Home Latest Feeds Technology News Security Bite: Hackers breach CISA, forcing the agency to take some systems offline

Security Bite: Hackers breach CISA, forcing the agency to take some systems offline

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Security Bite: Hackers breach CISA, forcing the agency to take some systems offline

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CISA says two systems were hacked in February through vulnerabilities in Ivanti products. In response, the agency had to shut down both systems, which reportedly had critical ties to U.S. infrastructure.


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What is CISA?

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is a government agency responsible for basically enhancing the United States’ overall cybersecurity posture. It was established within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in November 2018, primarily in response to rising concerns around cyber threats and the protection of critical infrastructure.

Two CISA systems breached

A CISA spokesperson confirmed the breach in a statement, saying hackers gained access by exploiting vulnerabilities in internal Ivanti tools. The Utah-based firm provides IT security and systems management software to some 40,000 customers, from large organizations to government agencies worldwide, per its website.

“The impact was limited to two systems, which we immediately took offline,” CISA stated. “We continue to upgrade and modernize our systems, and there is no operational impact at this time.” The agency didn’t specify whether data had been accessed or stolen.

The Record, which first reported on the incident, cited a source with knowledge of the situation as saying the hackers compromised two systems that were part of the Infrastructure Protection (IP) Gateway, which houses critical data and tools used to assess critical U.S. infrastructure, and the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT). The latter houses some of the United States’ most sensitive industrial information, including which chemical facilities are designated high-risk, Site Security Plans, and Security Vulnerability Assessments.

However, it’s important to note that CISA has not yet confirmed or denied whether these specific systems were taken offline.

While it’s not immediately clear who’s behind the attack, we do know it happened through the recent vulnerabilities affecting Ivanti Connect Secure VPN and Ivanti Policy Secure products, discovered by none other than CISA.

Ironically, the agency previously warned about vulnerabilities in Ivanti software. On February 1, it ordered all U.S. government agencies to disconnect Ivanti Connect Secure and Ivanti Policy Secure. Just weeks later, it alerted organizations that threat actors were exploiting multiple Ivanti vulnerabilities CVE-2023-46805, CVE-2024-21887, and CVE-2024-21893.

A CISA spokesperson told The Record that the hack did not impact operations at the agency.

“This is a reminder that any organization can be affected by a cyber vulnerability, and having an incident response plan in place is a necessary component of resilience,” CISA adds.

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