Cyber Threats: Week in Review with The Clintons & Rio Olympics

Media Division | August 1, 2016

It’s been a huge week in the cyber intelligence world, with announcements big and small from Washington, D.C to Rio de Janeiro. We’ve got the highlights to keep you informed, as well as how such threats impact your business.

From the White House

After years of promising better coordination, the President this week approved a Presidential Policy Directive on United States Cyber Incident Coordination. Cyber-attacks pose a unique threat to national security, the economy and to individual American citizens, and thus have needed their own outlined coordination effort. While the federal government indeed suffers a myriad of attacks, many such attacks impact individuals (like tax ID fraud) or the private sector (such as financial sector attacks).

The new directive also outlines a color-coded attack threat level assessment tool, which hearkens back to the homeland security threat level system. The color-coded schema labels attacks based on severity in 6 categories, with anything above category 3 triggering a multi-organization coordination effort.


The FBI came front and center in the Presidential Policy Directive. While the Department of Justice, The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will all play a part in cyber security threats, the FBI will act as lead.

The FBI also continues to manage the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). While a cyber-attack on your business should still be reported and handled by your cyber security resources, data on attacks can be submitted to the IC3 to be analyzed for intelligence and law enforcement purposes.

Rio Olympics

Sporting events are still one of the most targeted criminal activity arenas and Rio is no exception. Some of the more common attacks:

  • Targeting long-distance—phishing techniques have been in the cyber-criminal world since email began, but still yield results for criminals. Sites claiming to sell tickets to the Olympics, fake websites (hundreds of them!) and other such phishing-based schemes have plagued Rio.
  • Targeting travelers—if you have plans to travel to Rio, or anywhere for that matter, you should be aware of how cyber criminals target travelers. From “free,” unsecured Wi-Fi to USB charging stations that plant malware on your device, not everything friendly while traveling has good intentions. Also be aware of credit card skimming devices: when you go to an ATM, when you hand your card over at a restaurant, anywhere you use your credit or debit card, keep your eyes on your card and look for anything unusual such as double-swiping or device modifications. Skimming devices can lift your credit card data to later be replicated on the black market. New chip technology is safer, but cash is perhaps safest.

The biggest threat with the upcoming Olympics is the looming potential of large brands being targeted. Activist/Hactivist groups leverage such high profile events to get their message across.

Within the Strixus portal, we provide live cyber threat intelligence feeds relating to global activity around international public events. The 2014 World Cup saw one of the biggest mobilization of anti-corporate and anti-government hackivist movements ever seen, with sponsor brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, Microsoft as well as smaller support vendors and local sponsors being targeted.

There is no time like the present to prepare for cyber warfare.

rio-olympics-anonymous-hack-blackwhite The Clinton Campaign

Russia attempting to manipulate the results of an election? It sounds like something out of an 80’s political thriller, and yet it is happening right now in the United States. The FBI is investigating cyber-attacks, likely emanating from Russia, on political groups in the United States. Per news sources, Officials alleged that the hackers had access to the Democratic National Convention for a year, before computers got cleaned up this past week. Since no donor information or credit card information was stolen, the attack seems to be the result of government espionage rather than criminal activity.

With such high-level attacks occurring on a global scale, you may be asking yourself how you can keep your organization safe. In fact, cyber-criminal activity is currently so prevalent, it is not a matter of if your business or household will suffer a cyber-attack, but simply a matter of when. By staying abreast of common attacks and news in the cyber intelligence community, and also by maintaining a cyber-attack response plan in your own business, you can best prevent and respond to cyber incidents.

Massive's Media Division publishes timely news and insights based on current events, trends, and actionable cross-industry expertise.