US) with increases in hacking activity and military exercises. Unlikely to escalate beyond this, we hope.
More info. And here. And here. And here.
17 December, 2021 - Lowered to Guarded.
14 December, 2021 - Lowered back to Increased, as it's pretty much known and this is a long term issue. ISC statement here.
13 December, 2021 - Raised to High, as the exploit scans continue while vendors scramble to identify and patch.
Used to implant coin miners - more info.
Microsoft Guidance for preventing, detecting, and hunting for CVE-2021-44228 Log4j 2 exploitation here.
10 December, 2021 - Apache Log4j has a 0-day Remote Code Execution vulnerability with PoC exploits in the JNDI lookup feature. CVSSv3 score of 10. More info.
Patches are available. More info.
CERT-EU bulletin here.
Microsoft Exchange Server
17 March, 2021 - Microsoft has published a bulletin, Guidance for responders: Investigating and remediating on-premises Exchange Server vulnerabilities.
15 March, 2021 - Microsoft has published a one-click Mitigation tool for the Exchange vulnerabilities, which patches and attempts to reverse changes made by identified threats.
CISA has added seven Malware Analysis Reports (MAR) to their Alert. Each MAR identifies a webshell associated with exploitation of the vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server products.
Dropping the Subject Alert, as it's been running for some time now, either you're aware and taking action, or you're not looking here anyway...
10 March, 2021 - FBI and CISA released a joint advisory.
Brian Krebs has a decent timeline of events. More info.
09 March, 2021 - Microsoft has released updates for out of support versions of Exchange Server that address the 4 most critical vulnerabilities.
More info. And here. And here. And here.
08 March, 2021 - Microsoft has released an updated script that scans Exchange log files for indicators of compromise (IOCs) associated with the vulnerabilities.
CISA bulletin here.
Microsoft has released mitigation steps for organizations that cannot upgrade immediately. See their blog entry here.
Dropping level to Increased, it's been nearly a week...
05 March, 2021 - CISA has updated their Alert to add "CISA recommends investigating for signs of a compromise from at least September 1, 2020 through present."
CISA report here.
Note there is an issue when installing Exchange patches manually where they appear to install, but not fix the vulnerability. Be sure to check the Microsoft support document for details on verifying.
Microsoft support document here.
04 March, 2021 - CISA has published an Emergency Directive. Dropping to High.
CISA report here.
03 March, 2021 - ISC has published a summary, and Volexity has published their research.
ISC's blog entry. Volexity report here.
02 March, 2021 - Microsoft has published an update that fixes 7 RCE vulnerabilities, to address multiple 0-day exploits being used to attack on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server in limited and targeted attacks. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) attributes this campaign with high confidence to HAFNIUM, a group assessed to be state-sponsored and operating out of China.
Microsoft's bulletin. An article here. And another article here.
06 January, 2021 - Dropping the Subject Alert, we all know about it...
28 December, 2020 - SolarWinds is reporting an authentication API vulnerability that is being used to install malware.
21 December, 2020 - It's still going, but everyone is aware and looking, so we're dropping this to High.
14 December, 2020 - SolarWinds is aware that their systems experienced a manual supply chain attack on SolarWinds Orion Platform, released between March 2020 and June 2020. This attack was likely conducted by an outside nation state and intended to be a narrow, extremely targeted, and manually executed attack. Updated software is available. A second hotfix will be available 15 December that replaces the compromised component and provides several additional security enhancements.
SolarWinds advisory. FireEye report. ISC/SANS report.
Microsoft has a writeup.
16 December, 2020 - CERT-EU has an Advisory.
06 November, 2020 - Dropped to Guarded.
02 November, 2020 - Vendors are now publishing bulletins with mitigation instructions.
Spacelabs Healthcare info. BD info. GE Healthcare info. Philips info.
30 October, 2020 - Governments are warning of Ransomware attacks targeting the Healthcare industry. US Bulletin here. Australia bulletin here. UK statement here. Canadian statement here.
An article about recent Hospital attacks. More info.
Windows DNS Servers
20 July, 2020 - Seems to be rolling along, no huge, mass compromises, dropping to Guarded
15 July, 2020 - Windows DNS is vulnerable to wormable RCE vulnerability with a CVSSv3 score of 10. Named "SigRed". A server is vulnerable if the DNS role is enabled. Note that Active Directory and Kerberos require DNS, and domain controllers usually have the DNS role enabled. This will put the domain controller at risk. More here. And here.
