CISA/FBI/NSA Issue Two Joint Cybersecurity Alerts for Critical Infrastructure

October 27, 2021

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency recently issued two joint alerts to critical infrastructure entities—one addressing BlackMatter Ransomware, and the second specifically to U.S. water and wastewater systems.

BlackMatter Ransomware Alert 

On October 18, 2021, CISA/FBI/NSA issued an alert providing information to critical infrastructure entities on BlackMatter ransomware. According to the Alert, BlackMatter ransomware has been targeting critical infrastructure entities since July of 2021, “including two U.S. Food and Agriculture Sector organizations.” BlackMatter uses “embedded, previously compromised credentials…” to “leverage the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Server Message Block (SMB) protocol to access the Active Directory (AD) to discover all hosts on the network. BlackMatter then remotely encrypts the hosts and shared drives as they are found.”

The Alert outlines the technical details of BlackMatter ransomware, as well as mitigations available to organizations “to reduce the risk of compromise by BlackMatter ransomware” which include implementing backup and restoration policies and procedures, using strong, unique passwords, using multi-factor authentication, and implementing network segmentation and traversal monitoring.

Ongoing Cyber Threats to U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems Alert 

Originally released on October 14, 2021, and updated on October 25, CISA/FBI/NSA issued an alert to U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems “to highlight ongoing malicious cyber-activity—by both known and unknown actors—targeting the information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) networks, systems and devices of U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems (WWS) Sector facilities.”

According to the Alert “This activity—which includes attempts to compromise system integrity via unauthorized access—threatens the ability of WWS facilities to provide clean, potable water to, and effectively manage the wastewater of, their communities.”

The Alert outlines the technical details and an overview of the threat, and lists mitigations to apply, including not clicking on suspicious links, secure and monitor remote desktop protocol, use strong passwords, and use multi-factor authentication.

Copyright © 2021 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.
National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 300
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