Morning Security Brief: The Federal Cybersecurity Framework, GAO Report on Weather Disasters, and More

By Lilly Chapa

The White House has released its Cybersecurity Framework, which highlights best practices and suggested regulations for organizations looking to boost their cybersecurity. The Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity should serve as “a voluntary how-to guide for organizations in the critical infrastructure community to enhance their cybersecurity,” according to the report. The voluntary framework was built by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which worked with both researchers and the private sector to pinpoint globally recognized standards and best practices.

The Government Accountability Office has called on the U.S. government to increase critical infrastructure funding to help the nation better withstand extreme weather events. The report found that each weather disaster costs the nation more than $1 billion, which makes the government fiscally vulnerable to such disasters. To limit such fiscal exposure, the GAO report notes that the federal government should take into account potential climate change when it budgets for disaster aid and federally-owned infrastructure operation. The report, which focused on government operations identified as posing a “high risk” to taxpayers, says that “the costs and impacts of weather disasters resulting from floods, drought, and other events are expected to increase in significance as previously ‘rare’ events become more common and intense.”

Opportunistic phishers and hackers are taking advantage of a popular mobile game by creating malware-filled lookalikes. The owner of the simple mobile app Flappy Bird recently removed the game from Apple’s App Store and Google Play store, and since then, dozens of wannabes have taken its place. However, security blogs have noted that some versions available for Android devices override the user’s phone and rack up premium charges on the user’s account. The scam apps trick users into messaging premium numbers to continue playing, which will quickly rack up charges. Mobile security experts are advising Android users to install anti-virus software on their devices and to be extra cautious when downloading spinoffs to popular games. 


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