08 July, 2020 - India and China are now in their third disengagement series. Reducing to Guarded.
More here. Opinion piece here.
07 July, 2020 - China has pulled back from the disputed border.
01 July, 2020 - It appears other countries are closely looking at their relationship with China. US has declared Huawei and ZTE National Security threats, and it looks like UK may change their decision to allow the vendors in their 5G networks.
More here. And here.
30 June, 2020 - The Indian government has banned 59 Chinese mobile applications on the grounds of national security, according to a government mandate. This comes after the Indian military clashed with Chinese forces in the region of Ladakh on 15 June.
24 Jan, 2020 - Dropped to Guarded, as the patches are all out as of today.
24 Jan, 2020 - Dropped to Guarded, as the patches are all out as of today.
Public exploits have been released for Citrix ADC (NetScaler) vulnerabilities from a bulletin released 17 Dec yet thousands of servers are still vulnerable.
24 Jan, 2020 - There has been little talk of US:Iran in the news lately, although cyber aggressions may continue. Dropping Alert to Guarded.
13 Jan, 2020 - The public aggressions have ceased, although the cyber warfare may continue. Dropping Alert to Increased.
08 Jan, 2020 - Iran launched missiles at a US military facility in Iraq. More here.
07 Jan, 2020 - The US Maritime Administration website has renewed its warning about threats to U.S. commercial vessels from Iran and its proxies in the Gulf and surrounding area. More here.
CISA has also published an Alert for Iranian cyber activity, with an overview of past activity and patterns of Iranian APT. More here.
04 Jan, 2020 - US DHS publishes a Terrorism Advisory System bulletin as the words escalate. More here.
03 Jan, 2020 - Raising the US:Iran Alert level to High after General Qassim Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike at Baghdad's international airport, an assassination that marks a major escalation in US-Iran tensions. More here.
01 Jan, 2020 - After the storming of the US Embassy in Baghdad, Marines are deployed and Iran is accused of being behind the attack. More here.
20 Nov, 2019 - How long before it's not news anymore? I guess this long... US:Iran 12 Aug 2019 - It seems this new level of tension between US:Iran and others has become the norm, so we're dropping this geopolitical alert. Should things escalate higher, we'll raise a new alert. BlackHat 12 Aug, 2019 - Removed Subject Alert. DNS Poisoning 18 July, 2019 - Removed Subject Alert. US:IRAN - May 2019 21 May, 2019 - Removed the Geopolitical Alert INDIA:PAKISTAN - Feb-Mar 2019 04 March, 2019 - Reduced Alert State to Guarded.
16 Oct, 2019 - Reuters confirms Cyber attacks on Iran after Saudi oil facility attack. And of course, actual fighting in Turkey, Syria. More here.
16 Sep, 2019 - We have raised a GeoPolitical Alert for the Middle East. After the bombing of Saudi Aramco, tensions in the Middle East are increasing. The players involved are many, and others would take advantage while the world's eyes are elsewhere. More here, here, here, here, and here.
06 Aug 2019 - More warships, now from UK, to the Strait of Hormuz to defend oil tankers. More info.
Another tanker seized by Iran. More info.
29 July, 2019 - More warships to the Strait of Hormuz to defend oil tankers. More info. And here.
More words from both sides, leading to nothing. More info.
22 July, 2019 - Iran has seized a British-flagged oil tanker. More info.
They also report to have identified Iranian citizens working for the CIA and executed some. More info.
18 July, 2019 - Iran has reported seizure of a tanker smuggling oil. More info.
15 July, 2019 - Iran has attacked Iraq’s Kurdistan region. More info.
11 July, 2019 - A British warship forced three Iranian boats to back off after they sought to block a British tanker. More info.
8 July, 2019 - Iran is going to enrich Uranium, and President Trump responds. More info.
5 July, 2019 - Britian seized an Iranian oil tanker, Iran threatens to seize a British one. More info.
26 June, 2019 - Cyber is still the preferred attack vector in this conflict, but things are quiet.
24 June, 2019 - dropping a level as it seems quiet for the moment.
23 June, 2019 - After the reported Cyber Attack on Iranian weapons systems, CISA has reported increased Cyber Attacks on US interests. More info. And here.
