DFC 610 UMGC Cyberspace & Cyb

You are part of a collaborative team that was created to address cyber threats and exploitation of US financial systems’ critical infrastructure. Your team has been assembled by the White House cyber national security staff to provide situational awareness about a current network breach and cyberattack against several financial service institutions.

Your team consists of four roles:

  • A representative from the financial services sector, who has discovered the network breach and the cyber attacks. These attacks include distributed denial-of-service attacks, DDOS, web defacements, sensitive data exfiltration, and other attack vectors typical of this nation-state actor.
  • A representative from law enforcement, who has provided additional evidence of network attacks found using network defense tools.
  • A representative from the intelligence agency, who has identified the nation-state actor from numerous public and government-provided threat intelligence reports. This representative will provide threat intelligence on the tools, techniques, and procedures of this nation-state actor.
  • A representative from the Department of Homeland Security, who will provide the risk, response, and recovery actions taken as a result of this cyber threat.

Your team will have to provide education and security awareness to the financial services sector about the threats, vulnerabilities, risks, and risk mitigation and remediation procedures to be implemented to maintain a robust security posture.

Finally, your team will take the lessons learned from this cyber incident and share that knowledge with the rest of the cyber threat analysis community. At the end of the response to this cyber incident, your team will provide two deliverables.

Step 2: Assess Suspicious Activity

Your team is assembled and you have a plan. It’s time to get to work. You have a suite of tools at your disposal from your work in the earlier projects. That work can be used to create a full common operating picture of the cyberthreats and vulnerabilities that are facing the US critical infrastructure. Begin by reading the following resources to brush up on your knowledge:

  1. network security
  2. mission-critical systems
  3. penetration testing

All team members must leverage network security skills by using port scans, network scanning tools, and analyzing Wireshark files to assess any suspicious network activity and network vulnerabilities.

Professionals in the Field

In many twenty-first century professions, expertise in your own field is not always enough. Sure, you are well on your way to becoming an expert in cybersecurity. But the cybersecurity field exists so that professionals in other field can be confident that their computing platforms are safe. Knowledge of the types of information, processes, teams, and real-life activities that other professionals engage in is what will enable you to make the best decisions about how to ensure CIA on widely disparate platforms in different environments.

Try career exploration tools such as O*NET, intelligencecareers.gov, and DoD Civilian Careers to browse the career paths and positions available to cyber professionals in the public and private sectors. Where would you like to be at the end of this program, or five years after that? What position might you seek the next time you’re on the market? The answers to these questions will inform your career pathway plan.

Step 3: The Financial Sector

To be completed by the Financial Services Representative: Provide a description of the impact that the threat would have on the financial services sector. These impact statements can include the loss of control of the systems, the loss of data integrity or confidentiality, exfiltration of data, or something else. Also provide impact assessments as a result of this security incident to the financial services sector. Ensure that the information is appropriately cited.

To be completed by all team members: Provide submissions from the Information Sharing Analysis Councils related to the financial sector. You can also propose fictitious submissions. Then, review the resource for industrial control systems and explain their level of importance to the financial services sector. Explain risks associated with the industrial control system. Ensure that the information is appropriately cited.

Step 4: Law Enforcement

To be completed by the Law Enforcement Representative: Provide a description of the impact that the threat would have on the law enforcement sector. These impact statements can include the loss of control of systems, the loss of data integrity or confidentiality, exfiltration of data, or something else. Also provide impact assessments as a result of this security incident to the law enforcement sector. Ensure that the information is appropriately cited.

Step 5: The Intelligence Community

To be completed by all team members: Provide an overview of the life cycle of a cyberthreat. Explain the different threat vectors that cyber actors use and provide a possible list of nation-state actors that have targeted the US financial services industry before.

Review this threat response and recovery resource and use what you learn to propose an analytical method in which you are able to detect the threat, identify the threat, and perform threat response and recovery. Identify the stage of the cyberthreat life cycle where you would observe different threat behaviors. Include ways to defend and protect against the threat. Provide this information in your SAR and AAR. Ensure that the information is appropriately cited.

To be completed by the Intelligence Community Representative: Provide intelligence on the nation-state actor and the actor’s cyber tools, techniques, and procedures. Use available threat reporting such as from FireEye, Mandiant, and other companies and government entities that provide intelligence reports. Also, include the social engineering methods used by the nation-state actor and their reasons for attacking US critical infrastructure. Include this information in your SAR and AAR. Ensure that the information is appropriately cited.

Step 6: Homeland Security

To be completed by the Homeland Security Representative: Use the US-CERT and similar resources to discuss the vulnerabilities and exploits that might have been used by the attackers. Ensure that the information is appropriately cited.

Explore the resources for risk mitigation and provide the risk, response, and risk mitigation steps that should be taken if an entity suffers the same type of attack.

To be completed by all team members: Provide a risk-threat matrix and a current state snapshot of the risk profile of the financial services sector. These reports will be part of an overall risk assessment, which will be included in your SAR and AAR. Ensure that the information is appropriately cited.

Review and refer to this risk assessment resource to aid you in developing this section of the report.

Step 7: The SAR and AAR

All team members: After you compile your research and your own critical assessments and analysis, determine which information is appropriate for a Security Assessment Report (SAR) that will be submitted to the White House, and for an After Action Report (AAR) that will be submitted to the rest of the analyst community

  1. Prepare the AAR. This knowledge management report will be provided to the cyberthreat analyst community, which includes the intelligence community, the law enforcement community, the defense and civilian community, the private sector, and academia. The purpose of the AAR is to share the systems life cycle methodology, rationale, and critical thinking used to resolve this cyber incident.

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