Fortress Information Security Deploys Automated Patch Notification and Authenticity tool to help secure Critical Assets from Hostile Nation-States

Fortress Information Security

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have clearly warned that U.S. critical infrastructure is under attack. The three federal agencies outlined how “Volt Typhoon,” a group of threat actors working under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), pose a serious challenge to operators of transportation, commerce, clean water, and electricity services.

Volt Typhoon exploits online assets that have not been updated with the latest vulnerability patches. Fortress Information Security is working with America’s leading power companies to limit exposure from abroad by ensuring notification of security updates as soon as they are available. Fortress’s File Integrity Assurance (FIA) solution automates patch availability and tracking, helping utilities prioritize at-risk equipment and validating patches to avoid malicious updates being introduced into utility companies’ assets.

Additionally, FIA is an efficient and cost-effective way to comply with Critical Infrastructure Protection 007 & 013 (commonly known as CIP 7 and CIP 13) from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the industry-accepted security standards to regulate, enforce, monitor, and manage North America’s Bulk Electric System (BES).

“Both CIP 7 and CIP 13 compliance are vital for critical infrastructure companies, and we’ve provided a more cost-efficient means for many companies to meet the standard while still improving the security they desperately need,” said Fortress CEO and co-founder Alex Santos. “If one of America’s adversaries has used software to open a backdoor and get into a network, FIA will help security pros close the door.”

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Last year, Fortress researchers looked at the Software Bills of Materials (SBOMs) for more than 200 software products commonly used by US electric companies. 90 percent of that software contained component contributions from developers openly based in Russia or China. Further investigation found Russian or Chinese-made code is 225% more likely to have vulnerabilities and three times more likely to have critical vulnerabilities – the most dangerous vulnerabilities to systems and data.

“Fortress research has shown that much of the software used by energy companies is NOT secure by design,” said Santos. “We learned from the SolarWinds attack in 2020, that software is an attack vector that America’s adversaries know how to manipulate to get beyond even the best defenses. Until we have those products, all of us need to take extra steps to keep attackers off our routers, VPNs, modems, and software from those who want to lay in wait to attack us.”

Also – the average vulnerability is 1,465 days old. Known vulnerabilities exist in the software that runs critical operations and components lie in waiting for longer than four years without any attention from vendors, suppliers, or utility providers.

FIA provides users an added layer of defense to protect against threat actors using known vulnerable software to get into your system. FIA users are alerted on average within a day of new updates being released. To prevent future attacks that resemble the SolarWinds watering-hole attack, FIA also validates update authenticity so that download signatures of software updates are accurate and scan for malware in software updates are clean.

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