20 June, 2019 - Iran has shot down a US drone. More info.
19 June, 2019 - One US Oil company is evacuating staff after several rocket strikes in as many days, the most recent hitting the headquarters. More info.
18 June, 2019
Tensions continue after the tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, and US sends more troops to the Gulf area. Time to be a bit more wary of what else is happening on the Cyber front. More info. And here.
06 Aug, 2019 - It's Hacker Summer Camp, hijinx and disclosures may ensue. Pay attention to the news from BlackHat and DefCon.
15 July, 2019 - In January 2019 the NCSC published an alert to highlight a large-scale global campaign to hijack DNS. Activity continues, with victims of DNS hijacking identified across multiple regions and sectors. Please take steps to protect yourselves.. More info. And here.
17 May, 2019 - Still lots of rhetoric out there, we will leave this alert over the weekend at least.
15 May, 2019 - US is pulling people from Iraq, we're keeping the the Alert at Increased. The story.
13 May, 2019 - Raised Geopolitical Alert for US:Iran
During times of political conflict, cyberactivity increases as well. US and Iran are currently escalating, the latest story is here.
27 February, 2019 - Created Subject Alert for India:Pakistan based on News reports of increased tensions in the Kashir area, Indian air strikes in Pakistan, and Indian fighter jets shot down over Kashmir. Increased geopolitical tensions typically result in increased cyber activity as well. More info.
A live blog of activity can be seen here.
12 Aug 2019 - It seems this new level of tension between US:Iran and others has become the norm, so we're dropping this geopolitical alert. Should things escalate higher, we'll raise a new alert.
12 Aug, 2019 - Removed Subject Alert.
18 July, 2019 - Removed Subject Alert.
US:IRAN - May 2019
21 May, 2019 - Removed the Geopolitical Alert
INDIA:PAKISTAN - Feb-Mar 2019
04 March, 2019 - Reduced Alert State to Guarded.
IRAN:US Aug 2018
21 September, 2018 - Removed Subject Alert for US:Iran
13 August, 2018 - Created Subject Alert for US:Iran based on expected Iranian response to US sanctions. Given the quantity of ICS/SCADA, Building, and Infrastructure alerts we have posted lately, the attack surface is broad in several areas. More info.
VPNFILTER - May-Jun 2018
20 June, 2018 - Removed Subject Alert, no new news, everyone that cares already knows.
18 June, 2018 - Lowered state to Guarded, there has been no new coverage since 12 June, except that SMBs aren't heeding the warnings.
07 June, 2018 - Raised back to High, based on Talos research group's latest report that the malware hits more brands, and can infect endpoints. More info.
06 June, 2018 - Lowered state to Increased, based on waning news coverage.
05 June, 2018 - More News Coverage. VPNFilter continues to target the Ukraine (more info).
29 May, 2018 - FBI has taken control of C&C domain toknowall.com, and is asking everyone to reboot their routers. More info.
24 May, 2018 - Raised a Subject Alert State for VPNFilter and set it at High. Cisco Talos is warning of a sophisticated modular malware system known as VPNFilter. They estimate the number of infected devices to be at least 500,000 in at least 54 countries. The known devices affected by VPNFilter are Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR and TP-Link networking equipment in the small and home office (SOHO) space, as well at QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices. Note Cisco is not in this list. Research is not complete, but risks are high. More info.
IRAN:US May 2018
24 May, 2018 - Removed Subject Alert
23 May, 2018 - Reduced Subject Alert State to Guarded. Let's see what happens...
11 May, 2018 - Subject Alert State modified to Iran:USA based on the idea that cyber activity will increase as a result of US sanctions.
11 May, 2018 - Subject Alert State added and set to Increased for Israel:Iran. Expect increased cyber activity.
RUSSIA:US, UK, FRANCE Apr-May 2018
11 May, 2018 - Subject Alert State for France, UK, US removed
03 May, 2018 - Subject Alert State for France, UK, US lowered to Guarded
17 April, 2018 - Subject Alert State for France, UK, US set to Increased based on escalating tensions between Russia and the ally group. Following the Syrian drone strikes by the ally group, tensions are increasing.
RUSSIA:UK Mar-Apr 2018
16 April, 2018 - Removed subject alert.
26 March, 2018 - Subject Alert State reduced to Guarded after a few more quiet days.
22 March, 2018 - Subject Alert State reduced to Increased after a few quiet days.
19 March, 2018: Subject Alert state for Russia:UK raised to High. The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) put the National Grid on alert. More info.
UPDATE: Russia said they had no motive for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter. PM May to "announce measures". More info.
16 March, 2018: US has issued sanctions in support of the UK and in response to reports that Russia is responsible for cyberactivity targeting US Infrastructure. More info.
13 March, 2018 - Subject Alert State for Russia:UK set to Increased based on escalating tensions between Russia and the UK. Following the Weapon of Mass Destruction attack on the UK mainland, allegedly by Russia, the UK have given Russia until midnight (GMT) on 13 March to respond. UK media are speculating that the likely response from the UK will be a cyber attack against Russia. More info.
RUSSIA:US CNI Mar 2018
23 March, 2018 - Subject Alert State removed.
22 March, 2018 - Subject Alert State reduced to Guarded after a few quiet days.
19 March, 2018: Subject Alert created for Russia:US CNI and set to Increased. US-CERT detailed report on "Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors" here.
APT on CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE Oct 2017
23 Oct, 2017 - Subject Alert State for APT for Critical Infrastucture set to Increased based on CERT report of advanced persistent threat (APT) actions targeting government entities and organizations in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. More info.
BLACKHAT/BROADCOM WI-FI Jul 2017
30 July, 2017 - Subject Alert State for BlackHat removed, since BlackHat and DefCon are over.
24 July, 2017 - Subject Alert State for BlackHat set to Increased based on Broadcom Wi-Fi chipset vulnerabilities and the upcoming BlackHat presentation. Both Apple and Google have addressed this in recent updates for iOS, Boot Camp, and Android. Apple's bulletins for iOS and Boot Camp, Google's bulletin for Android.
PETYA RANSOMWARE Jun 2017
30 June, 2017 - Removed the Subject Alert, we all know about it and the myriad of ideas around it.
29 June, 2017 - Subject Alert State set to Increased, Petya has run it's course for the most part, and it is in post-analysis and recovery stage. Some wariness is still required, and patch, patch patch!
27 June, 2017 - Created a Subject Alert state for Ransomware set to High, based on fast spreading infections of a ransomware called "Petya". Starting in Eastern Europe, and hitting financial and infrastructure hard. The ransomware uses the Microsoft SMB vulnerability as WannaCry.
WINDOWS Apr 2017
17 April, 2017 - Subject Alert for Windows removed.
13 April, 2017 - Set to Increased, since updates should be rolling...
12 April, 2017 - A Subject Alert for Windows was added and set at High, to highlight the patch for the Office and WordPad 0-day announced a few days ago. Exploitation of this issue has increased, indicating a need to patch quickly. Also, Vista is now officially EOL, with no new security updates.
WANNACRY RANSOMWARE May 2017
16 May, 2017 - Removed, nothing left but the patching...
15 May, 2017 - Lowered to Guarded with little new reporting
13 May, 2017 - Lowered to Increased based on the registration of the domain that acted as a kill switch, and Microsoft publication of patches for unsupported versions of the software.
12 May, 2017 - Raised to High based on the pace of infections...
12 May, 2017 - Created a Subject Alert state for Ransomware set to Increased, based on fast spreading infections of a ransomware called "WannaCry". ISPs, Hospitals, and Energy Infrastructure companies are among the victims. The ransomware uses a Microsoft SMB vulnerability patched in March, 2017. More info here and here.
This is the lowest envisaged Alert State for the foreseeable future.
Remain vigilant and be prepared for attack. There are no discernible issues impacting end networks or the infrastructure of the Internet.
UK Military Terminology – Stand Down
Civilian Terminology – Chillax
There is unrest in cyber space requiring increased vigilance for possible cyber disruption, such as:
UK Military Terminology – Stand To
Civilian Terminology – Keep Calm and Carry On
There is a marked escalation in cyber attacks and actual effect, security staff should align their security posture to mitigate the threat and exercise possible use cases relating to the threat, the threats might include:
UK Military Terminology – Watch and Shoot
Civilian Terminology – Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
There is a direct cyber threat which will impact the majority of systems and significantly hamper IT operations, this Alert State will be used sparingly.
Where the Critical Alert State can be localised, by Product Type, Attack Vector, Threat Actor or Nations, these will be reflected in the sub heading as per the example shown.
Military Terminology – Incoming, Take Cover
Civilian Terminology – OMG!
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